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Erica Hawkins, normally based in our office as Creative Manager, recently went on a course to learn more about using flash in portrait photography. She is building her own career outside of work as a wedding photographer and has already got 12 weddings booked for next year. Here is her account of the course:
“No longer afraid of the dark!!
One of my biggest fears is the dark. As a photographer, when the sun goes down and I have to pull out my Speedlight, I do it with a tremble. I gingerly fix it to the camera, press a few buttons, bounce the light and hope for the best. Something had to change, it was time to face my fear!
So this week I took part in a flash photography workshop in central London. I headed to a quirky little cafe in Waterloo and meet with Andrew the course leader. It wasn’t long before the rest of the group joined us and over a quick coffee the techie talk flowed, swapping camera specs and flash models. Andrew gave us a rundown on those scary little buttons on the back of the flash, explaining what everything means in a way that even my 5 year old nephew would understand (he is pretty smart though).
We headed out to a local park to put into practice some of the information Andrew had bestowed upon us. Our model Victoria did us proud, pouting and posing in the freezing cold while we clicked away. My first few photos were not going according to plan, unless we were going for the look from the film Cocoon when all the old people glowed; if so then I nailed it! Andrew was very patient and took the time to review all our images giving us individual pointers that soon had Victoria looking more like a model from Vogue and less like Casper the friendly ghost.
It soon became clear that when it came to flash photography my mental block had stopped me thinking, all my camera knowledge blocked by this massive hurdle that was my Speedlight. But after just a few hours I began to think straight, applying straight forward photography with my new tricks and tips. By this point Victoria has pulled more poses than Zoolander any my toes had turned to ice so I was very glad it was lunch time.
We had a change of scenery for the afternoon and ventured to the underbelly of Waterloo at Leake Street, aka Banksy Tunnel. With the dingy lighting and grimy scene it was the perfect setting for us to take the next step in flash photography, it was time to go ‘off camera’.
With relatively little time, we soon had a two way lighting set up. Andrew again made this look easy and effortless talking us through the different equipment required in order to achieve the look. My Christmas list has now taken a slight turn, with brollies, brackets and triggers at the top of my wish list.
As the sun set on our little workshop for the first time I felt confident I could cope without the sun, I had conquered my fear of the flash and was no longer afraid of the dark.”
CP Creative Ltd
Forge & Co
I54 – 158 Shoreditch High St
Phone: 0203 637 1440