Day 23 of my portrait challenge and I am bringing out the big guns. Or at least the big modifiers.

After last night’s session, I felt compelled to brighten things up a bit and go in the opposite direction of what I normally do. I love dark shadows and dramatic light and decided I would brighten things up a bit for a change. I pulled down the black backdrop to the bare white concrete blocks of the wall and pulled out my 60″ convertible umbrella. It produces very soft light that spills everywhere.  Really, there is no controlling this light. I paired it with diffusion fabric to soften it even more.

The Light Setup

I used the umbrella/diffusion fabric combo directly across from Ada and the white wall which created a tunnel of light.

I left the umbrella in the same place throughout the short session but rotated the edge toward me during the shoot to decrease the fall off of light in the background. You can notice as you scroll through the following images that the background starts in heavy shadow and moves to almost no shadow as I rotate the umbrella. You can also see how it removes the light shadow from her face until it is very flat light with no shadow at all.


This was so different from what I normally do and although I still love moody and dramatic shadows I did enjoy playing around with all this light to create a very different look.

Lessons Learned

  • Breaking out of my normal mold produced some images that I really like of my daughter. Maybe I need to try new things more often?
  • The lower power of a Speedlite can be an advantage over a higher powered strobe when wanting to shoot with a wide aperture.

I may have said this a time or two, but I am feeling really good about this challenge and what I have learned over the past several weeks.

With a little more than a week to go, I am actually feeling a bit disappointed that it is coming to a close. I definitely see a new challenge on the horizon.

Go ahead and challenge yourself and see what you can create!


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