Learn How to Create Evenly Lit Portraits With Just One Speedlight

Sometimes, we're hampered by malfunctioning gear or we just can't afford to invest in a second speedlight, so it's imperative that we learn how to make do with what we have. Creating an evenly lit, bright, and airy portrait with just one speedlight might seem like too much to ask, but not if you have a few grips and some reflective material at hand.

In this video from Adorama, photographer Daniel Norton shows us how to dramatically modify a single light source so that our subject will appear illuminated by a single, giant, diffused light. If indeed all you have is a speedlight and not a 600 W strobe, then this method is probably best attempted at night or in a studio in order to control any ambient light. A regular speedlight won't be able to overpower the sun — not even the Profoto A1 that Norton is using here.

I must admit that placing the speedlight where he did is not the first position that I would have thought of, but his results speak for themselves. The final images of the model, Marisa, give off an almost Peter Hurley-like vibe. Of course, because of the limitations of the equipment, they don't have the same clarity and crispness of the famous headshot photographer's style, but they are solid portraits that anyone would be delighted with.

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2 Comments
Daniel Norton's picture

Thanks for discussing my video Mike!

Daniel Norton's picture

Thanks for discussing my video Mike!