Shooting portraits with a wider angle lens is definitely a bit of a challenge, for several reasons. The most noticeable reason, when it comes to studio type portraits, is the general lack of space in our living room.

Taking a closer look at said limitation of available space was actually one of the main reasons for this shoot. I like to know what I have to work with and what I can expect from my equipment and location, so testing things is always a good idea. In order to test things properly I choose a setup that I knew would be tricky to pull off. First of all my subject couldn’t stand too far away from the background since that would mean I would get a lot of other stuff in the frame as well. Sure you can fix that in post (and to some extent I still had to do that) but I like to get things as good as possible in camera.

The problem with having my subject close to the background is that I will get light from the background leaking onto the subject. You can see this in both of these shots, especially the right side (the muppet’s left side). That’s because I’m using a YN560 to blow out the background (the usual white bed sheet) and it’s placed to camera right. I could have tried to hide the flash behind my subject but it would have been tricky when it’s this close to the background.


Main light is two LP160s in a octabox from camera right, easy enough. The final piece of the puzzel is another LP160 with CTB gel in a softbox from behind and camera left. This combination of lights meant that I had to move things around and try to find an angle where the light would mostly work while still getting as much coverage as possible from the background. In the final setup the background isn’t flat, it’s at an angle, though you can’t tell after the editing has been done.

Final results are ok, I guess, but I’m not exactly thrilled by them. Loyal readers have probably noticed that I tend to shoot more and more with just a single, big light source, so this kind of setup isn’t something I’ve been doing a lot lately. I might try it again but if I do it will be with a subject I can control better. When the position has to be so exact to make use of the space it would be nice if I can count on my subject to stand in the same place for every shot, or at least be in frame most of the time.

I have an idea on how to combat the space issue and we’ll take a look at it in the next post (hopefully next week).