Lighting With Off-Camera Flash

This project is dedicated to practicing lighting techniques and using them to enhance the aesthetic and story-telling quality of your photographs.

Part 1 (2 photos): With and without flash.

Take one photo of a subject that is not under any flash lighting. Properly expose the shot in ambient (natural or constant) light.

Take another photo of the same subject, but this time light the subject with flash. Properly expose the main source of light hitting the subject. The criteria for this shot is: It should improve the photo by adding the flash. It could demonstrate that, without adding flash, this photo would be impossible to take. Examples: Frozen motion subject in a darker environment, a more dramatic and controlled look to the light, a higher contrast between ambient and main light than can occur naturally, etc.


Part 2 (2 photos): Balancing the ambient.

Take one photo where the flash power is properly exposed on the subjects and the ambient light is at least 2 stops underexposed. You could do this by setting your shutter speed close to your maximum sync speed (probably 1/160 or 1/200) and with a low ISO, slightly closed down aperture, and flash relatively close to the subject- then adjust the flash power to balance the exposure of the main light. Basically- Set your camera settings so that the camera meters the scene without flash at 2 or more stops underexposed, and then add flash.

Next, take another shot with a similar setup, but this time bring back some of the exposure of the ambient light. Slow down your shutter speed (you might have to adjust more than just shutter speed) until your ambient is metering within one stop of exposure to your flash. The end result should be a more subtle lighting than the first one.


Part 3 (5 photos): Light types.

Take the following 5 types of light. If you need a more thorough description, you can find it on the lighting assignment from photo 1. The difference, this time, you will be using flash for each of the photos and you only need to take one example of each.

  • Soft Light
  • Hard Light
  • Directional (90 degree) Light
  • Back Light
  • Goboed (something goes between) Light