Let there be…

….no light. Lack of light. Because a good photo often starts by having no light. At least in your mind. And then, mentally or physically, you add light where you like.

I do this to get a dramatically lit portrait like this, for instance:

In this picture I started by exposing for the bright outside. With 1/200 sec and at 200 ISO, that gave me f/5.6, which is what you see in the picture.

But now the model would be dark. So now I add my flash, operated via simple Pocketwizard radio triggers. The setup was like this:

…except the flash was a little closer to the model in my shot. Like this, in fact:

Trial and error gave me 1/4 power for the flash at those settings. And that was not really trial and error; it was an starting point from experience.

If I am a little bright on the outside, I do not mind vignetting (darkening the outsides) in post. Why? Because this increases quality (with the decrease of the bright parts, “noise” gets decreased as well).

Anyway—this post points out to you that as usual, a good photo is a photo where you have thought about the light, rather than just pressed the shutter. One more example for the road:

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