In December, when COVID-19 was but a whisper on the wind int he United States, I purchased a Godox AD200, a Lencarta beauty dish, and a collapsible backdrop. My goal? Over the next few months learn the basics of flash photography. Then COVID shut down much of the United States, being around people was considered ill-advised, and my I would come home exhausted from my full time job and unmotivated to do much else.

It took until July for me to try my hand at learning strobe, only I was learning on the job. My friend, who owns a local co-work asked me to set up a contactless headshot pop-up at her cowork during an event at the building. A few days prior, we headed over to the cowork and tested the set up pictured.

I had enough space for one light, the backdrop and a bounce to hopefully pop a little bit more color into the subject’s.

Figure out how it worked wasn’t hard, I’m a natural light, candid photographer that is constantly changing settings based on the lights on set. But the different mentality and the posing required for headshots is a completely different animal.

At the moment, I’ll be honest, I’m lucking into good shots of people. I’m timid and awkward when it comes to giving directions in hopes of creating a natural image. It is something I need to work on.

The results, were okay. Ironically, the test shoot with my friend I think had the best photos, but that’s because I know how to make her laugh.

The Test Shoot

These photos were shot with a Canon 70-200mm on a Canon 60D with a Godox AD200 set at 1/32 set inside a Lencarta Collapsible Beauty Dish as the flash.

The actual day was a bit different.

One, I quickly realized that my original plan to have the black background wasn’t going to work, because not everyone has red hair, like my friend. So while it looked great for her, anyone with dark hair like me wasn’t going to end up with a picture I would deem usable. So I switched from the black side of my backdrop to the white. And that white, ended up being gray because I didn’t have a second light to act as a rim/hair light.

The photos aren’t bad per se, they just weren’t the final result I was hoping for from a technical standpoint, mainly I wanted a pure white background. But, if I’m being honest with my self, they look pretty good.

Check out the final results below, and tell me what you think. 

The Final Results

What I learned from this shoot?

I need to practice with my flash more and learn more about posing. And if I want a pure white from my backdrop I need to have a dedicated light on it.