On camera flash does not suck

Posted on Friday, November 25th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Nope, it just wants to be loved.  We just wrapped another Grande Séance (called Great PhotoShoot officially for English documentation, let see if I can commit..)   and I must hurry posting about it since the next one is this coming weekend.

We shot again in a gymnasium.  This time, we had absolutely zero natural light, not even a window.  On the Saturday, while setting up all the backdrops, I decided to keep a green chalkboard accessible.  The walls were again made of cinder block and I shot against those at the 1st Grande Séance, sorry, Great PhotoShoot, where we were in a gym.

Later that evening, we started working on the lighting.  We normally aim for soft setups, something not too harsh.  Bright and soft setups are also more versatile, allowing the models to wander around a bit more and still be lit correctly.  This is when I decided I would go full on camera flash.

Rather than using automatic e-ttl flash, I packed an old 540ez flash which when mounted on the 5D is nothing but a fully manual flash.  I love the manual control when you have some time to think about it.  Lens wise, I also took the decision to commit to only one lens; 50mm 1.8.  I choose the 50 because it is light, it is small, it is a fix length and short enough that I would need to be close to shoot headshots and ¾.

I was hoping that some other participants would whoop out their flashes and try it.  If any did, it wasn’t in my corner.  One gave the green board a go; my hat goes off to you for stepping out of the box.  You probably left a mark with the model for that reason.

From the start, I knew the photos would be black and white.  The green was not bad looking but I really wanted to have strong contrast BW images.  Bright highlights seem to be more acceptable looking in BW.  I like the look of them.  They are close to the look a ringflash would deliver but with the dark contrasty drop shadow the offset flash casts.  I am packing my flash again next weekend; on camera flash does not suck.

One Response

  1. Derrick says:

    Kind of Richard Avedon meets Studio 54 era club photos. I’d love to see one like this with an identical shot with ring flash to compare. But you are right on camera doesn’t have to suck.

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