First Flash

I finally got caught up on post processing photos from my whirlwind trip to Columbus.  These photos are from the baby shower I attended.  Rule one:  decide if I want to shoot or attend a party.  When I’m trying to do both, I don’t do either well.

There’s a certain geek factor about walking around a baby shower with a big lens and a flash on a stand with a funny looking box over it.  Now, imagine if I would have added my loupe hanging around my neck.  Would that really have pushed me over the line between overly enthusiastic and completely socially inept?

I’m thinking I crossed that line the moment I decided to put my flash on a stand.  And as one guest pointed out, people will put up with my flash because they want the pictures.  This only holds true if you do a really good job on the pictures.

In any case, I discovered several things my first time out with my new flash.

First, I understand why event photographers often put the flash on the camera even though the lighting options are limited.  Having the flash on a stand in a relatively small space with a lot of people was a bit awkward.  It was often difficult to find a position for the flash stand without asking someone to step out of the way.  There were many times I didn’t bother to use the flash at all because I didn’t want to disrupt the whole room by setting it up in the middle.

Another thing I learned was that since I was working without a tripod (not something I do too often these days), I needed to have a fast enough speed to not get blur from movement but also slow enough not to exceed sync speed with the flash.  I ended up with a shot where the shutter speed was too slow for my hand-holding ability when I was using flash. Seems like it defeats the purpose of using a flash.

I was pleased with the effect of using the flash to light the shot of the gifts.  Although there is a bright reflection in the piano, it’s not actually from the flash–it’s just brighter because of the flash.  There seems to be a pretty even light.  Of course, the ambient light from the windows helped with the fall off.

While an umbrella might have been even better light, we decided it was too crowded to have a big umbrella sticking out of the stand.  That was definitely a good decision!

Another thing I learned was the challenge of lighting multiple people.  Especially when the people don’t know each other that well enough to get into each other’s personal space.  Or, when there is a huge height difference between the subjects.  Shadows get exponentially harder to control.

All in all, given it was my first time using a flash, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.

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4 responses to “First Flash

  1. I think you captured the event beautifully. I find that I am often my own worst critic. It is difficult to do both. If you discover the secret, please let me know. You might even be able to sell it to others :).

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