It was dark, of course, and the choice we have to get sharp, well-exposed pictures is either to use a long exposure on a tripod or a flash.
I experimented with off-camera flash to illuminate some of the wonderful Venetian costumes, and I explained to several people in the group why this type of lighting is so much better than on-camera flash.
Off-Camera Flash Photography BasicsTo do this, I mounted a transmitter on the camera and had one of the members in my group hold the flash off to the side. To get the kind of lighting you see in these images, the flash was held at angles from 45 to 90 degrees to the lens axis. That gave me the dramatic light on the models that shows so much dimension and depth.
I set my camera on Program and the flash on ETTL. This is an automatic exposure mode. To assess the lighting, I would take a picture and then study the exposure and the way the shadows and highlights fell on the mask and costume, and then I adjusted accordingly.
I used the exposure compensation feature on my Canon 580EX flash to vary the exposure until I liked the results. I loaned the transmitter to several of the photo students so they could get the same pictures, and they were all thrilled with the results.
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Article by Jim Zuckerman. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at BetterPhoto.com.