A few weeks ago, my lovely wife and go-to photo assistant, Cheri asked me to take some updated photos of her for use on her website and for other professional needs. Since she’s an instructor at Northern Virginia Community College, we easily ended up there for a shoot on an empty weekend afternoon.
Our main goal was to get a photo of her amongst the empty desks of a classroom on campus. Other than that, she mainly wanted a new head shot. So we decided on three different set ups and experimented from there.
The first set up, as seen above, had Cheri in the middle of an aisle of empty seats. I shot this using two speed lights. The first was a Nikon SB600 placed to the right and above Cheri with a shoot-through umbrella. Instead of placing it at the standard 45° spot, I had the light closer to Cheri and aimed slightly towards the camera. I wanted to let the light travel around her, to give a bit more interest. The second light (a LumoPro LP160) was bare and placed on the floor and aimed up towards Cheri’s back/head.
For the second shot, I had the first light above me and aimed down towards Cheri while she held a silver Lastolite Tri-Grip reflector at her waist. A second accent light with a blue gel was placed behind the whiteboard and bounced towards the wall.
The third shot had Cheri sitting down in a makeshift corner with the wall-mounted whiteboard to her left and the wheeled whiteboard behind her. I placed one light at 45° to the left and allowed the whiteboard to provide fill. I also had her hold a silver reflector below the frame to add some more fill as well.
In the first two shots, I triggered the key light using my camera’s pop-up flash in commander mode. I set the key light to use TTL and adjusted the exposure in camera as needed. The second light was on manual and triggered via its built-in optical slave. The speed light in the final shot was triggered using my LumoPro Hot Shoe Universal Translator and a 1/8″ miniphone to miniphone cable.