Tech info from the last photo shoot

Ever since Lola posted pictures from the Erica and Brett Engagement Photoshoot, we have been receiving emails from our readers, asking us what kind of equipment Lola and I used and how those pictures were taken. In this quick post, I will go through some of the images and explain how they were taken and what gear we used for the session.

Here is what we took with us to the photo shoot:

  1. Nikon D3s with Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G – my setup, only used one lens
  2. Nikon D700 with Nikon 50mm f/1.4G – Lola’s setup, she doesn’t like heavy gear
  3. 3x Nikon SB-900 Flash Units
  4. 4x PocketWizard Plus II Units
  5. 2x Manfrotto Light Stands with adapters
  6. Westcott 60″ umbrella
  7. Apollo Mono 28″x28″ softbox
  8. Various Honl snoots and grids

Now let’s start from the very first image:


NIKON D3S @ 24mm, ISO 200, 1/160, f/4.0

Believe it or not, but this image is actually the result of an accident :) Lola slightly moved the softbox to take a quick shot in ambient light and I fired right afterwards, not knowing what was going on. The result – the light only concentrated on Erica’s side. I normally delete these kinds of “accidents” on the scene, but for some reason I didn’t this time. Lesson learned – I won’t be deleting pictures during photo shoots anymore :)

The setup was very simple – a single SB-900 mounted on the 28×28 Westcott softbox (positioned to the right), triggered by a PocketWizard on the D3s. I used the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens @ 24mm, f/4.0, 1/160, ISO 200.


The next image above was taken with two external strobes – one positioned to the left of Brett and one behind and to the right of him, pointing at both Brett and Erica. The first flash was set to 1/4th of power and the second one was set to 1/64th power, both triggered by PocketWizard units. Shot with Nikon D700 + Nikon 50mm f/1.4G @ f/2.8, 1/200, ISO 200.


NIKON D3S @ 34mm, ISO 400, 1/200, f/4.0

Similar setup as the previous shot, with the main light @ 1/4th of power in the front and a back light @ 1/16th of power. Shot with Nikon D3s + Nikon 24-70mm @ 35mm, f/4, 1/200, ISO 400.


PocketWizard Plus II units cannot handle sync speeds above 1/200th of a second, so for this particular shot, I had to rely on Nikon’s CLS. I mounted one SB-900 on my D3s, set it as a master with no power pointing to another SB-900 slave mounted on the 60″ Westcott umbrella, set to full power. Needed to get a relatively good depth of field, so set the aperture to f/5.6. Shooting at 1/2000th of a second to freeze motion requires a lot of light, so I had to bump up camera ISO to 3200 on the D3s, since I was already at full power on the main light. The second flash was set to 1/16th of power, behind Brett, pointing at Erica’s face using a Honl snoot.

The pool shots were taken with two flash units (main and back light).


NIKON D3S @ 27mm, ISO 400, 1/100, f/4.0

The main light was positioned to the right of me, set to 1/4th of power. Another strobe was set up at 1/2th of power on a long snoot, pointing at Erica from a distance. Both triggered by Pocketwizard Plus II units. Shot with Nikon D3s + Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G @ 28mm, f/4.0, 1/100, ISO 400.


This lovely shot of Erica was taken with the Nikon D700 + Nikon 50mm f/1.4G using ambient light. Lola positioned Erica very close to a window, shot in Aperture Priority mode @ f/1.4, 1/640, ISO 200. I just love the sharpness of the 50mm f/1.4G wide open @ f/1.4, much better than the 50mm f/1.4D!


NIKON D3S @ 24mm, ISO 400, 1/1000, f/8.0

It was too windy to shoot with a flash outside, so the above shot was taken with the D3s + 24-70mm with me laying on the ground, shot at f/8, 1/1000, ISO 400 to freeze motion.

The black and white pictures were taken in ambient light with the D700 + 50mm f/1.4G.

Please let us know if you have any questions!


  1. June 6, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Nice shots Nasim, I’m sure they will cherish them.

  2. 2) Kevin
    June 6, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Exactly what I was looking for, thank you Nasim!

  3. 3) Ding
    June 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    You captured the special moment as shown in their facial expressions. The lighting was phenomenal!

    • June 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm

      Thank you Ding, appreciate your feedback! :)

  4. July 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Excellent tip… :) Thanks for sharing Nasim…

    I’m sad I don’t have all the proper equipments yet to make my Photo Shoot most effective…. but I am sure I can survive… I have the Nikon D3S now with 2 SB900s.

    We still have a long way to go….. But I’m sure we will get there…

  5. February 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Wonderful lessons! PInned it on my pinterest page!

Comment Policy: Although our team at Photography Life encourages all readers to actively participate in discussions, we reserve the right to delete / modify any content that does not comply with our Code of Conduct, or do not meet the high editorial standards of the published material.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <i> <s>