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.

Photography (and Travel) To-Do List

For the past year, I’ve been on a photography journey. I invested in a Sony RX10 IV and started shooting to get comfortable with it before a trip to Norway and the Arctic Circle. Later, I started learning Lightroom and got comfortable re-touching my photos (a learning process in which I’m still engaged). As I get more into photography, I find my to-do list of places to go and sights to photograph growing exponentially.

The “firefall” phenomenon that occurs at Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park in February when conditions are JUUUUUUST right is now on the list. Check out these incredible views!