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The Two-Speedlight Character Portrait

The Two-Speedlight Character Portrait

I’M GOING TO TRY TO EXPLAIN THIS as quickly as I shot it.

Here we go:

1. Put your subject in a chair, and back off with your lens. You don’t have to put them in a chair if you don’t want to. I just find it handy while I’m framing up a shot. It means they don’t wander around, and I have a constant point of reference. They’re also at least somewhat comfortable while I do all my plus and minus shenanigans. I can always lose the chair once I’m set.

2. Put two lights on sticks: one to camera left for the subject’s face, and the other to camera right and slightly behind him for rim-light purposes. Take off the dome diffusers and zoom them to 200mm. Strap a Honl Speed Gobo to the camera side of that rim light so it doesn’t flare into your lens. Fire a test. The back light will be close to being okay, most likely, because you want to start with a bit of a hot rim and then back it off, power-wise, as the shot progresses. The main light will be too hot. With TTL, the first frame in a sidelight situation is almost always about a stop too hot. The camera’s not getting a lot of reflectance piped back into the lens and is looking into blackness. Without good information being fed to its little brain, the command to that unit will invariably be to power up ‘cause baby, it’s dark out there. You will almost always need to dial this light down. This frame above is 1/250th at f/5.6 with Group A, the main light, at −1.3 (told ya!) and the rim light at even-up 0.0.


  

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