Using Flash in Daylight

Here’s an example of a rather more unobtrusive use of flash when compared to a previous post. This is Zuzana Gibb of Kerdova Print who produces incredible and beautiful handmade silk-screened wallpaper and fabrics. The shot was for her new collection catalogue and we wanted to do something vivid, hyper-real and quirky. It was taken in broad daylight…So why and where is the flash? Broad daylight / sunlight – isn’t great as it’s harsh, contrasty and you either lose detail in the shadows or blow out the highlights. Hence the flash is used to balance out the relative exposures of the various zones that make up the image. Here two flashes were used – pretty much at full blast to balance out the sunshine. Flash one was a beauty dish placed high and aimed at Zuzana. This allowed me to expose for her correctly and slightly darken the sky. The second flash was bare-bulb, lying in the grass and pointing up towards the wheelbarrow as this had a broad shadow lying across it.

I think it worked really well. Without flash it would have been very contrasty, yet with it, although the image is ‘false’ from a natural lighting perspective, it doesn’t look obvious and I hope most people wouldn’t even consider that flash had been used. The next time I do one of these types of shots I’ll do a before, after and setup image so you can see what’s going on. As for the flashes themselves, I used Bowen’s Gemini 500R’s which are just great – versatile, powerful enough and portable with the battery pack. I love them. I’ll do a review of them at some point.

If you check out the Kerdova Print website, you’ll not only see the most wonderful wallpaper, but a few more of our product shots.

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