Category Archives: Flash Lighting
It’s time for the annual portrait of Ian and Katie. I’ve been doing this for nearly as long as I’ve been blogging, since 2011, and I feel very blessed to count this lovely couple as my friends. It took me quite a bit of thought and experimentation to get the effect I was after in this shot – lighting the couple nicely with a flash using high speed sync and a wide open aperture, and a ridiculously fast shutter speed that captured the sunset beautifully.
I went out tonight looking for a nice, easy sunset photo on the river. Turned out a lot of other folks, of course, had in mind on such a beautiful evening to fish. I started down a narrow trail hoping to find some overlook that would give me a view of the sunset and the water, without the fishermen, but it was not to be. Turns out the more I walked down the trail the further I got from the water.
Eventually I came to a small glade with hundreds of tiny flowers, all sorts of different colors and shapes. There was little breeze, but the trees were thick and the light dim, not the sort of environment that lends itself easily to capturing tiny, lovely flowers. But I set up my tripod hoping a long exposer would do the trick. I tried lots of different things, but nothing quite came out the way I envisioned. I was just starting to think of how I might tweak the images into my vision in Lightroom, when I realized I had my flash with me. Shooting flowers doesn’t generally call to mind strobe lighting, but I decided to give it a shot.
I flipped down the wide angle panel as it was the only diffuser I had available and handheld it behind and above right of the camera (I had my wireless flash trigger with me as well). I still wasn’t getting exactly what I wanted, but I was a lot closer. I took several shots and different exposures and holding the light at slightly different angles.
At home and loaded everything up into Lightroom and decided to give its new HDR merge a try. I’ve only had one other attempt at HDR that I was happy with, so my hopes weren’t high, but I was really pleased with how it came out. It’s not easy for me to get definition out of a completely white flower, but HDR and flash photography seems to have done the trick.
After 4 years back in photography, I’ve just started playing around seriously with dual light sources. In this case, I’ve augmented my 430 EX with a 600 EX-RT. There are still a lot of things about this amazing flash that I have yet to understand, but this was one of my very first attempts using a dual-flash setup.
I had the 600 shooting reflectively from a 40″ softbox as the key light, and the 430 through an umbrella at 1/64th power for highlights and shadow softening, each at about 45 degrees to either side of the subject, about three feet away. Just about the most uninteresting setup possible. the lighting conditions were entirely appropriate for the purpose (my company asked me to take headshots of the executive team). Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised at how they turned out, especially as I’m a first-timer.
The depth of the image really struck me. I think it’s the first image, let alone portrait, I’ve ever taken where the sense of depth was so clear. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with dual flash and using it in more creative scenarios.
My thanks to Kirsten for permission to add this portrait to my portfolio.
I was honored to be asked recently to be the photographer for this beautiful young lady’s Quinceañera celebration, an event marking a girl’s entry into young adulthood. It was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget.
It’s the time of year for senior portraits, so expect a few of them to continue to show up here 🙂 This is an early morning shot of a great young man who recently finished off his last high school baseball season as catcher. It’s always a challenge convincing people around this age that it’s worth getting started at sunrise, but hopefully when they see results like this they are glad they forced themselves out of bed.
Some of my longtime visitors will recognize this couple from previous posts. It’s been my privilege to photograph this fearless young couple each summer. They started dating in 2011, and now the young man is preparing to head off to college (!) at the end of the month, while the young lady prepares for her senior year of high school.
Being well aware that with each passing year it will likely be more difficult to fit myself into their increasingly busy schedule, I decided this was a good time to do a bit of a retro, and revisit the very first portrait I took of them (the first portrait I took of anyone, actually). Certainly this updated version reflects how far I’ve come as a photographer (though still with a long way to go), but I am more struck by how far these two have come as people. They are each a wonderful example of the best that the next generation can offer, and I look forward to the world they will forge.
One of several senior portrait jobs I’m doing this fall. This young man was anxious to have his favorite sport, cross country, represented. The location, a dirt road used for training, provided great early morning lighting. I positioned a strobe and 43″ umbrella to the right to add some highlights to his face. An umbrella that size is a little small to light a full body scene, so I added an exposure gradient in post processing to even out the lighting a little, and added some vibrance to the colors to make it pop a little more.
I was honored to be asked to take this year’s official portrait of a local school jazz band. It’s something that is normally done at contest and each band tends to be herded from their performance to the front of a camera, lined up in a couple lines, and shot from a slightly elevated position.
After listening to this group perform, I knew they deserved something more special. Their talent is amazing and I wanted a portrait that reflected their passion. I have limited equipment and wasn’t sure I could effectively pull off the effect I wanted, but after about 45 minutes of setup and adjusting before the concert I figured out the best placement of my single 43″ umbrella and Speedlite 430. To my surprise it lit the entire area fairly uniformly (though I did have to nudge up the exposure on some of the folks in the background in post work). I took this in the school commons area, and was able – through lighting and post processing – to give it a dim jazz club feel that I hope they are pleased with.
One from the archives taken last summer of a co-worker. Although I liked the lighting, the background was a plain wall without even texture to provide minimal interest. So I manually added some texture myself to see if I could make the general portrait more interesting, tell more of a story, without distracting from the subject.