There’s a certain style I’ve been wanting to try out to see if it’s something I might want to explore deeper. The other day I finally got off my lazy bum and took some quick test shots.
Short summary: I’ll definitely be using this technique again, no doubt about it. It was a sunny day so we decided to go out a bit and, for once, I brought the camera along. I took a couple of snaps here and there but on the way home I wanted to get a bit more creative and let the flash come out to play as well. It was a very quick and simple process so let’s walk through it. I started by finding some shade and a decent background, the tricky part being to pick a spot without ants. Next, I checked the exposure and underexposed by 3 stops (I think it was 3). I would have liked the weather to be more cloudy to make this easier. I was already working at iso 100 and my fastest sync speed (1/200 s) but still had to close the aperture quite a bit to get the desired exposure. I would have liked a shallower dof in the final image but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. One thing I might be looking into is getting an ND filter for these kind of situations, that would allow me to kill more of the ambient.
After I had my exposure set it was just a matter of dialing in the flash to get the proper exposure on the subject, the grumpy faced Alyzza. This was very quick and dirty: plop the baby down on the ground, use my wife as a VAL (voice activated light stand), trigger the lp160 she was holding with optical slave by firing the popup flash. The popup was on the lowest setting so it didn’t really add any light to the scene. The main light is coming from high camera left.
Considering what a quick affair this was, I’m rather pleased with the result. I’m very determined to do a lot more with this technique and given the right background I think it can produce some very dramatic results. I really like this kind of studio look that you can create anywhere very easily. This test also confirmed that a softbox will be a good addition to my kit. A softbox that I can attach to the flash is much more portable than a big umbrella and will still soften the light considerably, giving it a much nicer quality. The flash used here is bare and you can see that the light is a bit harsh. I’m looking forward to using this technique with a softbox on our upcoming trip to Indonesia in August, I hope it will help me get some interesting portraits without the need for a lot of gear.