Let there be…

To those of you who are new on speedlighter.ca – this daily blog (yes, I write every day) is your resource for photography knowledge – and very often, speedlight knowledge. Speedlights, as you know, are small flashes, and as you may or may not know, they are wonderful.

When used well.

That implies that you can use them badly. And yes, you can, and that is easy. So here’s how not to do it:

Typical “this is why I hate flash” snap. Of two kind student volunteers yesterday. Shot at f/8 at 400 ISO at 1/125th second. Ouch. Thanks, guys!

To improve this – nay, to have fun and make it good – I would do the following:

  • Set my camera to a better exposure setting for the background. In my case, this was  f/4.0 and 1/30th second, which made the light meter show “-2 stops”.
  • Set my white balance to “tungsten” to make the background blue.
  • But at the same time, add a Honl Photo Full CTO gel to my main flash, to keep the subjects neutral.
  • Now add a second flash to light up the wall.
  • Add a Honl Photo red gel to this second flash.

Then I would get this:

Looking Skyward (Photo: Michael Willems)

How long does that take? Mere seconds. And it results in a great picture, that belies the idea that you cannot use direct flash. When you are mixing light, you can.

What if I had had more time?

Then I would have added one more flash with a gel: a green one.In the bottom left corner. Red-Green-Blue, the three primary colours in one image, adds visual interest.


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