Lights, Camera & Action

Off Camera Flash

As a wedding photographer in Temecula, I find myself thinking about light every single time I take my camera out to a shoot. This is because light, and the manipulation of it, is a very powerful tool that can create intense and dramatic effects on a image. When I first started learning about digital photography and becoming involved with wedding photography, I purchased a Canon 580exii so I could blast out more light to capture cleaner images at night. I invested in this flash primarily to capture photos during the receptions of the weddings I was hired to photograph. The Canon flash was awesome, doing everything I asked of it. However, it was not until I spent time assisting Justin & Amelia Lyon that I realized there was so much more I could do with my flash.

While helping the Lyons out with weddings in Orange County and Los Angeles, Amelia showed me a technique that they implemented during many of their shoots. Basically what they did was place a Canon 580exii on the ground (usually at 1:1), place the flash on slave mode and then remotely trigger the flash using a ST-E2. They would also hold another off-camera flash to act as a fill light while shooting the subject. Through this process of adding exposure light to control ambient light they were able to capture some very unique and rad photographs. They were even able to close the aperture to create an effect known as key shifting that basically could make it appear dark in the middle of the day.

After seeing how they would use the off-camera flash to create more dramatic images, I contacted my friends at Inner Song, and they contacted their assistant Caleb Hill to discuss setting up a practice shoot. Basically, I wanted all of us to get a feel for the technique used by Amelia, but I also wanted us to simply experiment with the use of off-camera lighting to see what else we could come up with. Naturally, we packed up the cameras, photo lenses and some beers, and headed out to the hills to shoot.

Here are a few of the photographs  we captured during our first ever group practice shoot!

The Michael Jackson looking shot at the end is by far my favorite in this small sequence of photos. I am really giving off that magical break-dancing, moon walking, ready to tear up the dance floor vibe!

After messing around with the ST-E2 and off-camera flash, I feel I have yet another tool that can help me as a wedding photographer. I am new to the photography game and realize I have so much to learn. Looking at wedding blogs by influential people in the wedding photography community such as Our Labor of Love and Max Wanger only reinforce this notion, while also motivating me to become a better photographer. But I’m trying! And am anxiously looking forward to getting out some more and improving my skills with this new technique!