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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 talk about a couple things right now. We have two light stands now instead of one, and we're also going to talk about ratio lighting; in other words, how do these two stands relate to one another? So, why do we have two stands? Well, one of the reasons why I like two stands is it's a very flexible setup. In other words, I can have a light stand here, a light stand here, as you see behind me. I can have one person, I can have three people, I can have five people, and I don't have to change my lightning at all.
So, this is a very flexible thing. This is really good for like at a wedding reception, anniversary, stuff like that, where maybe you're going to be shooting families and couples, all that good stuff. So, how does it work? Well, let me get into it a little bit right now, and we'll drill down. How are you doing Katrina? Yeah? So, before I take some shots of Katrina, I'm going to talk about what's going on with these two lights. So, you notice that I have them pretty much at equal distance from her.
That way I can put her in the middle, or if a couple of your friends came by, or your husband came by, we could just put them right in there, and you don't have to move the light stands around. Now, what if I want to adjust the lighting in this setup here? Do I have to walk over and grab one stand and move it back, and move this one forward, and do all that juggling around? Then when another group came, then juggle it around again? That would drive me crazy. Because of ratio lighting, I don't have to do that.
Actually, on the back of my camera here, on the back of the transmitter, I have an A and a B, and the flashes work out where that one's assigned a group A. This one is a group B, and then I can set this - the ratios or the strengths of these two flashes. So, in other words, I could go extreme and have an 8:1 ratio, 8 being the brightest flash. So, this flash would be bright. This will become the main light.
This one will become the fill light. Then I could turn right around, make an adjustment on here and go 1 to 8, and have this one be the 8, and this one be the 1, and change it around. Or I could have anything in between, let's say on a group shot. I'd go 1:1, have a nice, even lighting. So, that's what we're going to do right now. I'll start out. We'll do a 1:1, just get nice, even lighting on you. Let me just turn it on here. By the way, you can also do this with the Nikon camera.
With the Nikon camera, you would go into Commander mode. You would drill down into the menus, and you could set the lighting ratios on the back of the camera, instead of with the transmitter, because on the Nikon, you don't need the transmitter. So, let's do a 1:1 right now, so this is a very even lighting; in other words, both flashes are going to output the same. There we go! Let's do another one right there. Now I'm in Program mode. I'm keeping this simple. We're letting the ratios be the difference in the shots.
So, we've got a shot very nice, even lighting. This would be great for a group shot, be nice for a couple shots. But let's say I want to do something a little bit more artistic. I want this light to be a little bit brighter. So, I'm going to go over here, and I'm going to set an 8:1. So now, this is going to be the bright light, and this is going to be the fill light. So, we're going to get a little bit of modeling, a little bit of shadow on the side. Are you ready to go with this? All right! Let's take a look at what we have here.
Now, this is great! So, what's nice here is now I have a brighter side, a main light. I have a little bit of fill. It creates some modeling on the face. It's very artistic! I didn't have to do anything but change a few buttons on the back of this controller here. I didn't have to move light stands around at all. That's why I like this wireless setup. Not only is it light, is it portable, but it's very powerful, and I can do all sorts of things by just controlling the back of my camera.
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