Studio Techniques: One Light Photography Tutorial


doorhof_onelight_3For the final setup, we’re still in one-light mode. When shooting on location, the power of combining the available light and strobe is often forgotten. A lot of photographers will add a second strobe (or more) to light the surrounding areas, but you can do it in most cases by using a simple technique called dragging the shutter.

What we did in this setup is place the model inside the elevator and use one Canon 430EX II as our main light. It was aimed down at the model. The shutter time was set to a speed that allowed the surrounding areas to show up in the image. When doing a setup like this, you can go by E-TTL and play with the exposure compensation; however, it can be achieved much easier using a light meter. 

The best way is to determine the amount of detail you want in the background. You can choose a point on the wall and use a spot meter to measure the ambient light hitting the wall. What we have to take into account when we use studio strobes is that we will not be able to go beyond the 1/125 (or close to that) because that’s the limit of the x-sync (flash synchronization) on most cameras. Make sure you choose a setting that’s lower than that value. With small flash, we don’t have this limitation thanks to hypersync and high-speed sync, where we can break that barrier. However, I still advise keeping the 1/125 rule in mind, and I will in this example.

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