Flash Work, and Interiors Photography
Aside from landscapes, portraiture and weddings, I have become a specialist in a couple of areas over the years.
The specialist disciplines of on- and off-camera flash photography and interiors photography offer great opportunities to flex your creative muscles.
Firstly, I should say that in-depth knowledge of natural light shooting is essential in order to progress to either of these specialist disciplines.
If you are happy that you fully understand natural light photography, you may fancy a trip into the wonderful world of supplementary lighting. When you start combining natural light with flash, a new world opens up to you. You shape the light according to your needs. You are no longer reliant on the perfect light being present in its ambient form. Basically, you can make anything or anyone appear as if they are studio-lit, but on location. You are in control of the whole ‘look’.
Learn to light your portraits by working in full manual mode on your camera and using fully manual flash settings to be in complete control. Or go half-and-half – use the ETTL settings on your flash and manual mode on-camera, for example. It’s exciting stuff when you see the results that are possible. Below is an example of a two-flash setup; one to light the face (diffused through a shoot-through umbrella) and one to create a blue light behind (using a blue gel).
Drop me a line if you would like to learn more about lighting with flash.
Interiors photography is a different beast.
There are a few ways to approach it. The technique known as HDR can sometimes work if you’ve trained your eyes to spot a fake look and can avoid it. It involves three or more exposures, blended kind of automatically via a series of presets and then some tweaking. But it’s a little outmoded and can look artificial. Might be worth learning for when you’re short of time or the shoot budget is minimal…!
A more realistic look is usually achieved via a series of separate natural light shots at different exposures which are then ‘blended’ by painting holes in layers in Photoshop.
But for serious results, use multiple exposures, plus supplemental lighting via flash, to individually light areas of the room, and then blend the exposures, again using layers. It is advanced stuff. It is sometimes known as ‘painting with light’.
As you get better at this, the results look less like estate agent photos and more like the work you find in House Beautiful magazine. Below is a Before and After example – the first shot is a straight snap of the space. The second is after lighting various zones individually and blending several images together. Pay particular attention to the fireplace area, the chairs, and the two rooms beyond.
If you would like to learn more, get in touch. Prices are the same – £120 for five hours; just bear in mind that you may need more than one session, as we are dealing with both shooting and editing images on a professional level.
Here are some parting images from a recent shoot of a client’s home. The challenge here was to draw attention to the atmosphere created by the lighting, but still show the rest of the room detail. A camera sensor can’t capture that kind of dynamic range in one shot.