Mini Studio Light Setup

Joe Reading Resized.jpg
Joe Reading 2 Resized.jpg

Last night, Joe modeled for me, so I could play with my mini studio setup. There is a ton of high-end, awesome equipment out there for this kind of work and it's all on my wish list. For now, I work with what I have. It's super simple and it gets the job done.

When I set up for a shot like this, I'm looking for soft directional light. To achieve directional light, I take my flash off my camera. I have a couple of tripods, one for the camera and one for the flash. The camera and the flash communicate through an ETTL flash cord that is almost 30 ft. long, which gives me some mobility for placing my light. Now, there are remote triggers with all kinds of bells and whistles, but the cord just plugs in and your done. I topped my flash off with a Gary Fong diffuser for this shot for a softer spread of light throughout the room. 

On the left side of the camera I set up a white reflector to bounce a bit of light back onto the right side of Joe's face. Having just a bit of shadow on that side, I think, makes a more interesting portrait with some added dimension. My reflector is round and very portable, but can be cumbersome in some situations if you don't have something to lean it up against. 

I took this shot at night in my room. There was a tiny bit of hall light streaming in from the door; just enough to get some contrast on his face for auto focusing. My ISO was set to 800 (I try to avoid too much noise). My aperture was set to f/5.6 for a more detailed shot. I decided to set me shutter at 1/100 to eliminate any motion blur and to ensure an even sharper image. This meant that I had to override my flash just a bit at +2 for a better, brighter exposure (watch those highlights, though).

Set up time was about 10 minutes. I got it all ready and called for a model. Joe gave me about a minute to shoot (so generous).

Hardly any processing was done. Just a crop, very light noise reduction, with a little sharpening. How do you light up your subjects when the sun goes down?