Experimental shots working in the studio using Phottix T & R

Relates to Outcome: 2, 3, 4

(See 2 for contact sheets in research folder and for features on lighting also 4 for software information)

1003  1006


Following a lecture on using Canon 650d’s and 430EX11 flashguns, the remit was to undertake a series of portraits on location. The lecture focused and demonstrated practically how to use stands, brackets and umbrellas ensuring that a balance of daylight and flash can control flash portraits to portfolio standard working in an unfamiliar location.

Experimenting with light fall using the Phottix transmitters and receivers including daylight.






Investigating our photography practice using manual, an ISO of 100 and 1/125th of a second at f/1.8 we began to examine in the studio how the triggers operated to gain experience in shooting portraits in a no daylight scenario using a light meter for accurate exposure.

We discovered that 1/125th of a second at f/2 and an ISO of 100 worked satisfactorily, creating a pleasant ambient light against a black background with shadows forming behind the subject (see d1003, 06 and 06 as examples.

We then proceeded to experiment with flash and daylight, looking at how the light fell off behind the subject matter working with moving up and down the exposure ratio measuring with a light meter and an aperture of f/2.8 to create an interesting aesthetic/depth of field. (see 1008 as example). The light was directed across the subject and a cast shadow fell to the right. The setting of 1/125th with an ISO of 100 and an aperture of f/2.8 in example 1017 revealed a better histogram compared to 1016, however 1018 taken at 1/160th of a second is a pleasing composition. These variables could be explained due to light variables and the slight change in direction of the light source and intensity. (see 1009).

My colleague and I then experimented with altering the shutter speed up and down from 1/60th of a second (1021) to 1/320th and as per the manufacturers recommendations and guidelines a drop off at 320 can be seen on 1025. The photo 1026, measured at 1/250th of a second is an example of just how far the transmitter and receivers will record the necessary information –see example 1025.

1039 11043Having experimented with the apertures we were able to determine that 1/125th of a second allowed for the best exposure (see 1029 – the chair – as an additional example). Evidence from the histogram is testament to this. However, as we continued to experiment with natural daylight and the triggers and receivers, we enjoyed altering the exposure up and down to create an individual and interesting aesthetic.


1039 at 1/60th of a second at f/2 with an ISO of 100

1040 at 1/80th of a second at f/2 with an ISO of 100

1043 at 1/60th of a second at f/2 with an ISO of 100

1045, 46 and 48 followed the same format.

Moving to a different location, we took another meter reading and rethought/reconceptualised our photography aims, shooting at f/4 and against a white background – after seeking advice from our tutor – we moved to 1/60th of a second in photographs 1053, 55 56 (1/80th) respectively, making the decision to create a series of atmospheric portrait shots; shooting down the length of the wall achieving fall out on 1053 composition and 1055. I then altered the stop down a quarter to f/3.5 as I felt that this was a little dark for what I wanted to achieve (i.e. a more commercially inclined portrait in comparison to a personal studio portrait).

1056 at 1/80th of a second at f/3.5-f/4, 1056 (at 1/60th) and 1059 and 1060 depicting a study of a chair.

The next sequence of photographs were subsequently reread at f/2 at 1/100th of a second and 1/125th depicting a portrait of a person (Ash).

Moving to another location in the building we again experimented with f/8 at an ISO of 100 and 1/100th of a second down to 1/30th of a sec looking at creating a series of mood (darker) compositions examining how light fell on the subject The results of which were pleasing. 1074 1/30th of a second to 1/40th with an ISO of 100 and f/8 (1079).

Moving up and down the scale f/4 1/100th of a second the picture of the white column (1091) yielded a perfect histogram. I then ended the experiment with a scarf on the floor and the floor itself on the same settings.


