324 Headshots in One Day – Six Light Studio Setup

Posted by ryanjackson on Oct 25, 2010 in lighting, photos, portrait

I had the assignment to photograph nearly two hundred high school students who will be Cappies reviewers this year. Basically high school students reviewing high school plays in the Journal.

I wanted to make this task more exciting so I tried to light it as good as possible and get a three dimentional look so I used six lights.  Diagrams below. As you can see, we really need to re-paint the grey wall in the Journal studio!

I made this mosiac using the free program MacOSaix.

Here is my lighting setup. The two keys to a three dimensional look are to have lights behind the subject to give separation from the background and to have a spot light with a grid on it spray the background. The background lights keep the image from looking too flat.    Front lights – White Lighting 1600 @ 1/8 power in a softbox, White Lighting 1600 @ 1/16 power into a 22″ beauty dish, Alien Bees ABR800 at 1/8 power into a 48″ umbrella. Back lights – Two Canon 550EX’s @ 1/2 power into 8×36″ strip boxes and a 550EX @ 1/128 power into a Honl grid on the background.   Even with all the lights turned down low I could get f13 @ ISO200.  More then enough.

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Portrait of hockey player Alana Cabana

Posted by ryanjackson on Feb 23, 2010 in lighting, photos


University of Alberta Pandas centre Alana Cabana has been hurt most of the season but is trying to heal up for playoffs. She poses for a photo at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton on February 18, 2010. Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal


I was assigned to get a picture of a hockey player who has had many injuries over the last year. Rather than just getting a picture of her on the ice (which doesn’t really illustrate injury very well) I asked her to sit in the bleachers and set her gear beside her.

I placed two flashes behind her at 1/32 power with tinfoil barn doors on them so I could direct the light better.

I find tinfoil gives a nice shiny “harsh look” for rim light.  The fill light is just a flash at 1/8 power with a 1/2 CTO “orange” gel to warm up the light and a small softbox.

I shot it with a Canon 5D, 1/125sec, 50mm f1.4 lens at f6.3, ISO100.

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DIY Ring Flash

Posted by ryanjackson on Sep 24, 2009 in DIY, lighting
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I built my DIY Ring Flash back in March by following this YouTube video

I couldn’t find a work lamp as big as his though so I used one that was 2″ smaller. After some testing I found the “ring look” wasn’t quite what I wanted so I started all over will a 15″ stainles steel salad bowl and a 6″-to-7″ air duct spacer. I bought two flexible plastic cutting boards from Le Gnome and cut them for diffuser. Finally I painted the whole thing black to add baddassedness.

I used the ring flash for this, this, this, this, this, and this image.

The light works great and is powerful with two speedlights pumping into it BUUUTTTT…. it’s soooo heavy! And goofy looking. A kid once litterally asked me if it was a time machine! I think I’m going to eventually buy one of those Ray Flashes but for now I’m happy that this thing cost less than $30 to build.

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