Flash Is My Friend

At least I hope will be. Someday.

Last night, I shot my first "real" portraits using flash.

So, you might be asking why I put the word real in quotes. The reason for that is the photo session was unplanned. I spent the last week or so helping my daughter get ready for the prom. As of Friday, plans had changed, and we all thought she would not actually go (I won't go into details, but insert sad face here).

However, the plot thickens...

Yesterday afternoon, my daughter called to advise that she worked out other arrangements, and was planning to go to prom after all (YAY!). Aaaaand... she wanted to have pictures taken. Which meant she wanted ME to photograph her and her date. Um... ok?

I hung up the phone, and began to work through what I needed to do to help her get ready. She was planning to arrive at home around 5:30pm to get ready, since she had left all the clothes at home. And her date was planning to arrive around 6:00pm. That meant I would need to use flash for the photos.

Crap. [sigh]

All my previous portrait work has been with natural light. My experience with flash to date has been mediocre. And I would consider that being generous. That said, I was still going to get my gear together, and do my absolute best.

I pulled out my FlashBender, put on the diffusion panel attachment, grabbed my speedlight and wireless triggers, and waited for my daughter and her date to arrive. I was definitely nervous, as I had not yet really worked with any of these products, other than playing with them a little when they were first delivered to my home. This would be their first real field test for me. I kept my thoughts positive, however, and helped my daughter get dressed and ready.

When her date arrived, we went outside to take the photos. Thankfully, the weather cooperated, because there was no way I could do anything even remotely passable inside. If you have ever seen the colors of my walls, you would understand why (in our defense, we did not paint these walls, and if we had the ability to repaint, WE WOULD - ahhh, the joys of renting).

Tim took care of holding the modified speedlight to camera left, once I figured out where to have the kids stand. I took a test shot with the flash at 1/4 power, and realized that I needed to turn the flash down a bit. I made a couple more (sort of) test shots, and adjustments, and then just did my thing.

So, how did I do?

Not bad, actually. I realize that I still need to practice working with off-camera light, to get a better idea of what to do and what look I want. But for a (sort of) last-minute photo shoot, I feel that I got a few good images of the two of them.

And the big, bad, flash didn't scare me off from trying again. Which could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I hope.

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