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Posing for Portraits

Natural light is my dear friend. It has assisted me thus far on my photography journey. Until now. Recently I have been trying to learn how to take studio style portraits with an off camera flash setup. Here are a few of my images, well more than a few of Taylor, but who’s counting?? The images turned out okay, but I have A LOT to learn!

Originally I setup all of my gear to get a professional portrait of my mom for her businesses website ( ). The photos are not posted yet, but if you are in the Madison area and need an esthetician, she is phenomenal. Okay, now that I have placed a little plug – on to the photos!


After I took my mom’s picture Taylor decided she was ready to ham it up. With a little eyeshadow, brow shadow, mascara and lip gloss she was all set. She does not need these things, but it was done for two reasons 1-without mascara my camera struggles to focus on her eye, 2-she wanted to get gussied up like mom and grandma for a photo shoot. By the way, if you have advice on how to get your camera to focus on a child’s eye who has very light eyelashes and eyebrows, please share your secrets!!

While taking Tay’s picture I was blown away by old my baby (9-year-old) looked. She no longer has the pudgy baby face. She let all sorts of personality show in her poses. Taylor choreographed all her angles, emotions and expressions. I love that these are all her, every single one.

I tried a few different editing styles throughout all the images. Working on trying to find something that looks good to the masses and represents my ‘style’, which I am still sculpting, is quite difficult.

For my mom’s portrait I tried so hard and spent quite a bit of time editing. I am still not 100% satisfied with how they turned out. At least she is family and lives close enough to be bribed with dinner and wine for round two! I did learn that I should have had her turned slightly towards the light so that she is not broad lit. So I will be sure to turn her or flip my light to the other side in the future.

Fun fact about my mother – she hates her picture being taken. Even though she is young and beautiful she really is her own worst critic. So even though she will ring my neck for posting these I am choosing to dance with the devil and live on the wild side. The pictures below remind me of the mom of my childhood. Laughing, smiling and goofing off.

After I was done with the two of them I busted out my remote trigger and attempted to take a few of myself. As with my mom I also need to work on turning my nose towards the light source.

One reason I am struggling so much with the studio style portraits is the off camera flash.  There are a few books and websites that have said to use the aperture to control the ambient light and the shutter speed for the flash. Now, as with everything, there is always a yin to the yang. There are also a few websites and books that say the exact opposite. This is really frustrating and confusing for someone trying to learn a new skill. So all of the photos on this post were done using trial and error trying to find a balance between aperture and shutter speed.

If you have any advice or insight, please share!! 

For now I will continue to read and practice. I have also been receiving some pointers on a few Facebook photography groups. This has been incredibly helpful, but also not consistent with settings. Wish me luck!

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