The Pre-Event Party
The Job with JPI was a fairly standard conference gig. However they wanted me there the night before to capture the attendees arriving. An informal party where they could meet for the first time, in a long time, or perhaps just for the first time…
I have done quite a few shoots like this in the past. There was an era when I used a particular lighting set up that was a little cumbersome but I really liked the results.
It is fairly normal for most pro shooters to use some flash in situations like this, but I went through a phase of using 2!
One was a ring-flash mounted on the camera and then held in my left hand, the principle flash giving me something akin to ‘Rembrandt Lighting.’ The ring flash if done right can kill excessive contrast and also add its own particular magic.
You can get something similar with a standard on-axis flash (on the camera). But for me it just lacks that certain something. I would guess it is because the ring flash does not really add any shadows of its own (if exposed right).
Anyway, this is all well and dandy but I stopped doing this because I thought my ring-flash had died.
Trying to find someone to fix it turned out to be a real pain in the arse. So back into the cupboard it went.
But then I decided to take another look…
I found out it was still working (kind of). I just needed to clean and adjust the battery contacts.
There was also an issue that meant the standard shooting mode would not work but after some cursing and head-scratchingnI found a way to get round that.
I had recently bought a mannequins head to use for tests. This was perfect as I could figure out lighting ratios with the workaround and be fairly confident that on the day I would not need to make too many adjustments.
The problem with using manual flash is that subject distances can vary a lot, this is complicated with just one unit but with 2… uffff.
You definitely should use zooms for this this in order to not mess up lighting ratios too much.
So long story short it worked.
I really like the vibrancy it gives to the subjects. Usually you get the vitality from decent catch lights in the eyes.
It is definitely worth the extra effort. I have another job coming up soon that might benefit from this technique. So time to get the mannequin head out and start experimenting.