Headshot Extraordinaire

Our first meeting back was exceptional due to a wonderful presentation and demonstration on headshot portrait photography by a friend of Jeff Darby, Rob Smith. Here are some notes our club president sent out.

How I shot the shot

Main light settings

  • 1/16th power with 22” beauty dish.
  • Bottom of dish just over top of subject’s head.
  • Reflector under subject’s chin to reflect ample light to that area.
  • Raise/lower for more intense vs less light
  • Camera Settings: (this takes away all ambient light)
    • ISO 100
    • Shutter 1/160
    • Aperture F9 

Side Note: This set up is what I locked in to and is very repeatable.  Naturally, mileage varies based on a lot of factors.  If you find the light is not bright enough, bump it up a stop or lower the aperture down a stop. Rinse and repeat until you find your style and shoot away. Always fun to grab someone and practice loop lighting (shadow under nose), then Rembrandt style (triangle on opposite side of face).  Remember, get that catch light in the top of the eye and the reflector in the bottom of the eye.  Perfect the single light set up, then add in a kick light to the side of the face for a complex look.

Photos from Rob’s Presentation


In Studio and Portable Setup

  • Main Light: Flashpoint XPLOR 600PRO R2 HSS Battery-Powered Monolight

          Trigger comes with kit, buy for your camera brand

  • Main Light Diffuser: 22″ White Beauty Dish
  • Bowens mount for Flashpoint lights.
  • Kick Light: Flashpoint eVOLV 200 TTL Pocket Flash.
  • 2 Large (13ft) light stands, sandbagged.
  • 5’x7’ collapsible and reversible backdrop.
  • 1 small (6ft) light stand
  • Angler CatchLight Reflector (silver w/ white scrim option)
  • Curved reflector used for under chin lighting


           Bulky to travel with, but effective.

  • Add a 5-in-1 arm for that type of reflector for easier travel.
  • Camera: Your choice; I shot with a Canon EOS R mirrorless (full frame).
  • Lens: 50mm minimum, but 85mm or 100mm most effective.

Note: Don’t used 24mm due to barrel/lens distortion.

  • Wagon: I like the collapsible ones the most so I can make the most room in the car if going offsite.

Side Note: Flashpoint (sold by Adorama) and Godox (sold by BH Photo, Amazon, etc) are made by the same manufacturer.  The triggers work for each other. Get what suits you best for your application and budget.  There are many makes/models out there. Suggestion is to pick a brand and stick with it so you can add lights and keep same trigger to work everything together.  Use the kick lights if desiring to light up the background pure white, or even try shooting it with a gel on it to make it pop for custom headshots.

Rob Smith Portrait Photographer Links

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