How to practice off camera flash for portraits/family photos

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#1
All,

I was hoping to receive some advice on off camera flash. I am keen to expand this area of my photography. I really want to master flash photography for my portraits and I am big believer in learn by doing.....

What do you guys do to practice this technique if, as we are in lock down, there's a lack of people to photograph!

I was thinking a large stuffed toy to simulate my niece for example, but any other ideas would be greatly welcomed!

Thanks,
Chris
 
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Garry Edwards
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#2
Well, if you look at some of the other threads in this forum you'll see that there are a few with specific lighting projects for people to try, and hopefully to post their results.
Other than that, just shoot anything around the house, bowls of fruit are pretty good from a lighting perspective.
 
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mike
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#5
One thing that every soldier learns is the clockface method to identify a target, the soldier is always at 6 O'Clock and the item described is always the centre of the clockface

This is the method shown to me many many years before another photographer decided they had invented it.

Really useful to see the effect of the light at each hour

The second thing that I remember is lighting the egg, seen it many times from good photographers
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM7CcUrUD2g&t=164s


Mike
clock lighting.jpg
 
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Richard
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#8
One thing that every soldier learns is the clockface method to identify a target, the soldier is always at 6 O'Clock and the item described is always the centre of the clockface

This is the method shown to me many many years before another photographer decided they had invented it.

Really useful to see the effect of the light at each hour

The second thing that I remember is lighting the egg, seen it many times from good photographers
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM7CcUrUD2g&t=164s


Mike
View attachment 279499
Shouldn't that be the other way around? Soldier at the centre?
 
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#11
Are the eyes painted on or glassy @HoppyUK ???

I nearly bought one once for £50 that had glass eyes as I thought it'd make spotting catchlights nice & easy - being tight though I didn't in the end lol - £20 though I might just do it :D

Dave
Eyes are glassy, not painted. Not totally realistic but as you can see in that photo there's a softbox and reflector visible the left.

Most of the manikin heads you see on Amazon etc are truly hideous severed heads but I've seen this one used by photographers on several other photo forums.
 
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#12
Dolores was the mannequin that Number 5 spent 60 odd years marooned alone with in post apocalyptic future in "The Umbrella Academy".
I do have to agree, that mannequin looks far better suited to doing portrait tests than a basic white poly wig holder head.
Dolores is good :kiss: Others on here have named them after their ex, but her name is Mandy-Manikin.
 
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#13
Eyes are glassy, not painted. Not totally realistic but as you can see in that photo there's a softbox and reflector visible the left.

Most of the manikin heads you see on Amazon etc are truly hideous severed heads but I've seen this one used by photographers on several other photo forums.
And this might be better https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-as...4363C&at_custom2=twitter&at_custom3=@BBCWorld

More seriously though, painted eyes are annoying, but if the mannequin is to be used for practice what really matters is how realistically the plastic 'skin' reflects light, compared to a human, and usually they're pretty hopeless..

But you say that yours is OK, so it may be useful. But I stick to my view that, from a lighting perspective, it's better to photograph a variety of found objects, better learning tool.
 
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#14
And this might be better https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-52702075?xtor=AL-72-[partner]-[bbc.news.twitter]-[headline]-[news]-[bizdev]-[isapi]&at_campaign=64&at_medium=custom7&at_custom1=[post+type]&at_custom4=82EDF81E-98C6-11EA-AA73-4A054844363C&at_custom2=twitter&at_custom3=@BBCWorld

More seriously though, painted eyes are annoying, but if the mannequin is to be used for practice what really matters is how realistically the plastic 'skin' reflects light, compared to a human, and usually they're pretty hopeless..

But you say that yours is OK, so it may be useful. But I stick to my view that, from a lighting perspective, it's better to photograph a variety of found objects, better learning tool.
But human skin comes in such a wide variety of colours and tones and textures, with and without makeup...?

TBH though, I'm really only interested in how the shadows fall, and how different modifiers at different angles and distances behave. She's the right size and has eyes and a nose and a chin, so that's fine for me. I just stuck on a cheap party wig stolen from my daughter.

That test actually turned into exposure balance practise rather than lighting (which is just as well, because the lighting is wrong and it's not quite in focus) and I could have used a flower pot just as well. Working outdoors in bright ambient is way different to a darkened studio :oops: :$
 
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#15
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#16
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#20
32 yrs in the US military... never heard of the clock ray method; always center of clock.
But it kind of makes sense that there could be a difference depending on how likely it may be to have a threat behind you.
But then the US Military ain't the UK Military, to the best of my knowledge this goes all the way back to the first world war

If the threat is behind you then job done badly :)

Mike
 
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