1055 1056Using aperture as the only control I will be investigating further by dragging the shutter altering the synchronisation speed moving either the model or myself in order to make some compositions with movement as part of my night photography projects. (60th or 125th of a second at f/11, to 1/15th at 2 seconds the atmospheric light will record only the people and record movement)*

Phottix Ares Triggers and Receivers:

Research has shown that ebay and amazon are the best places to purchase this equipment.


The research surrounding this exercise will concentrate on portable lighting, battery powered equipment, transmitters and receivers and lighting modifiers. Comparisons will be made between what is available and affordable as we will need this equipment to operate in a professional manner. – to update

As I work from home with my son (who is a film director/reviewer), I am familiar with some of the technology used already as we have the stand, strobe light, flashgun (and light meter) which are used all the time mostly to create a green screen effect and to carry out filming as required. However, I was not aware of the Phottix triggers which I found to be faster, more efficient and easier to use than the current model of the linked cable I have at the moment (make: ). Therefore, I will be focusing my research on the subject of triggers (and receivers). I have discovered through my research that these are available to purchase via Ebay and Amazon at a reasonable cost so I will purchasing a set in the future.

I am finding the whole process of equipment hunting and gaining technical knowledge a very interesting one as a photographer and film maker the comparisons of what is required equipment wise is intriguing and I find that both my son and I are learning from each other. For example: he is learning how to photograph in a better way adapting the camera to low light situations and I am gaining knowledge as to the workings of a film/photography studio.



Ash then asked me to take some photos that he could use to promote his work

1087 1088


1087 1088


What were my aims and have I achieved them?

My aims were to test out and experience the use of phottix transmitters and receivers, calumet lighting and a portable battery to create a series of portrait photographs so that I might inform my practice. My interest in portrait photography has increased since I began using this equipment to achieve my aim of improving my landscape compositions I will work in the future to achieve this using the equipment described. Even though I am very pleased with the results of this exercise, I learnt more about lighting and how to blur out backgrounds (see featured image). In my work as a landscape photographer the aim I need to fulfill is to work on achieving an equal lighting composition. However, my aims for this particular project were fulfilled as I have a selection of photographs I am particularly pleased with.

What have I done?

I took a series of portrait photographs on location at college testing out the phottix transmitters and receivers, calumet lighting and portable batteries to establish their usefulness in an alternative style of studio using backdrop to realise fall out and to improve on my technical ability.

What have I got from it?

My overall aim is to open an exhibition/studio space in the centre of town next to the Fabric Gallery, so knowledge of equipment/portrait/film still’s/exhibitions will all be very useful as well as gaining more experience of shooting in unfamiliar territory (looking at the lighting situation professionally and being able to analyse it effectively) will enable my professionalism to grow.

The subject in the composition is well lit with an interesting aesthetic which I believe shows a meditative/softer side to the subject in the portrait. I have developed through this process of relating to people through the camera a style of taking portrait photographs that adds a sharp yet soft look where the lighting has been captured professionally to convey a series of emotions which I feel is a successful portrait as it reveals something about the personality of the subject being taken.

I am enjoying working within the field of portrait photography more and in particular appreciate the benefit of having the phottix transmitter and receivers working alongside the umbrella, lighting and battery packs. As a landscape photographer the battery pack will be useful. It is additionally useful that as a portrait photographer I can endeavour to increase my skill base enabling me that with the right equipment, I can work professionally with increasing confidence in this genre.

I have now purchased a set of the phottix triggers and receivers which I used in my recent Magdalen Proposal. The images were as successful but the lighting on this particular location was very pleasing and with my technical knowledge I was able to take advantage of it by using a maximum aperture starting with f/1.8 to f/4 enabled a pleasing depth of field adding emphasis to the subjects face. The lighting was used to highlight one side of the face which created interesting texture and shadow.

What is next?

To make a series of portrait images using the equipment to improve and practice on my art as a photographer and to utilise these skills and equipment in my own genre of interest perhaps creating a series of images that uses both landscape and portraiture combined so that I can further establish the way I work and why.


Portrait studio, exhibition, online (Alamy).

1093 1095

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s