- Wing It
- Ring Light
- Bring a Chainsaw
- Get There Early
- Dont Be So Darn Serious
- Tell 'em Anything
- Be the Boss of the Light
- Push the Wide Lens
- Smile and Nod
- Stand in Front of More Interesting Stuff
- Play Catch
- Stick with Your Subjects
- Always Something to Bounce Light Off Of
- Soft Window Light Equals Studio
- Beware Straight Flash
- Pray for Bad Weather
- It's Gotta Speak for Itself
- Remember: Light Picks Up Color
- Try Not to Be Too Self-Involved
- Keep Your Camera Ready
- Sometimes You Feel Bad
- Step Right Up!
Always Something to Bounce Light Off Of
I was in this glitzy hall of mirrors that was the main office of cosmetics maven Georgette Klinger, shooting a business feature for Forbes magazine, and there was a spiral staircase where we couldn’t use a softbox or an umbrella because the mirrors would have picked it up. Luckily, I had a bounce card (a 3x4′ piece of white cardboard) with me and I had my assistant stand just out of the reflection in the mirrors, where he held a small flash and bounced it off the card, which filled her just enough. It ain’t great light, but sometimes “just enough” is plenty.
In tough situations like this, I take inspiration from one of my photo heroes, Jim Stanfield, who tells a story about being on assignment for National Geographic, shooting an ornately dressed bride in a cavern of a church, with only one flash in his bag. He really had nothing to bounce off of (Jim being Jim, he knew that straight-on flash equals no picture). His solution: he called the groom over and had him open his suit jacket, so he could bounce his flash off the groom’s white shirt. He got a terrific frame.
This ain’t rocket science.
Jim, by the way, could outshoot most of us with one eye shut and a bug in the other. If you want to know how to be an all-purpose, can-do-anything assignment photographer, study his work.
- “Jim being Jim, he knew straight-on flash equals no picture. He called the groom over and had him open his suit jacket.”