Get cre­ative with a flash sten­cil

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At first glance, ur­ban land­scapes can look quite drab. Colour palettes tend to be dom­i­nated by greys and browns, and thanks to an abun­dance of ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing and harsh shad­ows, shots taken in a city set­ting can look clin­i­cal at best and a touch de­press­ing at worst. So why not add a con­trast­ing touch of magic to images us­ing this sim­ple flash tech­nique?

Light sten­cils are huge fun to ex­per­i­ment with; us­ing a sin­gle light source in a dark en­vi­ron­ment, com­bined with a long shut­ter speed, you can quickly cre­ate a unique ef­fect.

This flash sten­cil tu­to­rial com­bines an ur­ban land­scape with a trail of but­ter­flies, to cre­ate a strik­ing im­age that contrasts the starkly re­al­is­tic with the fan­tas­ti­cal. You’ll need to be familiar with how to fire your flash­gun man­u­ally, which is nor­mally done via the test but­ton, and you’ll need a dark area with a wall to use as a back­drop. We used a nearby tun­nel as it could be used at any time of day, but at night any wall with in­ter­est­ing de­tail across it will do. Here’s how it’s done...

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