August 15, 2012
wedding photography: using high ISO and flash to retain ambience at the reception
Chatting with other photographers at the recent WPS convention in Chapel Hill, NC, I was again struck by how there are so many different ways of approaching lighting. In this case, lighting at the wedding reception. The one photographer I was chatting to, set up multiple speedlights around the reception room, and then controls which are fired, from his on-camera Master speedlight. Very impressive.
In recent years, the wedding reception venues where I’ve shot on the East Coast of the USA, have moved away from being the dark-hole large rooms, by adding up-lighting, and making the places generally more vibrant and colorful. Coupled with the astonishing high-ISO capability of the last two generations of cameras, I really haven’t felt the need to set up additional lighting to lift the general light levels, like I would have in the past, as described in this article:
- wedding photography: TTL flash with off-camera manual flash
A wedding from earlier this year, at the same venue … where I was able to effectively light the entire place with just an on-camera speed light.
- bounce flash photography & the inverse square law
By using a higher ISO, and carefully bouncing my flash, I could get away with a much simpler set-up of a single on-camera speedlight.
Here’s an example of a recent wedding, where the reception was in a glass-house style conservatory. By shooting against the DJ’s lights, I was able to NOT have a dark background, but something colorful instead.
March 3, 2012
update: Spinlight 360 – new how-to videos added
Just to let everyone know that the creator of the Spinlight 360 has added five more how-to video clips to the site. This should answer many of the questions on how to use it and how to assemble it.
There is a discount code for readers of the Tangents blog.
More info on the Spinlight 360, and info on how to order one
I’ve recently been using the Spinlight 360 at the weddings that I’ve photographed.
Now onto something … more … um … I have no words really …
February 22, 2012
bounce flash portrait – a consistent technique
WPPI 2012 took place during the past week – as always, a crazy-hectic and exciting event. I once again presented a Master Class at WPPI. But I also took time to present a private mini-workshop to the first 3 people that signed up. We went over a condensed version of my full-day workshop, covering most of the material in the 4-hr long mini-workshop. Like last year, I called on my favorite model in Las Vegas, Shawna. Actually, she has since moved to L.A. but she was quite happy to make the trip back to Las Vegas to be our model.
The start of the practical part of the flash photography workshop is always on-camera bounce flash. For this article, I thought I’d use some of the demo photos, to show that there is a consistent technique here. A consistent approach that guarantees at least a successful basic portrait with nice light and a pleasant background.
February 20, 2012
on-camera flash modifier system – Spinlight 360
For the past few weddings I have photographed, I’ve been testing out a new flash modifier – the Spinlight 360. I’ve been putting it through its paces, checking whether I like it and whether it would hold up during actual shooting of an event. And I do. So *this* post is the public premiere of this device. The auspicious announcement of the Spinlight 360
Instead of just diffusing flash, or having a bounce card, the Spinlight 360 also encompasses the idea behind the black foamie thing – that it is all about the direction of light, not just how your flash’s light is dispersed from on top of your camera.
I’ve had many people suggest I should sell the black foamie thing, but for me the BFT has always been about the technique, rather than the actual device. And I loved that it was so cheap and easily crafted. But it has its limitations when there is nothing to bounce your flash off, and you really need a bounce card to act as a larger surface to create softer light. Also, the BFT wasn’t easy to adjust from horizontal to vertical position. But with the Spinlight 360, you can easily rotate the black card which flags your flash. It is flexible and adaptable.
So here it is – a versatile modular on-camera flash modifier.
More info on the Spinlight 360, and info on how to order one.
February 8, 2012
materials for the black foamie thing / black foamy thing
As regular readers of the Tangents blog know, I use the black foamie thing (BFT) as a truly inexpensive flash modifier to flag my on-camera flash to give me lighting indoors that truly look nothing like on-camera flash. The BFT consists of a small piece of black foam held in place by two hair bands. Simplicity itself.
I’m frequently asked where the black foam can be sourced … well, here are the Amazon affiliate links to order the black foam, as well as hair bands.
I have also added a page with links to all the articles relating to the black foamie thing.
Of course, there is also a Facebook fan page for the black foamie thing.
If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies. Thank you!
February 1, 2012
bounce flash photography & the inverse square law
After you’re done noticing the decorated candles that the bride is holding while dancing with the groom (a tradition in Palestinian weddings), you may well notice how evenly lit this photograph is – from foreground to background.
