Canon Speedlite Portrait Video

So you could see how simple the lighting setup can be, I shot this Canon speedlite portrait video.

Let's face it, we all like to keep portrait lighting simple. With that in mind, I gave myself a challenge to create professional studio lighting by using just one Canon speedlite. Hopefully this blog post will inspire you to play around with using just a single speedlite for shooting a nice portrait

I set-up the mannequin-my wife was off at work-camera, tripod and speedlite in my basement to avoid any stray window light from affecting my lighting.

Canon 270EX II PortraitWhite walls added some fill>

The portrait shown here was shot with a single Canon Speedlite 270EX II. A Canon G11 camera was turned sideways to get a Portrait orientation.

The tilting head on the 270EX II was in the in the 90 degree position. Molly the Mannequin was placed about 3 feet in front of the wall.

The camera and flash were 6 feet from Molly.

The Canon Speedlite 270EX II is a very small shoe mounted flash. When aimed at the white cinder block wall it becomes a large light source.

I did a slight modification to my first lighting set-up by adding another surface to bounce light onto my subject.

I set-up a large piece of white Foam-Core to the left of my subject to fill in the shadow just a bit.


Canon 270EX-ii portraitWith a fill card on the left


The resulting speedlite portrait has a nice natural-looking soft feel to it.  I agree it's not dramatic lighting, but it gives you a nice pleasant rendering of my standin model.

It's simple and achievable if you are in a situation where you can bounce a single speedlite against a large surface.

You can add a little fill light with any portable light-reflecting surface that doesn't have too much of a color cast to it. The ceiling is 8 feet high and painted white so it provides a nice amount of light to give good hair detail as well. 



Speedlite 270EX II Bounce cardPartially redirect of the light

The 270EX II does not have its own built in reflector panel, so you can rig one up with any small white card and a rubber band. This "amatuer" setup was one I used very successfully when I was a newbie wedding photographer.

You can use a colored wall to bounce off of, but it can be very tricky to color correct afterwards. It's much better to only use this technique when the wall has a neutral tone to it. 

It was dark in my basement so the video quality is not so good. You can at least see how the speedlite is mounted on top of the camera and faces sideways. I shot the video vertically, so you may want to hit the full-screen option to see it better.


Here is the Canon Speedlite Portrait Video:

I shot this Canon speedlite portrait video with my most recently acquired camera, the Canon 5D Mark III. (Sorry for the vertical format-I'm a newbie at shooting video and didn't realize how awkward it would look).


I forgot to mention in the Canon speedlite portrait video that the "foam-core" used as a reflector is a very lightweight cardboard-type of material available at your local art or hobby store.

I use it  a lot when I am shooting portraits.  It is rigid and very lightweight.  I can use it with Speedlites, my studio lights as well as with outdoor portraits and natural fill. 

It is my hope that you find useful information on this web site.  It is completely free for your use.  If you gain some insight or knowledge about a specific Canon camera or speedlite or other accessory, please consider this. 

If you are going to buy some equipment from an online retailer, here is a suggestion.  I get a little kick back from Amazon if you go to the amazon site from CanonCameraGeek. For 8 consecutive years now (as of 2012), they lead the world in customer satisfaction.

That doesn't mean they are perfect.  Neither am I.  Perhaps you are not either.  They just do a great job most of the time for most of their clients-better than other retailers.  Their return policy is super.

It is my hope that you find useful information on this web site.  It is completely free for your use.  If you gain some insight or knowledge about a specific Canon camera or speedlite or other accessory, then I've succeeded. Please consider visiting one of the vendors below to make your camera equipment purchases.

Keep shooting your Canon!

Author Bruce Lovelace
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Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Join the Tribe: YouTube. Visit the Canon Geek FaceBook Group. Bruce runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.


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Simple portrait lighting with a Canon Speedlite 270EX-II

This is the only source of light in these portraits, a Canon 270EX II Speedlite





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