Meter, Adjust the Light, Meter… BORING!

Luke Pickerill of www.pickerillcreative.com and www.ExpertPhotoTraining.com returns to the Flashline to share his thoughts on Studio vs. Location portrait shoots. I can’t believe any shoot Luke is on could be BORING!, but the guy sure does like to move around. Check out some of the location shoot videos on his blog and enter his Makeover Photoshoot Contest for a chance to see for yourself.

1/80sec - f/5.6 - 800 Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8I prefer to shoot my clients and their families in their homes rather that in the studio. First, studio shots are boring. Set up a background, set up some lights, meter. Adjust the light, meter. Adjust the light, meter… BORING!

Shooting in a clients home gives me more new things to work with and new problems to solve. I also find that younger children are more relaxed at their homes. It’s a familiar place and they feel comfortable. When the young kids come to a studio or on locations they can easily get distracted by all the newness and surroundings…

Whenever doing a shoot in someone’s home I always ask a lot of questions like:

• Are there windows in that room
• How big is the room
• How big are the windows
• Does the room get direct sunlight
• What color are the walls

1/125sec - f/2.25 - ISO1000 Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8Even when I am happy with all the answers and think there is going to be great available light I still bring my flashes and especially my Qflash because more often than not, my dreams of beautiful available light are dashed when I arrive and see what we’re actually working with. Maybe it’s the wrong part of the day for light hitting that room, or maybe the walls are green and giving the light a kind of vomitis color… The point is I always come prepared to create great light in case it doesn’t exist.

For all of these shots I used a Qflash through a shoot through umbrella and two Canon 580 exII’s. I love the Qflash as a main light in this kind of environment because I can run it at a very low power setting and get super fast recycle times. Fast recycle times are crucial if your shooting children.


1/100sec - f/2.8 - 800 Lens: 50mm f/1.4The 580’s are great because I can put them around the room on TV stands, mantles or whatever furniture is in the room and not have to bring additional light stands. I used the two 580’s as fill for the room. I shot them on opposite sides of the room shot up into the ceiling and got the room detail to a nice level.


1/100sec - f/3.2 - 800 Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8Then as I move around the room, I can really easily move the position of my Qflash main light. I triggered everything in Manual mode, using radio popper triggers.


1/100sec - f/2.8 - 800 Lens: 24mm f/1.4 1/100sec - f/2.8 - 800 Lens: 50mm f/1.4 1/80sec - f/3.2 - 800 Lens: 50mm f/1.4

1/100sec -f/3.2 - 800 Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8 1/100sec - f/2.8 - 800 Lens: 24mm f/1.4 1/100sec - f/3.2 - 800 Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8 1/100sec - f/3.2 - 800 Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8

1/100sec - f/2.8 - 800 Lens: 24mm f/1.4 1/125sec - f/2.25 - ISO800 Lens: 50mm f/1.4


Luke Pickerill

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