October 31, 2012

multiple speedlite portrait setup using Rogue Flashbenders

The PDN Photo Plus Expo in New York took place last week. As always, it’s it’s always a bit of a head-rush walking around, overwhelmed by all the photography goodies and people. Of course, you’ll inevitably bump into old friends and catch up a bit. One of them, is Michael Corsentino who I met during the After Dark photo conventions. (Sadly, the After Dark events have been put on indefinite hold.)

Not only is Michael Corsentino a pre-eminent wedding photographer in San Francisco, but has also written a book – the Canon Speedlite System Digital Field Guide (Amazon). If you like his style, follow him on Twitter @corsentino

When I randomly saw this photograph later on on his FB feed, my reaction was … damn!

He had photographed Anelisa at the Rogue Flashbenders stand for a demo. So I was curious about the exact lighting setup, and asked him if I could repost it here, along with an explanation and the lighting diagram …

Michael used multiple Canon 600EX-RT speedlites (vendor) and Rogue Flashbenders for this portrait.

camera settiings:  1/125 @ f10 @ 100 ISO
Canon 5D Mark III;   Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II @ 65mm

The set up with the 4 Speedlights positioned and modified as follows:



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{ 14 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Van October 31, 2012 at 6:03 am

Neil… great shot, pose and lighting! I thought you used Nikon cameras? I notice more often now Canon equipment, did you change?


2 Neil vN October 31, 2012 at 7:35 am

Dude .. you need to read the text! This photograph is by Michael Corsentino. (And he shoots with the Canon 5D mark III.)

I do have a small Canon system still since I need to be au fait with the Canon system and specifically their flash system. The reason I need to be very familiar with Canon, is for my workshops, and also to be able to answer questions here.

But for various reasons, Nikon is, and will remain, my dominant system that I use. Especially for professional shoots.


3 Singh October 31, 2012 at 8:43 am

What was the metered exposure f number for each light at the subject location and the f number set on lens? I am trying to understand the lighting ratio of all 4 lights. Thanks in advance

Sanjib Singh


4 Neil vN October 31, 2012 at 11:37 am

Sanjib .. I added the EXIF data and some details to the text now.

For the other specifics, I’ll let Michael reply.


5 Wendy Roeber October 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Hi Neil,
I’ve never written before – it’s about time I did it now. Firstly, the shot above is impressive, but Anelisa looks much older than she does when you photograph her!!
Secondly, your site is my bible – I have learnt so much from you. Thank you.
regards Wendy


6 Michael Corsentino October 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Hey Neil, Thanks for posting one of the images I created during the series of ExpoImaging Rogue Speedlite modifier demos I did this past week at PhotoPlus. I hope everyone in the New York is ok and recovering from the effects of Sandy.

Regarding the ratios I can tell you this, all were set in ettl mode, the key light was f10, the rim lights, background light, and hairlight were controlled intuitively using the Canon ST-E3-RT wireless controller. I started with everything at 1/1 and dialed in what looked good. The rims & hair light ended up at about 1/2 power, and the background light was +1 I believe.

Hope that helps ;-)


7 RJ October 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Nice enough image but those shadows on her neck, next to her eye and ear are unattractive IMO. Those Rogue speed light accessories do seem to work well. I would not mind having a couple of the grids.


8 Neil vN October 31, 2012 at 10:00 pm

RJ … possibly so. But as in nearly everything I post here … there is something to be learnt, one way or another.

And this style of lighting is so different from my own, that I was immediately curious how it was done.

One thing to keep in mind here as well, is that this was done as a demo at a photo trade show booth. There isn’t as much chance to finesse the actual final in-camera image. So for all that, I do think this image excels.


9 RJ October 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Neil, I agree.


10 Mic Ty November 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Neil and Michael, thanks for sharing the setup for this awesome portrait. Got a question: I would have thought that the position of the key light in the lighting diagram would produce a broad light instead of a short light as seen in the shot. Was the key light further back or off to the side than as shown in the diagram? Thank you very much in advance.

Best regards,


11 Michael Corsentino November 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Hi Mic, Thanks for your kind words and question. The key may have been further to the right than shown. The position of model in relation to the light also plays an important role. If she turns a little more to toward the light it becomes short light ;-)


12 ALM November 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hi guys….I typically emulate Neil’s style and keep things simple with one off camera speedlight and softbox using Cactus 5 radio triggers. I’m wondering about this setup using 4 speedlights….even in ttl mode it seems like it would take a fair amount of time to tweak the settings for each flash to get the overall exposure you are looking for and slow down the session.



13 Anthony Bridges November 3, 2012 at 10:46 am

Very impressive. If you shoot events, you WILL have more than one flash gun as backup(s). This appears a lot less laborious to put together even if you’re adjusting flash heads manually with a 580ex or sb900.


14 OC Mike November 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Neil & Michael, this is stunning. Simply stunning. I like the shadows on her sweater. Her skin tone is so warm. Do you know why? The camera left rim light befuddles me, it appears to have created that white vertical line in Anna Lisa’s hair, why isn’t it a incident angle refraction thingy to the camera lens? I’d have expected a spot there? Awesome :-):-):-)


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