learning from my mistakes…

A few weeks ago I participated in our local bridal shop’s fashion show…oh, no…I didn’t don a sequin dress and put on my best fierce face, but I did have the opportunity to photograph the models who did! Bella Sera is in downtown Wenatchee and it is definitely the best local shop to find any and all bridal accessories and they put on an amazing fashion show! I was really excited to photograph all of the beautiful dresses and the models who were showing them off. I prepared my equipment and planned to rent some remote flash triggers and extra flash so I could use off-camera lighting. At the last minute I decided the DJ’s lighting would give a fun “party vibe” to the images, so, I nixed the rental and went to the Wenatchee Convention Center.

I arrived and immediately realized I should have rented the triggers. I even had time to go pick them up, but I convinced myself that my idea of using the available light to create a mood in my images was the best plan of attack. I could have used on-camera flash, but I only use that when absolutely necessary, even if I bounce the flash, as it’s generally a very unflattering “flat” light. Afterall, this had been my approach throughout my career in photojournalism. As the models made their way down the runway, I was frustrated. I wished I could have gone back in time. I worked the situation like I always do, catching the models when they have their faces turned into the light, etc., but in the back of my mind I thought, “never again”. While I am a natural light photographer, using and knowing how to use artificial light is essential.

I now employ an off-camera lighting system that will be perfect for any low-light situation where I need some dynamic lighting to enhance the already existing light. The system very much feels like the available light in the room, as I try to match the power of the ambiant light as much as possible. It’s a beautiful mix of the two. Speaking of beautiful! After the show, the models gathered for me to photograph them. We used available light coming from a huge bank of windows in the adjacent Wenatchee Performing Arts Center.

I think for a long time it was my lack of confidence in using artificial light that prevented me from incorporating it into my workflow. I have learned from my mistakes though and I feel really confident in my system.

If you have questions about off-camera lighting or any lighting for that matter, I’d be more than happy to help!

What mistakes have you made and learned from recently? Share them below…maybe it will help someone else learn by sharing!

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