I take Suki on shorter walks during lunch, but we usually go for longer strolls at night. This particular walk was a little more difficult for me because I was hauling some camera gear on my shoulder while out on the town, but I wanted to get a nice night shot of Suki for my 52 week Flickr project. The image above didn’t quite make the cut as my selection for week 3 of the project. I really like this shot of her, but the fact that it’s ever-so-slightly front-focused bothers me.
Someone on Flickr asked me if I took my latest shot of her using available city light. I was glad he asked, because that’s exactly how I wanted it to look! At this spot, there wasn’t nearly enough ambient to get this kind of image, so I used a couple of carefully placed, gelled speedlights to help me out.
At times I hear photographers complain that they don’t like the look of flash and and so they shy away from using it. I say they’re missing out! Perhaps when they’re referring to “the look of flash,” they mean the harsh, bare, unflattering light that comes straight from camera axis. But “artificial” light can be modified: softened, directed, colored, and controlled to achieve a desired look. Using it creatively opens up endless photographic opportunities that simply wouldn’t be possible by relying solely on the sun or the crummy light radiating from a street lamp.
So get to know your flash! It can take your photography to the next level.