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By TanyaH
Last year I decided to put myself on a Speedlite workshop, with the excellent Andrew Appleton Training, in order to convince myself that (a) photographing people isn't as scary as I thought and (b) I can get to grips with flash lighting.

This is one of the images from that day; a delightful lady called Jen who was as patient as she is gorgeous. Taken outside with fill-in flash. I've worked on it, obviously, in Photoshop but for me this workshop was a bit of an eye-opener. If you've ever thought that you can't 'do' lighting, think again ... with the right kind of teaching and a logical approach to it, it's amazing how much confidence it can give you to just try stuff. If it doesn't work, try something else.

Oddly, I found using the speedlite on a manual setting way easier to understand than the ETTL mode ... seemed more intuitive. Too much light? Dial it down a bit. Too little light? Change the output ratio.

Put it this way, I'm far happier now experimenting with flash than I ever was before. I can thoroughly recommend it! Smile

Tags: Portrait Learning Workshop Speedlite Portraits and people Andrew Appleton Training

Voters: MileJanjic, lifesnapper, colijohn and 79 more

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11 Feb 2016 5:26PM
An excellent result here Tanya.

John Smile
NDODS 10 5.2k 127 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2016 5:31PM
Beautifully lit with wonderful skin tones. Nice sharp focusing, however I feel that the hair covering the left eye is rather distracting.

Thanks for sharing Tanya

Regards Nathan GrinGrinGrin
TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2016 5:45PM
I know what you're saying, Nathan - it's a great observation and I do agree with you. However, it was the best of the 'outside' bunch so I thought what the heck and went with it anyway Smile
ddolfelin Plus
9 103 3 Wales
11 Feb 2016 5:51PM
That's odd.
I particularly liked that flick of hair.
Makes this lady seem more human to me.
Good work!
11 Feb 2016 5:52PM
A beautiful portrait Tanya, of course you know this and wouldn't post anything that wasn't. Thank you for your recommendation of using a speedlite, I'm one of those who has been afraid to spend the money on one and attempt this, now I'm motivated to do so.
TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2016 6:02PM

Quote:A beautiful portrait Tanya, of course you know this and wouldn't post anything that wasn't

Hah! You wouldn't say that if you saw some of my earlier work Grin Still, I thank you for your kind words and, to be fair, it was pretty difficult to take a bad image of this lovely lass.

I can honestly say that if you buy a speedlite, get to grips with and, more importantly, don't be afraid of experimenting and messing it up sometimes, you won't regret it. I spent years thinking I 'kind of knew' what I was doing, and always being disappointed with the results. This one-day workshop (or something similar, seeing as you're in Canada) I would recommend whole-heartedly. Flash isn't scary ... perfecting technique is just a matter of practice. I'll often look at some of the superb portrait/people images on here, admiring them and wishing I could produce something approaching that level of superbness.

And d'ya know the really easy answer to that one? If I don't ever try, I'll never find out ... Wink

Do it - you won't regret it.
saltireblue Plus
11 11.9k 75 Norway
11 Feb 2016 6:52PM
Having had a Canon Speedlite used entirely on ETTL mode, I am excited about my newest purchase, namely a pair of Yongnuo YNO560 IV's and a YNO TX...manual only, no ETTL mode. Looking very forward to experimenting and learning.
Really gorgeous portrait of a seriously fatale femme.
nishant101 7 34 Australia
11 Feb 2016 10:07PM
How many speedlites did you use Tanya? Just wondering how her entire face is highlighted including hair. Or did you use a reflector?
11 Feb 2016 10:08PM
Portraiture is an area of zero experience/expertise for me, so I can't say a lot or speak with any authority.
But I very much agree with ddolfelin's comment about the does make her seem more like a living breathing person, and It gives just a hint of mystery, which helps to draw you in, though personally I don't feel that it goes far enough. As you know, an image that is too explicit can often lack power and interest, because all the questions are answered and nothing is left for the imagination to work on. Sometimes the eye likes to be teased Wink
bluesandtwos 11 521 1 England
12 Feb 2016 7:47AM
Just two questions, No.2 of 2,

1) Can you come to my house and teach me, got one for Christmas and haven't had the chance (oh, ok, bottleBlush) to use it yet.
2) Can you bring this lady with you?

Do you think she would smile kindly and patiently on a grey haired, slightly life battered old dud, with a propensity to drivel a lot? That's drivel, not dribble...although now I think about it.....Wink

And for what it's worth I rather like the slight, human, 'imperfection' of the hair out of should see me first thing in the morning, I'm like a walking road accident of body parts!!!Blush

SlowSong Plus
12 9.7k 30 England
12 Feb 2016 10:45AM
Very nice Tanya. I've often thought of learning about lighting, flash in particular, but it's something I wouldn't use much and not portraits anyway. You've made it sound quite enticing though so I might get inspired and look into it. If I get a flashgun at the Photography Show that would give me even more incentive. Smile
TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2016 10:57AM
Thank you all so much for the positive comments on this one!
Chris, Alan and Clint - big thank yous for the UAs Grin

Quote:How many speedlites did you use Tanya? Just wondering how her entire face is highlighted including hair. Or did you use a reflector?

