Impromptu test shoot ~ pictures and techniques

Feb 24, 2010 | News | 16 comments

I was giving my Evolve delegates their two day closing session on Monday and Tuesday. When it was decided that a mini shoot with Speedlights would whet the creative appetite. So Blaise, my amazing PA rustled up Lauren our model and on Tuesday afternoon we produced these shots at the Matara in the Cotswolds.

Snow was falling, it was nearly dark outside but the light from one Speedlight was all I used for this interesting portrait.

Snow was falling, it was nearly dark outside but the light from one Speedlight was all I used for this interesting portrait.

We used the potted plants as dingle and the Honl gobo strapped to the Speedlight as a close coupled reflector. All of us were shooting completely different images from this session. Both the Nikons and Canons were producing extremely varied results. TTL often struggles to produce consistent results when Speedlights are used as backlights.

The same wall and set up as in the first shot above.

The same wall and set up as in the first shot above. Getting the right amount of diffusion to the plant shadows took a bit of tweaking of the light position and Honl gobo fitting. As I only had one gobo with me and we were shooting both Nikon and Canon, I fitted my SB-800 with a Speed Snoot opened out into a cone.

We used a different plant for this single Speedlight shot taken in an adjacent room.

We used a different plant for this twin Speedlight shot taken in an adjacent room. I warmed up the Speedlight with a full CTO gel, set a white balance of 3200K, and the ambient daylight then filled the shadows with blue light.

Hear you can see the location in all it's glory.

Hear you can see the location in all it's glory. Two Speedlights with a different configuration were used to key and kick. The shadows tell the story.

This close up was shot from a classic angle that creates feminine pictures. I usually prefer to shoot from below the eyeline but I like a change from time to time.

This close up was shot from a classic angle that creates feminine pictures. I usually prefer to shoot from below the eyeline but I like a change from time to time.

A striking combo of lighting. I was again plagued with my supposedly non firing 580EX2 master

A striking combo of lighting. I was again plagued with my supposedly non firing 580EX2 in master mode blurting out light. The main key light was another 580 in a Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe and I had rigged a pair of Speedlights as 3/4 kickers.

This is the same set up in colour with a slightly different flash balance used this time.

This is the same kick light set up in colour with a slightly different flash balance used this time. The key light was my Broncolor ring flash.

The Ezybox was used as a key light here.

The Ezybox was used as a key light here and Honl full CTB gels were added to the kickers.

Even the mistakes can look great when you have +3 stops of flash comp dialed into to Speedlights.

Even the mistakes can look great when you have +3 stops of flash comp dialed into to Speedlights.

Here is my last shot of the session. A hint of flare from the kicker Speedlight on the right adds to the look. We fitted Honl grids to kill the flare in subsequent shots.

Here is my last shot of the session. A hint of flare from the kicker Speedlight on the right adds to the look. We fitted Honl grids to kill the flare in subsequent shots. The Bron ring flash again gives us it's characteristic look.

Please feel free to comment on these ‘try out’ shots. This was Lauren’s first ever shoot and Blaise did the makeup.

16 Comments

  1. Paul Beggy

    Great shots Damien, particularly like the first 2. Looking forward to hopefully replicating something like this on the Speedlite course on the 23rd ;)

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Paul, thanks for the comments. We will be pushing the boat out on the 23rd. Come with an open mind and a big CF card :))

      Reply
  2. Hendra

    wonderful !!….love it Damien…cheers from Indonesia..

    Reply
  3. Rob Sanderson

    Loving those first 2 Damien, thanks for sharing the background and technique. You’ve given me the drive to take a model out for a shoot soon before the season starts in earnest and I’m too busy

    Reply
  4. Karl Bratby

    cool stuff with those speedlights again Damien , nice first shoot with Lauren , expression is the key though, give her one of your look books for homework.

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Crash. I’m glad you popped by. Have a great season. Cheers, damien.

      Reply
  5. Gwyn Cole

    I love these images. I especially like the first and second frames.

    Reply
  6. Tara Taylor

    A great set of images. Can’t wait to do the Speedlight course next month. Very inspiring!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Tara, See you at Focus maybe or at the Speedlight Mastery workshop in March. Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  7. John Harris

    Fantastic images as ever Damien – can’t wait for the Cherish workshop. (well done Blaise too!)
    John

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi John, Bring it on, I can’t wait for the Cherish workshops with my mate Chris too :)

      Reply
  8. J.P.

    So many great images! The very first one, though, really makes me rethink the possibilities for direct flash. I wouldn’t have thought you could pull that look off without some sort of modifier.
    Other than that, Lauren was obviously a great model and her hair! It looks like it was made to be electrified with light!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Chris and JP.

      JP The single Speedlight in the first shot had the same Honl gobo as in shot 2 ;) It made the light slightly softer but not by much. Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  9. Chris

    Excellent Images D, & perfect make up Blaise, not lost your touch :)
    To all on Evolve, wishing you triumphs successes for the future.
    Chris Hanley

    Reply

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