Balancing Flash with Low Ambient Light: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey: AdoramaTV



in this video I show you how you can balance flash and low levels of ambient light in the second part of the red riding-hood themed shoot adoramatv presents take and make great photography with Gavin Hoey hello I'm Gavin Hoey and you're watching adoramatv brought to you by Adorama the camera store that has everything for us photographers and today well you can see I'm not actually in my little studio we're out in the woods because we're going to do a Red Riding Hood themed shoot but outdoors now to do this of course I need a model so let me introduce you to fern say like firm so ferns join me again very brave in this lovely warm lovely out here isn't it UK's always lovely and sunny and we're going to do a little shoot out here we're going to mix in a bit of flash as well so it's going to be an extension of our previous studio shoot so with that in mind let's get going so for the first set up we're going to do something fairly straightforward a nice kinda head and shoulder shot out here and I've got some flash gear that I'm going to use but let's start without flash and just see what we get now the lighting today can best be described as flat but let's take a shot now I'm going to use my Canon 72 200 millimeter F 2.8 lens gorgeous lens for portraits and give some lovely creamy blurry backgrounds especially when you shoot wide open f 2.8 now I've got to watch my shutter speed here I've got nothing other than the the camera and the lens no extra lighting and a hundred ISO my shutter speed is very very slow even wide open at F 2.8 so let's really bump up that ISO setting we can go up to 400 ISO keep my shutter speed up and my pictures sharper that's great so they work pretty well but they are very flat and like a little bit of drama and that's where lighting can come in we can add our own lighting into this scene to create our own rather more dramatic image so for the lighting I'm going to use the the Rove light 600 this is a studio powered flash I mean it's a very powerful flash but then best bit about it is it's battery-powered so there's no cables there's nothing here that is going to cause me to have any problems even shooting in the woods we just need to get this in the right position and of course I need the little remote control to go on top of the camera to trigger the Rove light okay so let's work out what we need to do for exposure now I'm going to start by taking an ambient meter reading so I'm in aperture priority mode I'm in my chosen aperture F 2 point 8 and I'm going to drop down to ISO 100 that's where I want to be now if I take my ambient meter reading from here my camera is telling me well it's telling me a tenth of a second that's how dark it is down here and it's the middle of the afternoon it's crazy dark but we can work with that so that's a tenth of a second now I'm actually going to switch to manual and I'm going to deliberately underexpose the ambient light so tenth of a second F 2.8 ISO 100 is the correct exposure I'm going to go for a 30th of a second so that's a stop and a bit underexposed let's just take a shot without the flash firing so you can see how that looks as you can see it's a little underexposed but we still have detail in the background now we're going to add in the flash but we need to work out how bright to make that flash remember my target aperture is F 2.8 so let's turn the flash meter on so what I'm going to do is just pop the the meter underneath ferns chin or there abouts and we'll take a meter reading so at the moment that's telling me F 5.6 that's way too bright I just need to turn this down to stops at 6 clicks and then I can take another meter reading and that's telling me F 2.8 so I've hit my target aperture for my flash my flash is producing F 2.8 of light it's going to balance with the ambient and hopefully that will just fill in the shadows and give me the shot I'm after okay let's take the shot and find out okay fern here we go so that's lovely brilliant and can you bring your hood up okay so there we go we've got some great shots and that shows you that by balancing the ambient light and the flash you can get some great shots that give you the best of both but give you ultimate control over the end result okay so let's try something different let's move on try another location so we've moved to another location we've got very different lighting here than inside of the woods and I'm going to do a very slightly different way of working because the lighting here is bright enough that I might find the my shutter speed goes to my maximum sync speed of this camera which is one two hundredth of a second so I'm going to jump into TV or shutter priority mode here on my Canon my my six speed is two hundredth of a second but I always work a little below that so one one hundred and sixtieth of a second I'm just going to take a meter reading and let the camera tell me what aperture I can work at and my camera is telling me F 2.8 now one hundred and sixtieth ISO 100 F 2.8 would give me a perfect exposure on the background I want to slightly under expose so I'm going to shoot at f/4 instead okay so switch to manual one one hundred and sixtieth of a second f4 iso 100 that's locked in now what I need to do is to get the flash – flash at f4 so fern becomes correctly exposed and my background is slightly underexposed we'll come and take a test reading pointing the meter reading back at the flash okay I'm actually on f5 so we can just drop that down just a little bit to f4 so my flash is producing exactly the right amount of light and I should get the shot that I'm after he's lovely you The Kills they really are okay come on it just to a little spin okay Sam that comes out okay go for it and yeah there you go so we've moved round and we're going to do a different shot now we're going to do a wide shot so I've switched out to my 24 to 105 millimeter lens and I've changed the position of the light we've now got it going much higher in the air to give a very different lighting look I need to take an ambient meter reading first of all so I'm going to go for the wide angle end of my lens to try and get a nice ambient feeling and I'm going to choose where we might have to go up a bit on the ISO let's just have a little go here ISO 100 at the moment f/4 and that gives me an ambient reading it's still about a tenth of a second so it's not as bad as it looks so a tenth of a second is my ambient I'm going to switch to manual and if I had a tenth of a second at f/4 well that