Playing with light

by Helen Hooker January. 02, 2016 3052 views

I've always been very wary of using strobe lighting in my photography, mainly because I have absolutely no training in it. However, a couple of the events I attended in 2015 inspired me to have a go. At Scott Kelby's workshop in September he demonstrated some Yongnuo flashes and triggers which make off-camera flash much more affordable - indeed they're about a tenth of the price of the Canon equivalent! I put a flash and trigger on my Christmas list and hoped…. Then in October I was inspired by a talk I attended by the architectural photographer Sean Conboy, who lights many of the buildings he photographs using off-camera flashes. On Christmas Day Santa made my wish come true and I am now the proud owner of a Yongnuo YN560 IV flash gun and the YN560-TX trigger. We've been out and about so much in recent days that I haven't had a chance to play with them, until today that is. With wet weather outside I plumped for a little still life photography and did my best to clean the water marks (not very successfully!) off a wine glass before shooting it. The images I've shared here are the results of my experimentation. Admittedly they're not great works of art but it was an interesting exercise in what happens when you aim the light in different directions and modify it in different ways. All were taken with a white paper backdrop but I've done a little toning on some of them subsequently to add a hint of colour here and there.

A simple shot, using the ambient light from the window

I used the flash on camera for this one and bounced the light off the ceiling

My attempt at Glyn Dewis' ‘invisible black backdrop’ technique. The theory is that you can turn any background completely black if you force the camera to only record the light from the flashgun. Because I was shooting indoors a little of my light spilled onto the backdrop (despite my efforts to prevent this by making a snoot to funnel the light where I wanted it) but I rather like the dramatic feel. I think I'll try this one again outdoors when the weather improves! If you want to try this yourself you can read about it on Glyn's website here [].

Off-camera flash, with the flash to the right hand side, creating a crisp shadow to the left of the glass

Another one with the flash to the right, but on a lower power setting, and with a reflector to the left, reflecting some of the flash light back into the left hand side of the glass.

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There are 7 comments , add yours!
Larry Sample 3 years, 9 months ago

Never mind. Found it. Have saved for future reference. Thank you again.

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Marjorie Mcdonald 3 years, 9 months ago

Happy days ahead... I have the same flashes, I think. Glyn is a great source for easy to follow tutorials, have fun!

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Tomie Poodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Number 1 for me !

Happy new year !

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Gillian Parsons 3 years, 9 months ago

You do so love a challenge brilliant.

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Lukesmom 3 years, 9 months ago

You need some wine in that glass!! Happy New Year!

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Larry Sample 3 years, 9 months ago

Thank you very much AGAIN for sharing your experience. The glasses are brilliant. Making me thirsty. Maybe I will pour a little red in mine. Or would that be cheating?

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Marilyn Grimble 3 years, 9 months ago

Brilliant work - as always - all the very best for 2016 Helen. Mx

3 years, 9 months ago Edited