There are various ways to use flashguns when mounted on top of the camera, the obvious first choice is to fire the flash directly at the subject, this is OK when you are in harsh sunlight and you are wanting to give some fill to the shadows, but in any other situation the light is too harsh and is not flattering to the subject. So what do you do there a two options, whilst on camera, you diffuse the light by fitting such things a Stowen diffuser which gives ok lighting, I prefer to bounce my light off an available wall, making sure the wall is white or cream as this will give a colour cast to the subject, or use a reflector to bounce off.
To achieve better more flattering lighting it is better to get the flashgun off the camera by using a hotshoe 1.5mtr cable, obviously this has range limitations, the benefit is that you can still use TTL capability I prefer to use my wireless transmitter on the top of my camera and transmitters connected to the hotshoe of my Speedlites.this gives me the freedom to use my flash on manual setting up to 30 mtrs away through walls, I would use this to full advantage by positioning a flash inside a car to illuminate the interior or to create side lighting and better modeling light, or by using two one behind creating rim lighting.
My other Speedlite, a 430 EXII has almost identical operations and controls but hasn't the capacity for a master wireless control, slave only and has less power of 43 mts and 105mm focal length.
Another benefit of wireless/ remote flash is the option to paint with light, this is a process where you have a long exposure and then illuminate parts of a scene with multiple triggers of the flash, such as in in one of my previous blog entries of the car shoot in complete darkness.
What I have been trying to do with my car shoots is to mix ambient light with balance flash exposure, such as when I was photographing my Kia.
There are limitations to Speedlites, mainly power output, so what other option is there? the solution is to use studio flash units, all of them use mains power supplying them, and some have the option of connecting a separate battery power pack which of course give you the option of taking then almost anywhere. The College have some of these portable lighting outfits and these are what we will be using on my car shoot, just like on my trial run with the equipment with Eric's car in another of my blogs.
The other alternative to studio strobe lights is continuous lights, these light are just like a fluorescent low energy lightbulb, no flash of light. They are very easy to use as they a continuous you can see exactly where the light is falling and to what intensity. these lights produce minimal heat and are balanced to daylight colour and are naturally softer than flash. The down side is that because they cannot be a intense as strobe flash your shutter speeds may suffer.
the reason I will be using strobe battery powered flash is obvious, as I have the option to use the college units and are better than my Speedlites.
Next installment..... Lenses