Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Before and After

In my previous post about natural looking flash, I did not have before and after shots. Understandably, I could not take the chance to do before and after shots of the bride and her mom coming up the aisle. But I did do before and after shots as I was waiting.

This is what the ambient light looked like in the church. Remember, this was ISO 1600, F4.0 at 1/60th.

This is what happened when I added a little flash bounced from that wall.

What a difference with a little flash added to the mix. Of course it helps to have fast glass and a camera that looks great at ISO 1600. But remember, this will likely never be more than a 4x6 image or a small part of a layout in a digital album. Any noise will likely never be seen at those sizes.

Take your camera and try this. Do it at home, do it with your child, or your cat. But do it and get comfortable with it. Try things on your own time, so when you are on the clock, you can pull it off. Remember, learn the trade, not just the tricks of the trade.

Monday, June 29, 2009

More natural looking flash

I have been working on making my flash look more natural and less like Uncle Charlie's on-camera blast-flash. To this end, I made a flying trip (in my minivan) down to St. Louis to a workshop given by Neil vanNiekerk. There I learned to look around me for things to bounce my light off.

This past Sunday I did a wedding in the historic Kemper Center Chapel. As you can see, the ceiling is hopeless for a bounce source.

Which is good, as it would not give us a nice direction of light. As I waited for the processional to start, I glanced at the wall on my left and saw this.

I decided that I could bounce my flash off the wall and create a direction of light coming in from my left. You can see my flash boucing off the wall. Notice that it does not spill forward.

That is because of THE BLACK FOAMIE THING tm that Neil taught us to use. Basically it is a half-snoot that acts as a gobo to help direct the light where you want it to go and keep it from spilling where you don't want it to go. Here is the exact rig that I used, just as I used it. the BFT keeps any light from spilling forward. You can see how effectively it does that by looking at the image of the wall above.

The BFT is simply some black foam paper that you can get at a craft store like Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or JoAnne's Fabric. It costs less than a dollar for an sheet so it is pretty cost effective. I use hair scuncies to hold it on my flash head.

Anyway, here is the resultant image using the wall bounce on my left. I think it looks pretty darn natural. ISO 1600, F4.0 at 1/60, Tungsten white balance.