Digital SLR Photography - - The Photo Workshop -

The orig­i­nal plan was to star t with nat­u­ral- light chal­lenges, but af ter help­ing our model Mil­lie find park­ing we found our­selves on the out­skir t s of the cit y cen­tre be­side the River Cam. Rather than dou­bling back on foot, we de­cided to tackle of fcam­era flash and tackle nat­u­ral light later.

We headed to the wa­ter’s edge in a quiet field near the Millpond on the River Cam. Look­ing away from the millpond there was a clean nat­u­ral back­ground, and the sun was point­ing in our di­rec­tion, so I was hope­ful we could use it as rim light by back­light­ing the model to help cre­ate depth and con­trast. I’ d asked Mez to bring his off- cam­era flash equip­ment with him so he could shoot with fa­mil­iar gear. He had two flash­guns, T TL trig­gers, light stands and an 80cm octabox.

While set­ting up the light­ing we looked at the cloth­ing op­tions Mil­lie had brought with her. The sum­mer y lo­ca­tion and the bright light made a white lace top and black shor t s the ob­vi­ous choice, ac­ces­sorised with bare feet – we planned to ask Mil­lie to dip her toes into the wa­ter to give the im­age a whim­si­cal look. Mil­lie went of f to get changed and Mez and I fin­ished set­ting up the light and dis­cussing what I wanted Mez to do.

Mez ex­plained he’ d only used off- cam­era flash at dusk and never in bright sun­light, and had never thought of do­ing so. Mil­lie re­turned from get­ting changed and I showed her where to sit and left Mez to set up his ex­po­sure. Mez started with his flash­gun set to high- speed sync T TL mode, which meant he was able to set ex­po­sure to 1/ 2500sec at f/ 2.8 with the ISO at 100. Un­for­tu­nately the flash­gun wasn’t pow­er­ful enough for these set­tings in the bright con­di­tions be­cause of the way high speed sync ( HSS) ul­ti­mately re­duces flash out­put dur­ing the longer flash du­ra­tion it cre­ates. I sug­gested he stop down the aper­ture and shoot with the shut­ter at the cam­era’s flash sync speed with the flash set to man­ual at full power, which is a much more ef­fec­tive way of over­pow­er­ing bright light.

As soon as Mez switched to man­ual mode we started to get more light onto the model but the flash­gun was too far away from her. I folded up the legs on the light stand and held it in po­si­tion as close to Mil­lie as pos­si­ble with­out en­ter­ing the frame. Mez also switched his cam­era to shoot in land­scape for­mat, which al­lowed me to get even closer. Now the ex­po­sure was much bet­ter it was time to ex­per­i­ment more with poses. I made a few sug­ges­tions and Mez fired away.

Since we were shoot­ing with the flash at full- power it was tak­ing longer to re­cy­cle – about ten sec­onds – plus the first flash­gun over­heated! Luck­ily Mez had a sec­ond flash, so we quickly swapped over and car­ried on shoot­ing. Of f- cam­era flash al­ways takes longer to shoot with than nat­u­ral light, so we were aware that we’ d used too much time al­ready. With good shots in the bag we packed up and moved on.






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