Simple Means.

Today, I taught a flash workshop that concentrated on the use of just small flashes. (Of course as you know I am doing an in-depth version of that workshop on March 19, with special Guest Star David Honl, yes? See – not to be missed!)

Anyway, simple portrait lighting with speedlites. You normally use wireless TTL for that – multiple flashes that the camera talks to using its wireless TTL technology. All major brands support this.

So here we have a simple shot of one of tonight’s students, using:

  1. a 580EX flash on our right…
  2. …shot through an umbrella, and
  3. a 430EX flash on our left…
  4. …using a Honl 1/4″ grid and a blue gel.

All this fired from a 580EX on a Canon Camera (if you have a Canon 7D or a 60D, or a Nikon, you can use your popup flash for this).

If you set the two flashes to different “groups”, i.e. A and B, you can set the ratio to what you like (e.g. A:B set to 4:1 means A is 4 times, or two stops, brighter than B). On Nikon, the system is the same although the way you set it is different (stops with respect to zero).

One important thing to remember: a key difference between strobes (you meter by measuring incident light, and it’s always good whatever the subject) and speedlites (TTL meters reflected light). So when using TTL instead of a studio, your subject makes a difference.

A subject with dark hair, a dark top, and against a dark background, will be overexposed so you need to use Flash Compensation of minus 1 to minus 2 stops. In the shot above, I used minus 1.3 stops.

Go try this if you haven’t. It’s fun. As a minimum, you need a camera with an on-camera flash (or use the pop-up on a 7D or 60D or a Nikon); one additional flash; a light stand; an umbrella; a bracket to mount them together; and a reflector (see yesterday’s post).