Clamshell Lighting Portrait

Clamshell Lighting Speedlite Portrait

Clamshell Lighting

 Finally got round to photographing my little girl, after doing this I had the horrible realisation that she not so little anymore.

For the portrait I used three speedlites,  two were arranged in the clamshell format and the third was used as a hair light with a grid attached.

I don't use a light meter at the moment so I set up the lighting and started of with the key light, which is the top light in the clamshell set up,  set to 1/8th power with a 1/4 cto gel attached give some nice warm tones to the skin and fired through a umbrella.

The fill light, which is the lower, set to one stop less so that was 1/16th power through a umbrella

The hair light I used with a grid attached for two reasons, first it is much more directional and that leads to the second reason, being more controllable allows you to place the light where you want it and not flaring into your lens. This was set to 1/64th power.

I initially had the camera ISO set to 400 and the Lens to F/8.0. I wanted a good depth of field and wanted to keep the speedlites on low power so they recycle quickly allowing you to just keep shooting without waiting for them. After a few trial shots I soon increased this to ISO 800 which as you can see produced some good results. ISO 800 on modern cameras is fine and on the 5D mkiii is flawless.

As I have never worked with any models before I did find it difficult to shoot and communicate ideas to her and trying to find the right pose is a art in itself.

Clamshell Speedlite Portrait

Including the hands in any portrait is always a challenge but I wanted to try, the one thing I will say is that its better not to show the back or palm as a general rule and stick to a profile of them as I have done here. This is a general rule and as any rule I am sure someone has broken them with great results.

This is the first time I have used this clam shell set up and was very pleased with the resulting light. You have complete control of the shadows by either increasing the key light and or reducing the fill light.

Starting to enjoy photographing people even though its outside of my comfort zone and hope to do more of it , would like to here any feedback as long as its constructive either here in the comments or add me as a flickr contact and comment there.