Master the light - Intro

Master the light - Intro

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Dear readers, here is the first article of a series that will teach you how to manage light in photography, control your camera and know the different types of stuffs offered to photographers.

There will be pictures for examples prepared by me, so you may have a direct rendering and you can see the different possibilities open to you, in the wonderful world of photography.

Over time I will add items descriptions with new types of lights, new tips about your camera and on the photography stuff. So do not hesitate to subscribe to my Instagram @Kyonopics and the Newsletter to not miss any article :)

I will also write articles focused on full shooting, preparation to action, how to react in situation and adapt the light according to your environment.

My goal is for you to be comfortable with the photography stuff, the light around you, your camera, and we will see about the differents modeler (these are the items you will put in front of your flash).

I thank you in advance for the comments, and if you have suggestions you can let me know :)

I would like to start by telling you that you do not need to buy heavy equipment, that it is quite possible to make beautiful pictures only with your camera.
Buy flashes, modelers, reflectors will be a plus to come add what you miss and refine your style, through my articles I will help you to find what suits you the most.

It may be some people are afraid to invest, so it's better to get an idea of ​​the renderings before, test inexpensive stuff, and if you need to go on the next level, go for it ;)
Personally I use a lot of natural light, the reflectors / beauty dish and the rectangular soft box, because they suits to my style and that it's been a long time since I use them. But I want to show you all the possibilities and especially how to use it quite well !

Let's go!

Setting your camera and the light

First of all, it is better to learn how to use your camera, it's really important before you start with a flash, you can quickly be ready when you shoot if you adapt the right reflexes.

Here I assume that you want to do portraits, with or without flash, and that you still doubt about your settings.

Without going into too much detail, here's a quick summary of the trio aperture / shutter speed and ISO :

Aperture: Allows you to manage the sharpness area around your focus. The lower the number of the aperture is, the more blur around your focus area will be, and the higher the number is, the more focused the area around the focus will be.

Shutter speed: the speed plays on the movement of your subject, the lower is the number, and the more you will create motion blur.
To freeze a movement the minimum is 1/60, under this number your subject will be blur. In the evening, if you want to have a good exposure it’s good to lower the speed and put the camera on tripod (or use a flash) .
With a sync cable or a trigger you can manage your flash, but there is a speed limit that is on average 1/180 maximum (changes depending on the camera) before having a black veil on your photo, if you have this veil you have to lower the speed.

ISO: Add digital exposure, I advise you to increase it at last because it will add noise that’s not often favorable to printing. However today's cameras can carry big values ​​without losing quality.

Why using a flash ? to light up your model, more than what natural light can offer you, to create shadows and contrast. But also to close your diaphragm (aperture), and thereforehave a sharp picture.

You should know that the best distance flash-model is about 2-3 meters, you must put your light as high as possible to have a nice shadow on the face, and avoid shadows on your background.

It’s advisable to put the light at 45 ° to its model to have a nice shadow, depending on the modeler you can put it in front but you may have a flat image without shadows.
But when I will come into the details about the modelers, you will understand how it's going ;)

If it’s difficult to remove the shadow on the background, shift your light on the side until you erase it, then it will be necessary to make sure that your model turns a little more towards the lights otherwise there will be a bad shadow on your model.

To determine the good settings, I advise you to choose at first which aperture you will use for your series, on that way you can decide to make you background blur or not.

Set your flash outdoors

Do not turn on your flash immediately, set the camera speed to the flash sync speed, which is on average 1/180. Take a photo of your background, then increase the ISO until you have a good exposure.

A good exposure ? it means that the highlights should not be too high, and it makes a beautiful contrast with the black and shadow areas on your photo.

All right ! now your background is adjusted, you don’t need to take care of it for a while, be careful to the light variations of the sun, that may over-expose or underexpose your background, so check sometime that the exposure still good, and play with the ISO to keep a good exposure.

Then put your flash on at the minimum of power, and increase it gradually until you have a nice light on your subject. If at least you have too much light, move the flash back.

If you want a beautiful light with a flash outside, you must take the sun in consideration.
It’s better to have the sun is behind the model, or hidden by clouds, trees, buildings ... in this way you will have total control over your flash.


Set your flash in the studio

If you shoot in studio, I also recommand to choose an aperture that matches with what you have in mind, and put the speed at the flash sync. In contrary with pictures outside, it is better to have the ISO as low as possible to keep a nice grain, and to increase the power of the flash to have a good exposure.

You can enjoy the power of the flashes and increase the diaphragm number to get a sharp image (F.8 or higher).
Or shoot at F.4 or less, to create blur on the background, and save power energy :)

Personally I always shoot at F.4,  because it makes the model clear and the background blurry, I think it’s pretty nice.

For fashion photography, it’s "better" to turn the clothes and the body in a good value, so the more the photo will be clear everywhere, the better will be the reading.
And for classic portraits, you can open the diaphragm and have a nice blur, in this case it is better to move your flash backward and lower the power of the flash.

Without flash

Without flash, choose an aperture that suits you, and a shutter speed of a minimum of 1/100 - 1 / 125 to freeze your model, if you want to shoot in movement you can increase it. Then increase the ISO until you get a good exposure.

It is very interesting to shoot without flash, for example in the evening you can enjoy the lights of the city, reflections around you, and thus create a special atmospheres.

By increasing your ISO, you're going to have some noise, make beautiful black and white, and it can be pretty
. But you have to take care on do not miss the focus.


This first article on the light is over ! thank you for leaving a comment, subscribe to the newsletter and follow me on Instagram @Kyonopics!

At your service and see you soon!