I have been in the wedding photography profession for quite some time now. My first wedding was in July of 2004. I do not remember the date, I was very intoxicated that night. However, the bug has bitten me and I was hooked. Fifteen years, and about six hundred weddings later, I was thinking about the skills, tips, and techniques I have acquired and if I had to say which one of them was the most valuable, I would without a doubt say: Off Camera flash. The concept of removing my flash from my camera body and put it somewhere else, anywhere else, has been elemental to my development as a professional photographer. This technique allows me to design complex, intricate images, that look exactly like I want them to, accent what I want, and work the way I want. And it is so simple too. There is nothing complicated about this technique.
I was recently shooting my first full wedding of the 2019 season in Boston. The couple was desiring to have a few formal portraits captured in the lobby of their hotel before the ceremony. The existing light was, in a word, crap. The light was coming from several poorly placed over head ceiling fixtures. The white balance was a deep sick orange. It was not tungsten, it was something else, something a kin to LED’s trying to act like tungsten. Even if I wanted to match the white balance, it was extremely different from the noon daylight coming in from the windows at the end of the lobby. So we had orange overhead light, and blue day light in the background.
Behold my new toy: a Godox AD600PRO. This is my new smart strobe and I love. I placed the couple in front of a decorative wooden room divide which I thought would make an excellent background. The first images you see is the existing light images. Total Yuck! Next I dropped the ambient of the room, by setting a low ISO, and relatedly high shutter, and a wide aperture to blur the background. I set the AD600Pro on a 7’ light stand and place it behind me and a bit off center to the left, pointed up and backward at the ceiling. Being as the ceiling was flat, white, and free of any sort of hanging obstruction, I had myself a large target to bounce off of.
I told myself ten years ago when I learned full Manual flash from David Hobby, that I would never use TTL again, well I lied. Sort of. The AD600Pro has TTL and the ability to snap a shot with the TTL activate, then you can see wat power the flash fired at, and then lock that setting into manual model. It bothers my conscience, but it’s a great way to get a fast test shot, and quickly get a base exposure.
And the result is a clean, clear, portrait with soft but still directional light. Notice how you cannot see the sick overheard orange light any more. It no longer affects the exposure due to the high shutter speed, and low ISO. The daylight beyond is still present because it is much stronger than the over lights, however it’s white balance is so close to the strobe’s, that is all just blends together. Your eyes believe that they are dealing with one light source. All in all an amazing final result that literally took 60 seconds to setup.