My mum and a wonderful friend came to visit this weekend. They are of course the same person. We went into town and met my sister for some lunch and a mooch around the Brick Lane area of East London. A lovely day for all of us I think.
That was Saturday. Today (Sunday) I took my mum to the local garden centre to hunt down some pots she was looking for to brighten her front garden and provide a bit of privacy when planted up with some colourful geraniums. Mission was accomplished. But before we went out I asked mum if I could make a portrait using a new lighting set up I learned about this week. She answered yes of course so I set to work getting lights into place. The trickiest part was threading the rods through the elastic on my home made uplighter, but once all was done I called mum in.
The setup consisted of three canon speedlights and one reflector. Speedlight No 1 was directly behind me in a large octa softbox facing forward, it's role, to provide a large even light source to flatter the face of the subject. Speedlight No 2 was directly above mums head pointing down, it's role, to provide a hint of shadow and shape to the face which would otherwise have looked too flat with just speedlight No 1. My mum was seated on a posing stool, at her waist level was the uplighter to bounce light back up and soften shadows for speedlight No 2. And lastly speedlight No 3 was down on the floor pointed up at a black background, its role, to provide slight seperation of the subject from the background. in this case to add some shape around mums shoulders and stop her black jacket from disappearing into the background.
The camera was in manual mode with setting as 1/200th shutter, f6.3 aperture and 200 ISO. A few test shots were taken to set the levels of each of the three lights. No 1 was on full power, No 2 on 1/16 and No 3 on 1/4. Then it was only a few moments to capture a handful of cool business style headshots.
When we got back from the garden centre I realised that with everything set up it should be possible to shoot with any camera as long as its settings were identical. Cue my Hasselblad with 85mm lens for a fun portrait. All I had to do was switch the speedlights back on, set the camera, focus it, make some witty banter with my subject and take a photo. Bam
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