Day 281 – Using my light meter and Experimenting with flash

I need to experiment with how my flash works, so when I found out I needed to create a new passport image of me – I decide it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with my speedlite, and my reflector and inspired by Gavin Hoey’s recent video on using my light meter – which you can see here – http://www.gavtrain.com/?p=4857

What an interesting experiment.

It is really difficult when I am the model – once again no one will willing to volunteer … but with the help of my tripod, a few clips, my shutter release, fixed focus 50 mm lens – I had a go.

My first discovery was that I really hate being in photos – however today i have no choice… so excuse the pained look on my face… I am going to give it a go.  I am sat on a stool with a window to my left – an over cast sky outside.Me – straight out of camera, trying to work out what F stop to use with a fixed ISO and a fixed shutter speed. it is quite easy to do, and I think Gav is right … using a light meter is one of those things that make you look like a photographer – however you do need to know how to use it and not just keep it in the bag!

Testing what settings to use - ISO200, F8, 1/250 sec1
Testing what settings to use – ISO200, F8, 1/250 sec1

These images are all straight out of camera – the wall behind me is a pale green/yellow colour so it is interesting to see what auto white balance does as I take a variety of images. I have way to much shadow in the image above so i added a reflector to see what happened!

Moved flash to the right and angled and tilting the reflector. ISO100, F5.6, 1/250sec
Moved flash to the right and angled and tilting the reflector. ISO100, F5.6, 1/250sec

The reflector has a silver and gold sheen and it immediately reflects the flash back into my face – the image looks a lot warmer, my hair more textured – but I still have the shadow.

The effect of the reflector on my lap - ISO100, 1/250 sec, F5.6
The effect of the reflector on my lap – ISO100, 1/250 sec, F5.6

I tried with the reflector lower down in my lap and moved the flash so that is was angled to the right – still have the shadow, and now I have glare on my glasses.

Side light window - flash to the left angled slightly. ISO100, F5.6, 1/250sec
Side light window – flash to the left angled slightly. ISO100, F5.6, 1/250sec

I ditched the reflector … tried just the window and the flash … and I still have terrible reflections on my glasses and a shadow.

The sun comes out - ISO200, F4.5, 1/250 sec
The sun comes out – ISO200, F4.5, 1/250 sec

Then the sun came out – what a difference that made. You can see the highlight on the all behind me … I set up the shot again and waited for the clouds to come.

I moved the flash again and this time pointed in directly upwards and bounced it off the ceiling – the shadow has gone… but I need to check my settings again with the Light meter, because I had less light I increased the ISO.

Reposition the light to the ceiling and no shadow - ISO200, F11, 1/250sec
Reposition the light to the ceiling and no shadow – ISO200, F11, 1/250sec

With the new settings in the camera and it on manual mode – I got ready to try again. This time I got my daughter to help focus the camera for me ….

PhotoChallenge-untitled-9024-9
Bouncing the light on the ceiling

I have catch lights in my eyes but no reflective glare in my glasses – I have a usable image that I am happy with. Hurrah!

One of the great things about flash is it captures movement. ISO200, F4.5, 1/250 sec
One of the great things about flash is it captures movement. ISO200, F4.5, 1/250 sec

So now I played … don’t think it will make a passport image – but it is lovely how the flash freezes the movement in my hair. This is the photo I would like to include….

edited with a perfect portrait tool to smooth my skin and enhance my lips.
edited with a perfect portrait tool to smooth my skin and enhance my lips.

So what happens when you take an image into Lightroom or Photoshot to edit – well with the help of my Perfect Portrait pulgin, I was able to remove the stray hairs, smooth my skin, brighten my eyes add clarity to my pupils, highlight some of my hair – I don’t think it looks like me … but it shows some of the capability of the software I have access to.

The most interesting thing about taking a passport photo though is looking back at your last one and I thought I would share it with you … last time I took my passport photo was in 2012 … I think now I can be expected to be stopped at customs! I might not like showing my own image …  I think loosing 5.5 stone or 33 kilos paid off…. never just look at my face image before!PhotoChallenge-Me Passport-1

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One thought on “Day 281 – Using my light meter and Experimenting with flash

  1. I know you are concentrating on what you are doing, but you make yourself look very stern in these images! I know you as a smiley person! oh, and my goodness you look like J in the photo from 2012!

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