Here’s why you use proper lighting – with flash used for many outdoor shot too.
Say I shoot talented new model Anastasia outdoors using available light:
That is well exposed – but poorly lit. Even on an overcast day, there are shadows; no catch lights: not a great shot.
So now I do it again, with a big flash (a Bowens 400 Ws) with a softbox. I set the flash manually, using a light meter, as follows:
- First I meter, using the ambient light meter, for ambient light. I read, say, 1/100th second at f/8 at 100 ISO.
- I want the background to be darker than what I will light (remember Willem’s Dictum: “Bright Pixels Are Sharp Pixels”), so I actually set exposure to 1/250th second (still at f/8 at 100 ISO).
- I now switch the meter to flash meter mode. I set it to 100 ISO and 1/250th, and fire a test flash while holding the meter in the exact place the model will be. I adjust the flash level until the meter reads f/8.
That gives me this:
I think you will probably agree that this is a much better shot. And the procedure is simple. On an overcast day you can use speedlights too, if you prefer.
With the flash and a slightly higher camera angle, she almost looks like a different person!
Michael, what is a goos low cost flash meter?
I have the Sekonic L-358. Good and low cost are not easy to combine but it is good and not too high cost.
This is just like every other before- and after shots i’ve seen. In the first picture she is just standing there and composition is severely lacking.
I do get your point though 🙂
The point is about lighting. So even if she had been modeling, it would still be badly lit.
So, Michael, in the end, your camera is shooting at f/8 and 1/250th?
You’ve underexposed the background 2 stops?
Am I getting this right?
Yes, pretty much!
When you were metering ambient light, was the light meter where you were or where the model was?
Where the model was!