Tagged with: ‘Portrait’

So I started this project off after gaining huge inspiration to just experiment and push my flashes to their limits after reading Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash. If you missed Part 1, click here to catch up.

I wanted to challenge myself a bit more, so the following day, I asked my sister Aysha (also my assistant) to come out with me for some photos.

It was 2PM, high sun (which is generally a photographer’s worst nightmare), and well in the low 40s. This time, there was no thanking the beautiful sunset to add drama. In fact, there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. Still, I was determined to keep the color of the sky while making my subject “pop” in the photo. I was up for the challenge.

Initially, I wanted to set up two SB-900 to allow my flashes to fire at lower powers to get faster recycling times. That was a no go, as both flashes had to be fired at full power. This was necessary with the sun beaming overhead and directly behind her. So the sun is adding the rim light here, while the two flashes are the key light.


AJ Lighting 1 copy Personal Project: Playing with small flashes to create interesting images Part II


As you can see the small sources of lights introduce some heavy unwanted shadows on the right side of her face. Now this makes for a great photo as is, however, I wanted something more soft, and something where my subject grabbed the attention. This called for the use of my Lumiquest Softbox III. Using this makeshift softbox caused me to lose a stop of light from that specific flash. So I moved one light as a kicker and the key light in as close to the subject as possible.


AJ Lighting 3 copy Personal Project: Playing with small flashes to create interesting images Part II


You may notice, I have no transmitters, receivers or any of that nonsense. I find Nikon’s CLS system to work amazing and so that was the route I took for both parts of this project. In both series I am shooting with high speed sync: 1/4000 for part 1 and 1/8000 for part 2. I’m also using my on board flash as the master to trigger two Sb-900. Keylight set to 1/2 power, and kicker light set to 1/4 power. So now I was getting the results I wanted. All that was left was… frame…compose…and DONE!


AJ Lighting 4 copy Personal Project: Playing with small flashes to create interesting images Part II


Now, in this case, I did have an extra set of hands. My younger sister Jenath, who decided to help out in exchange for some photos of herself, helped setup the shot in 3 Minutes!! That’s something exciting to look forward to this upcoming season!  Here’s a shot of her after her efforts. Setting wise, nothing has changed. I only altered the location of the flashes slightly.


AJ Lighting 5 copy Personal Project: Playing with small flashes to create interesting images Part II


Again, keep in mind, I wanted to work with what I could carry, so a studio strobe would’ve been great, but it just wasn’t feasible. I’m also considering applying these techniques to the busy schedules of a wedding day, where time is limited and more often than not, there’s barely any time. Plus, when lighting like this gets involved, you just have to Keep It Simple Stupid :). So in this case, it was just two speed-lights and two light stands. Which managed to do just the trick. Having an efficient way to provide a variety of interesting images is the goal. I’d say this project was a success!!!

Stay tuned for more personal projects like this where I will exercise the abilities of my tools and explore new techniques.


“This place is boring”
“This room is too small”
“There’s no windows”
…SO on and so forth…

So we’ve all been there…you know, when you’re limited to almost nothing in terms of composing a great image. Photographer or not, if you’re holding a camera and want something more than just a decent image, you must learn to utilize light and make it your best friend.

This isn’t a “How to” lighting tutorial. There are plenty of great DVD’s, books, and sites, that can offer more help. Visit strobist for a wide variety of useful tips.

This is my post about making the best of a boring situation.

NazBlog1 Making something out of nothing

I was able to add some definition to my friend and create a more interesting portrait as opposed to direct flash or bouncing off the ceiling.

Truth is, I had 2 feet of space (in a very crowded kitchen), and my pal here was against a bland beige wall next to a refrigerator. All I did was bounce the SB-900 off the refrigerator which created a more diffused and attractive light.