flash photography: overpowering the sun with flash
The sunlight on Coney Island was pretty harsh during this photo session with Sarah and Mark, and I needed to / wanted to clean up the sun’s harsh shadows with flash.
Since the Sunny 16 rule has it that broad daylight is in the order of 1/250th @ f11 @ 100 ISO … you’d either have to shoot with a bare speedlight, (which, as a small light source, will cause hard shadows) .. or use a much more powerful strobe with a softbox.
For this image I used the Profoto AcuteB 600R lighting kit (B&H) with 2×3 Profoto softbox off to my right, adding flash at full power. I placed the softbox and flash to come in from the same direction as the sunlight, adding as much light as the sun. The intention is to clean up the shadows caused by the sunlight, and because I am then under-exposing the background by a stop .. thereby also saturating the sky.
settings: 1/250th @ 160 ISO @ f22
(And yes, I can see the effects of diffraction at that aperture. There’s definitely more softness than I would’ve had at f8 or so. Next time I’ll try a ND filter, and see how that works out. As for the amount of dust bunnies that rear their ugly little heads at f22 .. ouch! Mucho cloning and spot healing brush. And I thought I was fussy about keeping my sensor clean!)
In addition to cleaning up the dust spots, I also removed some people in the background and removed the reflection of the softbox that appeared in Mark’s sunglasses. The image then had a little bit of extra sweetening done to it with some Photoshop fairy dust that I sprinkled over it.
For those who would like to see the image directly out of the RAW converter ..
- controlling bright daylight w/ direct off-camera flash (model: Molly K)
- getting the most power from your flash / speedlite / speedlight (model: Shawna)
- overpowering the sun with off-camera flash – what are my settings?
- overpowering hard sunlight with flash (model: Johannie)
- using direct off-camera flash (model: Lea)
- off-camera fill flash in bright sunlight (Nicholas)
- wedding photography – shooting in bright sunlight (Bridget & Matt)
photo gear (or equivalents) used during this photo session