Fuji Showcase 1-Light Portraits, XE3


Hall of Famer
Jun 20, 2012
Hood River, OR
(Used the 35 f1.4 and the 56 1.2)

A very dear friend started a business, and I offered to help with shots. Lo and behold, he texted 2 days ago and asked if I could shoot headshots last night at 4. He needed 3 people and 1 group shot. Given that it was solid rain, and the sun sets around 5, there was no shooting outdoors. So I had to light. But I don't have stands or modifiers, just 2 remote speedlights.

So .... I texted a pro friend to ask if I could borrow a stand and shoot-through umbrella. "Come over!" But his stuff wouldn't hold my lights AND modifiers, because his lights actually hold the shafts of the umbrellas / octaboxes, etc. I had to use all of his stuff, which was an Elinchrom battery pack hard-wired cable deal. Remote triggers, all sorts of stuff. All new to me. He showed me how to set up, link, and adjust power. Then he gave me a quick pep talk, because he's awesome as hell.

I got there at 4, and the first thing I did was ask how long I had total. "30 - 45 minutes? 60 max." Wellllll, $hit. That's not much. Then a quick discussion about vision, "what do you picture when you imagine this? Also time-wise, we're only going to get 1 setup and rotate you all through it."

Knocked it all together, and the FIRST test fire, the flash popped off perfectly, no issues, thank jebus. ISO200, 1/180, f8, test model in place, stand close range at 45 & 45, and then minor tweaks to output power and aperture and I was making usable shots inside 20 mins in the door. Kept the mood light, made jokes, enlisted my friend to make better jokes, shot RAW+Fine in Acros+R, later converted some to Classic Chrome. I tweaked last night in Polarr, but honestly very little. I could've done better, and I have a lot to learn. But I feel like, for 60 minutes in and out the door, I did better than I hoped.

A toss-away shot I liked.
KBRY3256P by gordopuggy, on Flickr

She was so easy to shoot.
KBRY3276P by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRY3293P by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRY3317P by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRY3345P by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRY3374P by gordopuggy, on Flickr

And one in color...
KBRY3419PC by gordopuggy, on Flickr


Jul 13, 2010
Sunny Frimley
Some very nice shots. I got a free Rotolight with my A7RIII and finally plucked up some courage to actually unbox it and get some batteries for it. Now I just need to figure out how it works! Well done, you did well :)
Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
well I don't know what to look for regarding good portrait photography, but I'm quite certain this qualifies. I'd be over the moon with those.

So what would you have done differently?

Honestly, I often don't "get" why someone would be interested in most "portrait" shots, but these really excel for me in that I feel I am "meeting" these people. I'm getting something beyond just their visage....or what their face looks like. I feel like I am getting insight into their character.

Maybe it's just me. Or this first margarita after a long day on the computer.


Hall of Famer
Jun 20, 2012
Hood River, OR
(What would I do differently) Ideally? I'd have more time. This was one light position, and in one location. I started as far back as I wanted to go max, then inched closer. And we worked on getting more "serious" faces first, then tried for more personality. I'd have tried to rig a light directly overhead vs. off-axis like this, if I could. I'd get working shots, ie Environmental Portraits, shot at desk height with a wider lens, looking at them drawing on a large blueprint. I'd try different angles, say different things to try for different responses... I'd use a bounce card at least to loghten up those shadows, if not a 2nd light.

I think I got what they needed, but I feel like I could've gotten more of what they want, even if they don't know they want it til they see it and go "oh yes, that's awesome."

And I'm kinda hooked, here, I really enjoyed that, and it makes me want 2 stands, and some modifiers.

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