Nikon Learn & Explore

Strong Portrait Lighting

Behind the scenes at portrait lighting workshops with Speedlight flash master David X. Tejada

David Tejada photo of a male model with strong lighting, and a lit red wall behind him

© David Tejada

D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, 1/250 second, f/2.8, ISO 100, manual exposure.

The Portrait Workshop Series

If you're visiting for the first time, we're presenting here a dozen photos taken at portrait photography workshops by the noted commercial photographer and Nikon Creative Lighting System expert David X. Tejada.

To get the most from his tips, techniques and comments, be sure to take a few moments to check out our notes on flash, metering and the CLS before viewing the photos.

Quick and Easy

Lockers as background seemed a nice touch for a workshop held at a university, especially when they could provide a smooth, colorful, non-distracting setting for the portrait.

It's a two-light setup, with the main light an SB-900 in the 9x13 LumiQuest LTp softbox on a boom and a second SB-900 aimed at the lockers. The familiar 30-inch Lastolite TriGrip reflector, with a Softsilver surface, bounced some of the main light up to the model's face. "It's a very simple, easy and effective lighting arrangement," David says.

In the setup shot you can see the monitor on which David and the workshop students check results as they appear via camera-to-laptop-to-monitor connections. "Usually at workshops we have so many people we have two monitors back to back so the students viewing at different angles get to see what's going on."  

The image is completely flash illuminated. The dim ambient light in the room didn't figure into the exposure and had no effect on the photograph.

David Tejada set up photo of a male model with a red wall behind him, and lighting and reflectors set up

© David Tejada