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Shooting Creative Holiday Portraits at Night with a Single Flash

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Photographer and YouTuber Irene Rudnik was recently scrolling through Instagram when she stumbled across some beautiful blue-hour snow portraits by photographer @kateblc. Like any good artist, she decided to run with that inspiration, and in the video above, she takes us along behind the scenes to see how she captured a beautiful holiday-themed nighttime portrait using only a single flash.

The setup for this shoot is extremely simple: it’s a simple backlit portrait captured using a single Godox/Flashpoint AD200Pro for lighting. In terms of camera gear, Rudnik used a Sony a7 III with a Canon 85mm f/1.2 attached using Sigma’s MC-11 adapter. After taking few shots using only the Godox for lighting, she brought in a reflector to see if she could splash a little bit of fill light onto her model Emily from the front, helping to balance out the exposure, but that didn’t actually make much of a difference.

Most of the portraits were shot at 1/250 of a second, f/1.8 and ISO 400, until the sun finished setting and she had to increase the ISO to 800 and the aperture to f/2. Those were the settings used on the sample portrait below:

Check out the full video up top to join Irene for this photo shoot and see her entire process from planning through post-production.

If you’re struggling for portrait ideas heading into the darker, colder winter months, hopefully this BTS will inspire you to try some snowy backlit portraits; turns out all you need is a single flash, a willing model, and maybe a cute dog or two.


Image credits: Photo by Irene Rudnik and used with permission.

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