The people visible in the background seen there between the bride and the groom, are nearly as well lit as the bride and groom. Because this was on-camera bounce flash, the background will be brighter than may have been anticipated. If I had used direct flash, or flash with a diffuser cup or bounce card, my background would’ve been much darker. This is because when we bounce flash behind us, the Inverse Square Law works for us.
This gets interesting, but hopefully we can make it less complicated than the topic often appears. So hang in there …
January 10, 2012
wedding photography – using bounce flash outside
When working with a couple during the romantic portrait session, there’s the need to bring variety to the images – not just in posing and composition, but also in terms of light & lighting. For this reason I use a variety – available light; video light; off-camera flash and on-camera bounce flash. I really like using on-camera bounce flash since it is such an easy light source to use, always at hand. There was a recent article on using bounce flash outdoors, but I’d like to add another example where I used bounce flash outside a wedding venue. Let’s look at the sequence of images …
April 12, 2011
New to flash photography? Start here!
In preparing the material for the just-completed webinar, Don’t Fear Your Flash, I had given some thought to where I should start with the material. Flash photography on one level is so simple once you “get it” … but from the outside, it can look intimidating and complex. I feel that flash photography is one of those subjects which start to make sense once you grasp a bunch-of-things simultaneously. But how to explain it all at once so that it makes sense?
So I wondered about where exactly I should start the material for the webinar. What should I start a seminar with when I have a 90 minute time limit? Camera settings? Aperture, ISO and shutter speed settings? Manual flash vs TTL flash? Metering for flash and ambient light?
During a test run with the Clickin Moms team who had arranged and hosted the webinar, I had to check voice levels, and was told to say something. I just started riffing on the idea of starting the webinar … and as I said, “where do we even start?” to the imagined audience, it hit me .. that’s exactly what we need to do. We just have to start. We just have to take those first photos!
We can spend too much time caught up in first trying to understand all the technical aspects and all the nuances of lighting. We can be too intimidated by all that to actually use a flash … when all we need to do as a start, is to actually start using the flash!
February 2, 2009
a question about exposure metering & TTL flash
A question I was asked in an email about exposure metering in relation to flash, and I want to reply to it here and perhaps help others as well.
Let’s say I use M mode and have adjust my aperture and shutter speed so that my meter indicator have returned to zero. At this point I know at least i have “correct exposure”. I would either choose to over expose and under expose depend on circumstances.
My question is, will my picture get over exposed if fire my strobe even thought my indicator already point to zero ? I have no idea how should I integrate flash setting into my routine I always use when in M mode. I did not see u mentioning about the exposure indicator in your blog.
This is a tough one to give a definitive answer to. Firstly, simply dialing your camera’s meter to zero doesn’t necessarily mean your exposure is correct. My pages on exposure metering explain some of this. Sometimes your camera’s meter need to show over, or sometimes under, for you to have correct exposure. The essential concept here is that you need to expose for your subject or a specific part of your scene.
One of the instances where just zeroing your camera’s meter would very likely not give you correct exposure, would be with a strongly back-lit scene. What makes it even more difficult is that the camera’s meter could then show you different settings depending on your composition. If you zoom in and out or shoot vertically or horizontally, your camera’s meter will tell you different things.
So let’s look at the photo at the top as an example and see where it leads us …
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October 25, 2007
directional light from your on-camera bounce flash
Most often when photographers start using their flashguns out of the directly-forward position, they move the flash head to point 45’ or 90’ upward. The idea here is to bounce flash off the ceiling. Even though this is an improvement in most cases over using the flashgun pointing directly forward, this is also most often not ideal. We can improve on this.
If we consider how studio lights are set up, we’ll rarely see a light source directly overhead of our subject. Top lighting just isn’t as flattering as light coming in from an angle to the subject. And in the same way, why would we want to bounce flash directly overhead of our subjects?
The subtitle of this post should be: You don’t really need that Lightsphere .
(Or whatever is the flavor of light modifier for this particular month.)
We need to consider the direction of our light carefully. This is one of the areas in which we can really set ourselves apart as photographers – by carefully choosing the direction our light falls onto our subject, we can control the mood of the photograph completely.
We have to think of the actual area that we’re bouncing light off, as our light source – and not of the flashgun as our light source.