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Set a Light 3D by Elixxier
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Set a Light 3D by Elixxier

Yesterday, I decided to start using set a light 3D to practice some studio photography, as I am decidedly out of practice on lighting having personally not done it in around 10 years, in what seems a lifetime ago.

What can I say? I’m seriously impressed by this software. 

If you are either just casually wanting to do portrait photography, or you are a seasoned pro – this software can save you time and money and also allow you to gain experience, especially since most of us right now are stuck at home and participating in a portrait shoot right now is certainly not following social distancing.

One of the main tenants of this type of photography is looking like you know what you are doing, and not wasting your model, makeup artist, and stylist time.  With this software, it allows you to set up the entire shot virtually so that during the set, you have an almost perfect idea of what you want to do. You can endlessly experiment with different lighting, modifiers, gels and even reflectors with a helper on your own time, at your own pace and be fully prepared for the shoot.

The lighting options are vast from speedlights to monolights and also include reflectors.   You can add props such as chairs and couches, and basically set up the shot however you’d like.

I think this is an amazing tool for practice, but also for: “What do I need to get a specific creative look”.  It could potentially save you thousands of dollars.  Questions such as “can my speedlights do this?  Do I need more of them? Do I invest in monolights” can be readily simulated in this software.

You can change the camera from APS-C to full frame, to be what you currently are using, and a healthy selection of primes and zooms are available for you to shoot with.

You can change from color to black and white .. allowing you to experiment endlessly with different styles. Want to try your hand at Helmut Newton style of old Hollywood?   You don’t have to drive the model nuts as you change contrast and light power to get that look just right.  Simply load up the program and design your set.

There’s a selection of models, including young and older, male and female and also one child.  Different races are also available, allowing you to practice lighting with various races as well.

There is a vast amount of options of poses, and then there is even pose position fine-tuning so you can adjust the model’s positioning slightly as you would do in real life.

The program allows you to save your sets and images into “projects” allowing you to pull them up in the future.   You can also share your projects with the community and also download various community saved projects as well.  This frankly is worth the price of the software right here.  There are some amazing studio setups, and very quickly you can see how they set up the lighting to make the shot.  The learning potential here is vast.

About the only problem that I see with the software that is lacking is catchlights.  It does not render catchlights into the model’s eyes which make it a little hard to gauge if you do, have that perfect light.

Frankly, it’s not often I think the software is almost indispensable but this one of those times. Elixxier has a free trial that you can download here, and for now, they have a special sale happening where the full version of Set A Light 3D version 2.5 is $154.00 down from the regular price of $229.00. 


Full disclosure
We are an affiliate of Elixxier however that's not influencing my decision to talk about the software.  I loved the software so much that after I started to use it, I proceeded to become an affiliate.

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