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| p.1 #3 · First flash and one to learn with - 3rd party? |
Theres a lot that can be done with one flash if you know how to use it. On camera flash in the hot shoe hits a face at an unnaturally low angle. Simply raising it straight up on a bracket makes it more naturally flattering by duplicating the downward modeling of natural light. Combine the frontal modeling of the raised single flash with the backlight the sun, expose for the sun and add flash to balance on the shaded side and you have a simple but effective outdoor portrait lighting for full face views.
For indoor shots the light on the bracket provides the same flattering modeling. Add a diffuser that allows the light to be split between forward and off a low ceiling and you get both natural downward modeling and fill. When you don't have a ceiling you don't get the fill bouncing back into the shadows, but the bracket keeps the flash modeling downward and flatter.
When you understand how to flatter a subject with a single flash you'll better understand how to flatter them with two or more:
1) Get the "key" off-camera flash, past the brow and nose into "both" eyes
2) Position the "key" light so the angle is naturally downward and is casting a flattering nose shadow down and over the nose, not out to the side or into the far eye.
If you can't do both of those things with a key light in front the more flattering results can usually be obtained by using the single flash strategy of the bracket + bounce on the face and wheeling the off camera flash behind as backlight, creating a look similar to the outdoor single flash shot with sun at the back of the subject.
So I'd recommend you purchase:
1) Camera flip bracket
2) SB-17 or SB-29 cord
3) make a DIY diffuser
Learn to use them and earn enough as second shooter to buy:
4) SB-800 or SB-900 flash
5) 8' stand and umbrella bracket to mount flash
6) Make a second DIY diffuser
7) 36" white umbrella with removable black cover.
Move the SB-800 to the bracket as Master in the CLS system, moving the SB-600 you already have to the stand.
Most beginners buy the largest umbrella they can afford and wind up with flat lighting on faces.
But you need to realize to make light flattering on a face it needs to hit at about a 45 degree downward angle to model and also get past the brow. If you have 8' ceilings in a room you can't get a big umbrella high enough to create that flattering angle on a standing subject. Even with a 36" umbrella the center of the source will be 6-1/2 feet off the ground if it is hitting an 8' ceiling. Since most of the light will be bouncing off the ceiling at that point anyway it's more practical with speedlights to skip the umbrella entirely, zoom the off camera flashhead and then and bounce it off the ceiling so it comes down at the ideal 45 degree angle to the face.
It's not the lighting gear than produces flattering results it's knowing how to aim the light, both with one flash (if that's all you have) or with two or more.