I've been working on a series of basic photography fundamentals on my blog and thought it would be good to share some of them here. I am by no means an expert (most of what I've learned came from here and youtube) so feel free to add or correct things. Learning is why we're here after all. So enough of the introductory blah blah blah:
Fundamentals of Photography: Fun With Long Exposures and Multi-Flash
This image was created in camera* using a long exposure (2.5 seconds), a speedlite, a dark room, and a black backdrop.
The Set Up:
Find a darkened room (don't worry, you can set your gear up first then turn the lights off) or set up during night time outdoors. For the photo above we set up in a windowless room with a black backdrop (which really is optional). Since you'll be using a long exposure I recommend setting up your camera on a tripod or some kind of stabilizer (table top etc).
To help minimize any ambient light set your ISO to as low as possible in your camera. Set you shutter speed to a long exposure 2 or more seconds (you can vary the shutter speed depending on your desired effect so have fun experimenting). Choose an aperture that is appropriate for your shot. Keep in mind that your aperture also will determine how much of the light from flash is allowed into your camera. So play around with your aperture and the output power of your flash until your get the exposure you want (the smaller the aperture the higher the flash output you may need).
Setting up your flash
Now the next part can be done in two different ways:
Option 1: Multi-Flash Mode
If your flash has a multi-flash mode select it. Choose your output power (1/1 = full power, 1/2 = half power, 1/8, 1/128 etc), how many times you want the flash to fire, and the time between flashes (typically measure in hz). For the set up I used 1/8 power and 3 flashes at a speed of 1hz. When using a long exposure, every time your flash fires it will capture your subject. So however many times your flash fires will be how many times your subject will appear in the picture. If your flash fires three times, your subject will appear three times in a single picture. Every time the flash fires have them move into a different position, turn their head, dance, whatever you can imagine.
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(YN468 in multi mode)
Option 2: Manual Mode
Put you flash in manual mode, set the power, and select the zoom (a small zoom like 24mm will create a light the spreads wide and a long zoom like 85mm will create narrower light that reaches farther away). With this method you can then fire the flash by hand, using the test/pilot button. You can choose the number of flashes and exactly how long between flashes you want (depending on how long it takes for your flash to recharge). If you have a flash sync cable or wireless trigger you can even experiment with different positions of each flash.
I highly encourage experimenting with different settings or even using a ND filter to help reduce light for those really long exposures.
For more photos check out sameflyphotos.tumblr.com
model: bret brookshire
location: austin tx
gear: Canon 60D, Canon 50mm f/1.8, YongNuo YN-468 speedlite, and Ravelli APGL3 Pro tripod
*photoshop was only used to process the RAW image and convert to jpeg