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This $9 lamp will help you take portraits that rival those shot in fancy studios


To take a proper portrait, you need a high-end camera, various studio lights, a suitable backdrop, and a professional photographer experienced in shooting portraitures. Or, do you? Elinchrom, the Swiss manufacturer of studio lighting and flash systems like the Quadra, challenged portrait and celebrity photographer Philippe Echaroux to take a studio-style portrait with limited equipment and cash. The result, as seen here, is outstanding.


In addition to fancy lighting, Echaroux normally uses a medium-format or full-frame camera to shoot portraits. For the challenge Echaroux used an iPhone and a budget of just $10 Euros; Echaroux used the cash to purchase the Tertial desk lamp from IKEA as a lighting source. Positioning the lamp in various positions, Echaroux took several shots and processed them with the $5 app Photoshop Touch from Adobe.

Although Echaroux said, “We’ll certainly not have the same result” as with the more professional equipment, most people would never have guessed the photo was taken with a smartphone, albeit with some post-editing. While smartphones may not be able to compete with high-end cameras on a specs level, creative work like this shows that they can indeed take amazing photographs that were once only possible with more expensive gear and setups. We don’t know what purpose this serves Elinchrom, except to say that lighting is important in portrait photography.

So, the next time you need a portrait taken, utilize a work lamp you probably have sitting around. The trick is to use a bulb that doesn’t change skin tones to a pasty white or alien green. Choose a bulb that provides natural-looking light. The advantage of the work light is that it likely has a clamp or hook.

Check out the video to see how Echaroux took this photo.






(Image via Philippe Echaroux/PetaPixel; Ikea)

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