Enhancing Ambient Light with Off Camera Flash has become a very important part of my Portrait work.
I am currently using The Yongnou Flash with Wireless Trigger and they work perfectly. My Off Camera set-up is very straight forward; I use a Manfrotto Light-Stand with attachment for my Flash and Umbrella. I also enjoy using The Westcott Soft Box. This combined set-up is portable and flexible for my Fuji X System.
The Light Stand, Umbrella Attachment and Flash all connect well together and with a piece of Black Foam, I will flag my Flash Head to control the quality of light falling on my subject.
I really love the simplicity of The Westcott Soft Box. I can have this set up in under five minutes. It’s light and well supported by the Light Stand. The quality of light is really lovely. The most important component now is my Flash Trigger.
This part is critical because Fuji Cameras are small so having a big Flash on Camera and or a big Trigger throws the balance off in my hand. From the image above, you can see the Trigger sits well on my XT1 and in my hands it feels just right.
It’s a beautiful thing to control my Flash power from the Trigger. It makes the whole shooting experience feel very fluid. I can focus all my attention on my subject; conversation, rapport and direction to create the most compelling Portraits possible.
These three images show how well the light falls on my friend Serenia. She photographs very well, however, it’s the direction and quality of light from my set up that brings out the deep character in her face.
Let’s talk about my Camera Settings for a moment.
I was using two cameras: The XT1 paired with the 55-200mm and the XPro2 paired with the 56mm.
My setting were flexible to begin with:
1/125th sec or 1/60th
Aperture F5.6 up to F8
Ambient Light underexposed.
Flash Power set to 1/8 to begin with. I would nudge the power up +3 or +8 before going up to 1/4 power. Sometimes, that slight incremental adjustment to Flash Exposure Compensation would be all that’s required for my lighting to compliment the ambient exposure.
From here, I would add more ISO or move my Aperture up to F8 using the 55-200. With the 56mm, that was shot wide open, ISO kept at 200, flash power right down to 1/128th.
My understanding of blending Ambient and Flash got a good work out in the session with Serenia. I experimented with different settings to distinguish which combination worked best with each Lens set up.
The 56mm is a gorgeous for portraits.
My Film Simulation was set to Pro Neg Standard, images created in RAW. All images edited in Lightroom all with the Fuji Profiles maintained.
I am taking every opportunity to practice because lighting is the key element to creating great images.
I love creating images of Women and the use of Off Camera Lighting is a big factor for me,
I am proud of these images because they were all created using On or Off Camera Flash. The direction and soft quality light makes a big difference.
My eye looks for the authentic expression, no pretence, just a natural expression that reveals the truth of my ladies.
Off Camera Lighting is my secret weapon.
Thanks for reading.