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Aston, PA
USA

484-352-2104

Philadelphia photographer Natasha Esguérra is based out of Aston, PA and serves the Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland areas. 

Photography offered:
weddings, engagement, mitzvahs, food, family, headshots

Aston, Media, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Chester, Swarthmore, Deptford

Natasha Esguerra Photography - The Blog

The blog for Natasha Esguerra Photography

How I Do: Using Flash to Give Your Image More "Umph"

Natasha Esguerra

So I'm going to blog really quickly since I would like to blog more regularly (I keep saying that, don't I?).  That doesn't explain why I need to blog quickly though.  Today is just a hectic Monday, several albums to design and stuff, but it's great to be busy, that's for sure!

I just wanted to give you an example of how adding flash can give your image more umph when used correctly.

Below is an available light image.  80mm, f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/400 sec.  This image never went to the client because to me, it's lacking something.  The background for one is overexposed and the subjects are too dark.  Sure, I could work some photoshop magic, but to me, that's an extra step I shouldn't have to take in the first place.  I strive very hard to get my images right in camera, so that when it's time to edit, all I have to do is 'enhance' and not to 'fix.'  It's been a long process getting to this point, but I think it's helped me to improve in my craft, and I still am striving to learn as much as I can :)


After taking the above image to assess the lighting (and we'll say that it was also for the purposes of this mini tutorial LOL) I knew that available light was not going to cut it.  I immediately set my shutter to sync speed for flash (1/250 on my D700), and went to work on exposing the background correctly.

Here's the next image I took, ISO 200, 112mm, f/5.6, 1/250.   First thing I did was set my shutter to 1/250 like I said above.  Then I adjusted the f-stop to a point where I got my background to be the way I liked (kind of on the darker side).  Then I added the flash on the couple and adjusted that until they were properly lit as well (I told my husband whether to raise or decrease the power).

So, first expose for the background to get it to look the way you want, then add the flash to light up the subject and adjust that until it's how you want as well.  Remember, assuming nothing is really in close proximity to your subject, the flash only affects your subject and the background is affected only by the ambient available light.   This isn't always the case (such as if the background is RIGHT behind the subject, etc...) but in general when doing environmental portraits, this is what I think of in my head when I do these shots.

Here's a pic behind the scenes (well, not in this exact location, but just to give you an idea where my assistant aka my husband stands).  Usually a 45 degree or so from my camera position, but sometimes less if I have to be careful about shadows.


I don't know about you, but to me, the one with flash looks 10xs better, at least in this type of situation!


Okay gotta go, sorry if this is semi repetitive, but I'll do some more intense how-to's in a bit, I promise!

Oooo I just realized I can do an indoor version of this too, that will probably be 'part two'. :)

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