Self portrait

The other day I decided to do a quick self portrait. And instead of the normal “traditional” portrait, I did the following:

Moody, dark – I don’t smile much in pictures and life is serious! And as you see, lighting is all about what you do not light.

I made this picture as follows:

  1. I put up a grey backdrop.
  2. Using paper tape, I put a cross on the floor where I was going to be standing.
  3. I put a light stand there.
  4. Having put the camera on a tripod, I aimed at the light stand and focused on it; then set the focus to “manual”.
  5. I set the camera to self timer.
  6. I selected 1/125th second at f/11 (you want f/5.6 – f/11 for these shots normally).
  7. Using my light meter, I set my main light, which I fire with pocket wizards, to these values. That main light is a Bowens strobe with a softbox.
  8. I added a background light: a speedlight with a Honl Photo grid and a Honl Photo Egg Yolk Yellow gel. I set this to quarter power (experience). The speedlight was also fired via pocket wizard; if you have a Nikon speedlight you can use SU-4 mode (cell).
  9. I pressed the camera shutter button and took the exact place of the light stand. 10 seconds later: flash!

And that was that – simple once you know. Now you try!


2 thoughts on “Self portrait

  1. Could you go over how to use light meters in studio flash future post?

    e.g. when you meter subject is meter at subject, and when you meter background meter is at background?

    Thanks! great blog, it is on my homepage.

  2. I have had the pleasure of seeing you crack a smile during one of your teachings. 🙂

    A question on tripods, what is your thought/opinions on either a ballhead or the traditional pan/tilt heads?

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