Off-Camera Flash and Shooting at Night

Amber against wall

Today’s feature is from .

Tosha says:

“I absolutely love doing night sessions in our downtown area. There are so many streetlights and reflections that make for amazing bokeh.

Each year I see my night sessions becoming more and more popular because no one else in my area is doing anything like it. It really gives me that little extra something special that I love offering to my clients.”

Tosha’s Photography Tip:

Night portraits are amazing and when I started doing them it took a lot of trial and error before I found the perfect combination of in-camera controls and off-camera lighting to achieve maximum results.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your night location:

First, be sure to choose a location where there will be lots of streetlights, glass, water or any other reflective surfaces to get tons of bokeh.

Second, make sure to time your session to start during sunset and finish right as the sky turns totally black. I find some of my favorite images are taken when the sky is dark blue.

The trick to achieving a well-lit subject AND background is to use an off-camera flash with a triggering device. I personally use a Nikon SB700 triggered by radio poppers.

For settings, I use the following:

  • I usually set my light using manual settings around 1/32 or 1/64
  • I raise my  ISO somewhere between 640 and 800, which helps to pull in the background light
  • For the lens, I shoot with my 50mm f/1.8 and always keep it at an f-stop of 1.8 to achieve that beautiful bokeh effect.

Using this tip will ensure that you get the perfect combination of a well-lit subject AND background with an amazing bokeh effect.

Amber seated against post

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Tosha used a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens to capture these images.

Tosha Lijewski is a Tri-cities, Mid-Michigan Portrait photographer.

Still need help mastering off-camera flash? The Portrait Lighting guide from Simple SLR is a great place to start, and goes over some of the basic concepts of flash photography. Check it out here!

 

 

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