The other week, I spent sometime with my friend's sorority taking photographs to promote their rush week. Naturally, I couldn't turn down an opportunity to practice off-camera flash. I brainstormed a lot of locations on campus to try and take these photographs, but I settled for a hallway inside one of the university's newer buildings. There was a beautiful red wall for girl wearing black dresses that I just knew would look fantastic.
The lighting setup was fairly simple:
- Yongnuo YN560IV w/ Wescott Rapid Octa Box either camera left or right as key-light, feathered as to not spill light onto the background.
- Neewer 5-in-1 reflector opposite of Octa to fill shadows.
- Yongnuo YN560III w/ pull-out diffuser facing the background at head-level to light the background.
- Max shutter sync speed on Canon 6D (1/160s) to kill ambient lights. Between ISO 200-400 so flashes can fire at half-power.
- Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM or 85 f/1.8 depending on when I felt like it.
Describing poses sometimes could be difficult, as I wouldn't always know exactly what the pose should look like. Often, I would toss suggestions and when I see something I like, we stick with it for a few frames. Moreover, the photographs were intended for facebook, so I should've left more horizontal space in the frame for cropping in post.. It's so hard resist framing for the 2 by 3 aspect ratio in the viewfinder.
Potentially the harder aspect for me to judge was figuring out which direction the key-light should ideally come from for each girl. Some girls, a broad light (lighting side of face closer to camera) worked well, whereas some others preferred to be lit short (lighting side of face farther from camera). I guess with experience, I'll become better at figuring out which light is appropriate for certain faces.
Equipment-wise, I would clip the corner of my Octa box or the reflector in my exposure. I kept the modifiers close to the subject, so the lighting appears softer (i.e. refer to the inverse-square rule) and I wouldn't have to use a stronger flash output. Moreover, the Yongnuo RF-603 II trigger I used sometimes wouldn't properly trigger the flashes, resulting in a black silhouette on a red background or a perfectly exposed subject upon a dark wall.
I really enjoyed doing this photo-shoot -- I think I learned a lot personally, and the girls seemed like they enjoyed having their photo "professionally-taken."