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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Portraits from Early Winter 2015 extras (13 of 21)ISO 4001-180 sec at f - 5.0

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Illuminating someone’s face when using a flash is pretty simple to do and really all about positioning more than anything else. Best of all, you can do it all with one light source.

If you’re using natural light:

– Don’t have your subject look into the sun.

– Find diffused light; like that under a tree, awning, or in a building.

– Preferably, find a reflective surface that bounces light back into the person’s face.

– Place the reflected light source in front of or slightly to the side of the person.

If you’re using a flash in the hot shoe:

– Bounce the flash output off of a surface to the side and slightly behind you.

– Have the subject face you directly.

– Do not bounce the flash directly off of the ceiling. You’ll create shadows under the eyes.

If you’re using a flash/strobe out of the hot shoe:

– Put the flash in a large modifier–one that is larger than the person’s face

– Place the light modifier with the flash in front of the subject/slightly to the side

In all of these situations, try to turn the subject’s face slightly towards the light source. This will create more direct illumination onto the eyes.

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Photographer Scott Robert Lim recently did a video tutorial with creativeLive on posing groups for a photo–and it’s probably one of the best tutorials I’ve seen. What Scott is really emphasizing is micro-managements and people skills; but he cites that he’s had lots of experience with arranging elements on paper and so he applies those skills to photography.

As far as technicalities go, he talks about finding even lighting–which is what we say for portraiture all the time when it comes to shooting outdoors. Even lighting will make it easier to get a better photo with more details clearly being visible. Scott adds a bit of fill flash and also uses the longest lens possible–which means that he’s probably backing up quite a distance away from the subjects.

But beyond that, he also talks about keeping everyone’s attention. It’s tough work but possible.

Check out creativeLive’s video after the jump.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Umbrella Reflector Hack (7 of 7)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.0

One of the absolutely most underrated light modifiers is the Umbrella Reflector. Typically used to hold an umbrella in place and provide more stability when attached to a monolight, they can also take the light output from strobes and monolights, give it a specific conical direction and soften it. For many years, however, these flash modifiers were limited to monolights and hot shoe flashes couldn’t really enjoy the benefits. But for what it’s worth, many hot shoe flashes have been designed with radio transmission as of late and were primarily intended for off-camera use.

Using a bit of tinkering at home combined with some inspiration from a beauty dish hack I did along with the Impact Strobos, I created an umbrella reflector that works well with a hot shoe flash.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-35mm f2 food photos (1 of 2)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 2.8

When photographers first start working with flashes, they initially learn to create light by bouncing the flash head’s output off of surfaces. The more experienced shooters will tell you to simply just bounce it but they never explain the concept and reasoning as to why one would do this. Flashes also have different settings that help you get different results and that can work with your camera settings to render a whole load of different looks.

Here’s how to understand the basics of bouncing a flash’s light output.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 5Ds review images (5 of 24)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 4.0

That beautiful natural light effect that everyone loves in their food photography can be created at any time of day or night–and you don’t need to wait for the best times of the day for it to happen. By using a flash (mostly out of the hot shoe but sometimes in it) you can create those really beautiful food photos that make you want to indulge in all the things.

And to be honest, it’s really, really not hard to do. If anything, food photography with a flash is a one trick pony and what will make the images better are adding textures and interesting compositions/patterns. That part is all up to your own creative freedom.

Here’s how you can use flash for better food photography.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Aperlite YH-700C flash review images (4 of 10)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.2

Aperlite isn’t as well known as Phottix or Yongnuo when it comes to affordable third party flashes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality isn’t there. In a world where everyone and their mother is creating a Me Too flash of some sort, getting to the best of the best is tough to do. The Aperlite YH-700C is a flash. Yes, that’s it. It’s an ordinary flash with TTL capabilities with both Canon and Nikon cameras. No radio wireless control, no crazy features at all–just a flash that’s very akin to Canon’s older 580 EX II. That means you’ve got TTL, manual and stroboscopic modes in addition to a tilting and swiveling head.

It isn’t exactly doing anything to push the technology barriers, but for what you’re paying for there isn’t a whole lot to complain about.

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