Prom Portrait

Prom Portrait  

Time really is flying past, this is my Niece who has just left school and as we are getting very American , she had a school prom to attend. This is a portrait i took after the event.


Three light set up

Key light ( Canon 580exii )

Camera left in a 16" gridded beauty dish 1/8th power

Fill Light ( Youngnuo 568 exii )

Camera right in 24" square softbox 1/16th power

Background light ( Canon 430 exii )

Bare gridded speedlite 1/64th power

Seamless grey background and speedlites triggered with the Youngnuo yn622c triggers.

Fathers Day Portraits

Fathers Day Portraits  

Today was Fathers day here in the UK and this is my dad. This is the first time i have photographed him since i have been doing portraits. He agreed to allow me to take some images and these were some of the results. I used a single speedlite in a 16" beauty dish to fill the shadows.


speedlite portrait


I had the beauty dish on the end of a small boom arm which is much more stable when using outside in windy conditions.


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The art of photography can really be challenging at times. Trying to get the lighting right , the camera settings and all the technical stuff , let alone having to come up with poses and trying to get emotion into your images. This selfie sums up my continued inability to communicate or connect with my models or even myself !!!



2ft x 2ft Gridded softbox camera right with a 580 ex ii at 1/4 power as Key light

16 inch gridded beauty dish up high on camera axis at 1/32 as fill light

A gridded 430exii on the background at 1/64th power

All strobes fired with Youngnuo 622c Triggers

Here are a few more images from the same session. I am happy that my lighting seems to be going in the right direction , must make effort and get some more willing models , must be patient, to work with lol !

Sekonic L478dr


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.

Commercial Photography

Commercial Photography I recently purchased some black acrylic, as i wanted to try some commercial photography type images, boy is it harder than you think ! I struggled to get the look i was after at first and trying to control the lights was a bit of a game at first but through trial and error really i found a set up i was happy with.

The acrylic was placed on a black and decker workmate i set up a softbox to camera right, which is a lastolite 24 x 24 inch box. It has two layers of diffusion and i placed a grid to the front of that which really helped with the direction of light. I initially tried without the grid but i was getting spill on the background and did not have a flag i could use in the space i was in so the grid really helped.

I placed the background light on a small table top tripod and angled it up and also added a grid. Took several test shots to get the spot where i wanted it, but thats the trouble with speedlites, no modeling light !

I then added a silver reflector to camera left to bounce some light back into the shot.

If you have ever tried this type of shot yourself you will know how difficult it is to get everything right especially the liquid itself. If you were to take the shot as is the liquid would be very dark as the lights are not angled and directed into the bottle as such so a trick i picked up from Karl Taylor Photography was to cut some card the shape of the bottle and stand it behind at a slight angle so as to catch some of the key light and bounce it back through the bottle. This is probably the most important part of this shot as without it the bottle just doesn't come alive.

I actually cheated a little by having the camera locked down on a tripod and just placing a white card behind the bottle and taking both images as layers into photoshop cc and using a layer mask to blend them together, same result just without the cutting out of the card !

I still think the image needs another element like a glass half full with some ice cubes in, may have to look at some acrylic ice cubes for this type of image but over all i was happy with the result, any hints tips or constructive critique is always welcome, please feel free to comment.

Camera Settings

  • Canon 5Dmk iii
  • Canon 24 - 105mm  F/4.0 L USM IS
  • ISO 400
  • 1/125 sec
  • F/8


Speedlite Settings

  • Softbox camera right with speedlite at 1/2 power
  • Gridded speedlite on background at 1/64th power
  • Silver reflector Camera Left


Speedlite Portrait

  Portrait with small flaashes

Speedlite Portrait

This is Deb, my wife, she hates her photo being taken but i managed to get her in front of my camera as i had set up a make shift studio in a tiny spare room. The room is only 10 feet long by 9 feet wide, has a built in cupboard taking up some room right next to a inward opening door. So to position the lights where you want them is very difficult and have to kind of work around the limitations of the room.


I set a roll of grey seamless paper as the background as far back against the wall as i could get it, and raised it as high as i could. The lighting was a three light set up.


