Portrait Quality Lighting With On-Camera Flash

Oksana Photographed with a Canon 580 EXII and ReflectorI had the opportunity to photograph Oksana a couple of weeks ago at a Canon Live Learning Speedlight Workshop in New York City. Oksana was one of three models there, all of whom were excellent.

This first photo is an excellent example of the idea that just because your flash is on camera, there is no reason you have to have harsh, ugly lighting.  This shot was taken with a 5D Mark II, 24-105 f4L lens, and 580 EX II speedlight.  The speedlight was aimed at a reflector, which was positioned to Oksana’s left, and above her head- angled down to provide a directional light on her face.  This same effect is easily achieved by using a wall as a reflector and positioning your subject next to it. This is why accessory speedlights are so imporOksana, with flash bounced off the ceiling and a reflector in her  lap.tant- direct flash is just not an alternative for me, but I’m content to bounce all day long.

This second photo of Oksana shows a different lighting style but with the same setup.

This time, I bounced my flash off of the ceiling, while I positioned a reflector on her lap.  This gives me more of a glamour look to the image while still only using one light source on my camera. You can adjust the flash output to give you more light if needed, and you can adjust the angle of the reflector depending on what you need. In this case, the reflector was bowed underneath in a U shape to fill in around her cheeks, as well as tilted up towards her face.


One thought on “Portrait Quality Lighting With On-Camera Flash

  1. Keith Tharp July 13, 2010 / 4:38 AM

    OK, you are officially on my reading list! Thanks for sharing.


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