Night Portraits with the Westcott FJ200

Ready to shoot gorgeous portraits outdoors in the night? In this how-to photography video, we explore portrait photography at night using the FJ200 off camera flash. I share some tips and tricks to show you how to position the off camera flash for the best results with your photography portraits. 

Equipment Used:

Team:

Ready for some night portraits with the FJ200? Let's get to it.

What’s up everyone? My name is Sal Cincotta. Today we are in downtown St. Louis on a rooftop, well, parking garage, I suppose. We are going to do some end of night photo shoots with the city skyline in the background. So for this particular shoot, I’m using the Canon R5 and  the Canon RF28-70 F2. I will be taking these at F2 to give it that background with a little bit more of that milky look. And then for the light source, we are using the FJ200 with a zoom reflector. We’re using a Zoom reflector just to give that light a little bit more punch so we can keep it further away. And I’ll give you some perspective on settings, because I do want you guys to go off and try this. It’s a lot of fun. I’m working in manual mode on this and the reason I’m working in manual mode is because I need to let in a bunch of ambient light.

So if I were to take this shot at 1/200th of a second, maybe she looks good. We’ve got some street lights over here. But what’s going to end up happening is all those buildings in the background are just going to be black. Maybe you’ll see some of that orange light there. But what I really want to be able to see is the blue in the sky, because believe it or not, there’s still some blue left in the sky. I want to see the texture of the buildings, all that in there. And I do want it to have this kind of high fashion, edgy, hard light. I’m not looking for a soft light portrait here, just really it’s bare bold with a zoom reflector on it. 

Ambient Light

Settings: f/2 @ 1/20, ISO 200

No Flash

Settings: f/2 @ 1/25, ISO 400

We’re just going to have some fun with it. Do some funky poses. Let me know in the comments which one you like, which scene is your best. And you guys got to get out there and try it. We’re here with Violet. Her instagram is @thevioletd. We’re going to have some fun with this funky poses. We’ve also got Brandi, hair and makeup artist extraordinaire, from ReFine Beauty. Here we’ve got the new, I don’t know what the name of it is, but it’s the trigger grip. That’s the name I’m giving it for you. Okay, we’re going to hold it like that, which makes it super easy to work with. It’s just an attachment to the FJ light

Okay, so let me get a test shot here. I want this to be hard and directional. I really like the way this looks. I want to get a little bit more of an angle, pulling more of the architecture here. And what I’m trying to do with Violet is get her in between those buildings in the background. She’s going to keep working this and going back down to 1/10th of a second to get it a little bit more ambient.

Test Shot

Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 400
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200

Let’s get a little more funky with Violet. Let’s kick different angles. If I zoom in here, even though we’re at a 10th of a second hand-held, the images are sharp. And that’s what you have to realize is that that flash is freezing the action and then it’s letting in all that ambient. So don’t be afraid to go down to 1/10th of a second. I know it sounds scary. You wedding photographers, it will change the way everything looks. Again, I’m just trying to get her in between those buildings.

Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200

Now what’s happening, we’re still getting more of the ambient of the buildings. I love the angles Violet is choosing here. I’m going to have Brandi start following her nose and tilt that light up a little bit more. I want to start limiting some of that light spill. Now we’re getting serious.

Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200

I do want to point out something that maybe you caught or maybe you didn’t. In the earlier frames, I was really being sloppy with the light spill. It was a look that I wanted. I don’t necessarily want to say I like it, but it’s kind of a look that’s sneaking back into portrait photography where there’s kind of light everywhere. And that’s fine, it’s a look and I did it, but then we had Brandi tilt that light back. I want you to see this. So when Brandi is firing it right at her, you’re going to get a whole bunch of lights spill down there on the ground. And you saw that in some of the shots. Then, what I had Brandi do was tilt the light up. It might look like she’s lighting somebody in the sky, but by tilting this up it changes the pattern, the funnel. Now that light is skimming across and you’re seeing the results here.

Light Firing Directly Straight

Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200

Light Firing At An Upwards Tilt

Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200

So let’s keep working this with Violet with different poses.

Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200

Hopefully you enjoyed the video that we just filmed, night portraits with the FJ200. Like, comment, subscribe. Let us know which one was your favorite. We’ll see you in the next video.

Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200
Settings: f/2 @ 1/10, ISO 200

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