One Light Portrait

Yesterday, I was contracted to shoot a portrait for a newspaper article. I arrived to the location at around 11 AM (basically the worst time to shoot outdoors). I considered taking the subject outdoors and overpowering the harsh overhead sunlight with a speed light flash. When I arrived none of the outdoor scenery was grabbing me too much. Instead, I set up a stand and speed light with a shoot through umbrella in about a 3 foot space inside the subject's apartment. I considered using a larger reflective umbrella, but I find the reflective umbrella gives me a more direct, harsh, and focused light compared to a shoot-through. Since I was dealing with an older subject, harsh light would not have been very flattering. Plus, the shoot-through threw more light behind the subject giving the scene more context than a darker background would've. I placed the small umbrella about 1.25 ft from the subject. This allowed the light source to be as large and therefore as soft as possible. I was also using a new addition to my kit, which was a TTL flash. Just for fun, I thought I would let the flash do its thing and figure out the settings for me. The first test shots were a bit bright so I set the flash compensation down a notch. Perfect! I chose to use a 50mm lens because my working distance was so short. Ideally if I had more space I would have used an 85mm to get a bit more compression. With Lightroom profile corrections, the 50mm actually worked out well. Another concern was that the subject was wearing glasses. I find with glasses, often the camera focuses on the glasses' lenses instead of the subject's eyes, so instead of going for shortest possible depth of field, I set the lens to f/2.8 to ensure I could nail focus. All in all it took about 2 minutes to set this up with radio flash triggers. Goes to show it doesn't take much to get the flash off the camera, and get a much better simple portrait.