October 22, 2012
controlling bright sunlight with direct off-camera flash
Working with Molly K as our model during an individual flash photography workshop in New York, we put in action the thought-process when using flash in very bright light. There’s a specific algorithm that gets us to optimal settings.
But, as usual, there’s more to a final image than just the numerical settings on the camera …
October 12, 2012
off-camera flash for a photo session with a Vintage look
Anyone who regularly follows the Tangents blog or has my 2nd book, off-camera flash photography, might recognize Sarah. When she told me she was visiting New York, I made sure that I squeezed in a photo session with her in my schedule. The weather on the day was grey and drizzly … enough reason to juice it up with some off-camera flash. And then play with the images in post-processing a bit …
October 4, 2012
photographing a model on-location: the progression of an idea
As often happens for me when working a model on location, the final photographs are the result of a progression of an idea, rather than a fully-formed idea from the start. With that, I’d like to show how this particular image of Nicole came to be …
August 25, 2012
direct off-camera flash photography – fill-light
I really like using a medium-sized softbox when photographing portraits. A softbox allows me to get soft, directional light pretty much anywhere. The most recent example I showed here, was Lucia and Alvin’s wedding in Central Park, New York. Of course, I do make it easier for myself when using off-camera flash for photo sessions on location - I pick my battles. I don’t try to make *everything* work. Instead, with a photo session where I can control the light and background and setting for my subjects, I can make it easier for myself by not choosing tough lighting scenarios.
With Amy and Clark’s photo session, I brought along my usual set of gear … but left the Lastolite softbox behind. I brought the Lastolite bracket along, and the radio transmitters. Everything but the actual diffusion box to fit over the speedlight. With that, I had to slightly change how I usually work to still get great results that look like my usual style.
August 8, 2012
Alvin & Lucia – their wedding in Central Park, New York
A groom holding up the softbox for me … as you may well guess, there’s a story here.
Alvin and Lucia are from the UK, but decided to get married in Central Park.
Of course, there’s a story here too.
July 15, 2012
wedding photography: portraits of the bride & bridesmaids
Continuing with the theme of photographing great portraits on a wedding day when there aren’t beautiful surroundings: when I have the time at the bride’s house, I will always try to get individual portraits of the bride with each bridesmaid.
I like doing this early in the day already at the bride’s house, because everyone’s energy levels are still up. Everyone is still excited, and emotions are still high. No one is hungry; with shoes that hurt them. So, with that idea in mind, I like getting as many of these portraits “in my pocket” while I can. We may not have the time again later on in the day when the schedule starts to run tight.
In the recent article where I showed how I use a fast telephoto zoom to eliminate background clutter from the image. The shallow depth-of-field throws the background out of focus, and the long focal length compresses perspective. This compressed perspective you get, by shooting at the longest focal length, makes the background “stuff” appear larger, and hence even more out of focus than with a wider lens. Conversely, you can say that the tighter view allows less of the background to appear.
This time I remembered to take a pull-back shot as well, to show where we were:
July 9, 2012
off-camera flash photography: short lighting and broad lighting
“Short Lighting” is when the side of the face turned away from the camera, is better lit than the side of the face closest to the camera. (top image)
“Broad Lighting” is when the side of the face closest to the camera, is better lit. (second image)
This has as much to do with the position of the light, as with how your subject is posed into the light. This is true for studio photography and off-camera flash on location, and for when you photograph a subject with just the available light. As shown in a previous article here, you can easily achieve short lighting with on-camera bounce flash. Of course, with studio photography you can finesse this to a great degree.
With on-location portraits, I aim towards getting short lighting on my subjects, because it is more dramatic, and more flattering. Look at the gradient of light on Anelisa’s cheek in the top photo. This kind of lighting really helps create a near 3-dimensional look to your image.
June 21, 2012
lighting in photography – how complicated does it have to be?
During a lunch-time conversation, a friend told me that she felt intimidated by the on-location flash photography by other photographers. The way to use multiple-flash setups seemed impenetrable to grasp. How would one go about and where do you even start. This made me wonder – just how complicated should photography lighting be? I don’t think it has to be complicated. It just has to be enough.
With on-location photography, my starting point is usually where I consider if I can improve the existing light with flash (or video light). What do I need to add to make it just a little bit better? And does it need something more to make it even better? The final image needs to look good. This is an iterative thought process, rather than a compelling desire that I have to use every flash that I own.
This straight-forward portrait of Anelisa,was taken during an individual workshop in New York. It might be a good example where off-camera flash was used for the tiniest bit of sweetening of the light. A bit of rim-lighting to separate her from the black doorway.
June 20, 2012
Photoshop plug-in for a film look – Nik Color Efex Pro 4
For a part of the individual workshop we did yesterday, Anelisa wore this cute outfit with a bit of a retro look to it. I loved her spontaneous pose here as well. In editing the image, I thought that an “old school” film look to it might suit the final photograph very well.
In previous examples shown here with a vintage look to the photograph, I had used the Totally Rad action sets. This time I wanted a specific film look to it, so I went with Nik Color Efex Pro 4 (B&H). This Photoshop plug-in has a 55 different filters. And of course, I like things which are easy to use.
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June 6, 2012
review: Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter and Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites
In my review of the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, I’ve already raved about the ease of use of the new speedlite – thanks to a menu system that you can follow without having to decipher it via a manual), but mostly because of the built-in radio control of the flash. This elevates the Canon 600EX-RT to a new level. As mentioned in my review, I really think this flashgun will change things in the photo industry. It’s huge.
I’ve only now been able to get hold of the ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter (B&H), to use with the Canon 600EX-RT speedlites, and I am just as impressed.
The main advantages of this controller, is that you can change the flashes’ output directly from your camera. No need to run to and fro between your speedlights to change a flash’ output. And of course, The Big Thing about the new flash system, is the built-in radio control. You’re not limited by line-of-sight anymore, or compelled to buy radio slaves. It is obvious that Canon has done their homework on this puppy. While it is a complex flash system, the Canon ST-E3-RT isn’t a complicated device to use.
To test this system, I used three Canon 600EX-RT speedlites (B&H) and a ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter (B&H) in a photo-shoot. As always, there’s a description of how I used this in the photo session … but more interestingly, a behind-the-scenes video clip of how the Canon 600EX-RT speedlites were set up for this photo shoot.
Filed under: Canon
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— Neil vN @ 5:52 pm
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