Follow-Up: Outdoor Fill Flash

In the previous post, Speedlights: Not Just For Indoors Anymore,  I invited you to give outdoor fill flash a try. Here was the camera setup I suggested.

1) Attach your speed light to your camera’s hot shoe.

2) Set your flash to whatever version of TTL it uses.

3) If your flash has a High Speed Sync mode, use it.

4) Put your camera in Aperture Priority mode set to f/5.6.

5) Set your ISO at 100-200; not Auto ISO.

6) Take your camera and flash outside into the sunlight.

I took the following portraits about 30 minutes before sunset using this exact setup with two adjustments. I raised my ISO to 400 to get a shutter speed that would allow me to hand hold the camera, and I added a diffuser to the flash head. Here is what the unfortunate model had to look at.

Camera, Speedlight, Omni-Bounce Flash Diffuser

This first shot is lit by ambient light only. While it’s not bad, notice the deep shadows under the eyes, lack of shadow detail, and overall flat appearance. I think it’s time to turn on the flash.

Ambient Light Only

In the next image I turned the flash on in TTL mode. In this fully automatic mode I think the flash is a bit too strong.

As you will recall from the last post, if you want less flash, use minus Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC). I dialed in minus 1 FEC for the next exposure.

And for the last exposure let’s see what minus 2 FEC looks like.

Minus 2 FEC shows a subtle difference from minus 1 FEC, and it is my favorite exposure.

I like the lack of that obvious “flash” look that you see in the full automatic version. And I think adding fill flash makes for a much improved portrait as compared to the ambient light only version.

The true beauty here is the simplicity of it all. A simple camera setup combined with a single adjustment (FEC) gives you complete control of the final image.

Stay tuned. . . in a future post I will show you how to use your flash not as outdoor fill, but as a main light by taking the flash off-camera.


3 Responses to “Follow-Up: Outdoor Fill Flash”

  1. Tweets that mention Follow-Up: Outdoor Fill Flash « RG's Digital Photography Tips -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris McLoughlin, Randy Grosse. Randy Grosse said: Follow-up: Portraits with outdoor fill flash […]

  2. Matrix Blog Says:

    Bounce Flash…

    […] sunset using this exact setup with two adjustments. I raised my ISO to 400 to g […]…

  3. rommelrutor Says:

    Reblogged this on Words and Images.

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