photography techniques (mostly flash)

I’ve not done much flash work as I never really liked the look it gave the subject when I first tried it, but that was on film (20+ years ago) and I simply couldn’t afford the trial and error learning process. Digital is far better for this sort of experimentation and there’s a couple of sites I’ve read recently that have taught me something useful and are worth trying out.

The first is from That’s My Monkey [via PhotographyBlog] and is an old trick to some but new for me: strapping a business card to a bounce flash with an elastic band. Sounds simple and rather odd, but with a typical 45 degree bounce flash the subject is much more naturally lit than with full face/on-camera flash but can have rather pronounced shadows, particularly under the eyes so the card reflects a portion of the light directly at the subject helping to even out the illumination. Sounds odd ? Try it: my camera bag now has a couple of bits of white card and elastic bands in there ‘just in case’. (One of the many commercial alternatives is shown here but note that I merely found the site via {Google} – I have not bought anything and cannot comment on the items he is selling)

The second is a huge selection of techniques from Neil Turner [via Bagelturf] who goes through the equipment and shooting details behind work he’s done as a news photographer. As he notes, some of it is actually product photography as it all comes down to taking the pictures that are asked of him, which is way higher pressure than my personal work, but an in-depth knowledge of photography in general (rather than just digital post-processing) enables him to make the most of a shoot whilst taking the pictures rather than spending a weekend with Photoshop after the event.

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  1. I also found these sites to be excellent:

    BTW, thank you for being the first one to give me everything I needed to run Aperture 1.5 on my one-footer.


  2. One mroe thing…

    On eBay you can find really cheap wireless triggers. A set of those, a small lightstand, and a 30-some inch silver umbrella and you have yourself a nice little portable portrait kit. I keep something like that in my car for freelance work.


  3. Hi Seb,

    I’ve had Strobist bookmarked for far too long now and not read more than one article there, but he certainly covers the ground with his stuff so I think I have some reading ahead of me. I’d not seen the filmlessphotos site before, so thanks for that. I’ve got a couple of older flashguns kicking around at the bottom of a box and have been looking at eBay as a source of slave units: I’d been holding off for no real reason but I’ve just got a 15 minute NiMH battery charger, so there’s no excuse for not playing around more now.

    Not that I do anything photographic as freelance 😉