Portraits: NEVER Miss an Opportunity

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: August 5, 2016

Category: General

Can’t believe it’s already 2 weeks since, but if you’ve been following this blog or following over on social media lately, you’ll know that I was out in Las Vegas instructing at the Photoshop World Conference and Expo.

Anyway I just thought I’d let you know about something that happened one afternoon when my Buddy Dave Clayton and me were queuing up for a caffeine boost at Starbucks in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

Long story short a few people in front of us I spotted this guy who had a number of tattoos and just looked, well, cool is the only way I can describe it. Straight away I thought “I just HAVE to photograph this guy” But how? I mean what the heck do I say? Will I come across as some kind of weirdo asking to take his picture?

Well you know what asking to take the portrait of a stranger is so much easier than you think, but only, I’ve found when you do certain things…

  1. Have a Business Card with you
  2. Have some means of showing your portfolio quickly e.g. on your phone (at least)

I just explained who I was, what I was doing in the USA and that I’d really like to take his portrait IF he had the time. Well it just so happened he worked in the tattoo studio in the Mandalay Bay and we arranged that later in the day would be good.

So, later that day we popped in and…

Glyn Dewis Tattoo Portrait with One Light

Ok so whilst we’re here let’s take a quick look at the lighting and location…

We took this portrait next to the Tattoo Studio; actually right outside House of Blues for those of you who know where I mean.

Glyn Dewis Behind the Scenes portrait with Phottix and Rogue Flashbender

Minimal kit for this one, in fact it was pretty much my Anytime Anywhere portrait kit except that I was using my Canon 5D MKIII that I had with me in Las Vegas for the classes I was presenting.

One Phottix Mitros+ Flash, the Odin 2 to trigger the flash and the Rogue Flashbender 2 XL Pro modifier and no light stand needed 🙂

Glyn Dewis Portrait with Phottix and Rogue

Of course a MUST is to send through a copy of the portrait once it’s ready…no excuses!

Oh and one more thing with this…before Dominic came out to be photographed Dave and I took a few test shots to make sure everything was good to go…

Glyn Dewis Portrait with Phottix

…so pretty much after 6 quick shots we were all finished with Dominic, and these were just ones positioning the light slightly different.

Also you’ll notice in the portrait of Dominic that this time the background isn’t completely black. That was intentional and why we placed the picture on the bench behind him so that when I dragged (slowed) the shutter speed, ambient light crept into the shot.

Glyn Dewis Tattoo Portrait with One Light

Anyway thought I’d share this with you; hope it’s useful in some way.

Of course if you have any questions then feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

Catch you next time,

CLICK HERE to check out a LARGE version of this portrait over on my 500px Portfolio Page

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  1. Steve Perry

    Interesting post. Amazing what can be done with one flash and a simple modifier.

  2. Jon Erlien

    Glyn… 85mm lens? and what are your go-to-settings for your anywhere anytime portrait technique… I’ve tried this technique many times with success, but just curious on your settings. Great work as always mate! Cheers from Wisconsin!

    • Glyn Dewis

      Hi Jon. To be honest, settings change all the time but generally I’ll go into Manual and set it up so camera gives black scene, then light them up with the flash. So…fastest sync speed, lowest ISO then choose an aperture. For this one I dragged it a little to let some of the background be visible.
      Hope that makes sense,

      • Jon Erlien

        Totally makes sense. I appreciate how you expose for the background just a bit… I actually prefer that when I see your “anytime, anywhere portraits”. For me its about getting the light just right, and that is the part where I would like to dial in better so I can be “in & out” as us photographers should be.

  3. Vernon Nash

    Thanks Glyn. Dave Clayton 26 is a doozy!


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