My initial mission was to get a “normal” portrait of my four year old grandson in front of the Christmas tree. As often happens with young children, things went a little differently than I expected.
When I started taking pictures he started doing silly poses, one right after the other. So I just went with that. I ended up taking 36 pictures. You can see many of them above in the screen capture from Adobe Bridge. According to the metadata the first photo was taken at 3:55:45 and the last at 3:58:42, a grand total of 2 minutes, 57 seconds. The average time between photos was 5 seconds. I don’t usually take that many photos in such a short amount of time, but he was on a roll. As you can see from the screen capture, there was one photo in which the speedlites did not have enough time to recycle. That photo was taken only one second after the prior photo.
I used three Yongnuo radio controlled speedlites in ETTL mode (Canon for through-the-lens automatic flash exposure). One was about 8 feet to his left, pointed up to bounce off the white ceiling, another about 8 feet to his right, also pointed up, and the third was on my camera. To keep the on-camera flash from overpowering the bounced flashes, I dialed down the flash exposure compensation of the on-camera flash. The flash exposure compensation of the off-camera speedlites was set to normal (zero).
To get the warm golden glow from the lights on the tree I used a long shutter speed. Using long shutter speeds means there is some risk of ghosting due to the movement of the subject after the flash fires, but I was will willing to live with that to get the image I wanted.
I did end up with a normal pose but some of my favorites are when he was hamming it up. This is one of them.
This screen capture from Adobe Bridge shows some of the metadata that the camera attached to this photo.
Photo Data: Canon 5D Mark III. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L lens at 55mm. 1/10 second, f/8, ISO 800. Three Yongnuo YN600EX-RT radio controlled speedlites in ETTL mode.
To learn more about portrait photography, speedlites, on-camera flash, off-camera flash, flash exposure compensation, and a whole lot more, read Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, one of the highest rated photography books at Amazon.com. Learn more here and order it here.
Read Excellent “How To Photograph People” Books for the best books on portrait photography.
“How To” Series: Off-Camera Flash. A series of articles on off-camera flash, covering multiple equipment options and how to use the equipment effectively. Many off-camera flash options are much less expensive than they used to be.
Radio Controlled Speedlites: Yongnuo YN600EX-RT vs Canon 600EX-RT. You can buy three Yongnuo radio controlled speedlites ($120 each) plus a Yongnuo radio transmitter ($86) for less than the cost of one Canon radio controlled speedlite ($469). The controls, buttons, menu, and flash functions are virtually identical to the Canon system. At a price so low, is there risks? Yes. Are the risks worth it? Maybe. This article covers the pros and cons.