Using a flash for portraits

Today I decided to try out a few techniques I learnt the other day at a workshop.  The techniques are around how to use a flash for portrait and not include the back ground, or as little as possible.


Firstly I had no model so my lovely Staffordshire Terrier had to pose for me.  Simple offer her some food bits.  Then it was set up an area to control incidental light, that is light from all around that I did not want in the scene.  That again was simple, just covered a small table with a black cloth.  Then it was down to snapping away, oh of course get the dog to pose under the table.


Important things to get right for a portrait, control the direction and amount of incidental light, control the light from a flash.  If unsure about where to point the flash head , experiment until you get the effect you are after.  Remember to not use the flash direct into the face,  unless you are deliberately after such a look.


Now this was done outside using the flash as an indirect light and bouncing it off another surface.  Then end result is some nice shots of our dog.  Hope you like them.

_MG_4387 _MG_4395 _MG_4399 _MG_4400lr _MG_4401lr


7 thoughts on “Using a flash for portraits

  1. lauramacky

    Beautiful images! I have yet to work on portraits with flash, etc., but some day I hope to do it. Thank you for submitting your image to the challenge this week. It’s really a beauty!

    1. johnholding Post author

      Thanks Laura, very much appreciated. So glad that you and Leanne decided to run Monochrome madness, very enjoyable. Portraits are such fun, never realised how much fun it was until I did a model shoot a few weeks ago. Now I just want to keep doing more and of course I learn so much in doing it.

  2. Robyn G

    I’m very taken with your dog portraits John.
    First saw it on Monochrome Madness as well. Such a fun challenge!!
    Thanks for sharing how you did this…and great to follow you through the challenge.
    Think I’d like to try this at some point with one of our doggies 😀


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