Brett Martin

BTS: Todd’s Portrait

I’ll be posting Behind the scenes photos, lighting diagrams, and notes from some of my past photo shoots so you can see what goes into the images I create. Some are very simple and others require weeks of planning. I’ll start with this photo of my friend and fellow photographer Todd of Todd Tkach Photography.


Todd came into town from Pittsburgh to attend a photo workshop with me. After the workshop we started playing around with off-camera flash and I showed him how I used speed lights to create my portraits. I connected my camera to my laptop and the laptop to the living room TV so while we shot Todd could see the images in real time. I try to shoot “tethered” to my laptop whenever possible to allow clients to see the results in real time and to catch small errors like hand position or make sure focus is perfect.


Since we were just playing around I asked Todd to step in front of the camera and soon noticed this was a great opportunity to take a spontaneous portrait. We were playing around with color temperature and balancing the flashes with the ambient light. Being from Pittsburg, Todd is a fan of Black and Yellow so I decided to shift the color balance of the ambient to a warm yellow which would contrast with the shadows on his face.


For the final shot, Todd’s head was directly in front of a lamp which produced a strong halo of light around him. I used a gridded beauty dish very close to Todd’s forehead to give him a strong edges to his face and highlight texture. I’m very happy with the final result considering the entire shoot took about 10 minutes.



I have a passion for designing and building things as well as finding unique solutions to problems. I love creating and sharing through photography and video