Setting up to shoot off camera flash photography
Shooting with flash
Damien advised Richard to take some test shots without flash to nail the composition and to set the exposure for the light conditions (ambient light). When Richard started shooting with the flash, he had to adjust his DSLR’s exposure to keep the shutter speed at 1/250 sec or below.
This kept the flash in sync with the SLR’s shutter speed and eliminated a ‘partially flashed’ end result. Damien explained that matching the ambient light and the flash is a balancing act. “It all depends on the shot and the effect you want. I’ll choose the SLR settings based on the available light, and this obviously changes.”
Change the time of day
“I took this early shot sitting on the floor with the model sat on the bench, just above my eye level,” says Richard. “Damien said this would give the shot more impact. The flash was positioned to my left above the model and above me.
“I like this picture as it looks like it was shot at dusk, even though it was shot first thing in the morning. It looks like we used an expensive lighting and studio set-up, when it was done outdoors using a single flashgun!”
Using off camera flash to accentuate features
“This is the second good shot of the day. It was shot with me sat at the same height as the model, using a zoom lens so I could sit about 15ft away from her.
“Damien advised me to use the water running down the aluminium wall as the background, with the flash concentrated on the model’s face. I love the negative space of the background and the way the position of the flash gives the impression of very high cheekbones on the model’s face.”
Angle your off-camera flash for dramatic lighting
“This angle gives the impression that the model is really tall. We positioned the flashgun above her facing down, so she stands out against that bright blue sky. I like the unusual angles in this shot and the impression that the model seems to be nearly half as tall as the cranes!”
Try to find a fresh angle
“It’s always good to explore your subject from different angles, so I got Richard to lie on the ground so he could add some impact and drama to his portraits. Some angles are more flattering than others, depending on your subject – it’s very much about experimentation.”
Fine tuning your exposure
A dramatic sky can add impact to a shot, especially when combined with a low point of view, tilted angle and an industrial backdrop (here we used cranes). To make the background dark and intense, you’ll need to underexpose the background using Exposure Compensation (on your SLR) and overexpose the subject using the flash Exposure Compensation (on the flash).
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Setting up to shoot off camera flash photography
PAGE 3: Final off camera flash tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
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