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TIP: Inside Portraits with One Strobe

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December 9th, 2007, 03:15 PM
Michelle Allmon's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 1,363
1) Set up your subject in a corner, so one wall can be used as a background and the other can be used to bounce light back and fill shadows. You should go for a white wall if you don't want color from the paint bounced back on them. I chose light purple and if you look closely you can see a tinge of it in the back of her hair. I don't mind a little color, so it works for me. Also lavender compliments light yellow, so I thought it was a nice touch for her hair.

2) Set up your light at about 40-45 degrees to your subject, or even straight in front and slightly above, depending on what you want to achieve. I wanted a typical studio look. (Sorry about the dots, it wouldn't format properly.)

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3) Guesstimate what settings you want. I think I chose f/11 and 1/200 at ISO 200. I wanted the light to balance well, so instead of using ISO 100 and more flash, which would make the shadows darker, I chose ISO 200 so that I could use less flash.

4) With your flash on manual, take a picture. Look at your histogram. If there is pure white in your picture you should see it in your histogram on the right side, in an equal amount to what you see. If there is pure black in your picture, you should see it on the left side, in an equal amount to what you see. If there is ALMOST white, it should be close to the right but not touch. Whatever dominates your picture should show up in the histogram as a big hump. If it's medium skin tones, it should be in the middle. If it's lighter, a little to the right. If the person is wearing a light or dark color and you are including a lot of it in the picture, you should see a hump for that, too. With me?

Correct exposure of my niece, Breezy.

5) Dial your flash up and down (on manual) as needed to get the correct exposure. You might have to adjust your ISO as well.

6) Take a bunch of pictures but try not to let your subject stray too far.


I'm a full-time, professional wedding photographer now providing birth documentation in a contemporary style. Birth coverage includes boxed designer proofs with sloppy borders, online viewing, a DVD slideshow, custom album design and custom birth announcement design. I offer modern announcements, mounted prints, gorgeous frames & flush mount albums. www.RedheadedNinja.com

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