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In this installment of our popular Photo Assignment series, Derrick Story shows how to get professional lighting results by using just one or two strobes that are detached from the camera and triggered remotely by Canon or Nikon digital SLRs. Photo Assignment: Off-Camera Flash covers how to improve the appearance of photos taken indoors, and reduce the appearance of harsh shadows, and get soft, beautiful light that flatters any subject. Along the way, learn lighting fundamentals and how to assemble a kit of equipment essential to any digital photographer who shoots portraits.
I'm going to show you a lighting setup now that I think you're really going to like, or at least I know you're going to like the results it produces. Now, it's called Over/Under Lighting. As you look at this contraption here, you can see this is a rather unusual setup. What I have are two flashes, a top flash and a bottom flash, two umbrellas, but only one light stand. That's it. So again, it's very simple. It's a little bit more complicated than our most basic setup, but still quite simple. So, what I'm going to do right now is show you how this works, and take some shots of lovely Katrina.
Ready to do some shots? Okay, great! So, before I get into the actual shooting, let me tell you a little bit more about what's going on here. We have the two umbrellas, as I mentioned before. This one, this is our basic lighting setup where we're reflecting off the umbrella. But this one down here, I'm actually shooting through the umbrella, and that's the nice thing about translucent umbrellas; you can either reflect off or shoot through. It gives us a lot of options. Now, the important thing is that we're creating this wall of light, very strong frontal light which is very flattering for the model, and because it's coming from two different directions, we get some interesting effects - all of them good.
So, what I'm going to do now is I'm going to start out in Program mode. We're going to take some shots and see how we do. All right! You ready to go here? All right, so here we go. I'll just line this up and take a shot right there. Very nice! Okay. So, as I suspected, these look absolutely terrific. Now, the only change that I would really make is that I'd like to brighten her up a little bit more, kind of go for that fashion look.
So, that's going to be an exposure compensation setting, and let's do that right now. So, there is regular exposure compensation, and there's flash exposure compensation. We're going to do flash exposure compensation here. Just go to the menu, go to my flash control, and then I'm going to go to flash exposure compensation, and I'm going to go to +1; +1, that will brighten up the scene a little bit. Now, the other thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to go to Manual mode, and I'm going to drop that shutter speed down to a 15th of a second and make that background a lot brighter, too.
So, we've done two things: flash exposure compensation +1, and a 15th of a second for the background, and we're going to go -- we're actually pulling out all the stops here. We're going to go for this high- key look that I just absolutely love. Excellent! Oh man, yes! That's absolutely beautiful! So, that's the key here. Even though we have a very simple setup: two flashes, two umbrellas, one stand, and you notice when we're looking down here, by the way, that we have kind of this odd arrangement of things.
So, this is where I just use anything that I can find, any sort of grip, and then I sort of hold it all together with my gaffer's tape. So, you just do whatever it takes to get this rig set up. So, it's an ugly rig, but it produces beautiful shots. You've definitely got to try it. This is going to be, I promise you, in your photographer's bag of tricks.
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