A quad-light portrait

This week’s challenge from Stu was Limitations.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with the most fantastic idea. What would you shoot if time, money and skills were no issue? Then work within your limitations to realise your dream. See what unique surprises occur.

I’ve always fancied taking some proper portraits, so I decided to have a go.

If time, money and skills were no issue, I’d be using a spacious studio with fantastic equipment, a willing model and, err, the experience to pull it all together. As it happens, I’m taking pictures in a tiny flat in Bristol with some tat I got off eBay, and my model would rather be watching Emmerdale. Oh, and only I looked up how to light portraits on the web this morning. But here’s what I came up with.


After a few shots, Hana decided she didn’t like the flashes very much…


… so we decided to change places.



And just to prove that it was rather cramped, here’s how I did it.

My setup

  • Backdrop: black bedsheet from ASDA
  • Left: main flash with shoot-through umbrella
  • Right: snooted flash to light the face
  • On top of camera: fill light
  • Behind the chair: backdrop flash. Probably useless on a black sheet, but I did previously try this with a grey sheet (visible behind the black one).

8 thoughts on “A quad-light portrait

  1. Amazing work! In my studio space, the camera is probably about 10 metres or more from the backdrop, with the subjects halfway inbetween. You’ve produced a wonderful shot with severe limitations – exactly the key to the challenge!


  2. Pingback: Another portrait
  3. Pingback: Stop and think

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