Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens we’re going to take a look at TTL, not bouncing, not using any kind of walls. We’re going to use it on location. TTL on location, a really fun kind of…okay. Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. I’ve got Audrey here with me today. Hello! We’re going to go out and shoot some really interesting portraits. But we’re going to use a style where we put a flash using TTL and a trigger on the camera. So I can get this flash off the camera and I can now use it anywhere in my hand. I’m not going to put it on a stand. I’m going to keep it in my hand. This is a very typical way for people to work if they’re doing events. Rather than just having that flash on the camera you can get it off to start to create some shape. Or you can get it up on high. You can start to create really interesting portraits. It’s kind of a flash, kind of an urban strong light that looks really interesting, to a really soft to the side light. So there’s a real variety here. So let’s get out, let’s take a look at getting that flash off from the camera using a trigger and TTL.
So today we’re going to be using the Westcott FJ80se. It’s probably one of the better speedlights out there. It’s under $200 but it gives you all the capabilities of other speedlights that are going to be $300, $400 and $500. It allows you to work with a trigger which we’re going to use a trigger today. That is the one thing that’s a little more expensive, is you do have to have a trigger to be able to use this method we’re going to use today. Because this method is about getting the strobe away from the camera. Not on a stand or across the room or anything, but in hand, but off the camera. So you do need to get a trigger. So let’s go ahead and set up the FJ80se so it’ll work with this trigger. See exactly what we have to do to make that happen. Then let’s get out and do some images.
So first off I’m going to hit the M button here for mode. I’m going to go from TTL mode, I’m going to go past host mode into client mode. You’ll know it’s in client mode, it’s got the little Z here and little arrow at the end of it. Now I’m in client mode. I can change my group and channel. I want my group to be group A, channel 1. A group means you can put several strobes on the same group so they all fire at the same power. Or you can have different groups, A, B, C, D. We’re going to just be using one strobe. So we’re going to just be on group A. We’re going to use channel 1. We could change that channel here if we wanted to. But we’re going to stay to channel 1. Now the strobe, this is all, the speedlight is set up. It’s ready to go. It’s just time to set up our trigger. Once I’ve got my trigger set up I can change. This goes to manual mode, to sleep and to TTL. We’re going to leave it on TTL. I can change that from the trigger. Now the trigger is controlling the power and all the settings on my speedlight. All right, let’s set up our trigger. So on a trigger we’re going to make sure that we’re on channel 1 as well. We don’t want it to be 2 or 3. We’re just going to stay to channel 1. Now A is our speedlight, that’s where we can change from sleep to TTL. We’re going to set it on TTL. Now the trigger is ready to go and we’re ready to go out and start to work.
So I’m out here, it’s a little loud but I’m using the formula. I just set the camera for a natural exposure. So I’m at 1/80th of a second at f/4.5 at 100 ISO. Now I’ll just let the strobe open up the shadows. So here’s a shot without the strobe. And let’s do a shot without it and just see exactly how that looks. Then I’ll show you with it.So I’m going to do a tight shot, two in a row just the same. Stay right there for me and do one more same spot. So I’m letting the background be just a little bit dark. That’s why I’m leaving 1/80th of a second because I just like the way the strobe stands her. It kind of separates her from the background, lets her stand out.
So all right, here we go. So sometimes when I get in a scene that is this large and the light is so bright I’m having to dial the TTL up a stop on the strobe. That starts to give me a little better light on her face. It’s just the strobe is not quite bright enough. So I’ve got to dial it up a stop to give myself a little bit of intensity on her face. There you go. That looks a lot better. I’m fighting that dark building and that really, really light sky back there. So I’m checking all the time to make sure that my exposure is correct for the ambient. And then how the strobe is going to kind of set that to brighten up her face. And so I’m just looking to see. Sometimes my exposure drops a little low. I just got to be watching my meter all the time, mostly changing my shutter, not my aperture. That way I can bring my shutter up or down to brighten or darken the background. I’m going to move this right or left depending on how I want to shape her face. We’re definitely using the Kobra just to soften the light because direct strobe would look terrible on her face. But this bounces light up and out and just gives it a really soft light. I can move this around and it becomes a really soft light source.
So I’m shooting a Tamron 24-70. It’s an EF lens adapted back to the Panasonic S5 II. These two work really well together. It’s a great lens, that 24-70 because I can get us on the 70 in which it drops the background out of focus a little bit if I’m at f/4. Or I can get a little wider. That 24 looks really great as well. And it just really works nicely just a different range of images. I can run and gun pretty fast with it. So it’s a good setup.
So using this method when you come into a dark area like this, you can’t really change your aperture or your shutter. I’m at 1/60th of a second. I’m hand holding. I’m at an aperture of f/4.0. I could go a stop wider but I’ll stay at f/4.0. So really the only thing left to do is to raise the ISO. So I’m going to kick the ISO up to 1,600. That’s going to give me the ambient light in this area. I can see the ambient. If I don’t do that, if I stay I could shoot it at 100 ISO and all you’d get is just a black room. You’d have nothing. But when you go to 1600 ISO it brings the warmth and the weird colors of the ambient light area into the image and looks so beautiful. So let’s take a look at one at 100 ISO and one at 1,600 ISO.
