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How to Shoot High Key Portraits With a Single Speedlight

How to Shoot High Key Portraits With a Single Speedlight

Did you think that having just one flash unit is not enough to create bright high-key portraits?

Straight from Manila-based wedding and portrait photographer Jiggie Alejandrino, this live demonstration and tutorial on shooting a model against a plain background to produce high-key portraits might be perfect for your practice shoots while stuck at home. 

In the video, Alejandrino demonstrates this simple workflow using a Sony a7R Mark IV with an 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens, a blank white wall, a single flash unit, and a standard two-sided reflector. In the process of shooting, he talks about how to use your camera’s settings to eliminate any ambient light in the shot, as well as how to use the ambient light to complement your speedlight. He also later talks about the difference in the effect of the silver and the white side of the standard reflector and how it affects the texture of the skin of your model. 

In application, the video disproves a misconception that you would need multiple light sources to shoot such a bright high-key portrait. For most beginners who are trying to get into portraiture, it may seem intimidating to think that you would have to invest in so much gear to come up with a beautifully lit studio portrait. The demonstration, however, shows otherwise. 

Blog credit to Fstoppers (Nicco Valenzuela)