Headshot of Marissa. 50mm f/2.8 1/60 ISO100. OCF: White Umbrella, Camera Right.

A few months back, I did a short photoshoot with Marissa in Peace Park in Columbia, Missouri. The goal of the shoot was to get Marissa some nice images and to test out some new off camera flash techniques for my portrait work.

Check out the full shoot on Flickr


Marissa at sunset. 50mm f/2.8 1/100 ISO200. OCF: White Umbrella, CTO Gel, Camera Right

I have been experimenting with off camera flash off and on for a while now. After doing some research into the basics of serious portrait photography, I knew that OCF was something I definitely wanted to incorporate in this shoot. While natural light portrait photography has it’s merits, and is certainly less of a hassle to set up, I wanted to have more control over the lighting in this shoot.

I figured now was as good a time as any to start putting together a lighting kit. I already had one Yongnuo YN-468 II and some Yongnuo radio triggers, but I really needed some kind big light modifier to do the shoot properly. So before the shoot, I ordered a light stand and a generic 43″ white shoot-through umbrella off of Amazon. These two accessories only added up to about $40, and they were absolutely invaluable in my little portrait shoot.

All of my shots were a basic one speedlite setup, to help add some flair and get some control over the evening sunlight. For the majority of the shots, I set up the light at a 45 degree angle to Marissa. As the shoot went on I varied the angle a bit to experiment with how it affected my shots. The flash was set to manual power and I varied it as needed. I’ve become pretty comfortable with controlling my flash, so adjusting it manually on the fly wasn’t an issue.


Marissa wide angle. 18mm f/4 1/60 ISO400. OCF: White Umbrella, CTO Gel, Camera Right.

I used manual exposure on my camera (Canon T2i/550d) for consistency. I started the shoot using my Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6. The 55-250 is far from a perfect lens (as I found when I used it at an airshow last year), but it got the job done nicely. The compression effect from the telephoto focal length worked beautifully. After the 55-250, I switched to my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8. This lens is easily my favorite lens in my arsenal, and it certainly didn’t let me down here. The majority of my favorite shots in this particular shoot were with my 50mm.

Near the end of the shoot, once I had all the shots set out to get, I broke out my Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 “kit” lens. The kit lens is the only wide angle lens I have, and with the sun fading I wanted to try some more creative wide angle shots. These shots actually ended up being some of my favorite from the whole shoot. The wide angle perspective gave the shots a fun vibe, and I think they really captured Marissa’s personality well.

Marissa. 50mm f/7.1 1/125 ISO100. OCF: White Umbrella, Camera Right.


Marissa in the grass. 50mm f/3.2 1/100 ISO100. OCF: White Umbrella, 1/2 CTO Gel, Camera Right.

In the end, I was quite happy with how my shots came out, and I’m really happy with my new lighting kit. It allowed me to create some shots that just wouldn’t have been possible with natural light only.

Check out the full shoot on Flickr