And looking right here. So you see the difference there. When I go to 100 ISO I get the same exposure on her face. Her face looks exposed correctly but the background just goes completely black. I go to 1600 ISO. Now I get that beautiful warm weird colors that we have in the background of this little parking structure. So you got to raise your ISO to get context in the background. In order to see into the background. The strobe is not large enough to light this entire parking structure. So you’ve got to use the ambient light that’s here. Which means you you’ve got to raise your ISO or lengthen your shutter. I can go to a 1 second shutter but I’m hand holding. So in this method I’m going to stay at 1/60th of a second, f/4 and I’m just going to push my ISO when I need to so I can get some ambient in the room.
So we kind of went down this little, I don’t know what. It’s a doorway entrance, a little locked up area. But I went back to 1600 ISO. Still staying at 1/60th of the second. I went to f/2.8 so it’s really shallow depth of field. It’s just that beautiful warm light in the background. It allows me to get that warmth in the whole scene. We did some broad. We did some more tight. But it just gives you some contextual surroundings. But then into some tight shots of just her. See the reflection of the marble. It’s just a beautiful little place to shoot. So the advantage of having this off the camera is that I can now move this to where it’s going to shape the face. If I put it straight up above her nose above the camera above her nose I’m going to get a butterfly. If I move it out and around I’m going to get a Rembrandt or a loop light back towards the camera. So I’m going to try to get this even though it’s only in my hand and I can’t get it too far away. I’m going to try to move it as much as possible and find the spot where I can get the highlight to hit her face to give me a nice light. Either a loop or a Rembrandt into a butterfly. And then I want to try to shoot in the shadow side as much as possible. So I’m going to try to get this out here so the shadows fall towards the camera. I want to look into the shadow side of her face. I want to see shadow on her cheeks. So you get a nice highlight on her left side but shadows on the cheek towards the camera. This is the most interesting way to look at a face, is to be able to look into the shadows as the light falls toward you. So that means that light’s got to be back as much as possible.
So if you’re wondering what a loop and a Rembrandt or a butterfly light is, you need to check out our “Five Portrait Lighting Positions” video. It teaches you the five basic portrait lighting positions to shape a person’s face. You get up here as a butterfly. Come to the side it’s going to be a loop, into a Rembrandt as it gets further around. Check that video out. It’ll help you understand exactly how to light a face. Just about everything that we see in media, everything from major motion pictures to just really good still photography is shaped and uses the five portrait lighting positions. So you need to understand those.
The reason this method is so valuable is it allows you to start to shape the face and create more interesting light rather than just on the camera. It gets it out to where the light becomes much more interesting. I love this look. It’s a stark flash look. You are not trying to hide the fact that it’s flash. You’re getting a flash, you’re keeping the background a little darker so the person stands out and has a very gritty look. Love this look.
So there’s a very distinct formula to shoot TTL and be successful with it. I don’t think it’s very difficult but if you don’t do it correctly you’re not going to get great images. So that formula we’ve taught in other lessons. You can check those out. But let me just recap it here very quickly. First off, set your camera to manual. Now the goal here is, step number two, after you set your camera to manual is to keep your exposure correct for the scene. So I’m looking at my internal meter and I want to always have a correct exposure. I don’t want it to be two or three stops dark or light. I want it to be pretty much spot on. What I do to accomplish that though is I know I want shallow depth of field. So I set my aperture at f/4 and my shutter at about 1/60th or an 1/80th of a second. And now I’ll just push my ISO up or down to give myself a correct exposure. If I feel like the background is to too bright I’ll go from 1/60th second to 1/80th or 1/125th. I’ll shorten my shutter to make the scene darker in the background. If I feel like the background is too dark I’m going to lengthen my shutter so I give myself a brighter background. But I’m using the ISO to kind of give myself an exposure that’s going to be correct. And I’ll make some minor adjustments with my shutter speed. But generally speaking around 1/60 of a second at f/4. And now I’ll just push my ISO from 100 for outside to almost, you know, sometimes 6,400 ISO inside. It just depends on the situation that I’m in. And then as long as your Westcott is set up on TTL and is talking to your trigger you’re in good shape. So that’s the formula. That’s going to give you good images when you’re shooting with TTL. Now you can raise and lower the power of your speedlight. On the back you can go plus a stop, plus two stops, minus a stop, minus two stops as you shoot a shot. If it just seems too bright the speedlight’s way too bright. Then bring it down a stop. If it’s just not bright enough go up a stop. It just gives you those options using the strobe. So there’s several things at play there. But the formula is fairly simple: manual, keep your exposure correct for the scene you’re in and then you let the TTL light your face.
So let’s wrap this up. I love shooting like this. I love getting this flash off from the camera. I love the kind of gritty and interesting look, that it gives you the ability to shape the face. So much more effective than just the strobe on the camera. But the disadvantage is that you’ve got this thing in your hand, shooting with one hand and strobing with the other. That’s the problem. So you’ve got to have either a bag you can drop this into or a, Spider holster does make an attachment that will work with this, you can clip onto a clip. But something to get this out of your hand so you have the ability to use your hands when you need to. Otherwise it becomes too frustrating to work this way. But it’s a great way to work. I hope you enjoyed this, seeing how to light with TTL in different lighting situations when you’re using a trigger. So you keep those cameras rollin’ and you keep on clickin’, yeah!