Family Portraits

Karate Dojo  

Had my niece and nephew pop over this week as they wanted a couple of portraits doing so with my spare room completely empty, i had already put in my seamless grey background and set up my three speedlites beforehand. This was the first time i had ever done any of their family portraits before other than just candid snaps. Beau, pictured above, had seen a image i had done a while back of my son which was a real close up head shot with the sides of the face being illuminated by gridded speedlites and a gritty portrait type of processing applied in post. We did this image first and then on to some more traditional head and three quarter length shots.

I liked the image i took of him above in his Karate outfit or Karategi, the Japanese for Karate Training Outfit. As i took it against the grey seamless it was a very quick and simple process to cut him from that and blend him into a image i downloaded from a free wallpaper site. The downside of this is the resolution is pretty low and you would struggle to get a good size print from it. For this reason i must make a effort to shoot some locations purely so as i can use them in future composite images.

clam shell lighting

Then there was Bella, for this image i set up a Beauty dish as my main light directly in front of Bella and up high, i then added a softbox for fill and placed this again directly in front and below the main light to form a clam shell lighting set up. I took the shot with the camera pointing between the two lights. This gives a nice clean beauty type light with soft shadows. I had Bella hold a hair dryer pointing up to create some movement in her hair.

All the processing was done in lightroom and photoshop . They like the final results so that's the important thing. I had fun doing it and gained some valuable experience in the process. Having to think on your feet and adapt the lighting on the fly for very different looks. Got lots of other images from the shoot but these are my personal favorites.


Peter Hurley Squinch  

This is one of the first portraits i have done this year, this is due to family problems. I received a flash meter for Christmas and this was also its first real outing ! Still trying to get to grips with it.


I have also been following a couple of photographers who produce some stunning portraits they are Regina Pagles and Nakean Wickliff, their work has inspired me to try and get some portraiture work under my belt this year with a view to getting anywhere near their standard.


This is a two light set up key light was a 580exii in a 16" inch beauty dish to camera right

Fill light was a 430ex ii in a lastolite softbox to camera left


The room is a small empty bedroom so space was extremely tight and really couldn't get my lights where I wanted them.


I welcome your comments and constructive critique , lighting tips always welcome as well as post processing techniques etc

Grey Seamless Background

Beauty Dish Speedlite portrait  

Today i received a parcel from amazon, which was a little bit of a surprise as it should not have arrived until Thursday according to their website. You can tell the order was rushed through as they delivered the wrong colour seamless background i ordered !!

The background i got was still grey just the wrong shade, i ordered Storm Grey and received Slate Grey. I think the Slate Grey is a little lighter in colour. Its not a huge problem as with grey seamless you can move the subject away from the background and it will fall to black or you can decide to light it and turn it bright white, put a gel on the lighting and turn it any colour you like.

In the image above i set up the seamless background on a stand and had my son, Ben stand about two to three feet from the background, i set my Key light in a 16" beauty dish and had that boomed overhead and slightly to camera right, this was mainly due to the tight space i was working in and the boom arm was tight against the wall of my spare room!

I placed a second light behind and facing him set to very low power to help separate him from the background. I then had my wife hold a gold round reflector below and to camera left to provide some warm fill light, this is what you can see has spilled onto the background but i actually like the warm tones it provides.

Still only used the beauty dish a few times and i am still learning how to control the light with it but i do like the light it gives and will continue to learn how to use it as i go. I also have a grid and a diffuser which changes the light again.

Beauty dish with grid


As you can see from the above image there is hardly any spill onto the background at all with the honeycomb grid attached, and the image below with the sock attached.


Beauty dish with diffuser sock