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Flash Photography and Shadows

How to Deal With Shadows From On Camera Flash

Flash Photography and Shadows - How to combat harsh shadows

Q.

I am starting to take portraits of children but am just getting started. When I take a picture I have been primarily getting a large shadow behind the person. I am considering the purchase of lights to correct this problem but am unfamiliar with what I will need, slave etc. any information that you could give me to rid the pictures of this nasty shadow would be greatly appreciated.

A.

First of all, why not try bouncing the flash that you have from the ceiling.

It gives a nice effect (and is a lot cheaper than studio lights)! Have a look at this page…

Using Bounced Flash

As a next step up, get one studio light with a softbox attached in place of the umbrella. You would only need one of these for up to 3 children. It diffuses the light and gets rid of any shadows. You connect this light to your camera via one long cable or remotely if possible.

Next would be to get 2 lights, 2 brollies and a softbox. Most studio lights have a "slave" fitted already so you don't need to buy one. One light fires from the camera and simultaneously with the other. Try Fotodiox, they are a good starter make and reasonably priced.

To take it to another level entirely, try using one or two speedlights, off camera, using some form of radio triggers to fire them remotely. This can open up a whole new, simplified level of flash photography and will certainly help with eliminating shadows. I personally use the TTL system from Pocket Wizard (Two Flex TT5’s and one Mini TT1) and love them!

If all else fails, in fact have a look anyway at Kevin Kubota's Action Sets for Photoshop. They include a "digital fill-in flash" tool that works wonders in post processing and I use it on almost every wedding I shoot. Check out the video sample here…

Photoshop Actions from Kevin Kubota

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