10 Tips On When & How To Use Off Camera Flash | Ask SLR Lounge
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Question 1: How do you know how often and when to use off-camera flash?
Watch the Facebook Live video for the answer here:
You can also view directly on FB here.
We only incorporate flash about 10% of the time. There’s a sequence that we go through to determine when to use it and when not to. Flash can improve the quality of an image, but it can also reduce the quality when it’s not used well. Here is the process we use to decide if we want to use flash for an image.
1. Look At Our Scene and Background
Ask yourself, what kind of a scene do you actually want to capture and create?
2. Look At The Existing Light Direction
Once you’ve established the direction you want to take, look at the existing light direction. Determine if the current lighting situation works, or does it need to be modified?
3. Does The Light Quality Match the Desired Look?
For example, if you are aiming for a soft and airy look, does the current light quality enhance that? Do you need to modify the light to achieve the look you want?
4. Can The Light Be Modified With Simple Tools?
If the light quality doesn’t match the desired look, can it be modified with just simple tools, like reflectors or a scrim?
5. If You Can’t Use Simple Tools To Modify, It’s Time To Use Flash
*Note: In the video, we are using the Phottix Mitros Plus with a built-in radio system.
6. Select the Ambient Exposure For The Camera
Ask yourself, what do you want the scene to look like? More dramatic? More natural?
7. Dial In Appropriate Flash Power Settings To Complement The Scene
If you are going for a light, natural looking image, you’ll lower your flash power. For something more dramatic, bump up the flash power because you’ll want to pull the ambient light down.
8. Modify The Color Temperature Of The Flash As Needed
If you want to match the existing light or add in some stylistic effects, modify the color temperature with a gel. We use the MagMod grid and gels, which are the most commonly used modifiers in my kit.
9. Determine If You Need to Modify The Flash Quality
Make sure that your flash quality matches the quality of light that you need. Do you want a softer light that makes the scene look more painterly? If so, use a simple umbrella. They tend to spill light, but it’s easy to use, and can be controlled when used correctly. If you want something more controllable, check out the Westcott Apollo series.
10. Make Adjustments As Needed
While you’re shooting, make adjustments as needed. Adjust the pose, watch for highlights and shadows, etc.
When considering to use flash, remember that you don’t need to use it all the time. But when there’s a scene that just needs that extra kick or you need extra light to balance things out, that’s when the Lighting 101 and Lighting 201 courses are going to be so invaluable. They will teach you the differences in how to pull off dramatic vs natural looks, and how to modify that light quality to match your vision of the scene. Stream the full courses as a Premium Member or purchase them in the SLR Lounge Store here.Join Premium
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