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Shoot: Snoots

Lesson 18 from: How to Shoot with your First Flash

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

18. Shoot: Snoots

Next Lesson: Shoot: Light Sphere

Lesson Info

Shoot: Snoots

The situation here is, we're gonna go from as soft of light as possible to as hard and harsh of light as possible. So, remember we took a photo like this, straight on, and we got a hard shadow behind him. But, what if we go even tighter? What does that look like? So, I have this little product here. This is a snoot. This is a commercial product, so pay money for it, or you can just use black paper and tape and just tape it over the front. This does have a little grid here in the front, and the grid helps collimate the light, or to linearize, to directionalize the light. Just keeps the light all moving in the same direction so it doesn't spread. On the back is a little rubber friction mount, and that just mounts right here on the flash. Just like that. I hear people all the time asking, well what about snoots? Should I buy a snoot? Is it useful for me? Well, let's take a picture and see what you think. Okay, you ready for this one? I think so. All right, I think I am ready, too. I'm...

in TTL mode. I am still at F5.6 at a 250th. And, here we go: One, two, three. (clicking) Okay, let's see how this one turned out. Huh. Doesn't look that much different than just direct flash. Go full frame so y'all can see it. Very directional. Typically, we use snoots in off-camera flash situations. Use snoots so it can come from this angle and rake across maybe his face. Or, rake across his shoulder. Or, maybe we point it towards the background so we get this shaft of light. So, we use it with a purpose in an off-camera flash situation. You would never really use snoots with on-camera flash. So, don't do that. See, part of this class is learning what you should do and what you should not do, and this is one of those things you don't do, on-camera flash with a snoot. Unless you like that look or unless you have a reason to create that look. All righty. I have a question. Okay. Actually, two. One was about the previous one, the rogue bender. They have larger size ones of those. Have you had any issues with them blowing off-- (laughs) Yeah. In the breeze? That was question one. This week he had a couple of big wind storms up here in the Pacific Northwest, and you would never really wanna be outside in a big windstorm. 'Cause yeah, these do catch the wind. They are a little bit ungainly. Oh, and to your point, if you have a flash-- This is an older flash that I have. It's made by Nikon. It's the SB-600. It's a great flash. I still use it, but over the years it's just become wimpy, and it just doesn't have a lot of strength. So, what'll happen is if I do have this thing on there, it'll always flop over like that. So, make sure that you don't have a floppy head. Okay, thanks, that was the first one. Then the other is to ask, all the walls here white, but what do you do when you're in a house, like my house, that has yellow kitchen walls and burgundy colored dining room walls and that kind of thing? Great question, I love it. This happens all the time. I go to a client's house to photograph their kids for a portrait session, and yellow walls, green walls, purple walls. Ahhh. First thing is, paint your walls. (crowd laughing) If you're a photographer-- I don't know many photographers who have odd-colored walls in their house, 'cause we always wanna use that. The second thing is don't bounce off the walls. Really keep your kit so that you're bouncing in this little area here. So, try to prevent the light from hitting those other zones. Does that makes sense? You can't always get away from it. Sometimes you'll get a yellow splash on the side. (grunts) Okay. You're just gonna have to live with it. Maybe do some brushwork in Photoshop or something like that. But, if you own the home, paint.

Class Materials

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Single Flash Lighting Diagrams
Single Flash Gear List 100 dollars
Single Flash Gear List 250 dollars
Single Flash Gear List 1000 dollars

Ratings and Reviews

Yasemin Soyen

First of all I am very happy to discover Creative Live and since then I learned, enjoyed many classes! This week for the first time I was in the live audience and their sincerity, hospitality made the experience even more valuable. About this class, it was a pleasure to meet Mike Hagen. Besides his wide knowledge, creative thinking and information sharing, he was a very humble, nice teacher, with great positive energy. Thanks everyone!


Fantastic course - Mike is an engaging and entertaining teacher and this course was just what I needed to start using my external flash with confidence. I have had my external flash for a few years but have rarely used it as mastering all the settings was daunting and the results I got were inconsistent. This excellent course changed all that and I'm having great fun taking much better shots with my flash. I highly recommend!

Candy Smith

This class was fantastic. Mike is excellent under pressure when things don't go perfectly, love his style and grace and how encouraging he is to his models, great mentor. I learned so much about using flash, and my pictures are so much better.

Student Work