Last week I was shooting some for my good friends. They were looking for some shots for a Christmas card. We headed to downtown Provo for the shoot. There are some great older buildings to use as a backdrop for portraits. For this shot I used a flash that fired off camera to the right. The flash fired through a translucent umbrella to spread it out more so the light would be very soft.
Here is a diagram of how it was set up:
Lighting Diagram from www.lightingdiagrams.com
Light is the key to photography. Using the off camera flash with an umbrella makes the light directional but there aren't harsh shadows because the light is diffused. With my flash off camera I can only shoot at a 1/200s shutter speed so I adjusted my aperture accordingly and fired a few test shots to make sure everything was dialed in.
For post processing I sharpened the raw file, and adjusted the shadows and highlights just a little bit to get the exposure just how I wanted it. The final step was removing almost all of the saturation, I decided not to do a full black and white process. I kept just a little bit of the color because in this case I thought it was more interesting than straight black and white.
If you want to learn how to shoot with an off camera flash I will cover how to do that in an upcoming post.