The purpose of this exercise was to learn to bring out a foreground subject with a flash that is balanced with ambient light, whether sunlight or artificial light.

All of the following images were taken using a Yongnuo Speedlite YN568EX.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4980

A lot of the photos I took either ended up slightly out of focus or with the sky so bright that it overwhelmed Barnaby. This is the first photograph where I thought that the balance was just getting to where I wanted it to be. The fence post and panel are almost fading into the background. The thermos flask that is holding the bear upright blends in with the sky where it is white around the base. The position of the legs makes the metallic base seem like it is part of the fence post.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4983

This is the first of the photos where I believe I got the balance between the flash and the ambient light balanced to my own satisfaction.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4987

Slightly further away and the flash doesn’t give a good representation of the colour of Barnaby’s fur.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4990

A much better balance between the flash and ambient light. I like the level of detail that you can see. The low angle of the shot with more of the sky in the background also make the bear stand out more from its environment.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4991

Again, I like the level of detail but he doesn’t stand out quite as much from the environment.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4992

With the distance shots he disappears into the background a bit too much.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4993

Again, you can see that he is there and the fence panels draw your eye to him but the patch draws the eye past him so that he fades in too much.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4994

Closer up, Barnaby again stands out from the background a bit more but the shrubbery overwhelms him.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4997

The fence panels and angle of the houses draw you to the bear but there is a bit too much distraction to the right of the image.

Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash-4997 - Cropped

A tighter crop removes a lot of the distractions and allows other elements of the photo to draw the eye towards the main subject.

I think having the flash on the camera makes it more challenging to get the balance right when you want to take shots further away from your subject. For the longer shots I would be tempted to position remote flashes so that they were out of shot but a suitable distance from the subject so that they were illuminated to just the right amount.

In 2016 I did a photography evening class at my local college. One of the sessions, which I unfortuantely missed, was about working in a studio and showing how to use flash and other means of lighting your subject.

Towards the end of the course we got the opportunity to do some work in the studio with someone who wanted photographs for her dance portfolio. The image I eventually selected is below. The biggest challenge I found with trying to work as part of a group was not having control over the lighting and flash, however, when you do have that cotnrol you can get some really good results.