How I Lit This Shot
I know a lot of people are interested in the process other photographers use in taking/lighting shots. I have been asked a few times to detail my process, so I thought this shot of Jessamyn was probably a good test case to talk through.
I start with shutter speed. I know I’m limited to a maximum of 1/250 because of sync speed, so I always start at 1/125 and work from there. That way I still have room to increase it or decrease it. If I start at 1/250 there’s only one way to go!
In terms of aperture, I pretty much determine this before I take any meter reading. This is simply down to, VERY shallow DOF, shallow DOF, quite deep and VERY deep DOF. It’s not a science and there’s no exact maths that I apply. I’ll just open up or stop down depending on the look I want.
With my shutter speed fixed (for now), and my aperture more or less fixed, I now meter for ambient light and adjust ISO to get the exposure I want. At this point I now introduce flash. Again when I bring flash into it, I position it at the distance I want in terms of softness and always start with it on 1/2 power. This gives me flexibility to dial it up or dial it down.
To get the balance between ambient and flash right, I now have some flexibility:
- Aperture pretty much stays fixed. If I want to adjust the over all exposure, this is what I tweak
- To let in more or less ambient, I play with shutter speed. I have a whole stop to play with
- To let in more or less flash, I can either adjust the position of the flash by bringing it closer or further away effects softness and drop off) or else dial it up or down accordingly.
- I always try to get my flash right as soon as possible and then play with the mix by varying shutter. This is because it’s difficult to adjust flash as you’re shooting, unless you have an assistant. If I’m shooting on my own, I have to leave the camera, go over to the flash, change it or move it, back to the camera and shoot again (repeat until it’s right)