I got a second flash from my folks for an early birthday present! (LOVE YOU!!!) 😉 And I’ve been putting it to good use. With just two lights you can create some pretty fun portraits. Throw in a set of Honl Gels and you’ve got a portable studio with you no matter where you go. And that’s what I like, having very simple and effective setups that can go anywhere and pretty much do anything. Versatile? You betcha! Person wants a shot, is wearing red and you only have a pink backdrop? Hmm. Unless you are going to a candy striping convention, it might be nicer to have something different back there. Now you can! A gelled second flash and a wall and away you go!
How can does this all work? Well it has to do with principle from physics called the inverse square law – which I’m not getting into here. Be it enough to say that light has depth of field and you can control it and use it to your advantage.. You can essentially light 2 different planes – one for the subject and one for the background. You’ve experienced this before. If you take a flash photo of someone close to your light, they’re super bright while the background is totally dark right? That’s why everyone hates “flash” photography. It looks crappy. BUT, you can use this law of light to your advantage. You can light subject and background independently of each other.
In all the portraits in this post, the subject is about 6 feet or so from a white wall. We put one gelled flash back near the wall and lit it up. We also made the flash shoot through objects to put the pattern up there. So you get color and pattern for the price of one. What a deal! Then, we used a shoot through umbrella with another flash to light the subject. It makes for a really cool, simple and effective portrait. You’re only limited to your imagination! Be sure to read more about this on the strobist blog, David Hobby rocks the set!