Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday's Speedlite Session: Mix Light

Generally speaking, you want only your added lights to illuminate the subject. However, there are times when it’s a good idea to mix light sources, either using daylight or room lights.

In this photograph, I mixed the light from a Westcott Apollo 28-inch softbox (in which I placed my Canon 580EX II) with the room light. This technique can be tricky.

Here is a link for info on the softbox:

Following is what I do in this kind of situation.

First, I set my camera to the Manual metering mode and set my exposure for the room light. Here, I wanted the room to be fairly dark. If I had wanted it brighter, I would either increase my aperture or reduced the shutter speed to let more light into the camera.

Then I take a test flash shot. If the light from the flash is too bright, I reduce my flash exposure, and vice versa.

Mixing the light is all about experimenting.

You can see that the original shot is a bit flat. My enhancements on the final image included enhancing the saturation, contrast and sharpness in Photoshop.

Above is a diagram of my lighting set up. Please note that the diagram is not to scale and not 100 percent accurate.

For more lighting tips, see my apps, Rick Sammon 24/7 Photo Buffet and Rick Sammon's Light It!

Explore the light,

P.S. Thanks, Peter!

I added the two above photos after receiving a comment from reader Peter Kremzar. Peter, thanks for your comment. I could not use that particular photo, but if you'd like to comment again with another photo, I'd be glad to share.

Basically, Peter, who has a good eye and a good understanding of speedlites, suggested using more lights to light up the background. Good idea, but this was a one-light workshop. :-)

Also, above you see how one can lighten or darken the background in Photoshop.

Thank you again, Peter. Good idea!


Ernst Gamauf said...

The angle of the softbox is different.

victor said...

I think the background level is fine. Too bright in the second PS'd one. Competes with the model with all that ornate detail.

Rick Sammon said...

Ernst... good eye. As I said in the post:

Above is a diagram of my lighting set up. Please note that the diagram is not to scale and not 100 percent accurate.

Thank you,

reggie said...

thank you for sharing rick! i'm a natural light shooter and beginning to use speedlights to further enhance my images. its always great to learn with one light first and get a better understanding of how its done.

one thing i noticed because im kinda new to off-cam flash is the triangle setup (camera, light and subject) this a basic setup?

Rick Sammon said...

reggis... 3 lights can be good... so so can one!

Dru Stefan Stone said...

Personally I like the darker background myself, it has much more of a Victorian feel and mystery to it and seems to be much less distracting. I appreciate the learning tools.

Libby said...

Great shot Rick. I have the Apollo and it's a great box. Easy setup and very portable. That along with the Photek Softlighter II which I love gives you some incredible portable and easy setup options.