New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

Tips & Tricks

We Shot These Portraits In A Hotel Conference Room – Here’s How!

By Shivani Reddy on June 28th 2017

When options run out and your location is less than desirable, such as a boring conference room with bad lighting, simple light modification and quick post-production can make a world of difference – that’s where we step in.

We paired up with ShootDotEdit to create an OCF lighting guide specifically for Wedding Photographers which includes the tutorial we will be covering today. Download it for free and unlock 11 more amazing lighting techniques to help you throughout the wedding day.


Here are some tips for transforming a bad scene with a simple lighting setup you can setup anywhere:


Even in the most unappealing backgrounds, there are sometimes qualities worth preserving, such as an interesting texture or wood grain. While adjusting your ambient exposure, consider how much of the original background you wish to reveal in the image and adjust accordingly.

2. USE Modifiers to CONTROL FLASH SPILL & Color

After you have established your ambient exposure, it is important to carefully control the light that you add back into the scene. The existing light in the scene from the overhead lights in the conference room are Tungsten so we used a CTO Maggel to match the color. Using a grid or snoot on a pocket strobe will allow you to avoid light spill and instead add light only where you need it. We love the MagGrid for a quick pop-on solution.


Start with one light and adjust from there. We recommend directing the light top down for a natural look, as opposed to bottom-up lighting that more closely resembles campfire lighting, which can cast unflattering shadows on your subjects’ faces.


Modify your main light to get to your desired quality of light, whether that be diffused or specular, soft or hard. If you find that the edge of the light is too sharp, for example, use a scrim to soften the edges. Remember, the larger the light source, the softer the light fall-off. Place your scrim further from the light source to increase the size of the light. Hold the scrim closer for the reverse effect.



If necessary, or depending on the look you want, consider using a second light to add a little kick of light to the edge of your subject. This second light, or in this case a rim light, should further define your subjects’ features and separate them from the background.


See the behind-the-scenes video of how we created this shot here!

As is true with the main light, be sure to modify the rim light as needed to complete the setup and achieve the look you are after.


Adjust images to taste in Photoshop, adding contrast, adjusting white balance, as well as dodging and burning to accentuate features or draw focus. The amount of editing for each photo depends largely on the genre in which the image exists. For fashion and beauty portraits, for example, the “acceptable” limits of retouching generally go beyond what would be deemed acceptable for regular client portraits. See exactly how we finished off this image in Photoshop.

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Shivani wants to live in a world where laughter is the cure to pretty much everything. Since she can’t claim “Serial Bingewatcher” as an occupation, she’ll settle for wedding/portrait photographer at Lin and Jirsa & marketing coordinator here at SLR Lounge. For those rare moments when you won’t find a camera in her hand, she will be dancing, eating a donut, or most likely watching Seinfeld.

Follow her on Instagram: @shivalry_inc

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