I needed a quick self portrait for a podcast that I will soon record. It will ask the question, how is the Holy Spirit like music? Check back soon for a link to the answer.

This was a quick and dirty portrait taken with two speed lights against a moody sky about one hour before sunset. Conditions could hot have been more perfect. It only took a few minutes to set up and shoot the while thing. My steps were as follows:

  1. Placed my Panasonic GH3 on a tripod and pointed it at the horizon and sky.
  2. Set my shutter speed to the camera sync speed because I knew I would be using flash.
  3. Adjusted the aperture until the sky was dark and moody. A quick note about exposure. The sky was still quite bright as it was about one hour before sunset. This meant that I had to use a very small aperture to get the sky dark and moody.
  4. Placed a light stand in the position where I intended to stand. Then I set the camera to manual focus and focused on the light stand.
  5. Since this is a self portrait, I had to repeatedly move from behind to in front of the camera. I placed a rock under the center of the light stand. I knew that I would always be in focus if I placed my right food next to the rock.
  6. The main light was placed on a light stand with a shot-through an umbrella. The umbrella is just in front of my face and just outside of the camera frame. Because the sun was still up, I was required to use of a small aperture. The small aperture allowed little light from the flash to enter the camera. Therefore, I had to set the main light on full power and place it very close to get a correct exposure.
  7. I placed the edge light, a bare speed light, behind me and made several test shots to dial in the proper setting. Again, the small aperture required all the light the little strobe could produce.
  8. Then it was just a matter of shooting several poses until I got something that worked.
  9. In post, I darkened the guitar image to simulate a evening shot.
  10. The second image is just a test shot taken to test the lighting. It is a better representation of the actual light, although it has also been darkened a bit to produce a moody and interesting sky.



Lance Earl
Lance Earl

If you would like to hear the podcast this image was made for, click here.

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