One-light studio portrait

The other day I was trying out some lighting setups to try to delve deeper into how the light alters the mood of a portrait.  

Today’s self-portrait is the one below.

Notice how the light is coming from camera right angled down but we can still see details on the other side of the face. This is done by using a large white circular reflector on camera left. By placing the reflector closer or further from the subject you can control the amount of light that is bounced back on the subject. This is the bts shot of the setup. 

So there you go, enjoy yourselves and keep pressing that shutter!

From daylight to evening with the help of one speedlight and controlling the aperture

For this portrait I wanted to mix it up a bit and completely change the mood of the scene. 

The setting was midday and the sun was out and through the tall windows the light was pouring in. I wanted to transform that bright light into a calm evening setting. 

So how do you manage to change daylight to evening light? Well you play around with your shutter speed and aperture. By stopping down and capturing the tone you want you can transform this bts shot:

Into something like this using a single speedlight and a suitable softbox. 

As you can see the ambient light was fairly strong so I needed to close down my aperture to get a darker scene and at the same time up my speedlight to get a nice exposure on me the subject. 

Here’s a black and white version of another shot using the same technique. 

So there you go, enjoy yourselves and keep pressing that shutter!

Product photography Efva Attling necklace with BTS shots

This time out I wanted to create an image that portrayed the beauty of an Efva Attling necklace in a sophisticated and elegant way. 

This is the final result:

So how did I go about it? Read on to find out! 

I wanted a nice matte black background and I wanted a very focused beam on light on the necklace and some light behind the box to give a more sense of depth to the shot. 

The bts shot and setup I as follows 

A Nissan DI700 speedlight on camera left held close and so as to give a rectangular focused beam infront and behind the box. 

I also used a white piece of paper to fill in some shadows on camera right to get the right look I was after. 

Camera was on a sturdy Benro tripod and set to self timer so that I could adjust the speedlight and white fill paper accordingly. 

So there you go, enjoy yourselves and keep pressing that shutter!

How to shoot your own headshot

First try to come up with a concept that suits your intended use of the headshot. 

For this shot, my concept was to have a nice transition of light to shadow but still maintaining detail in those shadow areas. The aim is to have a degree of drama to make it more interesting for the viewer.  

I believe in the power of the eyes in every portrait or headshot I take. The eyes portray emotions and should be lit in a way as to emphasize that emotion. 

This is the resulting image

So how did I set it up?

I used two lightstands, a Godox 60x60cm softbox with a Nissin DI700 speedlight a sturdy Benro tripod and my Canon 70-200 L 4. This lens is perfect for studio portrait work and produces great color and contrast. The telephoto effect is also very flattering for the subject as opposed to a wide angle that distorts the subject’s features. 

I set up my 60D on the tripod, set up a light stand where I was supposed to stand and raised the stand to my eye level. I could then manually focus on the top of the light stand and know my focus was spot on. 

I tested my exposure and settled on a setting that best matched my vision. Now I needed an extra punch with my softbox. I set that up with two diffusion materials to get as soft light as possible. I set the softbox just out of frame, did some test shots until I found the right power setting and then just turned on the 10sec timer and stood right where I had prefocused and fired away. 

So there you go, enjoy yourselves and keep pressing that shutter!