See the Difference in Natural vs. Speed Light

 

So have you either heard about me getting a new light earlier this year or you have seen me around town with the a cone shaped device on a pole (soft box/speedlight) at different locations and wondered what I was doing with it and why?  The purpose is to add light to my subject and giving more dimension to the images. The transition from natural light only to using a Speedlight has made a difference in the work I produce, it’s like night & day. Though it has been a learning curve it has been interesting how adding a speedlight & soft-box to my photography tool kit has taken my work up a level and gives me the ability to shoot any time of day at any location without the use of power cords. Keep on reading to ee the difference for yourself!!

For instance the soccer picture below with rolling clouds. I set my camera to underexpose the sky and then use the light to camera left on my subject to give it depth and add light to his eyes as the sun was to his back right. In post I decreased the highlights by -11 an added my watermark. If I had just shot this image without the light his face would be dark with no light in the eyes.

 
 
Sports Portraits
 
 

For my setup it is pretty simple. I have a speed light mounted in the softbox using a bowing s-bracket attachted to a light stand. This makes the lighting system portable. To prevent having a wire going from my camera to the light I have a remote trigger mounted on the hot-shoe of my camera making it possible for me to set the light where I want it and move around without wires and power cables. In sunlight it gives me the ability to get rid of the dark shadows under the eyes and add life during mid-day sun when the sun is the harshest. The time of day no longer affect when or where I shoot a session.  I can shoot from 9m to 9pm no problem.  I am now going to show you the difference.  The following images are unprocessed other then shrinking the image for web use and converting from raw to .jpeg so you will see the difference.  The camera settings are going to be posted under each image.

This is a night session at 9pm after the sun set!

 
 
No flash!  35mm f/1.8 lens, 1/250 sec., f/4.0, ISO100, Centerweighted-Average metering

No flash!

35mm f/1.8 lens, 1/250 sec., f/4.0, ISO100, Centerweighted-Average metering

Flash!  35mm f1/8 lens, 1/250 sec., f/3.2, ISO160, Centerweighted-Average metering. Speedlight/Softbox is positioned to camera left about 10 feel from subject at 1/2 power

Flash!

35mm f1/8 lens, 1/250 sec., f/3.2, ISO160, Centerweighted-Average metering. Speedlight/Softbox is positioned to camera left about 10 feel from subject at 1/2 power

 
 

Here you will see the difference from a daytime session at 10am in a shaded area to avoid dapple lighting on his face and arms.  The speed-light/soft-box helps give life to the eyes and separate the subject from the background. 

 
 
No flash:  1/200 sec, f/4.2, ISO-125 Lens: 55-200 (62mm), f/4.1max, Centerweighted-Average Metering

No flash:

1/200 sec, f/4.2, ISO-125 Lens: 55-200 (62mm), f/4.1max, Centerweighted-Average Metering

Flash:  1/250sec., f4.5, ISO-125, Lens: 55-200mm (62mm), f/4.1max, Centerweighted-Average Metering. Softbox/speedlight is positioned 3 feet to camera left from the subject and speedlight is set at 1/4 power

Flash:

1/250sec., f4.5, ISO-125, Lens: 55-200mm (62mm), f/4.1max, Centerweighted-Average Metering. Softbox/speedlight is positioned 3 feet to camera left from the subject and speedlight is set at 1/4 power

 
 

The closer I place the light the softer the shadows become. The farther away the harsher the shadows. The softbox also helps with evenly dispersing the light so it isn’t so harsh.  The speed light is set to the right or left of me at a 45 degree angle with the subject’s eyes.  This helps add life to the eyes and decrease the dark shadows during sunny days.  If you have worked with me in past years you know I have tried to use my reflector for this same results but wind makes this a challenge.  For now on I will have my speed lights for every session along with my assistant to man the lights.  I find this has brought my skills up a level and gives me one more skill to practice and master.  Looking forward to sharing my adventures and what I learn over time.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask!