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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

{ Flash and Lighting Techniques -- Photo Tip } -- Mesa / Phoenix, AZ Photographer

{ You Light Up My Life }

When you're using an angled, external flash, which direction should you point it? It all depends on what kind of affect you are looking for and are trying to create. I'm going to be using my little bear friend as a model for this tutorial on lighting. You can use a similar item to practice your flash lighting or also use a real { person } model. The key is to practice so that you get used to what your flash is doing. All of these photos are lit from two light sources. The first light source was an overhead ceiling fan light behind me to the left, facing the bear. The second source in each photo is described below each photo.

In this photo, I positioned the swivel head of my flash so that the light coming from my flash first "bounced" off the wall and then fell softly back on my bear subject. This is a way of softening the light on your subject. Rather than being a harsh, direct light from a flash that's pointed directly towards the subject, it's softened by lighting the wall first and only having the residual light fall back onto the subject.

Shooting with your flash angeled to the right will have the same effect that bouncing the light from the left will do, only it will light the other side of your subject. One thing to keep in mind when you're bouncing light from the left or the right is that it creates shadowing on the other side of your subject. To fully understand shadowing, place a 3 dimensional object on a table and turn the lights off. Then, take a flashlight and position it so that it's lighting from only one direction of your subject. You'll notice that the other side is in { mostly, if not all } darkness. This is because your subject partially or totally blocks the light source. Any solid object will block light.

This is an example of light pointed above and towards the subject. It's that direct light that isn't very pretty. It's why most photographers use an external flash, so they can bounce the light and make it more artistic. I'm not fond of direct light because it's so stark--it is harsh and blunt, taking away too many of the shadows and making my subject look a little too flat.

You can also angle your flash straight up and this will bounce the light from the ceiling { if you're shooting indoors } and fall back over your subject. The shadows will fall underneath your subject. Can you see that in the photo?

This is my favorite kind of light. I turned my flash head around and bounced it off the wall and ceiling BEHIND me. This really took the light source away from my subject and allowed the light to fall back more evenly, filling my subject, but not harshly. All the shadows seem to be in the right places. This is a great tip for when you're shooting inside because there is something to bounce the light off of.

After you have gone through this tutorial, go back through each picture and study the shadows and lighting in each one. You'll start to "see" the way that lighting has an affect on photos. It's an important and fundamental key for photographers to understand as they're lighting their subjects. Hope this is a great help to many of you! : )!

Happy Lighting!