Shooting Drama on Location - part 1 of 1 2 3

by John Baikie Published 01/10/2011


I love a bit of drama, so the story goes. Well, living in Scotland you have to work with the weather, which often means dramatic, moody skies. I love to bring out the emotion and drama in my images by using off-camera flash and underexposing my backgrounds. This has become something which my clients love and always ask for when we discuss the type of images they like. So how do you add mood and emotion to your images?

Contrary to opinion, I don't tend to use any really fancy lighting set-ups when I'm shooting weddings or fashion work. I tend to stick with one light and keep it very simple. At a wedding it's very tricky trying to work with complicated lighting set-ups, so one portable Quantum flash on a light stand is what I use for 90% of my off-camera flash work. The rest of the time it's available light and a basic silver reflector.


My clients love the dramatic off-camera flash images, so almost all of them want this type of shot for their big day. Likewise, when I shoot portraits or fashion, it's what people expect, so you need to know how to get a powerful image, no matter what the weather does.

The most important thing is to choose the right locations and backgrounds for this type of work, as not everything works. I find skies and scenery are the best for off-camera flash work, whereas architecture is brilliant when using available light. So if I'm needing drama I tend to search for open skies.

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1st Published 01/10/2011
last update 07/04/2022 09:09:57

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