Learning a new way to light

I have always admired beautiful portraits done in studios with nice backgrounds. I love the drama and the contrast between a brightly-lit subject and a dark background and I always thought this could only be done if you have a lot of money to buy all the equipment. However, I recently learned from Caryn Esplin that you can get the same high quality look without all the gear.

The method is called “SQIBB,” which stands for “Studio Quality Invisible Black Background.” By using a Rogue Flashbender and a speedlight you can angle the light and black out the background. For these images I set my camera white balance to flash, exposure to 1/200, f/6.3, and ISO 100. The exposure needs to be set between 1/60 and 1/200 in order to sync with the speedlight. Set the trigger on your camera and the speedlight to the same channel and group, then make a triangle using yourself (the camera), the light, and the subject. I had to play around with the lighting angle because sometimes the light can bounce off the ground or objects behind the subject, which doesn’t get you the SQIBB technique.

Lastly, make sure you have an assistant to hold your light for a little bit. I enlisted the help of my roommates and took a few pictures of my favorite things: hot chocolate and my plants (even if they are just fake Ikea plants). Take a look at my simple setup and the images I got from this awesome technique!