Simple and Dramatic 1-Light Portrait with Jeff Rojas

For some photographers, head shots are the bread and butter of business. If there's anything that a photographer should always have in their (mental) tool kit, it's a go-to simple 1-light head shot.


For this shoot, we're going to use 3-tools: a Phottix Mitros+ (a flash), a Rogue 32" Super Soft Silver and Natural White Collapsible Reflector, and a Rogue FlashBender 2 Large Reflector. This kit, along with a camera, can easily fit inside a camera bag backpack, or even a every-day carry back pack.

Naturally a lot of this light will come from above, so we'll begin by positioning our reflector in the desired position. Using a pair of sunglasses (optional for the shoot) we can see the specularity in the reflector of the glasses to get a better idea of how it will hit our subject's face when the flash is introduced. The benefit of the the Rogue Super Soft Silver material is that it significantly cuts down on specular highlights, or those shiny spots that might otherwise make our subject's skin seem sweaty or oily.

Next we'll set up our flash off-camera but directly over head of camera position so we get a natural light position, but by being larger over-head source of light it will give the portrait a dramatic look. The reflector below will kick up light to fill in deep shadows that might make the image too ominous. If you do prefer an ultra-dramatic look the reflector can be reversed to white. By curving the FlashBender 2 Large Reflector we're controlling spill from the flash and make sure it is directed primarily on the subject's face and chest.

With that portable set up, we've accomplished exactly what the client wanted, a simple, yet dramatic, head shot!

Final Image:

Jeff Rojas
Jeff Rojas


Bio: Jeff Rojas is an American Photographer based in New York City. His primary body of work includes Portrait and Fashion Photography, although he’s directed misc. fashion films and commercials. Rojas also frequents as a photography instructor and has taught on various photographic platforms including: CreativeLIVE, WPPI, PhotoPlus Expo, Gulf Photo Plus and APA.

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