My Journey into the World of Portrait Photography

As is probably clear by my photography portfolio, I’ve spent a lot of the last year taking photos of landscapes, animals and inanimate objects…and I’ve loved it! A couple friends have since approached me about taking portraits (actual people?!?! yikes!) and now I need to expand my skills into flash photography. My first order of business was researching the very basics of what I would need. I knew I couldn’t rely on the flash on top of my camera but I also didn’t want to buy tons of gear to get started, so I began watching YouTube videos about flash photography, then started researching speedlights (flash units that can either mount to the top of your camera or be used separately from it).

I watched and read a lot before buying anything. First, I needed something that simply broke down the basics of flash photography. For that, I liked this PhotoRecTV video. This B&H buyer’s guide was enormously helpful in breaking down what speedlights are and how they work. I also kept seeing the term “TTL” (which stands for “through the lens”) while doing research and got a more in-depth breakdown of what that means from this ZY Productions video. I watched this Miguel Quiles video about adjusting the settings on a Sony camera to work best with a flash as well. It was helpful, but I’ll probably need to re-visit it once I’m actually setting up my camera to shoot. This Jason Lanier video provided some guidance on using a handheld flash outside as an addition to natural light. Once I felt confident that what I needed was a speedlight, I did more research and found this Godox package, which includes a wireless trigger and runs on a rechargeable battery. With a $15 stand from Amazon and a small diffuser hood, I’m now ready to tackle some portraits.

I’ll probably re-visit this Emotive Photography Training video during set-up as well. It gives a pretty comprehensive breakdown of how to set up a Godox flash for off-camera use. I’ve got “models” (aka friends) ready to be my guinea pigs and a motivation to experiment, so wish me luck.