My First Portrait with the Sony A7RII and a Gravity Backdrop

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: August 22, 2017

Category: Photography

Thought I’d share a new portrait with you; so new it’s the first I’ve taken with my new camera … the Sony A7RII and canvas background from Gravity Backdrops…

Glyn Dewis Photography Elinchrom Sony

The portrait is of our dear friend Tim whom we met shortly after moving into our current home. A truly great guy, one of life’s good people and such great company.

I asked Tim if I could take his portrait this past weekend as I’d been meaning to do so for the past year and a half but the new camera and background seemed like the right time.

I’ll either do a write up or video in the near future explaining why I’ve now moved from Canon to Sony but as I always say, I only use what’s fit for purpose and won’t stay with or use a particular brand just ‘because’. After all it takes a long time build a good reputation but a moment to destroy one, and no if you’re thinking money exchange is involved…absolutely not and the new Sony, Lenses and all has been paid for out of my own pocket.

Anyway enough about that for now; here’s a look at the set up for this portrait:

Glyn Dewis Sony A7RII

Keeping the lighting really simple with my Elinchrom Rotalux 135cm (50″) Octa positioned camera left above, angled down and forward of Tim to give the Rembrandt style of lighting.

This was also the maiden voyage of a brand new bespoke canvas textured background I’d had made by the folks at Gravity Backdrops. Those of you that have followed me for a while will know that I’m a big fan of using textures on plain grey paper as the background and that’s still very much the case. However I decided to go for a small canvas such as this that has had a texture painted onto it but that I can change by adding textures to at any time during the retouching; this way I get a great base but unlimited looks…if that makes sense.

To make life easier transporting this set up I’m actually going to get another C-Stand with Boom so that I can simply slide the canvas onto it behind the subject rather than having to bring along two stands and a background pole. Will make a great set up easy to move around and quick to assemble and what’s more fits easily into the car.

For those interested in camera settings this was shot at:

  • ISO 100
  • 85mm
  • f/4.0
  • 1/400 sec (Thanks to using the HS (High Sync) on the Elinchrom ELB 400)

As always if you have any questions then feel free to drop a comment in the comments section below but in the mean time be sure to check out this video that shows how to achieve a similar lighting style to the one in this picture of Tim.

You can also CLICK HERE to see a LARGE version of this portrait over on my 500px portfolio page.


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  1. Snuffy Sims

    As usual the work of a great artist…simple but great!

    • Glyn Dewis

      Thanks so much Steve; really appreciate you looking in

  2. Laurent Thiébault

    beautiful portrait.
    thanks for sharing your knowledge
    i use a canon 5d mk3 and also think about switching to sony, maybe the alpha 7r3 if it arrives one day… do you use your canon lenses?

    • Glyn Dewis

      Hi Laurent.
      Thanks so much for commenting and your kind words…really appreciate it.
      Yeah can’t wait for the A7RIII; was going to wait but couldn’t wait any longer so opted for the A7RII. I’ll update to the A7RIII or maybe even A9R when the updates come and have this one as a 2nd / backup. As for lenses I just use the Sony lenses; currently the 85mm F/1.4 G Master and the 55mm.

      Overall VERY happy with the move and find the Sony very easy to operate with a menu system that is quite straightforward I think.

  3. Martin Gordon James Smith

    Looking forward to receiving your Photoshop Workbook in the morning and diving straight in. Your Youtube videos are a great source of inspiration and ideas.

    • Glyn Dewis

      Thanks so much Martin; always good to heat that the content I share is useful…cheers


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