How do we set up a shot with both ambient and flash light? Let’s look at one.
Let’s start like this:
That’s the studio setting: 1/125 sec, f/8, 200 ISO. Ambient light plays no role. That is the definition of the studio settings.
Is that what we want here? I would say no. We want to see the lamp!
So now, let’s mix in ambient light, shall we? We aim for –2 stops on the light meter. Here’s 400-40-4, which gets me very close:
That’s 400-40-4 (i.e. 400 ISO, 1/40 sec, f/4): the “party setting”.
Much better, if we want that mix.
Now let’s open that curtain and take a look. Fortunately., the outside light and the lamp are in the same range, so I can set my camera for either of those. 400-40-4 will do it. If I had to choose, I would choose based on the lamp, the most important element.
Because I want no light spill from the flash into the rest of the room, I do not use an umbrella. Instead, I use a small Honl photo Traveller 8 softbox, held close to the subject. Here’s student Arsheen setting it up:
That gives me the final shots:
That mix of warm and flash light: beautiful. But that’s my taste: you can do your own, develop your own style. And that is what flash is all about.