On this video, photographer Jay P. Morgan from the Slanted Lens looks at how to shoot a dramatic one light studio portrait on location and how to kill ambient light using external lights and a black and white reflector.
If you want to kill all (or most) of the ambient light what you need to do is to set your camera to it’s lowest ISO, the shutter speed to it’s highest settings that can work with your lighting without blackouts (1/180-1/320 sec is usually the range depending on your gear) and the aperture depending on how much light you have in the environment (on this video Morgan used f/11 but it changes of course). If you need use a background in the back you can use a reflector to block it (white or black).
he rest of the shoot is done with just one light (a grid can help to prevent light spilling to the background (flags can also help).
To be honest we feel that Morgan’s sample shots for this video could have been a bit better (you can still see some of the background and in one photo you can see the pattern of the reflector which means that it was too close to the subject (and/or the aperture wasn’t open wide enough), but the basic ideas are solid.