  • Key light was a youngnuo yn-568ex in a lastolite 24" x 24" softbox to camera left at 1/4 power
  • Fill light was a canon 580 exii in a 16" socked beauty dish to camera left at 1/16 power
  • Background light was a canon 430exii behind model at 1/64th power.


Due to the confines of my set up i found myself shooting from the landing on the first step of a ladder so i could shoot slightly downwards. Does not help being so short myself !

If you want to see a larger view visit it here on my FLicR account or click the smaller image above to show a larger version

I used lightroom 5 for some basic editing and finished in Photoshop cc. Still learning the lighting set ups and retouching techniques, i welcome your feedback and advise.

Here is another image from the same set up

Speedlite portrait


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


Syd I was lucky enough to find myself being asked to photograph this very talented young lady, Syd. She could well be a big star one day as she embarks on her first acting role. I am not sure who was more nervous to be honest as i have never taken any speedlite portrait  of anybody i didnt know.  Syd had never actually modeled before either so we were both a little apprehensive. What made it worse was we were trying to do this in the middle of a family garden party with a large number of guests so we tried to find a secluded corner of the garden to work in.

This is just a simple one light set up. Canon 580exii in a lastolite softbox to camera right. Think the settings were something like 1/125th sec at F/8.0 Iso 100. The speedlite was set to 1/4 power. The ambient light was underexposed by about two stops to help make for a more dynamic portrait, also helps focus on the model and illiminate distractions from the background.

Took lots of images which i must now work my way through and process them for Syd to have and use as she wishes.

I am sure she wont need it but i wish her every success in the future and look forward to seeing her on the big screen in the near future, remember her face !!



Mazda RX-8

This is definatley the car Disney should have chosen to play the part of Lightening McQueen in the hit film Cars

This is definitely the car Disney should have chosen to play the part of Lightening McQueen in the hit film Cars



Last night decided to go out again with Lee Crosbie for some more strobist work. The weather all day long had been really nice bright and sunny although a little breezy. In the absence of a better subject we decided to try a car shot ,my RX 8. Drove down to Joss Bay in Broadstairs area and set up. I parked my car on the grass which is used as a overspill car park , so as the North Foreland lighthouse was in the background.

As the light was still fairly strong trying to get the background dark enough took us into high speed sync territory for a while but the sky was still lacking any atmosphere or drama. We had initially set up just two bare speedlites but this wasn't giving us a even spread of light so we set up a third , one on the front of the car the second to the rear and the third in the middle , later we added a forth inside the car with a blue gel attached.

The speedlites really do show up every little defect in the body work , even the swirls in the paintwork are made to look even worse than they usually appear. Gave me a real sense of appreciation to the many professional car photographers out there that have this down to a fine art.

I would have liked to try a couple of other things like attaching a soft box to the speedlites and or umbrellas to see if that softened the light and cut down the secular highlights, but due to the windy conditions we decided against this and left it for another day. The other option would have been to light paint it with one speedlites but as it doesn't get dark till late this time of year gave that idea a miss also as I was at work on early turn this morning !

I like the shot of the car face on , just looks like Lightening McQueen from the Disney movie Cars. I think the RX-8 would have been the better model to go with personally.

While we were there we were being watched by someone sitting in their car who eventually came over and introduced himself to Lee Crosbie as he was one of his Flickr contacts, Del Smith,  but had never actually met till now. Small world really !

See more images Below



Mazda RX 8 at Joss Bay Broadstairs

Photographed at Joss Bay Broadstairs with upto four speedlites

Strobist Portrait

Strobist Portrait Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to go out with a friend and fellow photographer ,Lee Crosbie ,check his flickr stream out got some great stuff. We headed off down to a place called Hampton, around the Herne Bay area. When we arrived the tide was in and so there wasn't much of a shot there, luckily we had our speedlites and light stands with us just in case we wanted to try some outdoor strobist portraits. This was a great opportunity to get in some much needed practice. We very quickly set up and we took it in turns to be the photographer and the other the reluctant model !

Some of the images were single strobe and some were a two light set up using the setting sun as a third light source. The idea was to try and underexpose for the ambient and pop some flash in on the subject to make them stand out from the scene. Got some nice results and look forward to getting out there with Lee again to get some more practice sessions in.