The importance of adding just a little bit of light to your photos

The importance of adding just a little bit of light to your photos.

Sometimes you might be photographing during the day with a nice soft shade or other good lighting situation and totally forget all about the flash in your bag. We can tend to leave the flash or other lights in our camera bag while it’s daytime and too many times are stuck with mediocre lighting because of that. Today I want to talk about how quickly adding 1 light to a scene can make a huge impact and also be something very easy to setup.

Here is a good example of shooting during the day in a situation where the couple inside the call was a little bit underexposed. This could easily be fixed in Photoshop to dodge in the couples faces and lighten them up a bit but I still wanted something that gave more of a pop to the image.
flash photography strobist

I wanted to give the image more visual interest so added just one light to the scene. The first shot was with a Canon 5D at 1/400th of a second at f/2.8. I loved the flower that the bride had in the back of her hair and wanted a little bit of backlight to highlight that. I grabbed a Canon 580 ExII and positioned that in the back seat pointing towards the back of the brides head. The flash was attached to a Pocketwizard Flex TT5 remote that was fired from a Pocketwizard MiniTT1 on camera. No changes were made to the shutter or aperture and the flash was set to E-TTL. Using the Pocketwizard Flex system you can shoot at high shutter speeds up to any range so it gives you a lot of control when shooting outdoors.

Here was the final image. You can see the flash that hit the roof of the car reflected on the hood but that could be easily touched up in Photoshop if fended. Another benefit of adding this light is the light bounced off the ceiling and filled in the bride and grooms face which were underexposed without adding flash. This now exposes them properly plus gives this great light behind them. Now that the couple are the brightest part of the image your eye is drawn into them and it puts the focus on them which is where we want to direct our users eyes. It only took one minute to setup and really makes a difference in the final image.

Another way of adding interest to this image could have been to add a 2nd light coming in to the side of the bride and groom as a direct hard light to give more dimension to them and add a little more mood to the image. Look out for some more article about using multiple lights coming soon and don’t forget to sign up to get our updates via email at the form on the top right side of the page.

strobist photography

Just a quick tip today to show the importance of light. Look out for many more lighting articles coming up in the future!

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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