Portable Flash Setups for Portrait Photography
In this portrait photography video, Ian Spanier uses portable lighting for on-location photography to blend his flash with ambient light.
When you’re photographing on-location, having a compact and portable lighting setup is ideal for traveling. For this studio setup, Ian is using an FJ200 off-camera flash modified with a 24” Deep Umbrella with Silver Interior and 24” diffusion panel.
Balancing ambient light with flash often involves brightening shadows that may be casted from the natural light in the room. Ian mentions, as a photographer you may have a personal preference in how deep you want your shadows to look. He decides to pull in a silver reflector to brighten the shadow casted under his subject’s hat, noting that it is easier to add or darken shadows in post.
After capturing close-up portrait shots, Ian pulls back to photograph full-body portraits. Before he begins, he measures the ambient light and strobe light with his light meter. This helps him establish what output his ISO and flash should be set at in order to cast enough light on his subject. After a few test shots, Ian determines he wants a more dramatic photo with deeper shadows. He lowers his ISO to 400 and angles his light down more.
Working with portable lighting gear allows you to quickly setup and capture portraits. As Ian is heading out, he sees a prime location for another portrait. He places an FJ80 Speedlight on an S-Bracket and diffuses it with the same 24” Deep Umbrella.
The beauty of a lighting setup this compact and portable is that you have the versatility to move quickly and still achieve high-quality portraits on the go. When you’re looking for a simple solution to blend artificial light with ambient light, the FJ Flash Series and a 24” Deep Umbrella provide incredible results.