Abandoning the Dark Side

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This is as much of a surprise to me as it is to you, but I've gone and bought myself flashes. Yep, the unnatural man made lights that you can't see what they do until you press the button and a brief flash lights the scene.

I've been told by many professional photography and lighting people that those who hate flash or only shoot with available light just don't know how to use flash. And while I feel personally attacked by the sentiment, it's 100% true. It just took me quite a while to understand it. My problem with flash has always been that 1. everyone kept showing me really bad flash photos and 2. I can't see where the light hits before pressing the shutter. 3. You need to set up and lug around a lot of gear, not just your camera.

I made it my mission this past couple of months to search for good photographs where flashes are used. I have used hundreds of hours to research lighting, thank god for Youtube for providing the necessary information. I started to find amazing tutorials and behind the scenes videos where I could start to see how beneficial using flashes is.

Using flashes and all sort of modifiers for them is most definitely not easy to learn how to do well. I think most people who use them, use them in a really ugly way. If the first thing you notice about the photo is that there is an ugly, unnatural light blasted onto the subject, it's probably a pretty fucking bad photo. Though a straight visible flash does work in some occasions, like shooting rock stars on the backstage. But I think the best flash photographs are where you can't immediately tell wether it was shot using natural or unnatural light.

I did a lot of research into different kinds of flashes available, and used the flashes in our school studio, and even loaned them for a couple days when I had the chance so I could try flash photography in my own time without anyone looking over my shoulder. I can't learn anything new if someone is looking at me while I try things out. The flashes we have at school are the industry standard Profotos, and come with a price tag to match, so I had to find something else that would fit in my budget a bit better. There are speedlights that are really affordable but I fucking hate those things, I need something better than that. After countless of hours of research and reading/watching reviews, I decided to invest in Godox lights. I found a pretty decent kit with two Godox ad300pro lights, two umrellas and a small softbox, that all came in a nice bag that can also fit my camera, a couple lenses and a laptop, perfect.

At the end of the day, all the cameras, lenses, lights, modifiers etc, are just tools. They are the workhorses you need to create the kind of results you want, but they should not be what dictates your style of photography, you are the master and they are the slaves. You command them and manipulate them to do exactly what you need them to, not the other way around.

I'm excited for the prospect of being in full control of what kind of light and where and when I can shoot with it. Being in control of light is like magic.

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Get yourself a beauty dish reflector.
That one is great for portrait/fashion.

It’s most definitely on my list of wants and needs! Which do you prefer, silver or white?

The white one!

I love your natural light photos but I'm sure after a while you will master flashlight photography too.

Did you see these pics? They were shot using only flash, no natural light present :)
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Looking at this I didn't think about whether it was natural or flash. Good job!

Right!? :) A professional photographer will probably be able to see the flash, but for an average consumer I think it looks pretty natural.

It does!

Now I’m going to look at your posts and guess if there’s flash just for fun

Yes, I've seen those and I loved the photos. I was just trying to give a pep talk because you said that you've avoided flashlight photography because you said you didn't know how to use flash. You sure do know how to use light and this is a good example of you either learning quickly or using the same knowledge of light that you already know, with flashlight photography.

I learn quickly when I put my mind to it but it’s definitely not easy. I think it helps that I’ve studied light in general for so long, that when I want to create a certain light with flash, I at least know what kind of characteristics I’m looking for.