If you are anything like me you will dislike the harsh contrast, red-eye and blown out effect of on camera flash – it is never a good effect. In the absence of sufficient daylight it is often necessary to use artificial light and off-camera illumination is best. It is not always practical to carry the required kit but there is an inexpensive (and easy to carry) way to make the best of what you have got.
This is a technique that I have often used when photographing things for ebay but it can be used in many situations. It does depend on having a white ceiling above* you (other colours will create a colour cast of that colour) but it enables you to use that ceiling to create a softer and more pleasing light for your subject; the solution is portable and won’t break the bank. Personally, I use an C5 white envelope which gives even more diffusion but this solution is even more portable:-
It works by deflecting and slightly diffusing the light instead of it going directly ahead. The light is then reflected and further diffused by the ceiling. The diffusion and the fact that the light follows the same path (downwards) that we are used to from sunlight, makes the lighting more pleasing to the eye. You also avoid lots of light hitting the back of your portrait subjects eyes (red-eye).
*If you were to turn the camera through 90 degrees (portrait format) you would require a white wall (or other white reflector) to the side of the camera that the on-camera flash sits, in order to “bounce” the light back onto your subject in the same way that you used the ceiling.
This technique is a compromise but will vastly improve your results over direct on-camera flash. Happy snapping!
I was invited to attend a “Trash the Dress” photo-shoot by a professional photographer called Bob Richards. He is a good friend of a good friend of mine, and now he is my friend – I digress!
The “Trash the Dress” event was created by photographers and their wedding clients who wanted to do something different with their wedding dresses than put it away in a box for ever. The concept of trash the dress is that you take your now redundant wedding dress and literally trash it; destroy it by going to somewhere really mucky – Beach, industrial wasteland, lake, muddy field, Scrap/junk yard – and you take photographs of the event happening – for posterity! At Bob’s event, he gathered together Models, Make-up artists and Photographer friends to take photographs and have fun at the same time. The venue was Colwick Country Park which is just to the east of the U.K. city of Nottingham. It is a beautiful place and it has a large lake in the middle of it. It also has a disused church at one end which came in useful for alternative shots. Here are just a few of the photographs that I took – more can be found by doing a search for “Paul Cullen Photography” in Facebook or searching “paul2210” in Flickr:-
This is Caitlin and her mum Helen. I was asked by Helen – another friend and ex-colleague, to take photographs to celebrate Caitlin’s first birthday. The child was teething, hence, getting stuck into Helen’s purse with her emerging teeth.
The course provides experience in adult and Children’s portraits as well as weddings – courses of various lengths to suit all pockets and interests. The emphasis of the courses is on creating new photography professionals, so the courses also include aspects of the business side.