Flash painting for glamour photography – hot one light setup


Hey fellow photographer! I’m Michael Zelbel. I would like to share an idea with you for a photo which is posed simply on a white bed sheet on the floor. It’s illuminated just by a little speedlight, but looks much more sophisticated and posh. This is about a technique called Flash Painting. This is about opening your shutter for a couple of seconds and then firing a couple of flashes onto your subject for one single exposure. If you never tried this out then give it a go! It’s probably much more fun than you think. For that you need to pose your model in a way that she’s really stable. She’s not allowed to move during the exposure at all. You need a room which is really, really dark, pitch black dark. You need to have your camera on a tripod. The exposure values I used were ISO 320 and f/11. I focussed using autofocus as long as my lights were turned on then I switch to manual focus because I don’t want my camera to start hunting around for focus once I hit my shutter. The shutter time by the way is set to 10 seconds, which is an epic length for an exposure of one photo, but it’s just fine. I need a little speedlight to expose the image. I zoomed it to 105 millimeter. I even added a snoot in front of the flash head. It’s a Rogue grid, which focuses my light even more than just zooming to 105 millimeter. I fired my speedlight simply via the test button. In my case it triggers a flash of 1/32nd of power on my Mitros speedlight. For your speedlight try it out, find the right power/ISO combination for your exposure and do that actually before you photograph your model. Do yourself that favor. Ideally put your speedlight into a black sock so that you do not pollute your exposure with the display light of your speed light or the ready light. These lights actually show up on your image. Open your shutter for the 10 seconds and during that time fire five or six flashes onto your model from short distances like one foot or 30 centimeters. Make sure that one of your flashes is aimed nicely at her face, from a little bit above. Then check the resulting image. Look for blurriness, look if the model moved between the single flashes. Look for traces of light from your speedlight display, because every image that you create this way is pretty unique. But I feel the results are really interesting. As a variation have her standing at a wall, have her leaning at the wall stable so that she doesn’t move. This example is from a shooting for Good Light! Magazine. It’s from an article about wedding boudoir photography. So it is possible to create magazine quality images this way. Check out the full article in the magazine, it’s really worth reading. But in any case, grab a bedsheet, grab a speedlight and try this out. And for that, like always, I wish you good light!

40 Replies to “Flash painting for glamour photography – hot one light setup”

  1. great idea very good do you have to have some where dark to do this will this work in semi light many thanks keep up the good work

  2. Excellent – I love the versatility of speedlights. Thanks for sharing the knowledge! I always watch for your new videos – I only wish they were more frequent. 😉

  3. Would it be OK to use a modeling light function on external flash, if the flash has it? About 5 seconds burst of light.

  4. How do you avoid getting your arm or the red indicator lights in the shots? When I try, sometimes half my arm can be seen as a shadow.

  5. Learned a lot here, but you didnt use the "sock" when painting……lol…..it shows the menu screen and test button when you're doing it…….

  6. Dear "Good Light! Clips" Don't spam my videos with links to your videos. I have blocked you from the channel, tagged your comment as spam and deleted it and finally reported your profile as someone who uses spam to get video hits to youtube via the report button. If it was even anything to do with the video you commented on I'd have let it slide.

  7. I have this awesome idea for a photo essay, and I am going to start it off using this technique.  Thank you for sharing!! Very cool!

  8. My favorite photo (photographer unknown to me) is one of a biker-looking dude (who looks just like my dad) done in chiaroscuro, and I have never been able to figure out how it was done. NOW I KNOW!!! Thank you so much for creating and sharing this video. I cannot wait to try this out and create a photo like that one I love so much. I've been watching a lot of your videos over the past two days and I have learned a lot from you. You are definitely one of my favorite photographers now, and it happened almost immediately after seeing your low-key bodyscapes series of videos. I hope to be able to come up with the $30 soon to buy your new book (very well worth it). I also saw it on amazon in printed form for the same price. Just can't thank you enough for sharing your phenomenal talent and techniques.

  9. That sheet doesn't look like a normal white sheet but either a velvet or satin silver/white sheet. Love your videos by the way.

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