Nishant, just the one speedlite on top of the camera - got a feeling that this particular one had the flash bounced into a reflector, which someone was holding behind me (it was 5 months ago so can't be 100% sure, although that would account for the more even light!). The other thing was that the ambient light wasn't quite as dark as I've made it here - one of the tecniques we learnt was how to mix the ambient light with the speedlite output and balance the two. I really wish I'd written down at the time all the settings used, both on the speedlite itself as well as ambient conditions, reflector, position etc. That's a useful thing to do when experimenting, and something I always forget!

Quote:Just two questions, No.2 of 2

No, go on the course Tongue
Not sure
Possibly, but she may require dribble expenses as well as travel expenses ...
Thank You and yes, I know the 'body parts' syndrome of early mornings! Wink

TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2016 10:59AM
Phil, thank you too for your UA Smile
CaroleS Plus
11 442 3 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2016 11:42AM
I like the lighting, just been going through a tutorial on portraits and it does seem rather daunting. As for the hair it is nice to see a portrait that has a more natural look about it - almost a clever candid shot (I mean that in the nicest possible way!).
TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2016 11:51AM
Thanks Carole Smile The 'neat freak' in me understands completely what Nathan was saying about that strand of hair, but I also like the natural look as well. So I'm dithering, as usual!
TrevBatWCC Plus
12 13 19 England
12 Feb 2016 3:14PM
Well, you certainly seem to have got to grips with it here, Tanya! Not my forte, either, but this is a lovely portrait of this lovely young lady Smile
Trev Smile
PhilT2 Plus
11 539 32 England
12 Feb 2016 3:21PM
An extremely appealing portrait Tanya. I like the natural fall of the hair which makes it look more informal and candid. I have little experience in the use of flash but the light seems very good and not at all harsh. Obviously the beauty and experience of the model has created a natural expressive pose and you did the rest very well. Seems like you picked up much practical knowledge from your workshop.
Very fine portrait
12 Feb 2016 5:31PM
Your flash lighting has certainly worked, a great portrait of a lovely woman

David GrinGrinGrin
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1861 England
13 Feb 2016 5:40PM
That all worked well, then!

A very interesting face.
TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2016 1:37PM
Thank you Smile
David - thank you also for your UA, much appreciated!
16 Feb 2016 12:47AM
Yes, she is so gorgeous here! Love this portrait shot of her! ♥ This is excellently done for me! Grin
Techno 12 6.1k 8 England
16 Feb 2016 12:38PM
Nice work Tanya.......Grin
Scaramanga 13 60 6 United Kingdom
16 Feb 2016 10:32PM
The hair isn't a distraction at all, I think its poor observation to be honest.
17 Feb 2016 12:02AM
A lovely portrait capture. Well done Tanya.
TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
17 Feb 2016 12:43PM

Quote:The hair isn't a distraction at all, I think its poor observation to be honest.

Valid point and one to remember for next time. However, I was trying to concentrate so hard on getting the lighting side of things right that she could have had a wind-blown mullet, and I doubt I'd have noticed! Smile
bliba Plus
15 2 Austria
18 Feb 2016 8:56AM
gorgeous portrait
20 Feb 2016 3:01PM
good portrait. like it !!

It's odd to me to see so much trepidation at the thought of :
1) Portraits
2) using flash

I've threw myself into doing both a long time ago without training or a mentor.
Of course it doesn't mean I do it right!!
these days I use studio strobes a lot.
If I use a speedlite on the camera for portraits I always have a diffuser box on it. They're cheap plasticky things but great for softening the harsh flash a touch.
And I often bounce the light, too.

Regarding speedlites, you might guess what I'm going to say next .....
-> take the speedlite off the camera !
-> shoot it through a white brolly !
-> use more than one !

TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2016 11:30AM
Thanks Steve, and you're absolutely right.
I'm on the case ... slowly! It's a learning curve, but one I hope I never stop following Grin
NeilWigan Plus
10 17 16 England
23 Feb 2016 7:44PM
Hiya I pick up old flashguns that people don't want because they don't match modern cameras and stick them around the scene/room/studio on cheap crappy tripod's that nobody wants use cube photocells and you can fire them off with on camera flash or any other flash that they can pick up the light from. Put bits of toffee wrappers in front to create different colours tissue paper to soften the light , it costs next to nothing and is great fun playing and learning which you seem to enjoy. PS don't put old guns on your camera they operate on a different voltage and can begger up your camera . Have fun that's the main thing.
TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
24 Feb 2016 9:40AM
Good solid, practical and very useful advice, Neil - many thanks! Smile
danbrann 16 640 17
4 Mar 2016 4:15PM
A bonny lass and a good photographer...What a combination.
8 Mar 2016 2:50PM
Excellent work Tanya..Lin
Tish1 Plus
8 32 5 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2016 7:28PM
Looks like Nathan [Nodds] and I disagree, I like the hair over the eye because it looks spontaneous............ This is a great portrait, which I wish I could change the metadata so that it would be my name that appeared on it. It is not immediately obvious that you have used flash, which is often the case, and yes, she is gorgeous, fantastic colour hair........... Women like her give women like me a bad name Grin

TanyaH Plus
18 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2016 10:40AM

Quote:Women like her give women like me a bad name

Nah. Women like us, Tish, know how to grow older as disgracefully as possible and are responsible for putting the 'fun' back into 'dysfunctional' Grin
Thank you for your kind words and also for your UA!

18 Mar 2016 11:54AM
Nice image, i particularly like the contrast of her hair against the background.
tom67 13 1 England
20 Apr 2016 6:09PM
A beautiful shot, beautiful model and a great expression!

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