Lighting a Cross-Street Portrait

There’s a lot you can do with a fairly simple lighting setup. In this video, Joe McNally shows how he used a single flash and a bed sheet to light up a shop from across the street:

The setting for McNally’s photo was an old sewing shop on a narrow street in Guanajuato, Mexico. To light his model, he hung a white sheet from the doorway and positioned a light on a C-stand with a mini boom. He projected the bare flash through the sheet from across the one-lane road. The flash was powered by an Elinchrom Ranger RX battery pack and triggered with a PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver from inside the shop.


With just one light, the photos of the model and the men sewing was already well-lit, but McNally chose to add a fill light by bouncing a second light into the ceiling. This light was modified with a 1/2 CTO gel to add a little warmth in addition to the warmth gained from the wood in the ceiling.

The result is a natural-looking environmental portrait with soft, diffused light.


Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever