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Off-Camera Flash with One Light

Lesson 7 from: Working with Speedlights in the Studio

Mark Wallace

Off-Camera Flash with One Light

Lesson 7 from: Working with Speedlights in the Studio

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

7. Off-Camera Flash with One Light

We can control contrast and the quality of light by changing the position of our flash in relation to our camera. This requires moving the flash off the camera. Mark walks through the basic principles of off-camera light by shooting several different portraits.

Lesson Info

Off-Camera Flash with One Light

now. It's time to take all the things that we've learned so far and to put them into practice. Speaking of things we've learned so far. I said this session was going to be about sync speed and whips. It's actually three sessions in the future. I got my pages mixed up on my outlines. So you know, we're live and unscripted and so stuff like that happens, what we're gonna do now is we're going to start exploring the position of light and some light modifiers to show you how you can begin to shape light and create some really cool portraits. Now, the stuff that we're doing right now is specific to portrait photography, but the principles can be applied to tabletop photography, product photography, food photography, anything you want, it's all about how the light behaves. And so what we're going to do is first of all, let me show you what we did to the studio. We change things just a bit. So back here where we used to have this gray, seamless, We've changed this out now, it's a super white ...

background gray. We moved over here to sort of hide this wall that was sort of painted not pure white. So we put the gray over here and we're gonna start using a really groovy soft box. This is the last delight easy box. It's one of my favorite light modifiers. It is a wonderful little modifier. You pop onto a light stand. This guy here is oh gosh, I think about 10 or 15 years old, I'm not sure how old it is, but it's in pristine condition and I use it all the time. What it does is the flash fires into this that diffuses the light. That diffusion, what it does is it makes the light soft. So instead of having a really hard shadow, the light comes out of this, it spreads everywhere. And so the transition of the shadow instead of going from shadow to light and just bam there's a solid line there underneath the chin or on a face. The transition is really soft. It sort of fades from shadow into light. That's what we call soft light. You use a soft box, that's what this is a soft box to soften the light. It's rectangular and so the reflections in the eyes, those catch lights are gonna look like light from a window. So it looks very natural. I like that. It's got these little uh deep wings here, so that keeps the light from just scattering everywhere. That sort of really nice. And there's a newer version of this, I'm not sure what the difference is, but I haven't bought it because I've had this for so many years. It works just fine. Why buy a new one? The other thing I've done though is uh this guy doesn't have any way to move around, I can move, I can't move up or down. So I put it on this little um little arm here so I can move that around on the light stand, you can put it on an umbrella adapter to do the same thing. Or if you just have it on a normal light stand, it works just fine to move it up and down. You don't really have to have that capability. So I've got this, the other thing that I'm gonna be using a lot is this this is a five on one reflector, so it's got black and white on one side, it's got silver and gold, and then there's a translucent interior and I've put it on this, this is a reflector holder, so it's just like an extra set of hands. So that allows me to move this reflector back and forth and side to side and up and down. So it's just like a little personal assistant. So I'll be using that a lot going forward. Okay, let's talk about the position of light, that's really sort of what this is. We're talking about how to make the light soft and they change the position of light. We're gonna use one off camera flash to show you some really cool things. So here is the principle that we're going to be applying in this session, It's the position of light and how that changes the contrast. So if this is the camera right here that you're looking at me. So that's the camera where I put the light in relationship to the camera. So it's over here at a 90° angle that is going to create high contrast. So the light is hitting me at a 90° angle in relationship to the camera. So lots of light on this side, No light on this side. And so we're going to get high contrast lighting. If I move that light a little bit closer to the camera, that light is now going to illuminate more of this site and a little more of this side. So the closer we get on access with their camera, the more light is spread evenly across our surface, the less the differences between the brightest and darkest side to the contrast goes down. So high contrast, lower contrast, higher contrast if we move the light behind us. Maximum contrast because we get a silhouette. Now let's put this into practice by asking Teresa to come on out and we're going to show you how this works. Okay, Teresa, we're gonna have you stand about right here. That looks pretty good. I am going to be tethering my camera to see if my camera will be tethering all up. It's all good and I have my flash connected to my transmitter. So it's off camera. All the stuff we just showed you. I'm shooting at iso 100 shutter speed of 200 we're gonna be shooting at F. Nine. This flash is in T. T. L. Mode, you can do a ton of stuff in T. T. L. Mode. It's essentially auto mode if we have to we will use flash exposure compensation to fix our exposure. It's the principle that we've already learned. Okay so this flash, I'm gonna put it to the side pretty darn close. I'm gonna shoot a vertical shot here. So Theresa, I'm gonna have you look at me, there we go. Beautiful and I'm going to shoot that. Okay, and here is what we get on. This first shot, it's just a beautiful shot to the side. I'm going to kick out these panels so you can see that again, I. S. 0. 100 F. 9 2/100 of a second. That looks just really wonderful. The other thing we can do, I'm gonna move this just a little bit back, a little bit forward and let's see what happens when we do that. Somebody go in here again. The same kind of shot, same exact thing, beautiful, beautiful. You can see how the shadows on Teresa's face are starting to change. Let's show those two side by side. So there you go. So by moving that, notice the shot on the right, a lot more shadows on Teresa's face on the left, fewer shadows. