Using Flash: Pilar Bonnin’s Tips for Indoor and Outdoor Flash Photography
Whether you’re shooting indoors or out, flash photography is great for any time of the day. You can use it as your main or fill light and you can have single or multiple flash set-ups—there are endless possibilities! When I have to go on a shoot, I prefer to use Sony’s F60RM and F45RM because they are powerful, lightweight and compact. Here are my 12 tips to bring out the best in your photography with these amazing flashes and the Alpha 7R III.
Sony | Accessories | Using Flash: Get the Best Indoor Photos with Pilar Bonnin
Always choose flash over LEDs to light a shot
When shooting with ambient light, it may be necessary to raise your ISO. But doing so will affect your light quality and grain. Some try to compensate for this by using the light from their smartphones but this requires someone to stand very close to the model which is not ideal. Others use LED lights which allows you to stand further away but does not create the best shadows or offer the greatest light quality.
Bounce your flash
Using your flash directly on your model can create a harsh look with hard shadows that may not be flattering to your subject or style. By bouncing your flash e.g. off a wall, you can create a softly lit image with no harsh highlights or shadows. With the F60RM’s Quick Shift Bounce it’s easy to switch between vertical and horizontal orientation.
Use the flash off-camera
An off-camera flash gives you greater control over the direction and quality of light. By shooting in manual mode, you can control how much power goes into the remote flash to light up your subject. The F60RM’s radio trigger allows you to use it as a commander for other flashes in a multiple-flash setup e.g. in an octobox, as a fill light, etc so you have the freedom to place them wherever you want.
Pick a flash that is capable of continuous shooting
When taking action shots, it’s important that your flash is capable of burst mode so that it can keep up with your camera’s shutter speed. This allows you to capture every motion and light it just the way you want it. When used with the FA-EBA1 External Battery Adaptor, it also has the fastest recycling time of any flash at 0.6 seconds so you will not miss a beat when taking photos. Plus, the F60RM is designed to be heat resistant so it can take a lot of images without giving out on you.
Use coloured gels and modifiers
Create dramatic scenes or moods by fitting your flash with a coloured gel. Use a coloured gel on a secondary flash to create vibrantly coloured shadows and highlights and use a regular flash as a simple fill light to maintain your model’s natural skin colour.
Get creative with rear sync flash
Try shooting on a slow shutter speed and having the flash go off at the end. By combining ambient light and rear synch flash, you can capture a correctly exposed background, beautiful motion trails and a sharp subject. It’s great for dancers, sports, etc.—the possibilities are endless.
Sony | Accessories | Using Flash: Get the Best Outdoor Photos with Pilar Bonnin
Use a flash with a high guide number
The flash guide number is a measure of the distance at which a flash can illuminate a subject. The higher the guide number, the greater the distance at which the light from the flash will be sufficient for optimal exposure. The F60RM has a guide number of 60, so it packs a lot of power for its size. You can light up a whole room or shoot from a distance with ease.
Use a flash with radio frequency
This gives you complete freedom when it comes to lighting different scenes. Radio frequency allows you to place flashes out of sight and position them anywhere without compromising on the type of light you want to create. Try placing them behind your subject to create beautiful highlights, or within bushes to create a three-dimensional look. The flashes will pop as long as they are within 30 m of the commander.
Combine your flash with other light sources
Get creative by combining your flash and ambient light with other light sources. Try using fairy lights to create a magical, dreamy look and use your flash to create a soft fill.
Choose a flash that is protected against the elements
Because it is dust and moisture-sealed, the F60RM is perfect for outdoor shoots. The weather may not always be on your side but you can get creative and let the elements be part of the image. Have some fun and experiment.
Easy controls lead to an efficient workflow
Use the dedicated + / - buttons and customisable keys to access your menu quickly and set functions so you can adjust your settings quickly without interrupting your shoot.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of Sony Singapore.