would be correctly exposed and all of this would be correctly in a nice and bright but to make it a little bit more nighttime II I'm going to go from a tenth of a second to a twentieth of a second that's one stop a twentieth of a second to a fortieth of a second that's two stops and from a fortieth well we're going to go to a sixtieth so that's two and a half stops underexposed ambient light so my target aperture is f/4 let's pop the little trigger back on we need to make sure the flash produces f/4 light that hits fern so let's just get the flash meter and we'll take a meter reading here we go so pop it underneath the chin and it's currently telling me F 5.6 so that's a stop of light too much we can just drop this down one stop take a meter reading and I'm getting f/4 in theory what I have to do is press the button that's the easy bit okay let's take some shots and find out are you ready beautiful that's really good so to think about the background when I'm taking these shots just try and get a nice shot nice background really good so there you go by combining the the ambient-light the flash changing your lens and changing your position you can create a whole raft of different pictures now all I need to do is to get my favorite picture into Photoshop and do a little bit of processing and we're going to do that right now don't forget to check out Adorama's latest contest and your chance to win amazing prizes it's great to be back in the warm it was freezing out there and everybody who worked on that shoot did a brilliant job to disguise that fact one thing I can't disguise however is the lighting on the shots and I worked hard to try and get the lighting how I wanted it nonetheless there's always a little bit of room for improvement inside of Photoshop so let's see what we can do so this is the shot from the very last setup we did and although it's fine I've got the exposure the way I want it I'd like just a little bit more light round by Ferns feet now to do it I'm going to use one of the the features here inside of Camera Raw it's called the radial filter now with the radial filter I can apply all sorts of things let's just change the exposure for now and I'm going to add one and a half stops of exposure I just dragged out a little circle like so I can move that around and I can pop it anywhere I want it's worth noting that I've got my circle set so it's on the inside setting otherwise it would have the opposite effect I recommend go a little bit brighter than that maybe up to about two stops if I go too bright it starts to affect ferns dress and we lose detail there so I might need to balance up the exposure and the highlights just to bring some of that back as well okay I'm happy with that let's click the ok' button and that gives me that little splash of light round by her feet if I had a second light I might have been able to add that in a lot easier in camera but one thing that would have been very hard to add would be some rays of light because I want to show that the lights coming in from the side and if we'd have a smoke machine we might have been able to do that we didn't so we couldn't so I'm going to do it in Photoshop now to do it first of all I'm going to make a brand new empty layer so let's go up to layer new and layer now my rays of light are going to be a paintbrush and the brush I'm going to use I'm actually needing to download first of all and fortunately I know where exactly where it is because it's on my website so it's a free paintbrush if you go to my website gaff train comm search for ray of light brushes you can download them for free and then all you need to do is go back to photoshop unzip the paintbrushes so here they are unzipped and I'll install them into Photoshop by dragging them and dropping them not on the picture but on the the bar along the top where I've got all of the titles there and that's installed the paint brushes so all I have to do now is go and choose one let's go find a brush from here and we'll go down to the bottom and you'll find that they hidden away here there we go let's extend that down I'm going to go with this one right there so with one click of the brush in the middle of the frame it adds in a ray of lights but of course I don't really want it there I need to move it around slightly this is why we put it on its own separate layer because now I'm go to edit free transform spin this around and reposition it and resize it and reshape it exactly how I want it like that and not only that but I can also go to the the opacity for that layer and change it from a hundred percent and we'll just bring it down to around about 20-ish there abouts 2025 there we go close enough that'll do for me and that just adds a hint of rays of light coming in without overpowering the whole scene and there you go that's my final picture completed now if you've enjoyed this video and you want to see more videos from myself and the other amazing presenters here on adoramatv you know what you've got to do you've got to click on the is this side the the subscribe button right there I'm Gavin Hoey thanks for watching do you want great-looking prints at low-cost be sure to visit our easy to use online printing service adoramapix has professionals who treat your images with the utmost care that you can count on for a quick turnaround on photos cards or albums use adoramapix.com

20 Replies to “Balancing Flash with Low Ambient Light: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey: AdoramaTV”

  1. Wow, I loved the contents! Hello to you from Japan. I tried to apply the Ray Light Brush and downloaded it and put it into Photoshop, but it didn't work. It says something about there was an analytical module or the file format. The plug-in became outdated?

  2. Great video ! You are so knowledgeable with photography it’s amazing. The steps that you preformed to get to that final product were awesome with the light at her feet to the rays of light through the trees, just fantastic !

  3. Wowed i love your video. This is he fist that I see from you and now I already subscribe and waiting impatient to see what is next. Thanks

  4. Hi Gavin and the rest of the community. Really appreciate your amazing work for our knowledge! Just a question: isn't risky to hand hold camera on such low aperture speeds like the ones in this video? Why not using a tripod ?

  5. Gavin I really enjoy your tutorials Very good but there’s always a but could you make a video explaining some of the equipment you and perhaps one of how you it thanks a lot

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