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to bring that flash all the way around and so let's see what that does. We're gonna put it at about a 45 degree angle, something like this. Remember Teresa is not moving, she's in the same exact spot I'm shooting in the same spot, we're only moving the light. So here we go. Same thing, gorgeous. Like that. Okay, now look at what happens in this shot. Suddenly things start brightening up so the background is a little bit more evenly illuminated. There's fewer shadows on Teresa. We can start showing these side by side by side, you can see what's happening as we're moving our light. The contrast is changing. Let's also do something really wacky. Let's put this behind Theresa. So this is gonna be a totally different look. Okay, I'll put this where we have one picture up and not a bunch. Okay, so now we have the flash behind Theresa and let's see what we get with this. All right with this. I want to move this just a little bit because it's in this shot. I'm sort of loving this. Look, we're gonna do this one more time. Perfect. Okay, for this shot right here, when we look at it, we have this sort of really, really high contrast look. But if you notice the highlights on Teresa's face, they're overexposed. What if I want this to be sort of subtle. What I can do is go in, change my flash exposure compensation. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go in, take this down by about Let's go down by 3/4 of a stop, shoot the same thing again, beautiful and now you can see this next shot. Things are just a little bit more subtle. We look between those. The highlights are just a little bit more subtle so we can change that. We can even take this down. I think that's still too much. So I'm gonna take this down By 1.7 stops. So this should be really underexposed according to the camera. Do that again. Ah Now we're at the place I want us to be with this shot. Let's compare these shots. So this is the shot that I took, the flash exposure compensation down a lot. Here's the shot that it was down. So there's three different shots, you can see how we're going. 123 and this last shot right here is the one that is just really the perfect shot where we don't have things overexposed, it looks great. So using our flash exposure compensation things really work out well we are able to take a specific light and the camera is getting things wrong but we're saying you know what I want you to take what you think is right and put it over here. So we have is a subtle light, just a little hint of light. And when we start adding multiple flashes, that's gonna be something that's really important. So if we have this flash and we just wanted to give us a really subtle highlight, if we let the flash figure out the exposure. Well it's gonna be too much. So we might have the flash that's illuminating uh the front of Teresa to be normal exposure and we might have this one to be underexposed, underexposed according to the camera but exposed creatively correctly for what we want. And so that's how that's gonna work. Okay, we're gonna do another interesting lighting setup. So Theresa, I want you to come right over here again. This is just one soft box, one light. You don't need to have 50 million lights. What I'm gonna do is I have this stand here, This is just a a little Matthew stand. You can use any kind of stand that has a boom arm on it. And then what I'm going to do is that gonna mount my flash on the end of this arm, Somebody's going to take this guy, same exact flash so I can have it handheld. I'm going to put it on this arm here, just like that, make sure it's on there. Nice and snug. Perfect. And now I can elevate this like that. In fact, I'm gonna swing this this way so that it doesn't block your view and then come over here like this. Okay, so now what I have, because I have this soft box elevated just a bit, just like this, it looks pretty good and we're gonna take a shot with this light just like this. There we go, so we can see that. Perfect. Somebody come over here, we're gonna take a horizontal shot. So Theresa I want you to look right at me for this shot. I love this kind of stuff so you don't have to have a million flashes to get great results. Okay again I. s. a 100 F nine. Perfect. Okay now this when we look at it is extremely underexposed. Why is it so underexposed? Well the reason is underexposed because I forgot to change my flash exposure compensation back to normal. So I'm gonna go in here, take my flash exposure compensation and then put that back to zero. Which is what I should have done, is take another photo. Beautiful. I love that. And now things are looking good. Now she looks green. The reason she looks green is I haven't set the white balance so we'll we'll get that to that in a future uh session. But I said it really fast and lightroom here and you can see that this is looking really beautiful. But notice when we look at this shot. So let's go back here to the photo when I look underneath her chin. Notice how the shadow just sort of fades out. There's no hard transition there, that's the soft light that I'm talking about. And if I want to I can start filling in those shadows underneath. And maybe right here by doing something very very simple. And that is using this reflector. So what we're doing now is we're creating what's called clamshell lighting. Clamshell lighting is a very simple lighting setup Where you have two lights or one light that form what looked like a clamshell. So if we look at this to the side, you can see that these two things look like a clamshell. I will raise this up as high as I can get it without being in the shot and then I will zoom through this. Let's see if I can zoom through, have to lower this, just a hair. This is a little easier if you have an assistant holding this reflector but I like my auto reflector, it works pretty good. Okay, so perfect, look right at me, I love it. We'll take a shot awesome. So what this white reflector does is it bounces the light underneath. So let me set the white balance here really fast. And now if we look at these two shots side by side, notice the one on the right, the shadows underneath her chin are just a little less pronounced than the shadows underneath the chin over here. So this light right here is a little bit softer than the one we shot before that. The light is just a little bit softer. I think it's a more beautiful look. It's traditional clamshell light, I love it, that looks wonderful. Okay, one light off camera, you can do some really amazing things. So what we want to do now is we want to start talking about what this is doing inside here because I did a manual zoom to get an effect and so I need to explain what that is. So zooming the flash changes the properties of light, and also the orientation of the flash changes the properties of light. So we're going to do that next.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tether Tools Pro Kit Discount
Tether Tools Starter Kit Discount
Frio Grasp Mini Discount
NanLite_WALLACE5.pdf

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