The Difference-Maker

July 22, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

The racing mind filled with "what if" scenarios, the butterflies the size of B52 bombers buzzing about in the pit of your stomach, sweaty palms and stress headaches. Are all just a few of the signs I am about to go do a photoshoot. The angst comes from the unknowns and attempting to prepare to be that professional the client needs me to be.

One of the difference makers that has helped my confidence in handling virtually any situation is off camera lighting. When I started out this subject scared me because of the seeming complexity of it. Then it was broken down simply for me and I will attempt to pass on what I was taught combined with what I have learned.

This picture is from a recent bridal shoot. I did not mask the bride and drop a Photoshop background in behind. The goal was to accomplish the lighting in camera and reduce the post editing time. A few minutes after this shot was taken the skies opened up and we were diving for vehicles in a driving thunderstorm. How do you make this sort of shot happen? I will attempt to show and tell. 

Bridal Shoot-134_MEBridal Shoot-134_ME

The use of flash allows one to capture a perfectly exposed picture of the focus subject, in this case the bride, while intensifying the color of the background... Here are some illustration pictures...

The "behind the scenes" capture of the capture. Lots of people on the beach and a dying flat light. 

Graduation 70D-137Graduation 70D-137

Below is the exact picture I captured when the above picture was taken. With minimal editing with the spot removal tool this is the stunning results.

Graduation-665-3Graduation-665-3

The difference-maker is the use of a local light source that allows for the darkening or underexposing of the background. 

At this point I have to share a side bar mini story or a Paul Harvey-esque "rest of the story"... Earlier somewhere up the beach my trigger for my brand new Elinchrom Ranger Quadra light system slipped off the shoe of my camera and into the sand, never to be found by me again. Although I was REALLY upset I realized that I was losing the absolute best light we had all driven 1400 plus miles to shoot, so I let it go, did my best to pretend that sort of thing happens everyday in the life of a photographer and not the catastrophe it really was.  I went to my bag and pulled out my back up old system of my beat up Canon 580EXII flash with cybersynch triggers, handed it to Dad and hurried to capture the light before it all disappeared over the horizon.  Without the benefit of a softbox to diffuse the harsh bulb light and make it pretty. We got the shot and life goes on. Chalk it up to the cost of experience and life is still good. 

I will continue on in part 2 with more details on how to accomplish the above magic. 


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