I'm after a fool-proof way I can get some thumbnails of people for a corporate intranet.

We've had professional shots done for most, but as new people are starting we're taking shots (with an iPhone!) of new people and they look rubbish.

I suspect much of the issue is down to lighting. Is there a basic setup I can get to enable us to get half decent shots of people? Needs to be relatively easy to collapse and store when not in use.

Also, any ideas on what sort of camera? Again - we're doing it on the cheap! The images are only 100px x 100px so we don't need anything spectacular.


1 Answer 1


You're correct that the lighting is probably the problem here. Camera phones can take some amazing photos with proper light.

Cheap is my favorite approach to lighting. Pick up some clamp lights (cheapest) or some shop lights (little more expensive, but brighter). Both can be positioned easily. If you're going to use more than one light source (which you should), make sure they are the same color temperature (don't mix and match halogen, CFL, etc).

The advantage of a constant light source is that it doesn't require you to sync a flash of any type. The disadvantage is that the light is significantly less than dedicated flashes, so a longer shutter time is required.

If you want to step it up, you can go the strobist route. Find some old flashes that can be triggered by another flash. An SB-26 is very popular for this. You can set these flashes up anywhere as long as there is line-of-site to the camera. By putting them on slave mode, they'll flash when they see a camera flash.

Advantage of this route is much more control over your lighting with a plethora of light modifier options, temperature consistency, and being able to overpower other light sources. Disadvantage is that you're looking at around $100-150/flash and you'll need a camera with a strobe flash (as opposed to a camera phone).

  • \$\begingroup\$ You said SB-24 twice. Is that what you meant? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark
    Feb 15, 2013 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! I meant 24 and 26, but forgot the 24 doesn't have the optical slave. It must be triggered by hotshoe, so not the best option if you don't have a DSLR. I took that one off all-together. SB-26 with the optical slave will work great with a pocket camera flash (just have to turn off red-eye reduction). \$\endgroup\$
    – AndyML
    Feb 15, 2013 at 19:18

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