video light vs bounce flash
It’s easy enough getting nice clean open light with a single on-camera speedlight when shooting indoors. By bouncing your flash with the idea of getting directional light from your flash, you can effortlessly get portraits like this. As usual, I used the black foamie thing to flag my flash and get more light on the one side of my subject’s face. In this case, more subtly so than some other examples on this site.
We were working in the same location here as shown in the previous article where I photographed Shawna using only the available light that was found. However, for certain photographs I had in mind, it quickly became obvious that a more contained light source than bounce flash would work better. When compared to a light source like a video light, bounce flash tends to flood an indoor location with light, even if directional when you look at your subject. A hand-held video light gave me the type of lighting I wanted …
This photo above is what I had in mind …
… what I got with bounce flash, was this.
As a portrait, it’s not particularly bad, but not particularly interesting either … even with Shawna in the frame. The bounce flash just opened everything too much with a flood of soft light.
With the video light’s dramatic light fall-off to the edges, the previous photograph is more moody and just looks more interesting.
Here is a pull-back shot to show how the video light was held in relation to our model.
Another photograph, taken in the same location, but with a different backdrop. Here I specifically wanted the light to be feathered upwards, forcing there to be less light on her chest. This accentuated her face. This is also part of the appeal of using a video light for photography – the WYSIWYG aspect of video light. You more easily get this kind of minute control over the direction of the light.
In this post we had 3 different types of light that were used in photographing Shawna … each bringing it’s own quality and challenge. But I do like the variety, and for me there is a specific appeal in being flexible with the lighting used, whether flash, video light or found light.