What if you are in a dark Limo Bus interior, dark night, a camera with one speedlight, no reflectors and want to make a portrait without boring head-on flash. What do you do? Well, if you have been reading Joe McNally’s new book, The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes, you’d think to yourself, Joe would find a way and so should you.
I set my Nikon D70 digital camera and Nikon SB-600 Speedlight to work using the Nikon Creative Lighting System or CLS. CLS allows for using the speedlight off the camera’s hot shoe while the pop-up flash on the camera triggers it wirelessly. I can even control the speedlight’s power output right from the camera. The SB-600 can cover an area as wide as 24mm so, at 18mm, there was some direction to the light as I held it off camera left and about a foot higher than the lens. It took me a few shots to get the light pointed in the direction I wanted to highlight her face and to lower the output to -1.0 EV on the speedlight to get a nice modeling light. Those are windows behind her, and by angling the speedlight, I didn’t get any flash coming back off them. I was about 3 feet from her.