A rain-free evening allowed me to show Sarina how to practice off camera flash technique at our own pace during her first of four DSLR Photography Lessons. It was actually a 3-hour lesson, one more than the usual 2-hours, split evenly between shooting practice with her Nikon D90 and then digital photo editing practice. Sarina has been around cameras and photography for several years, but wanted to add some formal shooting technique to her skill set. I really stress following the same, methodical way of setting your DSLR for each shot in order to avoid hunting around the camera body wondering what should I do. Regular readings of this blog know my technique is the following (in this order):
- set aperture (then shutter speed if in manual mode)
- set ISO
- set white balance (WB)
- set focus mode (AF)
After outlining this methodology to Sarina we went behind the St. Petersburg Museum of History and applied it to setting up strobist shots. The first thing to know about making off camera flash portraits is that the speedlight (flash) lights the subject and the camera's exposure settings control the ambient light. Without knowing this, it is hard to make purposefully overall well exposed shots.
If all that were not enough we retired to a small Beach Drive cafe for a crash course in introduction to Photoshop CS5! Sarina is wisely interested in learning how to edit her shots at the same time as learning how to shoot better shots. I recommend this simultaneous learning in this blog post. You can also get a PDF of the most common keyboard shortcuts I use in Photoshop CS5 here.
By the end of our four lessons Sarina will have the knowledge to shoot off camera flash portraits with confidence, and edit them into a finished product as well.