You may not think that speedlights are the most versatile when it comes to shooting portraits. There isn’t a lot that you can do with them, right? Wait until you see photographer Jeff Rojas create this dramatic hard-lit portrait using nothing more than two speedlights with two Rogue 3-in-1 Flash Grids:
The trick is in using the honeycomb grids. Grids create a narrow beam of light that stops it from spilling everywhere. Grids are ideal for dramatic lighting setups when you need a contrasty photo. Rojas used Rogue 3-in-1 honeycomb grids to highlight the facial features of the model as well as create a slim background light for separating the model from the background.
The key light with the 45° honeycomb grid not only illuminates the model’s face but also accentuates his facial features. Since this is a slightly larger grid, there’s also some amount of light fall-off below the neck.
The background light, also with a 45° honeycomb grid, is about five feet from the background. It creates a nice vignetting on the background:
Both of the grids are 45°. Now, if you are wondering which grid to use for your specific shooting requirements, remember this: the smaller the degree, the narrower the resulting beam of light and thus resulting light spill. And vice-versa: the bigger the degree, the wider the beam of light and light spill. Here’s a comparative image of grid values and the resulting beam of light that they produce:
And finally, here’s the resulting image:
Speedlights are more versatile than many photographers think. Combine them with modifiers, like grids, and there’s no end to their creative potential.
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