Lately I have become addicted to using more and more speedlites on my shoots in order to have complete control of the lighting that I want to achieve. Products like my wireless flash triggers and YN560 flashes have finally made having 2,3 or even 4 speedlites actually affordable. In this article we will look at one simple example of a shot that I wanted to get but simply wasnâ€™t really possible (in-camera) to do with a single light.
During this article we will start with an on-camera flash and build up to a three-light setup.
I often get asked to do portrait shots during local charity events and getting a simple lighting setup is the key to having a successful event. If you just use on-camera flash you will get very flat lighting which isn’t going to make the people look very good plus it also makes harsh shadows behind them. What you really want is some good directional lighting from one side with just enough fill light to reduce shadowing on the other side. In this article we are going to look at the basic lighting setup I use for these types of portraits and how it works.
For many people the thought of taking their flash off of eTTL/iTTL mode is as intimidating as BASE jumping off a bridge, this is because they haven’t even fully mastered these automatic settings yet. The fact is, eTTL (Canon) and iTTL (Nikon) modes do work pretty good most of the time. However, there are two basic issues that these modes suffer from that there is simply no way to avoid. First off, the camera/flash doesn’t know what you are trying to accomplish, it will simply attempt to get a good exposure based on what the camera is seeing which may or may not be how you are trying to light the scene. Secondly, the metering modes can be confused by what the light is pointing at, this can result in over-exposed or under-exposed images. In this first part of our Mastering Your Flash 101 Series, we will address these two issues and learn to fine tune what our flash is doing.
What is a snoot? Simply put, a snoot is a tubular structure that is used to limit the throw of a light source to create a narrow beam of light. While commercial snoots are actually pretty affordable, from $14 to about $20, so why would we want to make our own? Because we know what we want and because for $20 we can make a dozen or more experimental ones and end up with a handful that we could use in different situations. So guys. go break into the wife’s scrapbooking supplies and get ready to make your own customized flash snoot.
Along with dissecting different photo shoots like we have done in the past, we are now beginning a new “Lighting Basics” series that will start with a single light source and work up through multiple lights and advanced lighting techniques. Today we will start with a single flash and show how to make the most of an on-camera flash, an off-camera light, and how reflectors can make it appear as if you have more light sources.