Portrait using two flashes

Here’s an impromptu portrait I took on Tuesday, of a lovely student who kindly volunteered to be the subject, in the Flash for Pros course:

And here’s how I did this:

  • Camera: The camera was a Canon 7D
  • Lens: I used a 50mm f/1.4 lens. (50mm on a crop camera, even the very cheap f/1.8 version, makes a great portrait lens).
  • Settings: The settings were Manual mode at 1/30th second, f/5.6, 400 ISO
  • Flashes: I used two 430 EX flashes on light stands, fired from the pop-up flash (like most Nikon cameras, the 7D allows this). Other than that, the pop-up flash was disabled. (I could also have used a 580EX on the camera as master.)

And how I used those flashes:

  • I used e-TTL, so I did not have to meter and set the flashes manually.
  • The main flash (“A”) was on camera left: a 430EX fired into a Honl gold/silver (half CTO) reflector. It was about a foot away from her.
  • The second flash was also a 430EX; this one fired straight at her from 45 degrees behind, through a Honl 1/4″ grid. This flash was also about a foot away from her.
  • I set an A:B Ratio of 4:1, so the main light was two stops brighter than the hair light.

Another student that night wrote a blog post, here, where you can see a few pics with some of the modifiers I used.

So it’s actually quite simple: now you go try. It is amazing what you can do in just a few seconds with just a couple of flashes (speedlites) and some small, light, convenient modifiers.

6 thoughts on “Portrait using two flashes

  1. This option was a nice surprise to me. I did not realize the 7D could operate as a master. Now the need of a 580EX is not needed right now. I was pretty happy to learn about this feature.

    Do you have anything posted on your blog about any advanced features or special features you like most of the new 7D?

  2. question…you said that the main light was using the honl gold/silver reflector. did you have the speedlight pointing up, with the reflector slightly bent forward for this shot? i am wondering because the amount of light just seemed to be perfect.

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