Get a free guide on flash photography

Learn techniques and best practices for flash photography

Home Studio Self-Portrait

Today we are in my home studio shooting portraits. I chose this setup because not everyone has access to a studio and wanted to show you guys that you can get killer shots virtually anywhere. In this video, I’ll demonstrate a basic one-light home-studio portrait session utilizing some very simple lighting tools and techniques.

In this setup, I volunteered to be the model and thus ended up with some self-portraits. I used a cable release to fire my camera that was mounted on a tripod. For my background, I used a 40″ bounce with the black side. I wanted something edgy and knew I was going to go black and white with my images and wanted to background to disappear. For lighting, I used a Nikon SB800 speedlite firing into a Chimera Octa Beauty. The Octa Beauty is a killer modifier. It’s a 24″ Octabox AND Beauty Dish all-in-one ! ! ! Great quality to the light and sweet catch lights. I triggered the flash with Pocketwizard Plus IIIs. I find them to be incredibly reliable and easy to use.

1/250, ISO100, f/6.8, Flash at 1/8 Power
1/250, ISO100, f/6.8, Flash at 1/8 Power

I mounted the reflector on a Lumopro reflector mini boom arm. The boom has clips that are made for holding a reflector and extender arm, so it’s very easy to set up and a relatively inexpensive and versatile tool. If you didn’t have a boom like this, you could easily mount the reflector on a lighting stand with A clamps. I got my framing and camera settings set up and then got into position and did my shoot. I was at 1/250 sec to kill ambient light and 100 ISO to get the cleanest image. My aperture was f/6.8, which still gives a nice depth of field, but not too shallow because I was shooting with a remote. Since wasn’t able to lock focus on myself, I knew I needed a little more DOF to get focus. The flash was at 1/8 power.

Overall, I like the look of these portraits. I think the Octa Beauty is a killer modifier and can’t wait to use it more. I find that having the Octa Beauty on axis allows for sweet catch lights, so I think as I move forward, I’ll probably continue to keep using it that way and probably add a second light off axis for more shaping and fill.

Please subscribe and leave your questions and comments below.

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at Feb 25 | 2.59.16 PM