Happy Valentines Day: I Heart Portraits

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated annually on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus; Valentine’s Day is recognized as a cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world, although it’s not a public holiday in any country.


How I made this shot: Mary and I have fond memories of using early generation Bowens monolights; they were our first really “good” lighting system when originally setting up our studio in 1982. We loved shooting with those big, black paint can-shaped 800B monolights because they were inexpensive, dependable and powerful. Their two-light Gemini 400Rx kit—I only used one of the monolights— used to make today’s photograph, appears to be discontinued although Roberts Camera has one; here’s a link. The updated Bowens Gemini 500R 2-Light Kit is similar and slightly more expensive but can be found here.

Pam Simpson looks great in red and when photographed against a Savage Focus Grey seamless paper backdrop attached to my old and somewhat dependable JTL background support she pops out.

The lighting could not be simpler: This one-light set-up uses an inexpensive 60-inch, white parabolic umbrella mounted in shoot-through mode as the main light and placed at camera right. A 32-inch 5-in-1 collapsible reflector is at camera left serving as fill. Camera uses was a Canon EOS 60D with EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens at 38mm with an exposure of 1/125 sec at f/8 and ISO 100.

If you would like to learn how to shoot better portraits and would like some hands-on training, please check out my 2019 one-on-one workshops.



If you’re interested in learning how I use cameras, lenses and lighting in my in-home studio and on location, please pick up a copy of Studio Lighting Anywhere which is available new from Amazon.com for $21.57 or used for $9.94, as I write this. The Kindle version is $19.99 for those preferring a digital format.