Two Pros Join My October Master Your Flash Workshops

Great news: Laurence Yang will be our model for my October Master Your Flash Workshops.

I have worked with Laurence before and I can tell you that she one of the most professional - and most fun - models with whom I have worked.

Laurence also wrote a cool article for my blog on Make-up. Check it out.

Click here to see more of Laurence's work.

More great news! Joe Brady, who took this picture on my 2010 Croton workshop, will be my co-leader. Joe is a master photographer and expert on Pocket Wizards. He, too, is a ton of fun!

I hope to see you in October here in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

Explore the light,

Light Illuminates, Shadows Define

Light illuminates, shadows define. That's one of my favorite photo expressions.

Here's another one: Shadows can be your friend.

And another one (mine): Take the darn flash off the camera.

Today, I thought I'd play around with shadows using a cool, new accessory, the Rogue 3-in-1 Honeycomb Grid from ExpoImaging.

This cool accessory, designed for any Speedlite, gives you control over the spread of the light from the flash.Three different grid angles are available: 25°, 45°, and when the grids are stacked together, 16°.

The Rogue Grid attached to a flash with Velcro®. The grids are inserted into the collar, and as I mentioned, can be stacked.

I took the opening shot for this post with my Canon 580EX II positioned off-camera on a stand. I fired it using my Canon ST-E2 wireless transmitter.

I used Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro to create the sepia effect and to add the border. For info on Nik Software, and to get a discount, click here.

Yes, you can create a circular lighting effect with the Rogue Grid. I'm going to try that next. Right now, I'm taking a nap . . . I'm still recovering from jet lag. Just back from Amsterdam, off to Alaska tomorrow.

Explore the light,

P.S. Try making a picture in which the shadow is a main part of the image.

Sunday's Speedlite Session - Control Subject and Background Brightness Independently

Compare these two pictures of a monkey that I took in Gibraltar. One is an available light shot and the other is a daylight fill-in flash shot – the one that clearly shows the monkey’s face.

Here’s one technique for reaching that goal when you are photographing animals (at relatively close distances) and people outdoors.

First, you’ll need a flash with variable flash output control, that is, +/- exposure control – or a camera that lets you control the flash output from within the camera. Mount the flash on your camera (better yet on a bracket or off camera), but don’t turn it on yet.

Set your camera to the Manual exposure mode.

In the Manual mode, set the exposure for the existing lighting conditions, a.k.a. ambient light.

Turn on your flash and make an exposure with the flash set at – 1 1/3. If the picture on the camera’s LCD monitor looks too much like a flash shot, reduce the flash output to – 1 1/2. If it’s still too “flashy,” continue to reduce the flash until you are pleased with the results.

This techniques works because even in the Manual mode, the flash operates in the TTL (through the lens) automatic flash metering mode.

Some digital SLRs and flash units help the flash metering system determine the main subject’s distance, while others let you lock the flash exposure on the subject, while still others measure the ambient light and take that into consideration – helping you to get a great outdoor flash shot automatically.

Still, I suggest you master this manual technique if you are serious about your photography. When you do, you can control the brightness of the subject independently (with the flash output control) from the background (with the shutter speed).

Hey! They don't call me Rick "Speedlite" Sammon for nothing! I never leave home without one!