The Photo Frosh Photo Challenge is a newbie’s attempt to complete all thirty of these prompts while (hopefully) learning something in the process.
Ever since the LP180 was announced, I’ve been getting manual flash fever. I don’t really use flash, like ever, but I’ve been wanting to learn manual OCF, so why not now when we have the best flash for your buck available for pre-order?
Kevin Deskins was in the store yesterday, so I asked him to give me a quick tutorial on how to use the LP180. I also asked him to pose for a low angle portrait for my next Photo Frosh Photo Challenge, using a sweet Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle lens we have in stock.
Kevin was understandably a little weary about being shot from a low angle with a wide angle lens. Generally, you don’t want to shoot portraits from a low angle, since you’d be photographing the inside of your subject’s nose. Nor do you want to use a wide angle lens, since the sort of distortion produced with a wide angle doesn’t generally flatter a person’s physical features.
But rules are meant to be bent and limits are meant to be tested, especially when it comes to photography. Plus, wide angle vertical shots look really sweet.
We modified the LP180 with a Westcott Rapid Box 10″ x 24″ Strip and Deflector Plate, and set that up on a LumoPro LP605 Compact 7.5′ Stand. We triggered the flash with one PocketWizard Plus X and put second Plus X on my Nikon D7000‘s hot shoe. (Side note: one LP180, the compact light stand, one Rapid Box, and two Plus X triggers only cost $86 more than one Canon 600EX. Just food for thought when you’re purchasing your next flash.)
It was lucky for us that everything was so easy to set up, since we were about to be hit with some major rain and needed to get the shots quickly.
Let’s take a look at some photos.
For this first image, I basically did exactly what I didn’t want to do, which was look right up Kevin’s nose and make him look distorted. This look might be appropriate for some subjects — athletic programs, for instance, might want their players to look intimidating and dominating in their promotional photos. The flash was set at 1/8 + 0.3 power, and my camera was set at f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO 400.
I wanted to try to eliminate the shadow in this next one, while also making the low angle not as dramatic as the previous shot. I stopped down the flash to 1/16 +0.3 power, slowed my shutter speed slightly to 1/125 to let in more ambient light and eliminate some of that shadow, while keeping my aperture and ISO at the same settings. I really like how this shot came out: Kevin could use it for a profile in a magazine. The cloudy sky also helped give the shot dimension while preventing the ambient light from overpowering the flash.
I wanted to get a little more dramatic with my lighting for this last image. I brought the light source slightly closer, powered the flash up to 1/4 + 0.3 power, while stopping my aperture down to f/11 and lengthening the shutter speed to 1/30 sec. The shadows and hard light on Kevin’s face create a dramatic look and contrast. Unfortunately, my framing was a bit off here, but I didn’t want to crop it all that much and lose the environment that the wide angle lens allowed me to capture, so I kept the Rapid Box in the shot. I mean, Kevin’s a lighting guy after all. It kind of fits his personality.
Overall, these images were incredibly easy to make, and the equipment is affordable. Hopefully I’ve convinced some lighting newbies like myself to not be intimidated by manual OCF. I can’t wait to get my own LP180 next week and experiment with lighting some more.