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Using a ring flash for fill

From: Lighting with Flash: Basics

Video: Using a ring flash for fill

So let's take this and add another layer to it, and what I am going to do is I am going to set up a ring flash that is just going to dialed in to fill in those dark shadows that. We're making just exactly as much as we want. We're going to have to play with it and I dial it in. So I am going to take just a moment and set up a stand with another SP800 and a ring flash on it. So what we've done now, we've added some fill, and this does a couple of things. It helps us control the contrast range in the shadows, number one. It takes a little pressure off of the location of the key light, because if we just have the key light, the key light has got to do everything.

Using a ring flash for fill

So let's take this and add another layer to it, and what I am going to do is I am going to set up a ring flash that is just going to dialed in to fill in those dark shadows that. We're making just exactly as much as we want. We're going to have to play with it and I dial it in. So I am going to take just a moment and set up a stand with another SP800 and a ring flash on it. So what we've done now, we've added some fill, and this does a couple of things. It helps us control the contrast range in the shadows, number one. It takes a little pressure off of the location of the key light, because if we just have the key light, the key light has got to do everything.

It's got to be high enough over her to give the drama but far enough out from her to catch her chin and a little under her chin and have that wrap coming down. We can do whatever we want with the key light and then fill the shadows with this ring light. This might be the first time we are seeing this here, so this is an Orbis ringflash adaptor. It is one of my favorite little light modifiers. This is one of the two things that I always have with me when I am shooting people. It takes a flash, little hot shoe flash, and turns it into a ring light where the light comes from all around the ring, like that. So it's a very useful approximation of what we were doing with the window from the back, has its own very specific look. We are going to use this as a key in a few minutes, but right now I just want to play with it as a fill because that's the way I normally use it.

So we're creating dramatic light from the top. The shadows are just going to go to hell, because the light is going to be up really high, and then we're going to a fill in those shadows as much or as little as we want with this ring. This flash, again, is just firing off the wall on a very low power just to set off the other flashes; it's not contributing to the exposure at all. Our ambient exposure just is giving a little bit of wrap. If you can swing around and see how the windows are coming from around Ramona, you can see that we almost have two soft boxes in the back there, just wrapping around her. We're making use of those like rim lights.

And you can see on her shoulders that light that it's creating. It's wrapping around her shoulders. We're giving her just a little bit of that in this frame. Okay, so let's see if this is going to work. Okay, just chill for a second. Let me catch your light. Much more nuanced than the others. It's a lot less contrasty. I want you to put that right over her head, and let's drop a half stop, or two-thirds of a stop out of that, because we're going to come right down over her head. So hit it once to activate it and then take two-thirds of a stop out of it. Okay, good.

There we go. Oh, I like that playing-with-the- hair thing, it's that "you bore me." That's perfect. Perfect, there we go. A little bit more on front of her, Eric. Look off to the side like that. You just looked off that way, the other way. There you go. Don't move. Good, good. I am going to back up and include those windows so we can see the effect that they are giving, just very quickly. Good, I liked the face at that time.

Total incongruity when I include the windows in that picture, because they really shouldn't --oh I like the smile, give me that again. There you go, perfect! Chin up just a little bit, and don't even look at me, just don't give the time of day, as far as eye contact, good. All right, now right here, there you go. Okay, I am going to dial this fill up just a little bit, 1, test it, perfect. Okay, same thing.

Now, you can look away from that light, because I can still see you when you look down and such. Now, eyes right here, good; good, there we go. Okay, one moment. I am going to check my focus. I don't trust my eyes sometimes. Now, looking at this, I'm trying to see the difference between having the fill and not having the fill, and what I like is a tiny bit of fill in her, like you almost can't see it until you take it away. So let's actually do that. Let's take, I am going to mark you, Dave, so you see me for later.

Okay, so let's fly that light out just like you were. I am going to shoot one with the fill. I want you to do everything exactly the same, so bring it down just a little bit. That's good. And look right at me, Ramona. I don't want you to change after I take this picture, okay, because I am going to take another one. Okay, so here's minimal fill, and I am going to take the fill away. Okay, I see the difference, definitely. It's a big difference. You can't see this fill until you take the fill away, so it's not even really doing anything, but when you take it away, you see what it really was doing.

So let's turn this back on and shoot a few more. Good, I like that!

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Lighting with Flash: Basics

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David Hobby
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