There are lots of videos out there on lighting and shooting portraits, but they often show huge studios, with the kind of space that no reasonable person would have available in their home. That observation was pointed out to photographer Nathan Elson on a video he posted shooting self-portraits at his studio. So, he’s made another one, to show how you can use smaller equipment to get a similar look in a small space in your home.
To impress the point, Nathan actually shot his new self-portrait in a small section in the basement of his own home, measuring around 7ft x 16ft – not an unreasonable amount of space, and something that could potentially be achieved in a single car garage. Nathan does use flash for this self-portrait, so it helps if you have your own flash gear, but it is possible to do this with many types of continuous lights, too.
Light reacts a little differently in a smaller space with more walls to bounce off at such short distances. So, Nathan walks us through the differences between shooting in his large studio and shooting in a small space at home. The modifiers he uses are different, and some of the solutions he comes up with to challenges he faces along the way (like removing unwanted reflections) use materials that just about all of us have in our home.
If you want to understand a little more about what makes things different, it’s well worth watching Nathan’s original video on shooting self-portraits in the studio as well, so you can actually see those differences for yourself.
If you’ve got a little flash kit, but aren’t entirely sure what to do with it, now you’ve got a little more info to help you along your way while you’re stuck at home. Whether you’re shooting self-portraits as Nathan does in the videos, or shooting portraits with your family, it’s always fun to experiment with your gear. Might as well do it now while you’ve got some time on your hands.
Just be warned, though, your family might not put up with it for very long. So, even if you start with them, you’ll likely end up shooting self-portraits the longer it goes on!