Enjoy a drum lesson
1 Bounce the lights
Put two flashguns on two light stands either side of your subject, with big white boards or walls behind those to bounce light back. Turn on one at a time and start at 1/8 power. Keeping the power low means the recycle time is quicker, so you can capture the shots faster.
2 Put your camera in Command
You don’t need to use any wireless triggers for this, just Commander mode. In your Nikon’s menu, navigate to Custom Setting Menu>Bracketing/flash>Flash Ctrl for Built-in Flash and choose Commander Mode. Now set your Speedlight to remote or slave mode.
3 Soak your subject
Pour lots of water over the skin, then have your drummer bash the living daylights out of the drum. You’ll see water splashing up everywhere, so take some practice shots in manual mode at 1/200 sec shutter speed at f/8 and ISO500 to see where the splashes end up.
4 Fill from the front
Use the pop-up flash to not only trigger your slave Speedlights, but also to fill in the light from the front, which rids you of any shadows coming across the model’s face. If you want to add another flash for that extra boost, mount a Speedlight on your hotshoe.
5 Add a coloured gel
Coloured gels lift the standard white flash light. We put a colour temperature orange gel on one flashgun and a green on the other to accentuate the fantastic samba colours in our drummer’s costume and drum (see Issue 65, page 40 for our tutorial on using coloured gels).
6 Pick a well-timed shot
Shoot in continuous burst mode to enable yourself to capture a few shots in a row. You can then pick from your favourite shots when you get them on the computer later. We found that the most exciting shots came when the drummer had just struck the skin.