On location lighting setup for portraits are fast and easy to do. I recently completed a job for IMU which required me to shoot over 20 portraits of lecturers in four different locations. Each lecturer needed to be shot differently, so there was just some small tweaks in terms of moving them around in each location – but the lighting remained the same throughout 80% of the time.

Lighting consisted of just one studio strobe with a Phottix Octabox. Due to client’s requirement for the photos to have enough space for some text to run through them (photos are meant for Powerpoint presentation) I decided to place the strobe about 2-3 feet away from the subject. This was still sufficient for the subjects to be nicely lit, though depending on certain situations a speedlight would be used to bounce off the ceiling to provide some fill-in.

Why a bounced speedlight instead of a reflector or white styrofoam? Again, this was due to the format of the photos whereby any reflector or styrofoam will be seen in the picture. Put them too far away and there wouldn’t be any effect at all.

My next on location portrait job might just see a slight modification to the setup – a boom stand instead of a normal light stand and a 120cm umbrella octabox (for easy transportation) instead of the Phottix Octabox.

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