Flash why?

Why do we use flash?

For “Uncle Fred” reasons? Those are the obvious reasons.  Like “it’s too dark”, “I need faster shutter speeds”, or for sophisticated Uncle Fred, “I want to fill in a backlit subject”.

All those are good reasons. but”for artistic reasons” is a better answer, if you want to make your images good. And The Speedlighter aims to make his images good.

Take this snapshot of model Lindsay at last Saturday’s advanced light workshop:

Model Lindsay, lit by available light

Model Lindsay, lit by available light

Okay, I guess. I guess. Not bad. But not great, either. Dull.

So let’s add a bit of light!

Add three small flashes set up the right way, and you get this:

Model Lindsay, lit by available plus flash light (photo Michael Willems)

Model Lindsay, lit by available plus flash light

Look at both images larger. The second one is much better because:

  1. She is now “bright pixels”. Willems’s Dictum says (yes I know that is double) that “bright pixels are sharp pixels”. When you light something with flash it is sharp, for reasons I have outlined on this blog before.
  2. Her face is well lit.
  3. The bike is now without too-dark shadow areas.
  4. She is separated from the background by the edge light
  5. The edge light adds contracts and interest.
  6. Instead of being dull, the bike has interesting and sparkling highlights (check both mirrors, and the rear mudguard).

That is better. And all that was needed was three speedlights, four Pocketwizards, and three Flashzebra cables. And a light meter. And lots of batteries. And the creative and technical knowledge to put it all together.

Oh and a model and a Harley. But those are optional: this light lesson applies even to your brother driving a Smart.

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