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Grand Finale - The Shoot! - Flash 101


Sorry folks, Michael decided to post the final video of the speedlight series before we posted the Flash to subject distance and the ISO video. He keeps blaming the beer but I just blame his genes!

In any case, we'll go along with destiny and keep the final video posted and you guys/gals just make believe it's in the correct order.

Angels Models of Colombia called us to do a casting for one of their models and we agreed. They are a brand new agency so they wanted the images to be a little different. We thought about what we wanted and wrote down a couple of ideas. The model was Carolina, 18 years old and she had never modeled before. It was a little bit of a challenge for a couple of reasons. Her english was about as good as our spanish, she never modeled before and the shoot was outside and at 2 pm. That's life, when it hands you lemons, you start juggling them and ask for donations.

Examples and shooting diagrams after the break...


So off went the three of us to a wall we had scoped out the day before for our graffiti shot. When we arrived at the wall we had this great idea to do some flaring. It was a beautiful idea on paper, but we made one big mistake. NOT ENOUGH FLASH POWER at 2PM. Being one of the brightest parts of the day, and having a white wall did not give the poor little speedlights a chance to do their magic. They simply aren't powerful enough to overcome all of the light that was shining on us. So for you folks that want to try this setup, just wait till it gets a little darker and you should have no problem.


Here is the shot we gave the client as a final. ZERO PHOTOSHOP!!!


This is the shooting diagram for the shot. We had to be very careful that the main light, which was the softbox on top of our models head was not illuminating the wall. So we had the model move forward about 3 feet from the wall, and I held the softbox on top of her head slightly tilted forward facing the camera. The 28" Westcott is a recessed softbox so feathering the light is easier (recessed softbox means that the white fabric is not flush with the frame. It is recessed inside the softbox about 2 inches).


We tried to do the flare/hazy look that Michael talked about in the video, but the time of day and the power of our flashes made it impossible. Speedlights are awesome, but they do have some limitations and power is one of them.


The two speedlights against the wall where angled towards the camera so they would just slightly hit the wall. The orange gels gave the wall a nice touch, shooting without the gels would just have given the wall a flat looking white illumination. Pretty much a drivers license shot with graffiti in the background.


We used a fast shutter speed of 1/250 to try to darken the background as much as possible. The ISO was at 100 to try to make it as less sensitive to light as possible, further darkening the background. Our aperture was set at f/4.5.


This is our favorite shot and one that was not planned at all...doesn't that always happen!! It started raining so we took shelter under a red tin awning. I kid you not is was about 6 feet by 6 feet max. The red window metal thingy was awesome. I told Michael to take advantage of it since the rain was not going to stop and it would be the perfect situation to try this weird "butt lighting" technique (I'm going to patent the name shortly so don't even think of stealing it). We used Photoshop to burn the corners a little (Michael says too much but I like it).


Here is the shooting diagram of the butt lighting technique, yes I can say butt lighting twice in one sentence. As you can see, we have a speedlight with a red gel behind the models butt, the red gel gives an awesome contrast to the red metal window thingy. In hindsight, we should have moved the butt flash (going to patent that name also) a little more to the right because we did blow out her arm a little too much. Live and learn I tell you. Actually we'll just blame it on the rain and the cramped working area.


Our settings for this shot where, ISO 100, Shutter speed at 1/250th and aperture at f/3.5. In post process all we did was burn the edges just to give it a little more of a dramatic feel to it. Like I said in the video, I'm a retoucher but like to do very subtle retouching that many times is not possible during the shoot.

This was our last location that we had scouted inside of a hotel. This was finally a dark enough room to be able to do the haze. I shouldn't say dark, because it was well lit and I don't want you to think that we put the model in some broom closet. This was shot in the lobby of the hotel. The wall was a medium gray. We knew we wanted to make the background completely dark so we had the model stand about 6 feet from the wall and we used a shutter speed of 1/80 (sounds a little slow but since the wall was medium gray and our model was so far from the wall, it didn't take much to darken the background). Also, at this shutter speed it brought a little detail to the background, preventing the image from being a complete black mess.


This is the shooting diagram. I know the flash position of the 3rd flash looks weird, but this is what gave us our hazy look. The flash behind the model is just for rim light purposes and a little flare. The soft box was extremely feathered so that only a tiny portion of the light would hit the model. The third flash was located on top of the camera shooting at about a 45 degree angle directly at the lens. Crazy, maybe...but we liked the results.


Hopefully you liked the images. The point of this is to show you that you can try crazy light configurations...they sometimes work very well for your shots. Don't get stuck on one lighting boring can that be.

And remember, if you like the image, then the image is amazing!!

OK, you know the routine, tell a friend or 1,230 of them, leave a comment and get out of here. Don't you know that the internet is bad for least for your portfolio. GO TAKE PICTURES!!!!!


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