April 16, 2013
photo session: adding off-camera flash to bright daylight
Someone emailed me to ask a few technical details about this family photo session. How did you expose for the family photos? Was a soft-box used? Or did you expose for the shadows and use fill flash? For those who regularly follow the Tangents blog, the thought-process here should be familiar. Let’s take a walk through the process.
As described in the article, controlling bright daylight w/ direct off-camera flash, when trying to over-power the sun with flash, the best algorithm is usually:
- maximum flash sync speed,
- lowest ISO,
- find the aperture for your brightest area that you want to expose correctly for,
at that specific shutter speed and ISO.
Because the sun was hard, and high up already, the best start was to have their backs to the sun. This ensured no one would be squinting, and that I’d have a fighting chance with the single Nikon SB-910 Speedlight (B&H) inside the Lastolite EZYBOX 24×24″ softbox (B&H) as the light-source I could directly control.
January 9, 2013
bouncing your on-camera flash behind you
A comment posted to the article, directional light from your on-camera flash, asked a lot of questions about bounce flash photography. While most of these have been answered over time in various articles, it might be a good thing to pull it all together in directly answering those questions here.
An uncomplicated portrait of Anelisa that shows the specific elements that I work toward with bounce flash:
- catchlights in the eyes
- directional light which can be observed here as that gradient of light across her cheek
- no hard shadows from direct flash
I most often do this by bouncing my flash behind me, or towards the side.
January 7, 2013
shooting solo with off-camera flash
Yup, that’s me all crouching tiger there with a camera and an off-camera flash setup. I had planned on photographing Jessica Joy in the studio while she was here, but since she’d never been to New York before, we had to make a trip in. I wanted to do a few sequences on location in Manhattan.
The ethos and approach of The Sartorialist, has fascinated me ever since I became aware of his blog. Working in a very simple way with just a camera and an 85mm lens, he captures people on the street, showing the way they decide to clothe themselves for public view. Anyone can be his subject, from the most Fashion conscious to blue-collar laborers. Here is the Youtube clip that tells you more about the way he works.
I’ve taken some of this in how I photograph models on location. Obviously more controlled and directed than approaching and photographing strangers on the street. Still, it’s been an influence on me.
Making a day-trip out of it to New York with Jessica, I thought I’d keep this way of shooting as a direction to myself. I also knew I’d like to use off-camera flash. It gets dark very quickly in wintertime, and the shaded side of buildings can be in a deep gloom. Off-camera flash would help! But the person who I had arranged with to come along and help, had an unforeseen crisis and contacted me the night before, to tell me he couldn’t make it. So I had to plan how I’d best go about this solo.
October 8, 2012
wedding photography – improving your shooting workflow
As a companion piece to the previous two articles - tips & advice for second shooters at weddings, and improving your technique - I want to offer some advice on shooting workflow. Not post-production workflow, but rather some things to look out for while shooting. A comment to the previous post, tips for 2nd shooters – improving your technique, mentioned that the tips were just as relevant for any area of photography. And that is true.
The same goes for this article mainly intended to help 2nd photographers improve their shooting workflow. The techniques here are applicable to any field or level of photography. I feel so strongly about the advice here, that I’d go as far to say that the further anyone strays from these, the greater the chances of mishaps or even catastrophic problems.
April 24, 2012
best photography tips
There are numerous tips and ideas in photography that helped me improve as a photographer over the years. This came via magazines and books and other photographers. Many sources.
One of the best tips that helped me develop a style over time – when using a zoom lens, zoom to the longest focal length, and then frame your shot by walking forward or back, to where you have the composition that you want.
Doing so will result in the most compression in the image, helping to isolate my subject against an out-of-focus background. (Of course, using a long lens with a wide aperture makes the difference here.) I touched on this topic with a recent article: composition for full-length portraits – step back!
I would like to hear from other readers of the Tangents blog, what their best or favorite photography tips are.
And we’ll make it a contest for the best entry.
The contest has now closed, and a winner has been announced – check my comment #190
April 11, 2012
photographing in bright sunlight – find the shade!
Hard sunlight must be one of the most difficult lighting scenarios to work under. But with a bit of thought, we can work around it and still easily get photos that look great. It’s a topic that we’ve touched on a number of times on the Tangents blog, (see related articles at the end here). The simplest approach for me though, is where I can, is to just not deal with the hard sunlight. I find shade.
February 6, 2012
composition for full-length portraits – step back instead of zooming wide
A comment in the article on a simple lighting setup for the family formal photos, asked why I recommended that a photographer should step back rather than zoom wide when photographing a group. The reason is that the perspective distortion that a wide-angle lens will give to your subject, is not all that flattering.
December 22, 2011
off-camera flash photography tip – find your background, then your settings
With flash photography on location, we nearly always start off by figuring out what we want to do in relation to our available light. We might just need fill-flash, or or flash might need to do the “heavy lifting” and expose correctly for our subject in relation to the available light.
When we have our subject in (relative) shade, and need to figure out our flash exposure, we also need to decide exactly what our background is. It usually works best to be specific about our background … and how we position ourselves and our subject in relation to that.
So let’s run through that thought-process, using the image at the top. Alex was our delightful model today during an individual workshop in Manhattan.
Older Posts »
December 12, 2011
back-lighting with flash for dramatic silhouetted wedding portraits
One of the easiest ways to create dramatic light for a silhouette when photographing the wedding portraits, is to add a flash behind the couple. The beauty of this is that there is a fair amount of leeway as to what would work. We need not be all that exact, but there are some a few things we should check …