Looking back at some of my favourite photos from 2018. For each of the 12 days (of Christmas) I’m sharing one of my favourite pictures I’ve taken during 2018.


#6 – Emma

After the shoots with Georgia and the gridded version of the Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2, I wanted to refine who I could use it for a light that looked both soft, yet contrasty at the same time. The solution was to use two different lights from the same direction to light the model, one small, and one softer but much less powerful. I wanted to lift the deepest shadows of the small light without erasing it’s effect. Furthermore I had an idea to be able to do this using automatic flash.

What I would need is a ratio between the hard and soft lights such that the soft light was around 3-stops darker than the hard light.Using group mode to control the hard and soft lights individually was  the simplest method, as it meant I could easily switch on and off each group, plus separately raise or lower the power.

Planning to use the photo in monochrome I selected a roll of forest green background paper, then hung a piece of black net curtain over it. This would allow me to target the green background specifically in the monochrome conversion. I also plugged in the smoke machine, and added a third light behind Emma to illuminate her hair through the dispersing smoke. There’s a few more examples and a behind the scenes shot of the complete setup in a post I wrote about this soft and hard light setup.

Camera settings – Emma

  • EOS 5D Mark IV
  • EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
  • 1/200s, f/4, ISO 400

See you tomorrow for another picture…


About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag