Canon Speedlite Portraits

It's easy to get great Canon Speedlite portraits with one speedlight and the right techniques.  

I've been doing portrait photography for almost 30 years using umbrella or softbox lighting, so I wanted to challenge myself by using just one Canon Speedlite to get nice portrait lighting.

The portrait below was shot with a Canon Speedlite 270EX II attached to the shoe mount on top of a Canon G11.  Molly the Mannequin was place 3 feet in front of the cinder-block wall in my basement. 

Canon Speedlite Portrait with 270EX ii-direct flash

If your subject is placed in front of a background or wall, harsh and distracting shadows from the direct flash result.  You also get the distinct, sharp-edged shadow underneath your subject's chin.  

Direct speedlite flash is contrasty, does not bring out much depth and is usually not the best portrait lighting.  


Canon Speedlite Portraits With Bounce Flash


ind a large surface or improvise to create one.

You gain the option of aiming your flash toward that surface.

Make it the primary source of lighting.

You'll get a beautiful soft look.

98% 4-5 Rating


Speedlite portraits like the one below have a much nicer look to the lighting when the light can bounced off of a ceiling.

Canon Speedlite Portrait with 270EX ii-bounced flash

In the portrait below, just like the one above, my Speedlite 270EX II was still aimed directly up at the ceiling.  This time I held a white piece of paper just behind and above the speedlite to add Direct Fill.  

Notice that the shadows on the eyes are completely eliminated and the shadows on the background are only moderately seen.

Canon Speedlite Portrait with 270EX ii-bounced flash and fill light

The final step to getting my portrait lighting the way I wanted it was to move farther away from the background.

I used the same bounce-lighting technique as with the previous photo, but Molly the Manequinn was 10 feet away from the background instead of only 3.

Canon Speedlite 270EX II Portrait

I cropped the portrait as a vertical composition and then darkened the edges a bit in PhotoShop.

Notice how the shadows on the wall are basically non-existent.

In the past the only time I've used a speedlite is when I need a bit of fill flash while doing outdoor team sports photography or beach photos.


 I am a newby when it comes to shooting Canon Speedlite Portraits, so I wanted to take it one step further.  

I decided to turn my camera sideways to a Portrait Orientation and bounce the light from my Canon 270EX II sideways off of a wall instead of the ceiling.


I shot this Canon SpeedLite Portrait Video to show you how I set it up.

As a side-note:  both the Canon Speedlite 580EXII and original 580EX have a built-in, slide-out bounce panel.


You can achieve a somewhat similar effect as the portrait above and get combined bounce and Direct-Fill.

The small bounce panel does a nice job at filling in the shadows on the eyes and adding a "Catch light" highlight to the eyes as well.


Shoot more photos.

Watch less TV.

Bruce


Back from Canon Speedlite Portraits to Canon Camera Geek

Bounce Lighting Portrait Tips

Back  to  Canon Speedlite


Please consider using one of the retailers below when you make your purchase.  It helps me keep the Canon Geek site going and it cost you NOTHING.


ebay link to save money on camera gear
Written by Bruce Lovelace



Search for articles on this Site:

Speedlite 270EX-II in hand-held bounce postition270EX II Bounce Light
Speedlite 270EX-II in bounce postitionCeiling Bounce Light
Canon Speedlite 580Canon Speedlite 580


Sign up for an occasional update:

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Canon Camera Geek Updates.

NO SPAM. I PROMISE