One Speedlight used judiciously can open up a whole new world for your photography.
The key is knowing how to combine it with available but directional light.
Cavannah Richardson was recruited by one of my students to be her model during our location shoot, but when she arrived with her mother, my student wasn’t ready to shoot.
The sun was fast disappearing and I didn’t want Cavannah and her mum to be kept waiting so I took 5 minutes to take the picture above.
For a picture to be successful and believable, I needed a CTO (Color Temperature Orange) gel on the Speedlight.
I always start out with a picture taken with available light–this is my exposure-establishing-shot.
From there I make a judgement call on how dark or how dramatic I want some element in my picture to look by increasing the shutter speed while leaving my aperture fixed.
Cavannah’s shadow on the right wall is a very important element in my composition.
When I lit her with my Speedlite, I made sure the flash head was zoomed to 105mm setting to narrow the beam as much as possible so it wouldn’t lighten that all important shadow.
I also raised the light stand high and pointed the Speedlite downwards so that the shadow cast is downwards and not against the wall behind her.
Shutter speed, drama and camera shake
If you examine the picture taken with available light carefully, left picture, you might see that it’s not as sharp as I’d like it be.
I was shooting with a 100 mm lens on a Canon 40D, so it was actually a 160mm lens wide open at f2.8 at a shutter speed of 1/25 sec.
So I was pushing the limits of my human tripodness. 🙂
I wasn’t too concerned because I knew this wasn’t the final image I was after–just a behind-the-scenes type picture for this blog.
Remember also when you’re shooting at such slow shutter speeds, even if I were using a tripod, any movement on the part of my subject will also create an feeling that nothing is sharp in the picture.
Take a look at a behind-the-scenes picture I took of Cavannah chatting with Marta one of my students.