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Gear, Settings & More – Go Behind The Scenes Of A Studio Portrait Shoot

The fast pace of an editorial-style photo shoot means the photographer needs to be dialed in and ready to capture a variety of images quickly. In this video, professional portrait photographer and Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles gives us a behind-the-scenes look at one of his studio photo shoots. Watch as he explains the camera, lens, settings, lighting and everything else you need to know to recreate the editorial style on your own.

Pro portrait photographer and Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles takes us behind the scenes in his studio for an inside look at how he runs an editorial photo shoot.

Camera & Lens Selection

For this shoot, Quiles uses the Sony Alpha 1 paired with the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G lens. “For studio stuff, I love using this camera because you get that high resolution, really clean image,” he explains. “Autofocus is great. Obviously this is the king of the Sony hill so I’m cheating a little bit, I want to get some good shots – the Alpha 1 makes it easy.”

He continues, “On the lens side of things, I’m shooting this with the 24-105mm G-series lens. Awesome lens for shooting studio stuff like this because I can get those wide shots. Again we’re going for an editorial vibe, so some of the shots I’m going to get are going to be full body. He’s seated on this apple box, which we’ll talk about in a second, but I can do the full body, do the close-up, portraits, headshots – all of that with just one lens. When you’re shooting this type of look and you’re trying to do it quickly, you really don’t want to have to keep switching lenses. 24-105mm gets the job done – very sharp lens.” 

Lighting Setup

The lighting in Quiles' studio is a simple two-light setup, two Profoto D2 1000-watt strobes, but he says not to get too caught up in what he uses because you could really use anything. His main light has a 7-foot umbrella with a silver interior to get soft lighting. Behind the model is his second light that goes into a small silver umbrella to act as a separation light. “You could probably get away with a one light setup, you don’t have to have that,” he explains. “You could just simply have one light with a big light source like this 7-foot umbrella and you’re pretty much good to go.”

Camera Settings

To help give an editorial vibe, Quiles has his subject sit on an apple box in front of a hand-painted, textured background. He sets his camera and lands on these settings – 1/160-sec, f/8, ISO 100. “Those settings that I’ve dialed into the camera, those are not going to change,” he explains. “That’s going to stay pretty much where it needs to be. That’s what the ambient light in this room would be, it’s going to completely underexpose whatever lights in this studio. So you won’t see anything at f/8, 1/160, ISO 100.”

He continues, “Where the magic comes in is, when you start bringing in your lights. So bringing in this main light, I’ve got it dialed into a 6.3 right now. Again, don’t pay too much attention to that because depending on the modifier you’re using, you might have a totally different setting. But for me, right now, 6.3 for my main light. I’m going to dial in that main light and make sure it looks exactly the way I want it to look. Once I have that dialed in, I turn on my back light. Right now that’s currently set to 4.8, and all that’s doing is creating a little bit of an edge light so that way he’s not blending into the background.”

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