A photo taken under these circumstances would have been difficult were it not for my (relatively) new dVOLV200 flash. I've mentioned it in other posts but hadn't used it in the field. This shot was the second of two shots, take outdoors, where the flash served either as a key light (Photo #1) or a fill light (Photo #3).
Let's Talk Technique: I had lots of time to prepare for Photo #1, so I resorted to mounting the flash on a 12-foot light stand. Tall stands are essential for shooting large-ish groups because you need to put some distance between you and your subjects, and you need the altitude to minimize eyeglass glare and forehead shine. If I were forced to establish a rule of thumb, the height of your light stand, relative to your subjects, should be between one-half to two-thirds the distance between you and subject, assuming that your shoot at, or near, the base of the light stand.
To fix this, I had my subject hold his coat shut with one hand. If I had him do what I've always called a "French Parade Rest" (the hands are crossed in the front instead of the back), the illusion would have been complete. I chose the open coat version (Photo #1) because it was the only shot where everyone had their eyes open.
The improvement was dramatic, although I will remember to have my subject cross his hands next time.
Final Notes: Right now, I'm pretty happy with the performance of the flash. There are some important points I'd like to add, lest this post turn into a dVOLV love-fest.
- Always Carry Backup Lighting: In the case of Photo #1, I had two additional speedlights that I could have used in tandem to create a similar image.
- Always Bring A Change Of Batteries: I didn't bring a backup battery for the eVOLV, putting my faith in there being enough juice for a dozen shots. But every time I made a test shot, I wondered it I was getting close and closer to the point of kaput. And while I had backup flashes, it would have taken longer to deploy my backup system than to swap batteries.