Off Camera Flash
Firstly I would like to thank Chris and the Upper Blue Mountains Camera Club for inviting me to attend their club meeting and share with them some info on Off Camera Flash and on camera flash. It is always very humbling being able to share with other photographers. There is always a huge wealth of knowledge and diversity of shooting experience in a large group like this. So thanks for the invite!
Ok so lets get down to the lighting. We had to smash out a lot of info in such a short time and quickly snap off some pics so I thought that if I share a few images and key points to each one and what we were doing it might help some that attended.
So we just used one speed light on and off camera, to look at the effects it has and very simple ways to work with it.
This first image was an ambient exposure of Chris and the room. Here we are getting rid of the not so pretty light that is in the room.
We then turned our speed light on and pointed it directly at Chris in TTL (through the lens) mode. The mode of TTL we used was only concerned with exposing for our subject. Subject exposed well so we move on.
Now our aim is to bring in the ambient to balance it with our subject. We did this by using our shutter speed and ISO. We are still in TTL mode. Points to note are that by bringing in the ambient light we are getting the colour of that light too. Mainly in the background however it is now also mixing with our flash illuminating Chris. We also pointed the speed light up and slightly forward to the ceiling to throw light down the back and popped up our bounce card to add a catchlight to the eyes.
Next we turned the speed light backwards over the shoulder and pointed it at the white projector screen. This made for a very large light source which was also white so our flash colour is preserved. Settings were dropped back to the ambient shot. Point to note is that because we were not bringing in the ambient light at all in the image, subject and background are now lit by this large source. Notice the colour of the background compared to the previous image where we were mixing flash and ambient. You can also see the colour come back to a more natural look on the subjects face as it isn’t being changed by an ambient mix. The projector screen could be substituted for a white wall. Remember light picks up the colour cast of the wall or ceiling it is bouncing off. If you look at the reflection in the back door you can see how large this light source actually is. Little speed light turned into a massive light. Beautiful soft light on the subject. Bigger the light source, softer the light.
Moving on we took the flash off camera and bounced it back into an umbrella, if we had time we would have also taken the back off the umbrella and shot through it….next time. So here we were still in TTL mode, umbrella was close to subject and we were off the background. We briefly…really briefly discussed the inverse square law. The light dropped off quickly which turned our white background grey. Looks fine if you want a grey background and it also gives a nice natural vignette from light fall off. If we kept moving back away from the background we could have turned the white background into a black background.
Next was to have the background white. This meant we needed Chris to be close to the background so our flash would light subject and background. We also put our flash into manual mode and set the output so regardless of our camera settings it would remain constant in the sense TTL was not engaged. Umbrella and flash were in the same position to subject as the previous image. However this gave us a whiter background, but due to the subjects proximity to the background we introduced a shadow.
We then moved the light to the front and above Chris to eliminate the shadow from the background.
Quick recap, we are in manual flash mode so the flash output remains constant. To make our background whiter and our subject pop I changed the aperture which changed the effect of the flash not the actual power on the speed light. In these white background examples our image with flash off would have been black. The only light on the background and subject is from the speed light bouncing from the umbrella. There is no ambient light interfering.
For our final image we added a translucent reflector from underneath Chris which filled in harsh shadows. In both images look at the shadow under the collar and under the eyes. Very simple setup which achieves nice key and fill light, a white background and all done with one speed light, umbrella and a reflector.
So a few things to keep in mind. There is no right or wrong way to work with light. It’s about creating a shot that you want and having control over the highlights and the shadows. Some scenes and people really benefit from harsh shadows. By increasing shadows you increase drama. So pull out the speed light and have a crack. Here is a list of the gear I used for the night
- Light stand
- Umbrella adapter with a cold shoe for the speed light
- Nikon D810…thats for the canon shooters 🙂
- Nikon SB5000…as above
- Lastolite Triflip 8:1 kit
Don’t forget its not the gear that takes the photo its the photographer. You could give me the best oven in the world and I would still manage to burn water 🙂
Hopefully this blog will help refresh your memories and cement some of the basic concepts we discussed on the night.
Thanks again to Chris and the Upper Blue Mountains Camera Club for having me along to play with light.
We also run a creative lighting workshop on location in the Blue Mountains and in our studio. Jump over to our Photography Courses page and take a look at whats coming up. Our one on one training sessions in Sydney the Blue Mountains or the beach will enable you to shoot like a pro with Off Camera Flash.
There is nothing that comes close to playing with light when it comes to photography. In essence we are capturing light. Its fun, achievable and my job is to get you to understand, control, manipulate and have a professional photographers awareness of light and Off Camera Flash.
God created the light, I just paint with it!
There is also nothing better than having a one on one course with me so we can discuss and work on your specific requirements and guide you to get exactly what you want to achieve with your images and lighting possibilities.
Contact me on 0405 806 951 or check out my website to discuss your needs and the results you specifically want to achieve with Off Camera Flash or any other genre of Photography.
There is an innate need in people to be drawn to light, so let me teach you how to capture light and create amazing images. Its simple, easy and the concepts I teach will astound you.
I will give you my utmost attention,training and share my skill level to create that ‘WOW’ factor that you want to achieve. Otherwise why did you invest in purchasing an amazing camera, regardless of brand or model.
Book today and learn concepts that will enable you to trouble shoot exposures, control light and understand your specific camera. I will help you create the amazing images you want to achieve. Learn great ways to use Off Camera Flash to enhance your images creatively.
I’m here to make that happen! Im here to guide, support and help you get the best out of your camera in the least possible time. Book today and lets get you creating some cracking imagery!
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Off Camera Flash