STE P BY STE P Get moody

How to set up an off-cam­era Speed­light, and set your cam­era and flash for spot-on ex­po­sures

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

01 Work out the am­bi­ent ex­po­sure

Set Man­ual mode on your cam­era and se­lect a shut­ter speed of 1/200 sec or less (most flashes won’t work at speeds higher than this). Take a test shot to work out the cor­rect aper­ture and ISO for the am­bi­ent light – we set a shut­ter speed of 1/125 sec at f/2.8 and ISO400.

03 Dif­fuse the flash

Light from a small source like a Speed­light can be quite hard. If you can re­flect the light or di­rect it through a dif­fus­ing ma­te­rial, it will be much more flat­ter­ing. You can use a white brolly at­tached to a stand or the dif­fus­ing panel from a five-in-one re­flec­tor held in front of the flash.

05 Set the power

Set your Speed­light to Man­ual mode, then take a few test shots while ad­just­ing the power (ei­ther by chang­ing the out­put set­tings on the flash, or by chang­ing the dis­tance of the flash from the sub­ject). We set­tled on a flash out­put of ¼ power with the flash po­si­tioned to the right.

02 Un­der-ex­pose the am­bi­ent light

The next step is to un­der-ex­pose the am­bi­ent light, in our case by de­creas­ing the aper­ture set­ting to f/5.6. This gives a dark­ened im­age which is, in ef­fect, the base ex­po­sure for the im­age. From here, you can use your Speed­light to pick out your sub­ject.

04 Set up the flash

At­tach the flash to a stand or tri­pod, or get some­one to hold it – if your flash isn’t trig­gered wire­lessly by your cam­era’s built-in flash, now’s the time to at­tach your sync cord or wire­less flash trig­ger (see your trig­ger’s man­ual for de­tails on how to set up the trans­mit­ter and trans­ceiver).

06 Work the an­gles

Ex­per­i­ment by light­ing the sub­ject from dif­fer­ent an­gles. Here we’ve moved the Speed­light up be­hind the tree for at­trac­tive back­light­ing that high­lights the model’s fan­tas­tic hair. Com­bined with the dap­pled sun­light through the tree, the flash light looks en­tirely nat­u­ral.

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