For most people the process of learning photography starts by first learning to photograph in ambient light and later beginning to play with the built-in flash of their camera. Next, soon they buy their first camera with external flash and it is often followed by a long duration of shooting with the flash solidly mounted on the horse-shoe of their camera. Most people never cross this stage. However the tethering link between the camera and the flash should be cut off for a slightly more aggressive lot. If you want to play around with multiple flashes, the best point to start with is portraiture, like corporate portrait photography, since it allows the liberty to experiment. Here are some techniques to work out using two flashes.
When you use infrared flash communication, it is required by most of the cameras that you keep your master flash bound into the hot-shoe. But there is still plenty of potential for portraiture that can be achieved by just moving your flash slave around. One option is the super-clean, white background head shot which can be achieved by diffusing or bouncing your master flash either on your subject and firing your slave or at the wall behind her/him. In these cases, paper backdrops work great and they are inexpensive too. The simplicity enables the shots to be integrated with ease into promotional material, made use of in online profiles, or business card templates, etc. Simple setup is essential when you are to do a big number of portraits for many days, months or even years.
It doesn’t mean while using multiple flashes that you should limit yourself to interior spaces. Actually outdoor flash photography makes your subject look prominent on the outside background. Especially shooting at dawn or dusk makes for a darker backdrop, which is excellent. Even overcast days are good. You are also free to use an off-camera shoe cord to move your master flash either to the right along with a secondary slave or to the left if you relied upon infrared communication. If you want your subject to look prominent, focus your flash fully on them to prevent lighting the backdrop. Other alternative is to snoot one of your flashes if you indeed wished to focus the light. Just expose the camera according to the subject and make the background a bit underexposed.
Photojournalism depends heavily on props and settings to tell a story more clearly. If you are using a prop, make use of it to your advantage. Keep your subject together with the prop, primarily to look aesthetically pleasing and then with regard to light.
Multiple Faces in Confined Spaces
If the confined space is of a small size like that of an elevator where you have to shoot five guys, you have a problem of fitting them along with yourself and a heap of camera gear inside the space, in addition to light and frame it to look pleasing! In such a case the camera can be angled up to spring the light back off the roof at very low power like 1/32 and 1/64. The shutter speed should also be slowed down to create motion blur on the backdrop (in case if it’s really an elevator).
Corporate head shots are not boring always. Also they are not always head and shoulder shots. If your subject is a photogenic model and you have enough time to experiment, go for close-ups. For corporate portraits, it is recommended to incorporate business wherever you can. For example, while shooting a portrait for someone running a shop of fashion jewelry, you can, by all means, shoot the subject with a piece of jewelry. For close-ups, it is a nice idea to soften the light since it makes the skin look flawless and softer.
Flash techniques are literally endless. It is recommended to think about lighting as a thing that can be modified, experimented with and enjoyed without inflexible rights and wrongs. Therefore, play around with light, make wrongs, create masterpieces – it is all going to end up in making you a better photographer who thinks outside the box. Take good things from others, but make your own style.