By Pat Artis
“Let the ambient light do the heavy lifting!” Dave Black and David Tejada shared the secrets of how to use Nikon Speedlights to reveal and highlight subjects in challenging lighting environments. Workshop venues ranged from settings in an old west town to a twilight shoot in a cathedral plaza. At each venue, we worked with experienced models dressed in either period costumes, bridal attire, or formal wear.
Regardless of the venue, we followed the same steps:
• Measure the ambient light,
• Stop down the exposure,
• Triangulate the subject, camera, and flash, and
• Refine the composition and exposure to fine tune the image.
Once we understood the basics, we learned how to exploit light modifiers, use both hard and soft light, and employ Kelvin white balance and color gels to set the mood for an image.
While mentors shared their understandings of technique, equipment, and how to best light a venue, the most remarkable part of the workshop was the creative coaching they provided. Dave and David shared their insights about how to exploit venues and direct the models. These are things you simply can’t learn from a lecture or by reading a book.
As a capstone exercise, we broke into small teams for the final shoot. Each team was given an hour to select a venue, pick a model, and light the scene. While the mentors were at our shoulders, each team was on its own. The results were simply amazing. Leaving San Antonio, we were all prepared to get amazing results with Nikon Speedlights!