One Light Portraits: My “Anytime Anywhere” Kit

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: August 17, 2015

Category: Photography

Hey Everyone

I’m just back from teaching at Photoshop World 2015 in Las Vegas so later this week I’ll be sure to post some photos and give a peek at what was truly an outstanding event!!!

Today though I thought I’d give you a look at a recent portrait that I took with my ‘Anytime Anywhere‘ kit along with a look at the set up.

The picture below is of my friend Brian and was taken whilst in our local coffee shop, The Flower Pot, also owned by a friend of mine, Jo.

I’d been wanting to take Brian’s portrait for some time now for my ‘One Light Anytime Anywhere‘ project, so the Saturday before leaving for Las Vegas I popped in to have a coffee and lo and behold…there he was, and with my camera in the car there was no escape 🙂


Ok so as for the set up, space was limited so the portability of the ‘Anytime Anywhere’ kit was ideal.

The look I’m after for this series is for each of the portraits to be shot with a pure black background however, this isn’t always achievable by just relying on my Invisible Black Background technique as the closeness of walls around, plus the colour of the walls (in this case pure white) would create a few challenges…

The Solution? Carrying a piece of black cardboard in the boot of the car which I mentioned about in an earlier post.

So, the set up was simply what you see below…

The black cardboard resting on the back of the chair behind where Brian was sat, and for the lighting I used a single Phottix Mitros+ Flash with a Lumiquest Softbox III attached; this makes for an incredibly compact and mobile lighting kit. (BTW…Phottix Flash is triggered by using the Odin Transmitter on the camera and the Odin Receiver on the flash itself).

I asked Jo to hold the light and soft box very close to Brian so that it created soft light but also because of the Inverse Square Law, the light dropped off incredibly fast…


Here’s a shot to show you what I have in my ‘Anytime Anywhere‘ kit…

  • Canon 5D MKIII with 85mm f/1.8 lens
  • Sheet of black cardboard
  • Lumiquest Softbox III
  • Phottix Mitros+ Flash
  • Odin Transmitter and Odin Receiver


As always if you have any questions or comments then please fee l free to make use of the comments section below.

I’ll jump in though just to answer one that may come up…Why am I using Phottix?

Well to be honest I stopped using Speedlights a while back now and just use Elinchrom for both studio and on-location, however I was looking for something to keep in my bag for those ‘Anytime Anywhere’ moments and I wasn’t prepared to spend the money on Canon branded speedlights. These Phottix ones are ROCK SOLID, have NEVER let me down and the price is GREAT! Light is light at the end of the day and these small battery off camera flashes do exactly what I want/need.

Have a good one and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow.

•Check out the LARGER version of this portrait of Brian over on my 500px portfolio page by CLICKING HERE

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  1. Mindaugas Butvila

    Useful post. Thanks

    • Glyn Dewis

      No worries; thanks for checking it out

  2. Suman Zaman

    Great post! Totally agree about not paying for branded speedlights. I’ve never ‘upgraded’ my £300+ Nikon SB900s. instead bought Yongnuo speedlights off Amazon. £50 a pop and they’ve never failed me!

    • Glyn Dewis

      Yep the Yongnuo are great too

  3. Lenny Grant Jr

    Excellent image and information Glyn. What shutter speed did you use for this image?

    • Glyn Dewis

      Probably 1/160sec mate but it’s whatever gives me the black background

  4. Michael Tomasula

    Thanks for the quick and easy portrait idea. I will be copying it. Took two of your classes at Photoshop World and walked away with a great deal of ideas.

    • Glyn Dewis

      Brilliant…that’s great to hear Michael 😉

  5. Eric Skagen

    Great image. How did you meter this? Info from the flash display, or just experience? Thanks!

    • Glyn

      Practiced set up before many times so know the ball park for the exposure when shooting. This Anytime Anywhere set up is minimal so I’m not taking a light meter with me but also don’t want to be taking many test shots.

    • Glyn Dewis

      Practiced set up before many times so know the ball park for the exposure when shooting. This Anytime Anywhere set up is minimal so I’m not taking a light meter with me but also don’t want to be taking many test shots.

  6. Darren Bushnall

    So you’re using manual flash here. I have not too long ago bought a few Yongnu 560mk3,s to complement my canon 580mk2 and a couple of the ettl yongnu wireless triggers as hey, they’re peanuts in monetary terms but never really used them as yet but I,ll have to try this out.

  7. Steve

    Glyn, fascinated by your black background technique and one I have been practicing. One issue I seem to get is light bleeding onto the background, do you tend to do your shots well away from any walls etc or high of the ground ? I have tried various powers on the flash but the lower you go the less light you get on the model.I am using a Lumiquest softbox but noticed you have changed now, any reason for this ? any tips greatly appreciated..

  8. Bas Schurink

    Hi Glyn,

    Reading your articles about the Anytime Anywere kit and I was wondering if there is a difference between the flashbender and the Lumiquest Softbox III in terms of using.
    I did see you used both, bot for some reason I can’t get the “feeling” with the flashbender.
    Maybe I should use the flashbender more often as well…




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