Creating Stunning Portraits With Rotolight AEOS and NEO2

The good folk at Rotolight lent us two pieces of kit for this demo: the Rotolight AEOS and the NEO 2. These lights were originally designed for video work, but Rotolight have added a strobe feature that means they can be used like studio flash lights or location strobes (off-camera flash). They are extremely lightweight, very portable and their battery goes on as long as you can. We had a lot of fun putting them through their paces! The ideas …

Video: Studio-Style Portraits of Bob with one Flash Gun

No studio? No problem. It’s cheaper than ever to get flash guns that you can use on- or off-camera. In fact, some enterprising brands are now offering complete sets of flash guns with transmitters and receivers for under £200. With a little bit of thought and one or two light modifiers (including a simple white-painted wall), you can recreate studio-style portraits in any location. In this video, my friend, neighbour and very patient portrait sitter Bob steps into the studio. …

Image Critique 13

Another four images to enjoy, another four authors who have submitted their work. We create these critiques to try and help portrait photographers with different viewpoints and ideas. Some you’ll agree with, some you won’t (of course) but watch it through and let us know what you think! If you would like your images critiqued, please use the Image Critique menu option above to submit a file (or more than one of you wish). Your image will then appear in …

Portable Flash At The Skatepark

You don’t need complicated tricks to create a great action portrait at your local skatepark. Height, consistency and timing are more important. I was photographing a BMX rider at the skatepark when I was nearly run over by a skateboarder, Louis (pictured). Louis had been flying across the area that I was photographing every minute or so, so I had seen how good he was. I loved his style, too, so asked him if I could photograph him. Happily, he …

Lighting An Outdoor Action Shot

This comic book-inspired action portrait was taken for my local junior football team. Here’s how I used two portable flashes to create dramatic lighting. I was asked to photograph the local junior football team, which my son played for at the time. I had seven footballers, all under ten years old, and about a minute with each of them to get the shot done. I wanted to replicate the style of the old Roy of the Rovers comic covers, so …

Including Flash Heads In The Portrait

99.9 per cent of the time, I don’t want my portable flash units to be in the final image. In this instance, however, I kept them within the frame to add interest and atmosphere to this action portrait. I had already created several different shots with this BMX rider, Sam, and in those I focused on lighting him with flash heads outside of the camera’s view. For this one, I wanted him in a semi-silhouette, while still lighting his face, …

Rembrandt Portrait Lighting

There are locations for portraits everywhere – even in an alleyway. This is how I created a dramatic shot in a local alley by overpowering the ambient light. If you think there are no good locations for portraits near you, think again. Even an alleyway can be the backdrop for an effective image, just like this portrait of Katalin in one of the curved pathways between streets in Haddenham. Here’s how I used a single Speedlight flash to light it …

Environmental Chef Portrait

Sometimes you’ve got loads of light sources, stuff everywhere and very little time: this is the world of environmental portraits, & here’s my approach to them. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (known locally as just ‘Le Manoir’) is a hotel and restaurant in Oxford that’s owned by French chef Raymond Blanc. It’s a stunning venue, and I photograph a lot of weddings there. During one shoot, the bride and groom asked for a shot of the Executive Sous Chef, a …

Horror-Inspired Fashion Portrait

Stylised portraits can be the most fun to create, especially if you enjoy overcoming technical challenges. For this shot, I needed to make a bright sky look like night-time, and match the model’s pose to the mood of the set-up. This is one of the trickiest images from our book, Mastering Portrait Photography. It was shot for an old friend of the studio who wanted to create some ‘horror-novel-inspired-images’ for a project for her fashion degree. I knew the location …

Creating Hero Portraits

Using a low camera angle to make your subject the ‘hero’ in your portraits, and underexposing a bright sky for a more moody and atmospheric background. When shooting on location, I look to re-create the lighting patterns and posing shapes I work with in the studio. Here, I positioned two portable flash heads in the same way I’d position lights back in the studio when creating a ‘hero’ shot. I’ve arranged the stances of Kieran, Tom and Evan to give …