Longtime pro photographer and BetterPhoto instructor Jim Zuckerman offers lots of great tips and techniques on photography. Here are Jim's expert thoughts on using off-camera flash outdoors:
"When I visit a place more than once," says Jim Z, "I try to come up with different ways of photographing subjects that I shot previously.
"A case in point is the stone carving (above) at the archeological site, Ephesus, in Turkey. I photographed it in the shade two years ago, so this time I used off-camera flash. This created texture and depth, and at the same time the rocks, dirt, and weeds that could be seen behind the ancient artwork became black and therefore unobtrusive.
"I triggered the flash with a Pocket Wizard and had another person hold it at about an 80-degree angle. I wanted to largely eliminate the effect of the ambient light, so I used the LCD monitor on the back of the camera to help me determine the exposure. I increased the shutter speed and reduced the size of the lens aperture until the ambient light was only contributing a small amount and the primary light source was the Canon 580 flash.
"Don’t think that professional photographers know exactly what settings to use in a situation like this. We don’t. Since we can’t know exactly what we will like until we see it, we simply use trial and error until it looks good."
- Learn more about Jim Zuckerman and his online photo courses.
- Jim Z is also a top contributor to two new BetterPhoto Guide books (co-authored by Jim Miotke and Kerry Drager): the just-published The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography and The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light (due out in April 2012).