1 Apr 2024

Three Quick Portrait Setups

A quickfire portrait photo session in order to do three different looks in succession by just adding, changing or moving a few speedlights. Always fun to keep the old hand in by way of this type of practical exercise.

I used a Nikon D850, Nikon 85mm f1.8 lens, four Nikon Speedlights all triggered wirelessly via a Nikon Speedlight Commander SU-800, ISO was 64 and aperture at f1.8 to get that shallow depth of field.

First off a single light shot through a snoot:

Contrasty and dramatic

Snoot was high, right and slightly behind of camera

The second shot I retained the snoot and added two lights aimed at the background, the light to camera left had the standard included incandescent filter attached and the light to camera right had the standard included fluorescent filter attached, both to influence the background in different ways. The light in the snoot was filterless.

More textured interest on the background

The snoot was left in the same position as the previous shot

The final photograph I used four lights and changed out the snoot for a shoot-through umbrella, I also brought it much closer to the subject. This had the effect of giving softer light. I also turned the two lights I used for the background in the previous shot and highlighted the side of the subjects head from slightly behind while shooting a gobo strip of light at the background.

Much softer light with lots of sculpting, depth & interest

All lights visible in this shot

The final setup I had the lights in three groups, the main light (group A) was at standard exposure, the side lights (group B) at -3 & the background light (group C) at -2.5. This gave a pleasing balance of light, at least for my taste.

All the light modifiers are from Elinchrom attached to Godox adapters to be able to let me use my Speedlights, except for the gobo which is from Magmod. I find that the Elinchrom studio lights are great in a bigger room but in such a small space they are way too powerful forcing me to stop down a lot more leading to me not being able to use the narrow depth of field that I prefer.

Below are some pics of the Godox mounts with Speedlights inserted. This is a budget conscious way of being able to use one set of modifiers for both the larger studio lights as well as the much smaller Speedlights.




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