Home studio Portraits


If you've ever visited my Flickr or 500px you will see that my photography is varied, taking pictures of most subjects, but deep down I particularly love portraits and strobist work.
I had 9 days off work so decided to do some portraits of my 10 year old daughter who was bribed with copious amounts of ice cream and Reece cups.
So with the magic of sugary products I had my model, next was the creativeness of the portraits wanting to make the shoot fun I headed over to Amazon, not the jungle but the store to order some props.
I ordered some sunglasses and also a pair of funky steam punk glasses, also my wife who loves supporting me with my creativeness bought us some fun glasses from the pound shop, so altogether we spent around £16 on the props.
Below I will explain my set ups for some of my shots with diagrams to show what is possible in your own home as all these shots were taken in my front room, the only thing I changed between shots was the lighting and glasses.

My gear used
Nikon D7100
Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Folding white/black Background
Yongnuo 560tx trigger
3 x Yongnuo 560 IV
1 x Yongnuo 560 III
Beauty Dish (silver)
Small Softbox
2 x Reflector Dish
Coloured Gels

I started off with a white background to get some shots in the bag by setting up a Yongnuo 560 IV either side of the background both had reflector dishes to stop spill onto my subject, I took test shots changing the power until the background was a nice bright white by checking the LCD on the back of my camera and using an aperture of around f/9 to f/11 which was just a personal choice to get as much dof as possible using a longer lens.
Next I set up my beauty dish and softbox with the beauty dish directly in front of my daughter and slightly above camera level and the softbox directly in front but below camera level.
The softbox was to fill in the shadows, I normally use a reflector for this but on this occasion wanted complete control over the shadows by alternating the power.
I think this type of lighting is called Clamshell lighting.
Using my Yongnuo 560tx trigger I turned off the background lights then set up the power of the beauty dish and softbox individually to see what affect they had.
Once each individual light was sorted I turned them all on then took test shots of my daughter to finalize the lighting.
The reason you do this is that the key lights can add  more light to your backdrop and can then make it too bright, so if you work in a small space and your subject is close to the back drop the light can reflect onto the back of your subject creating some funny results or unwanted rim light.

Here are some of the white background shots with diagram





For the coloured backdrops I just put coloured gels over the two rear flashguns.
I used blue gels and green gels then changed the colour in Photoshop if I needed any other colours.

Here are some of the coloured backdrops

 This picture was a green background which I converted to yellow to make it pop more

Next I turned my white background round to use the black for the next shots.
All my lights stayed in the same positions all I did was turn background lights round to point at the side of my daughter to create something a little different.

Blue gelled lights for rim light

 Lastly I did remove one of the background lights then moved the single one directly behind my daughter pointing directly at the backdrop to create a little separation from the dark backdrop.

Black Backdrop Pictures and Diagram



I just wanted to show what is possible in a small space with basic manual flashguns and some really cheap props.
Apart from the single light on the backdrop all the pictures were taken with everything in the same position with some minor power setting changes between coloured backdrops and the changing from white to black.
With coloured backdrops if you can only change the backdrop to one colour you can then change this to any colour you want in Photoshop, also I added the lipstick in Photoshop as well which you can change the colour in Photoshop also.
Anyway have fun with your portraits and don't be afraid to try different things, its amazing what you can capture by being creative and mixing it up a bit.

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