CHALLENGE 1: FLASH
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.