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Wide Angle and Accent Flash - How using a VAL speeds up my photography flow

2/17/2016 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

In the video you see how Carla and Michael are shooting with their “voice activated light stands” on Lanzarote.

Together with professional photographer Carla Victorio, Michael was privileged to shoot romantic pre-wedding photos of two lovely couples on the picturesque island of Lanzarote.

Their focus for this photoshoot is to work on the combination of wide angle photos, flash photography, and the Voice Activated Light Stand (VAL). Many wide angle photographers stress out over how to position the flash. The challenge for using a flash in wide-angled photos is the space on the right and left of the subject. You can’t place the flash as you would normally or you risk having the flash inside the frame of your photo.

Photographing lovely wedding couples in Lanzarote gave them that exact challenge. Shooting as wide as 17 millimeters on a full frame camera, a strong portable flash, in this case the Indra360, really made their subjects stand out. The shutter speed is dialed up to as high as 1/2000s, but stuck to a standard reflector.

Typically, flash was taken off of the camera. They would try to position it between 45° to 90° from the photographer and the camera, keeping in mind that the closer they get to 90°, the more risk of exposing the flash from background. They used an Indra360 on a VAL to keep the flash as close to the subjects as possible while ensuring it stayed out of the frame.

Using a VAL is what really makes this work. They have someone outside the frame holding the flash in their hand or on a pole. For a flash pole they use a tripod called the Travel Angel by Benro. With this mounted flash, they can direct the VAL so they are just outside the frame. Instead of creating downtime by adjusting the flash again and again, they simply tell the VAL to “take just one more step to the left.” This way, the shoot keeps moving and stays fun.

Creativity comes in handy when trying to position the flash. Sometimes they try to hide it behind a tree or behind the couple, which can create an interesting effect. Beyond the position, the power also needs to be kept in consideration. With a brand new Odin II controller from Phottix, they can simply rotate the dial up and down to make adjustments.

In addition to the flash they used in this shoot, they was able to allow the bright, ambient light to help give energy to the shot. Certain locations such as the narrow little streets of Teguise, Lanzarote’s former capital, allowed them to capture white walls, acting as leading lines against the blue sky. The wide angle lens amplified this effect by adding a dramatic perspective. All lines led to the lovely couple, of course, keeping them at the forefront of the shoot. But at the end of the day, it was creative positioning of the flash, often using a VAL, which allowed Michael and Carla to create for them one poignant, wide-angled keepsake after another

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