October 31, 2012
multiple speedlite portrait setup using Rogue Flashbenders
The PDN Photo Plus Expo in New York took place last week. As always, it’s it’s always a bit of a head-rush walking around, overwhelmed by all the photography goodies and people. Of course, you’ll inevitably bump into old friends and catch up a bit. One of them, is Michael Corsentino who I met during the After Dark photo conventions. (Sadly, the After Dark events have been put on indefinite hold.)
Not only is Michael Corsentino a pre-eminent wedding photographer in San Francisco, but has also written a book – the Canon Speedlite System Digital Field Guide (Amazon). If you like his style, follow him on Twitter @corsentino
When I randomly saw this photograph later on on his FB feed, my reaction was … damn!
He had photographed Anelisa at the Rogue Flashbenders stand for a demo. So I was curious about the exact lighting setup, and asked him if I could repost it here, along with an explanation and the lighting diagram …
October 29, 2012
photo shoot & off-camera flash – making the background count
I got a call from Michael Saab of the Modern Gypsies to let me know that they were performing in a night-club in Manhattan, and would I be interested in doing some promotional photos for them? Of course! Other photo sessions with the Modern Gypsies were all energizing experiences. (The Modern Gypsies also featured in my book, off-camera flash.) Working with creative people always fuels the creative spark.
At the night-club, I looked around for interesting areas I could shoot some portraits. I felt this curving passage-way could be a complementary background for this one outfit. But it took a few test-shots and adjustments to get where I wanted to be …
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 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 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 5, 2012
off-camera flash in low light – choosing your shutter speed
In the article on maximum flash sync speed, a question came up whether this is where we’d be at even in low light.
The answer is, that we’d most likely be at a shutter speed where the ambient light shows up. To remain at max flash sync speed in low light, isn’t the immediate best choice, for the background would usually go too dark. And we would like context. Our photographs usually look best with our subject in surroundings we can recognize, or complements our subject in some way.
Regarding our choice of max flash sync speed, this is the best go-to camera setting when you use flash in bright ambient light. High-speed flash sync kills too much of our flash output, to be our first choice, unless we are specifically chasing the higher shutter speeds or wider apertures. If you use a softbox or umbrella (or some light modifier) with high-speed flash, then you stand the risk of the flash simply not being able to pump out enough light to match the bright light. For this, generally our sweet spot is maximum flash sync speed.
Shutter speed choice when using flash, will vary depending on what we’re photographing, or trying to achieve. In low light, we’re most often dragging the shutter. But we have to be able to adapt what we do, against what we’re trying to achieve with our photos.
As recap example of using flash in low light, let’s have a closer look at the top image:
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May 29, 2012
review: Impact Quikbox Softbox (24 x 24″)
My favorite diffuser / modifier for off-camera flash, is the Lastolite Ezybox 24×24 for speed lights. It features a lot on the Tangents blog, as well as my book, off-camera flash photography. It’s easy to use and super-easy to set up. And in its original configuration, folds up to a surprisingly small bundle.
The good news for photographers who have been curious about the Lastolite Ezybox, is that Impact now makes a softbox – the Impact Quikbox 24×24 softbox (B&H), which is virtually identical, at a lower price.