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In the Lighting with Flash series, photographer and Strobist blog publisher David Hobby demonstrates how to use compact flash units in a variety of lighting scenarios. In this first installment, he covers the basics, starting with ambient window light and ending with a four-light shoot of a model. Along the way, the course covers a variety of fundamental lighting concepts as well as accessories such as ring lights and softboxes. The course includes diagrams and detailed explanations of the lighting setups.
Okay, we are back at our lighting diagram. We have a camera and a subject, two very good things to have if you are shooting pictures of people. And we are going to stick her right in front of that window, even though we are not going to be using that window as a key light. But we still really care about the window because that's going to be our fill light, so we want to take both the quality and the quantity of that light into consideration. Because the window is dictating where we're placing the subject, we can drop a little gray backdrop behind her, and that negates any positioning problems that the window may have created for us as far as the room environment.
So now we are going to bring in a speed light, just on medium power, like 1/8th of power if I am not mistaken, medium distance, and combined with a medium ISO and medium aperture, you are going to be pretty close right from the very beginning. Good thing to remember and then you make your adjustments as you need to. This is not going to be a cookie-cutter lighting setup recipe tutorial, because that would only teach you how to do those exact same things. We want to start to learn to think in theory and be able to improvise. So here we are, with our key light source at 45 degrees up and over on the camera left side, and let's see what that looks like on Ramona.
At a 250th of second the window light really is not coming into play. So everything you are seeing here is flash. You are seeing a little bit of detail on the other the side of her face, but that is coming from the flash bouncing around in the room, the wall behind me, whatever and kicking back a little bit of a fill in there, which is why she is not going to be pitch black. But this is all flash, and it's all coming from the left, originally. As we come back and start thinking about the window again, at a 250th of a second, the window does not come into play. Well, let's come over to a series of two pictures here. The one on the left was shot at a 250th of a second, the one on the right was shot a 60th or a 40th of a second. And at the point the window really is coming into the play because we are leaving our shutter open and allowing that light to build up that ambient light after the flash pop has completely finished.
So here we are. We are using a window clearly as a second light source, and we are taking into account the quality, based on how we are positioning our subject near it, and the quantity, and we are doing that based on our shutter speed that we are altering to allow that window to come in as much or as little as we want.
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