Day 344 – Studio Light Training Day

I really want to master lighting and when I saw two fast track flashlight days recently advertised by my local camera club and an online photography group – I decided it was time to invest in this area of my photography, so I booked onto Appleton Photo training Workshops – Mastering Speedlights and Speedlight Studio sessions.

It was brilliant – a lot of the photographers there were professionals, which meant that photography was that mean income and to me this was fascinating – I really enjoyed talking to different people and finding out what they specialised in – in the 19 attendees, there was such variety including:

  • An Army photographer
  • Someone who specialised in interiors
  • Someone who specialised in profile images for linked in and social networks
  • Lots of Wedding photographers
  • Newborn and Cake Smash photograpers
  • Event photographers and more….
  • Photographers who were members of Camera Clubs
  • Photographers who regularily attended trainings and a photographer on her first training ever….

There was a variety of camera and kit and Andrew showed us some simple ways of using our speedlights to get the most natural looking images. We were never hard sold anything – no dvd to buy, no most have equipment – just some great ideas and a chance to see what works.

There was a lot of information to take in, but the slides and presentation was really clear and there was a relaxed and informal atmosphere that meant you could ask questions, etc – a lot of the photographers there were members of the Photographers Guild, but again there was no hard sell!

I took photos outside in bright sunlight with my speedlight using the sunlight to cause the models hair to be back lit, with catch lights in the models eyes.

ISO100, F5.6, 1/160sec - With flash

ISO100, F5.6, 1/160sec – With flash

The background was not really important for these images – but by moving my feet just a little and changing the angle and the crop, it was a lot harder to tell she was in the car park.

ISo100, F3.5, 1/250sec with flash

ISo100, F3.5, 1/250sec with flash

I took photos indoors – in a venue that you might associate with a wedding taking into account the ambient lighting and using the walls to bounce the flash, the idea was to focus on the model but capture the ambiance of the location.

ISo1600, F4, 1/60sec with flash

ISo1600, F4, 1/60sec with flash

I took photos in a basic studio set up with four speedlights – two creating the background, one with a beauty dish and one with a fill light and through being able to grab a quick shot I have ideas on how to recreate that in my own studio setting or in any small space.

A simple studio set up - record shot.

A simple studio set up – record shot.

The flashes were turned in this image to create a separation between her hair and the wall – so back lighting again. I found it really interesting…


A shot in the studio set up – notice the beauty dish in her eyes – ISo400, F8, 1/160sec

I also learnt about how light was controlled and the different between the “Quench” system that my flashlights operate on and the “Dump” system my studio lights work on and why some lights are more suitable than others in a variety of situations….  it was kind of like a light bulb moment for me.

This is another set up when we were using the speedlights to freeze movement … this is the setup…

The set up - with 4 speedlights.

The set up – with 4 speedlights.

And this is my first shot….  when I look back at the coffee drops I tried to capture earlier in the year …  I now realise how easier this could have been if I understood the light better….

Freesing time - ISo400, F10, 1/160sec

Freezing time – ISo400, F10, 1/160sec

I am taking a lot away from the session but mostly that:

  • Studio lights – when you turn them up or down you are effecting the amount capacity of charge and the brightness
  • Speedlights – when you turn them up and down you are not effecting the brightness but the speed of the light, the higher the power the longer the flash duration… I now know why I might want to use multiple speedlights!
  • Shoot manual with flash but measure for the ambient light that you want to achieve. I have to use my light meter more, but use you camera – the TTL option on the flash works really well in manual with the camera helping with the calculations about light, and not to be afraid of a higher ISO.
  • I need to investigate the various photography organisations out there, like the Photographers Guild, the Royal Phography Society, The Photographic Alliance, and see if it would be benfical for me to join… I would love your view if you belong to one….
  • I also have a make of rechargeable batteries to try….
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