TTL flash for the simplicity and speed
Okay, true strobists might recoil in horror, but I often prefer using TTL flash to sweeten an image when shooting on location. I just get to the final image faster than if I had gone the more methodical route of manual flash.
For some situations, manual flash is the only way to go. For example, when your subject is static in relation to your lights and you have to get consistent lighting, image after image, then manual flash makes the most sense. But for times where you want to shoot faster, and shoot on the run, I find that TTL flash is the easiest and most fun option for me.
This image of Aleona was from a recent individual photography workshop in New York. As a starting point in explaining how to balance flash and ambient light, we initially work with an easy scenario where the available light isn’t harsh, but also not all that exciting. Now we can easily finesse it with a bit of flash from a softbox …
The technique is simple in this case – under-expose slightly for the ambient light. A stop or so. Maybe 2/3rd stop. Just a bit. And then let the TTL flash, diffused by a softbox, pick up the difference in exposure. This screen capture from Bridge will show the same image without flash, and then with flash added.
Of course it helps in using sensible camera settings:
1/200 @ f/4 @ 200 ISO
Canon 5D Mark II; Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II (B&H)
Canon 580EX II speedlite, triggered with RadioPopper PX units,
Lastolite Hot Shoe EZYBOX Softbox Kit (24″x24″) (B&H)
With a multi-shooter setup like a workshop, the RadioPopper PX units turned out to be the most reliable in use.
I wanted a cross-processed look that would help give the photo a more edgy feel. I like these presets since they give me a good starting point for a specific look, and then I can change it however I feel.
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