I have been playing with my new flash tools. I shoot things with three Canon 430EX Speedlites, driven by a 580EX speedlite on the camera. I use Honl Photo speedstraps, grids, snoots, and gels, and a Lumiquest softbox of the type pictured above.
But sometimes it is easier. The portrait on the right was of my friend and colleague Peter West an hour ago, on the Lakeshore Road in Oakville.
I shot Peter with the 1Ds MkIII with 50mm f/1.4 lens, set to “P” mode for a change.
On the camera, the 580EX flash that was not actually contributing light (master flash disabled). In my left hand, fired by the 580 EX’s infrared remote control, a 430EX flash fitted with a Honl speedstrap, a Honl 1/4 CTO gel to warm the light, and the Lumiquest softbox (available from Henry’s; description here).
I used two stops negative exposure compensation (-2 stops). That makes the background sky nice and blue and it makes the unlit face of Peter’s face two stops darker than the lit part. That’s what you want.
It is easy and it is effective. By using these simple techniques, even your snapshots can be well-lit and dramatic.