Creating Professional Portraits Using Just a Speedlight and Umbrella

Lighting equipment can quickly add up in cost, but you do not always need top-level equipment and multi-light setups with esoteric modifiers to get great results. This excellent video tutorial will show you how to get professional portraits using nothing more than a simple speedlight and an umbrella. 

Coming to you from Mark Wallace with Adorama TV, this great video tutorial will show you how to shoot portraits using nothing more than a speedlight and an umbrella. The beauty of this setup is that it is incredibly cheap; you can get a third-party speedlight and a shoot-through umbrella for less than $100. This is a fantastic way to start out if you are new to artificial lighting, as it will give you equipment with which to experiment without breaking the bank, plus it is generally better to learn using a single light at first. This will allow you to more easily build an intuitive understanding of things like fall-off and subject-to-light distance before you move on to more complicated setups. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Wallace. 

If you would like to continue learning about lighting for portraits, be sure to check out "Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!"

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3 Comments

Johnathan Macedo's picture

You all post some of these articles with title headings as if you're so amazed at how camera works or something?

Any one of us who has our 10,000+ hours already knows 90% of what you write about most often.... That other 10% however is always uniqueness of other artist's particular brand of creativity that we are always seeking to draw upon and learn something new from.

Maybe I am taking it too personal, but some of these article headings both intrigue and insult me equally; and so maybe that's what makes them effective in capturing my attention and coming back to your site again and again?

That said, here's a tip... I most often will bounce a speed light flash off of the palm of my hand but I'm shooting in a location that has no nice white ceiling to bounce off of. If I want to give the person, specifically caucasians, a nice tan (my hand is like a warming hand I learned... I'll simply shoot into the palm of my hand natural. But if I want a clean bounce without adding any color or pigmentations the way gels do, I'll often wear a white glove on my left hand, and deal with the ridicule I have for years when people ask or comment that I look like Michael Jackson, lol. Give it a try and you'll see how "handy" it is (sorry, not sorry... I'm a 48-year-old dad so we're known to make "dad puns" quite readily at this stage of our life).

Anyway, thanks for your wonderful website. There are many I have bookmarked or recommend off the top of my head as some being useful favorites, but yours is at the top for what you offer.

Warmest regards (in this most chilling of times),
Johnathan

Wolfgang Post's picture

You might forget that every year thousands of people pick up their first camera and start shooting.
Based on your logic we wouldn't need any schools anymore, the adults know already everything ...

Daniel Medley's picture

"Maybe I am taking it too personal..."

You are.

A site like this is meant to provide information for a variety of different levels of skill. I'm sure that the proprietors are deeply sorry that some of the content is beneath you.