How make your flash work twice as hard
I usually roll with two flash units in my camera bag. Sometimes, when I’m feeling fancy (or more likely, very lucky) I carry three. Which is a nice number of lights to work with when you’re shooting off-camera strobes.
Lots of options, lots of power, lots of versatility.
But lately, I’ve been stuck with one flash.
Yep, just one.
The new Canon 600 unit paired with the new Canon radio trigger. It’s a sweet rig – reliable, easy, way better than the old system – but … I’m now a one-light bandit.
Which, I’m surprised to say, has been refreshingly awesome.
Take the shot above.
With several flashes, you’d pump one zoomed flash from camera right onto the talent’s face, run another zoomed flash from really high on camera left onto the talent’s back, and run your last flash on low power from in front somewhere, wafting soft fill light into the mix.
Tweak power and aperture to taste … and done.
So, knowing the three-flash look I wanted, I set out to achieve that with one flash.
I hung the flash high on the wall out of frame on camera left, using a gorillapod and a bit of wire that protruded from the building.
I had the shutter at 1/250th and a starting point for aperture at maybe f5.6. ISO at 100.
Turned the flash up to about 1/8th power and took a test shot. Too hot on the talent’s hair.
Adjusted aperture and took a test shot. And again. Now at F10. Hair looks good but face too dark.
Asked the talent to keep pulling the newspaper she was holding closer to her face to illuminate it with reflected the flash’s blast as I took test shots.
After a bit of trial and error, we got it.
Here’s the photo with the Border Mail article.
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