How to Shoot Shallow Depth of Field Portraits in Studio With Flash

Many of us love the look of shallow depth of field portraits and strobe lighting, but when you move into the studio, this combo can present some difficulties. This helpful video will show you some good workarounds for shooting such portraits in your studio.

Coming to you from Gavin Hoey of Adorama TV, this video will show you how to shoot shallow depth of field portraits using strobes. The problem is that most studio strobes (even at their lowest settings) are too powerful, and despite shooting at as short a shutter speed as your sync speed will allow and base ISO, when you open up that aperture, you're likely to end up overexposing the photo. There are a few ways around this, each with its own benefits and drawbacks, including shooting with a speedlight to achieve a lower minimum power, moving the light source farther back to take advantage of the inverse square law, and using a neutral density filter (though this makes focusing more difficult). And while high-speed sync is a possibility with some lights, which would allow you to shoot at a faster shutter speed, it brings its own considerations, and you may not have a light with that capability. Check out the video above for the full breakdown! 

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2 Comments

Brandon Adam's picture

Four words: Variable Neutral Density Filter.

Markus Deutsche's picture

Three more words:
Filter the FLASH!
No optical penalty; gels are light and cheap.
Nice Zuiko, try the 45mm :)