Studio Portrait Photography Tips With a Kit Lens and Single Light

As photographers, we’ve all probably suffered from lens envy at some point or another. It’s not uncommon for a good portrait lens to cost more than a camera body, and most of us just don’t have that kind of budget. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to shoot amazing photos with the kit lens that came with your DSLR. In this video, Miguel Quiles guides us through a portrait shoot using a kit lens and a single light:

Quiles used a Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16–50mm E-Mount Lens for this shoot. Quality lighting is the key to getting great portraits no matter which camera or lens you’re using, so he focused on setting up a flash inside a large softbox and choosing a background that complemented his model.

portrait photo shoot setup

Tips for Beautiful Portraits with a Kit Lens

  • Point your light modifier straight at the backdrop to light both the model and the background.
  • Diffuse your flash with a large softbox (or homemade modifier) to create a soft glow on the model’s skin.
  • The closer you place your light to your model, the larger—and softer—the light will appear.

red backdrop studio portrait

high contrast studio portrait

How do you get the most out of your kit lens?

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