Nathan McCallum - Studio photography without a studio

Hi Guys, 

So a few weeks ago I posted a how to mix ambient with flash lighting tutorial which was meant as a bit of a one-off, This post got a fair bit more traction and I have had others interested in getting into off camera flash work so I thought I would put up another diagram for you to peep. 

I was in need of a quick snap for a talk I have coming up and Nathan was awesome enough to let me come by and make his house into a pop-up studio. 

The room we were working with would have been a 3x3 meter cube with nearly no ambient light.

In this case that was fantastic as we were wanting to have this shot look like Nathan was on a infinite black backdrop.

Now lets get into the nitty gritty with the end image.

Okay, so with the image above I was trying to achieve something a little bit moody that didn't look like everything else on Nathan's Instagram feed.

By having our key light hitting the majority of Nathan's hat we were able to cast enough of a dark shadow to create some mystery over his eyes.

So like the last tutorial here is the diagram. 

As I have said in the previous tutorial, just because I have some of these tools does not mean you couldn't use Speedlight and DIY materials to achieve a near identical result.

1) Key Light: Godox AD600BM with an Ebay Beauty dish with grid.

2) Rim Light: Godox AD360II with reflector and grid.

3) Background: Godox 7 in 1 Reflector 2m by 1.5m 

So how this shot was worked out, initially I set my Key light (1) in the beauty dish at 45 degrees to my subject. 

We used 1/125th shutter at 100 iso and an aperture of F2.8 which was based on the reading my light meter gave me which was an awesome starting point, usually I would just chimp away adjusting the flash until we got a rough first exposure.

Okay so we have the key light (1/32 power) setup and it's looking pretty good, Nathan was looking rad with this awesome shadow covering his face but this light was quite punchy and we were losing his right-hand side of his body into the black background.

So from here we include our rim light... (usually a rim light is more behind to light a subject from the wall/background, this was achieved but more like 49 degrees from the camera)

Our rim light is inserted into the shot and it is lowered all the way to 1/128th power as it isn't really going to lose much power though the modifier, in hindsight I probably could have pulled it in back a little more.

With all of this set, I had Nathan seated on a stool with his body directed towards our key light (1) and then asked him to rotate his torso towards my camera.

And voilah! a really simple portrait shot in someone's wardrobe... who said you need a studio?


If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to put them in the comments below and I will get back to them.