September 16, 2010

How to get 100% Reliable Flash – every time!

I know, I know, I get kind of lame when it comes to putting up new articles on this blog. For those of you out there that have blogs and websites that you feed with new info daily, or even weekly, my hat goes off to you. Coming up with new content that you think someone might find useful can often be difficult. Recently I found something that you might enjoy.

For the last five years or so, I’ve been constantly trying to improve my portable lighting techniques and I've found the easiest way to do this is with Speedlights. Of course when you’re in a studio environment, most of the time you’d probably be using Mono-Lights or Studio Flash set-ups, but out in the field or on a remote location, Off-Camera Flash units, usually called Speedlights, are a quick and easy way to get the lighting your looking for with minimal effort.

Unfortunately even these units can be rather difficult to use. You can either ask someone who knows how to use them that might have the time to take you through the process or can try to find the right Internet site (or sites) or read books and magazine articles and devote the time to learn how to use them that way. For myself it’s actually been a little bit of all of these methods.

I actually started out by going online and checking out a fantastic Blog called “The Strobist” put out by a guy who was a 20 yr career-newspaper shooter, David Hobby. David actually created it in 2006 to avoid doing a lecture at a photo class for someone. He quickly found out how many people are into using Speedlights these days, myself included! It has since turned into a full-time job for him and he’ll be the first to admit he spends about 8 hrs a day researching and writing articles to “Feed the Blog”. You’ll find a link to his site on my Blog List also.

Another one of my favorite Blogs to get Off-Camera Flash tips and tricks is a site by a fellow photographer named Neil van Niekerk. Neil’s home base is in New Jersey, but his work these days take him all over the country. Weddings and portraits comprise the majority of his work, but he also holds workshops and seminars teaching digital photography and lighting. Neil also has a great book on Off-Camera Flash and you can click on the Amazon link on this site and type in Neil van Niekerk to check that out. You’ll also find a link to his site – Tangents, on my Blog List.

But now you’re probably saying to yourself, those are great ideas if you’ve got tons of time on your hands, but I just want to be able to take my Speedlight and get the lighting I want quickly and easily without all the fancy lighting ratios and all that creative stuff - Fair enough.

Recently I found a little eBook called 100% Reliable Flash Photography by Edward Verosky. He has a regular website and a nice little blog featuring techniques and tricks for using Off-Camera Flash and I actually found it quite by accident while browsing through another photographers website. I’ll tell you what, I wish he had put this eBook out about 5 yrs ago because it would have saved me tons of trial and error time, not to mention hours of researching on the Internet.

Ed’s eBook is about 75 pages long with tons of useful diagrams and examples of his set-ups and photographs on how he gets his images. He does not get into all the fancy mumbo-jumbo talk, instead he just tells you how to do it quickly and easily. Ed has a technique he calls Standardization, in which he tells you exactly what camera / flash settings he starts with when shooting outdoors or indoors to get consistent results. Of course you can modify these yourself, but it makes your work so easy, you’ll say to yourself “why didn’t I think of that?”

These days, I start with his Standardization settings and then go from there if I want to get a little more creative – just a quick and easy method, ba-da-boom! Like I stated, if your into using Speedlights, either on or off your camera, and want to get quick and reliable results, you owe to yourself to check out his eBook. You’ll find a link right on my site, 100% Reliable Photography.
Remember, as always, keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography