THIS is the last installment of my Artificial Light series.
On Wednesday Oct. 24, the activity center of Ayala in Cebu was transformed into a photographer’s playing field as Sun.Star held the first-ever Photolympics. It is not always that you get a chance to shoot in Ayala Center since all photographers know that the moment you bring out your hardware, guards will start approaching you. This time it was different. Photographers had a field day and got the shots not a lot of photographers could have made: shooting in the Ayala Terraces with professional models.
One thing that caught my attention during the event was the strobing. In the studio and food photography challenge, photographers were given one strobe light with one modifier and it was surprising to see that not all photographers know how to handle a strobe light. I realized that not everybody has a chance to really dissect the ins and outs of strobing. However, one must know that your external flash, or even the built-in ones perform along the same principle when it comes to strobing.
When shooting with a strobe, there is no other way to shoot it but using manual mode, unless of course if you mount your flash to your camera, where both intelligent devices can compare data as to metering, and it fires accordingly. You can also use an advanced trigger to get the same result. Otherwise, using manual mode is a must.
Start with a shutter speed of 1/125 and an aperture of 5.6, ISO at 100. Set your strobe to 1/4 power. Start with just one strobe. Make a test shot and assess the result. If the image looks dark, there are two things you can do. One is to open the aperture and the other option is to increase strobe power. Do not apply both options at the same time. Of course if it’s bright, then apply the opposites.
After setting the first light which is normally the main light, you can now start adding lights. This time, your options are limited. You cannot adjust your aperture anymore since you have previously set it with the first light. Therefore, you are left with just the strobe power of light number two and the rest of the additional lights.
Sometimes when working with multiple lights, it becomes too complicated to troubleshoot if you encounter a light problem. Professionals can easily detect where the problem is coming from but for novices, my advice is for you to turn off everything and start all the way back to light number one, then one by one add more light to determine which one is causing the problem. Often, light modifiers can remedy the problem. The best way to learn it is to practice and experiment with it.
Meanwhile, I would like to personally thank all those who joined the first Sun.Star Photolympics last Wednesday, and of course the organizing committee from the marshalls, models, makeup artists and especially the sponsors and partners. Keep on shooting, everyone!
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