On-Camera Flash: Intern Edition

posted on: April 28, 2009

I don't know about you, but I definitely have a love-hate relationship with my speedlight. I'll use it if I have to, but most of the time I'll go to extreme lengths to avoid pulling it out of my camera bag. Probably 90% of the time it makes a better paperweight than it does a piece of camera equipment.

Anne showed me a nifty trick last week that will tip the scales more toward the "love" part of the equation. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll post a few by way of demonstration. You definitely have to see it to appreciate it (that, plus the fact that I don't really feel like writing a 3,000 word blog entry. I'm sure you appreciate THAT, too.

Just to preface this, I was shooting at f/4.5 at 1/50s (manual mode). My speedlight was set to E-TTL, with no light modifiers on it.

Exhibit A: Neo (yes, named after the Matrix. No, don't ask me why, it's been like 5 years and I have no flippin' clue anymore) relaxing on an unseasonably warm spring evening. The flash is on-camera, pointed straight at him. The verdict? EW. Ew ew ew. Nasty shadows, cold, harsh light...just...ick. We can do better.

Exhibit B: Neo, looking much healthier than before. The flash is still on camera, but is now pointed straight up at the (white) ceiling. Ah, my optic nerves can relax a little bit. This is MUCH better than what we had before. The shadows have softened, and the light is much warmer and more flattering. Well...as flattering as it can be to a stuffed dog. I'm not such a fan of the shadow under his chin, though...that wouldn't look good on a person either. You can imagine that you would get the same kind of shadows under a person's eyes, since the ceiling has essentially become your light source. I think most people are tired enough as it is without us accentuating that lovely raccoon-eye look.

Exhibit C: Success! Here's where Anne's trick comes in: the flash is still on-camera, and I'm still bouncing the light, but I've pointed it behind me and over my shoulder. There is a white wall about 7 feet behind me, and now that is pretty much acting as a giant softbox. Look at that light! Soft, even, no harsh shadows...extremely flattering. If anything, this might be a little TOO even, but that is much easier to correct in post processing than super contrasty light and terrible under-eye shadows.

So, there you have it! And remember: fear not the flash, grasshopper. At least, that's what Anne tells me.

Life As An Intern - Episode Four

posted on: April 7, 2009

My last few weeks can pretty much be summed up by the pie chart in the post by Alexis. (Loved that, by the way!!).

While I always enjoy my time with Anne, the last few weeks have been very simple and well usually involved time waiting for technology to work. I finished designing the guestbook from my last post. I made Anne promise I could see it before she gave it to the couple. It looked awesome!!

Last week I also spent a majority of my time doing the first edit through on a wedding. It was very interesting to see someone else’s images from an entire wedding. It made me realize I’m not the only one who misses focus here and there. Anne taught me that it’s all in the way you present your very best images from the day that can really make an impact.

Anne had me edit in the good photos versus editing out the bad ones. I’m still deciding which way I like better, as I normally edit out. Please leave a comment on which way you prefer to edit and why. Thanks!

I discovered it was also much easier to edit through someone else’s photos then my own. I often get too over attached to images that really aren’t good simply because I remember the day and I have an emotional connection to the images. Now this isn’t in itself a bad thing but when I’m giving too many images that are sub par because I’m attached, I can detract from the overall quality of my work.

When I edit through my next wedding I’m going to try to focus the way I did when editing Anne’s images. She told me the first thing to look for is high emotion and then having the most faces visible in a shot. I'll let you know how it goes :-)

I'm actually at home today instead of with Anne because one of our cars broke down. While I'm bummed I had to miss a day with Anne, it's so nice outside that I'm glad I was able to spend some of the day outside. Our landlord just got three new piggies. There has been so much bad press about pigs and the swine flu recently, that I thought I would share a few pictures of the piglets to remind everyone how cute they are. Plus every post needs a picture!! 







A Purple Kind of Day

posted on: April 3, 2009

It wasn't purple originally,
but I was feeling purple
when I looked at it.

Feelings affect the way we see the world
- not just in art,
but in life.

What color is your world today?

(Want a copy for your desktop? Go ahead and click the image to download it.)

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