Photography

Use of Off-camera Flash for Natural Light Portraits by Karthik Rajagopal

Most documentary photographers, street photographers and some of the candid wedding photographers consider it a sin to use flash for natural light portraiture. Is it because they really want to keep the pictures close to reality? Let’s take a reality check at the real reason.

After talking with a few portrait photographers who have only shot in natural light on why they do not use an external flash for their portraiture I narrowed down the reason to two points.

  1. Most photographers had a horrible experience with the use of on camera flash.

  2. Many of them who hate flash don't make an effort to learn about flash photography.

As photographers it easier explained with pictures than typing paragraphs of text. Here is a particular portrait of a tea-estate worker I shot in Kothagiri during the course of a post-wedding outdoor couple shoot. It was a compulsive shot for me as I saw a women dressed in scarlet saree in a green background with beautiful warm backlight from setting sun.

Shot without Flash   |   Camera Sony A7R II with Zeiss Batis 85 mm f/1.8

Shot without Flash   |   Camera Sony A7R II with Zeiss Batis 85 mm f/1.8

The first shot is one I did without a fill flash. I could have recovered shadows and with face mask I could have almost brightened her face. But, if the shadows were a little more darker recovering would have certainly produced losses.

Filled with Light from Godox AD200 with 60 cm soft box| Sony A7R II with Zeiss Batis 85 mm f/1.8

Filled with Light from Godox AD200 with 60 cm soft box| Sony A7R II with Zeiss Batis 85 mm f/1.8

Fortunately this time my friend Praveen was waiting with a Godox AD200 with a 60 cm softbox equipped with a boompole. As soon as he saw me shooting he was at the spot for the next shot to light her. In such a situation it is quite difficult to judge the flash intensity you need to get a good fill. I trusted on TTL with a -1 dialed in to retain some of the shadows. This is almost like holding a white reflector to reflect the sunlight onto her face. While using a reflector is not possible in all situations, a portable flash comes handy.

I trust I did not kill this picture with a flash. I did not do any exposure changes on this image in the raw processor to represent the pictures as shot for better understanding.

The idea of writing this blog was just to get people who never tried off camera portable flash for lighting natural light portraits. Please feel free to comment and write to me. Based on your inputs I 'll probably throw more light on using off-camera flash.

 

Photography and Design – An Eternal Romance by Karthik Rajagopal

When you discover photography in your soul, when you see the world through the lens, nothing will be the same again. Your eyes rearrange every frame of life, to fulfill your whims. Each image is subconsciously designed and consciously interpreted by you. When you showcase them to others, they will have infinite perspectives. These are governed by the valuable principles of design, which is simply the way you see everything. Photography and design are interwoven inseparably, to make the viewer fall in love with an image.

Value is the soul of a picture  

A landscape is like a human being, with  subtle shades of grey that are revealed only   when you look beyond the vibrant facade. The   spectrum of grey is the value of an image,   its unabashedly raw, pure beauty.

A landscape is like a human being, with subtle shades of grey that are revealed only when you look beyond the vibrant facade. The spectrum of grey is the value of an image, its unabashedly raw, pure beauty.

Symmetry is Perfection

The Taj Mahal is a flawless romance of  symmetrical minarets and arches, a standing   testament to inimitable Mughal architecture.   Let its beauty and perfection take your   breath away, once again. 

The Taj Mahal is a flawless romance of symmetrical minarets and arches, a standing testament to inimitable Mughal architecture. Let its beauty and perfection take your breath away, once again. 

Colour Reflects Emotion

Colour is the emotional bridge between the  subject, the capturer and the viewer. Joy,   excitement, angst… every feeling is equally   beautiful, contagious and powerful in the   colours of a picture.

Colour is the emotional bridge between the subject, the capturer and the viewer. Joy, excitement, angst… every feeling is equally beautiful, contagious and powerful in the colours of a picture.

Patterns Transform Everything

The unusual is often hidden in the usual.  The slightest shift in perspective creates   fascinating patterns. View your world in a   whole new light!

The unusual is often hidden in the usual. The slightest shift in perspective creates fascinating patterns. View your world in a whole new light!

Texture is Life

Contoured, weathered, scarred, yet ready to  withstand relentless heat and lashing rain.   The texture brings alive the personality of   the tree trunk.

Contoured, weathered, scarred, yet ready to withstand relentless heat and lashing rain. The texture brings alive the personality of the tree trunk.


Movement is a Visual Journey

As the busy ants march, they create a black  path, and your mind travels along it,   wondering about their destination.

As the busy ants march, they create a black path, and your mind travels along it, wondering about their destination.


Lines Create Dynamism

The stillness of the wood turns into dynamism that takes you along inverted train tracks. Lines transform the visual experience.

The stillness of the wood turns into dynamism that takes you along inverted train tracks. Lines transform the visual experience.

Space Creates Depth

The blackened leaf acquires new life as the  centre of attention. Its rough visage is   complemented by sand and stone, creating a   unique visual mood.

The blackened leaf acquires new life as the centre of attention. Its rough visage is complemented by sand and stone, creating a unique visual mood.


Harmony is Simplicity

Beautiful grassland where deer peacefully  enjoy a meal, as the trees watch them… the   simple harmony of nature bathed in golden   sunlight. 

Beautiful grassland where deer peacefully enjoy a meal, as the trees watch them… the simple harmony of nature bathed in golden sunlight. 


Contrast is a Surprise

Rays of smoke pierce through the darkness,  contrasting with subdued vessels, lending an   unexpected flavour to an everyday scene.

Rays of smoke pierce through the darkness, contrasting with subdued vessels, lending an unexpected flavour to an everyday scene.

Perspective Adds New Dimensions

For a moment, the girl is trapped in a maze  of lines that travel in structured   haphazardness. Yet, her perspective is a  mystery to the viewer.

For a moment, the girl is trapped in a maze of lines that travel in structured haphazardness. Yet, her perspective is a mystery to the viewer.

Shape is Definition

The oddly shaped grid lights up with unusual  beauty. It starkly breaks through blackness.

The oddly shaped grid lights up with unusual beauty. It starkly breaks through blackness.

Copy & photography of window by Niranjani Ravi. Photographs by Karthik Rajagopal.