Thursday, June 9, 2011

Low-Key Self-Portrait

I took some self-portraits last night using some of my new gear.

For my key light, I used an Alien Bees B1600 monolight with a 48" octagon softbox with grid.  The rim light was from an SB-800 triggered via Nikon Advanced Wireless Lighting using an on-camera SB-800 as commander.  Both lights were on light stands from the Linco background support system (the stand for the rim light is visible in the shot above).

Why did I use the SB-800 instead of the popup as commander?  I needed to trigger the B1600 (in this case using a PC sync cord).  The problem with Nikon (at least with the D300) is that if you use the popup flash as a wireless commander, it disables the PC sync port.  If you use an external flash as commander (e.g., SB-900, SB-800 or SB-700), the PC sync port is enabled.  Maybe it's Nikon's way of forcing you to buy another external flash...

It's a simple 2-light setup (the on-camera flash was not contributing to the flash exposure).  I was tempted to bring other flashes into play but thought it would be a good warm up for Boot Camp III: 2 Lights. ;)

Will be posting my thoughts on the AlienBees B1600, Radiopopper JrX, Vagabond Mini, Linco background support system, and the octagon softbox.


  1. Nice, very cool self portraits, the last one is too agent 007. :-)

    Funny enough I was taking self portraits for myself yesterday (playing with the ezybox), I will mail them to you to take your opinion.

    What about the rim light positioning post you planned told me about? I am eager to learn about it since this is new to me.

    P.S. Just got an excellent idea for a my next short post (sharpening images for web).

  2. Thanks. The rim lighting positioning post will be for the future...

  3. awesome shots, I was researching Historical Rim lighting portraits .. and yours popped up.. doesn't meet the historical criteria though.. I don't suppose you can point me in the direction of finding a suitable Rim light portrait that is older than 30 years ?

    Kind regards

    Steve penny

    Student Photographer

    1. Thanks Steve. I don't know any such sources off the top of my head. My suggestion is to think of a portrait photographer who has been working for a while (since 80s or earlier) and who uses rim light, and then to look at their work for possible examples.

      Best regards,


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