Our speaker this month, Scott Robert Lim, is a photographer based out of Los Angeles. His 90 minute presentation, “Amazing Light, Anytime, Anywhere” focused on the techniques of using off-camera flash.
Knowledgeable, enthusiastic and well spoken (I’m sure everyone in the back was able to hear), he explained that his approach is to be better than 95% of photographers. Anything less, and you will only make acceptable money for your adequate work. He says to treat photography as a real profession, to take it seriously, respect the industry, and invest time into learning everything you can.
Lim began as a wedding photographer and has since expanded to portraits, products, journalism, and training budding, new photographers.
Here are some of the topics he addressed:
Why bother with flash? The simple answer is control.
- You can create drama when the ambient light is flat (no shadows). “It’s like having a sunset in your pocket, golden hour all the time.”
- Create images video can’t easily produce. Frames taken from HD video can produce 2 MP pictures, but they may not be able to both freeze action and pull in the ambient light.
- If you control the light, you control the quality of the picture.
TTL or Manual? Manual, of course, is Scott’s answer. Manual allows control which produces consistency. It can also control cost.
There are 4 ways to control your flash lighting when in manual and only one when using TTL (“Through the Lens” is an automatic function on many cameras that evaluates flash lighting requirements and adjusts the power to the flash in concert with other camera settings).
On the other hand, taking over the power settings in your flash and using the manual controls of your camera allows you 4 methods of adjusting the lighting composition of your shot. You can control the flash output, the distance from the subject, the aperture and the ISO. These changes all have individual influence shooting in manual, but none using TTL as the camera and flash will compensate for your changes.
Lim showed a picture of a model in the surf, and he told us how the flash kept the model in focus and the breaking wave sharp. You can check out this extraordinary photo here!
In addition, lights from buildings in the distance were present due to a slow shutter speed. On the other hand, a faster shutter speed can hide the background. Set it fast enough and it will turn day into night or at least eliminate an unwanted background.
Running out of time, Lim talked about and demonstrated a few tools that he also had for sale: flashes, a shoot-through umbrella on a monopod, colored gels, a Velcro snoot, and a bright LED video light. The snoot can be handy to focus your key light, while not bleeding into background mood lighting. His products reflect his philosophy of taking manual control and not paying for technology that you will not be using.
All in all, it was an informative lesson for those new to flash and an excellent refresher for those that rarely take the flash out of their bag. Thank you very much Scott Robert Lim.
Check out his work and training opportunities at scottrobertgallery.com.