In these videos, Joe McNally walks through the basics of TTL flash, including lighting ratios and high-speed sync. He’s specifically talking about Profoto’s Air TTL system; however, these principles apply to smaller speedlights from Canon, Nikon and other manufacturers. [Read more…]
Shooting on a black background can create a great, contrasty image. Shooting a black product on a black background, however, can be tough to get right in camera.
This video from Karl Taylor and Broncolor shows us how to properly rim-light a product to create separation from a black background. The video goes on to show how to light from different angles to create or cancel reflections, as well as how to bring in LED lights from a product by extending an exposure time.
Here’s another great lighting setup and walk-through from Karl Taylor as he shoots a bottle and glass of red wine.
He starts with setting up the scene to create warm tones and textures. Then he walks through the lighting setup from the background and accent lights up to the key light as he builds the scene.
Obviously, he’s using Broncolor strobes in the setup but the principles apply across the board with cheaper speedlights and strobes as well.
While he demos the Profoto kit, the same rules apply to smaller speedlight kits and other TTL monolights and flash heads. With purely manual flash communication, however, you are limited to the sync speed of your camera (often around 1/200s) and won’t be able to freeze that motion.
Here’s an old video from Phlearn in which Aaron Nace walks through a clamshell lighting setup. If you’ve never done clamshell lighting before, you’ll appreciate Aaron’s thorough walk-through of the how’s and why’s of setting up and using clamshell lighting.
Keeping with the clamshell theme, below is another take on clamshell lighting from Matt Granger using a clamshell setup outdoors. [Read more…]
In this video from Jay P. Morgan at The Slanted Lens, we learn how to make a great 4′ x 4′ reflector with a silver and a white side using an $8 sheet of foam insulation sheathing.
Check out this video from Karl Taylor as he walks through the setup of a stroboscopic sports shot using the Broncolor Scoro packs.
Aside from the lighting setup and programming the intervals into the power packs, the notion of moving the camera during the exposure in order to separate the exposures from the strobes is a very cool technique. As Karl notes, it prevents the strobe exposure from stacking up in areas of the subject that don’t move as much and it also does justice to the composition by separating the subject across the four exposures.
If you’ve never tried stroboscopic or multi-strobe flash photography before, you don’t necessarily need the $10k+ Broncolor Scoro packs. Many system speedlights (e.g., Canon & Nikon) offer a “Multi” mode that will allow you select multiple flash firings during one exposure, along with a frequency rate and power level. Obviously, they are going to be less powerful than the Scoros but can still produce solid stroboscopic results with proper planning.
Check out your flash manual to see if it is compatible.
One of the things I do outside of this site is serve as the visual director at my church, which affords me plenty opportunities to experiment with different aspects of video production. I recently made a change to our video set that we use for announcement videos and created a diagram to answer some questions I’ve received about what the set looks like. [Read more…]
Yesterday, I shared a video from Profoto that discussed the benefits of high speed sync when shooting in high ambient light outdoors. In this video from Profoto, we get another look at the differences between shooting with ambient light only and adding layers of light using TTL lighting outdoors mixed with available ambient lighting.
Again, the video highlight’s Profoto’s high end AirTTL system using B2 and B1 lights but the same high speed sync can be achieved with smaller and more affordable speedlights from the likes of Canon and Nikon, or even cheaper third-party speedlights.
This short video from Profoto shows how shooting with high-speed sync flashes in daylight can help bring back details in the sky. The advantage of high-speed sync is that you can shoot at much higher shutter speeds than the x-sync rating of your camera. Most systems allow you to go up to 1/8000s, which means you can bring ambient light down without needing a ton of light from your flash.
In this case, they used a single B2 head in a softbox to balance the flash and ambient light. While the Profoto kits can be very expensive, the same effect can be achieved using smaller and more affordable speedlights. If name brand speedlight kits are still too expensive, third-party speedlights are available with the high-speed sync feature for less than $100.