Budgets are getting smaller, deadlines tighter and there seems to be less and less room for error on each and every shoot. They’re small, pack plenty of punch and luckily every time I switch on my new Speedlite 600EX‘s, coupled with the STE-3 RT controller, they just work….., and work well!
Lately I’ve become a passionate Speedlite advocate! I’m not saying that I’ve stopped using my Elinchrom Rangers and the Ranger Quadras when the need arises, but when the heat is on and the time is tight, there’s just no substitute for an efficient Speedlite kit.
So last Thursday (28th Nov, 2013) Canon Australia and digiDirect gave me yet another opportunity to showcase my wares to a diverse group of photographers at Redbrick Studios in Brisbane. From retailers, to pro photographers, to amateurs from The Canon Collective…..the ETTL capabilities of the new Canon 600EX RT system never fail to impress, and so far, never fail when it counts most.
Over the last 6 months I have been able to not only test the system out in myriad of shooting scenarios and conditions but I have now incorporated it fully into my creative workflow. So what better way to demonstrate their capabilities than switching to ETTL and seeing how they behave in a studio environment as well as on location.
Working The White – who said Speedlites don’t belong in a studio? With 3 speedlites in a triangle lighting configuration I started the demonstration on a humble white backdrop. With the key light punching through a newly acquired Lastolite Ezybox II ‘Switch’ on a C Stand I was able to easily demonstrate single light ‘low key’ techniques, slowly ramping it up with a second light as a rim light and then finally the third for a ‘high key’ clean background finish.
Creating Window Light – nothing beats the quality and direction of a north facing window light. Unfortunately not every shoot affords us such luxury. Sometimes we just need to create our own! With one or two Speedlites bounced into a white wall in full ETTL I was able to create, in my opinion, the closest situation to shooting with window light inside a room. This is an ideal technique for wedding and portrait shooters where you still need to deliver a beautiful shot in often less than ideal lighting conditions. For extra softness try bouncing the flash into a wall and then through a pop up scrim placed in front of the subject (double scrimming). The ETTL allowed me to move my subject around the shooting area while effortlessly switching from f1.4 to f5.6 to f8, the flash adjusted to give me the correct exposure each and every time.
The Roaming Rig – a single Speedlite through a small Lastolite Ezybox on a boom, full ETTL, and things couldn’t be simpler. Point the light where it needs to go and the flash does the rest.
Red Brick Wall – the final demonstration of the day was a slightly more complex 4 light setup. Still using my favourite triangle lighting configuration this time I introduced a 4th background light for a bit of colour variance. Still all in ETTL and still exposing perfectly, even through blasts of stage fog. The dress wasn’t damaged in this shot but I’m loving the suspense.
My Speedlite Kit
Model – Kathleen Doody (actor/dancer/model)
Hair & Make-up by Misha Douglas
Location – Redbrick Studios