Flash photography is perhaps one of the main obstacles that any photographer encounters. Many people refuse to work with flash for fear of ending up with images feel flat, overexposed or too artificial. And it is true that working with flash is a challenge, since it requires knowing very well how the light works and how to control it and, above all, how the devices we use work. But if we manage to master the light, we can considerably improve our portraits.
When we light a photograph, especially working with flash, one of the most common mistakes made is to focus the lighting in a single source. A cobra flash tends to be used as a main light with a completely frontal direction and that is what creates flat or too contrasted images. To solve this issue, one of the most widespread theories in photography, and even video, is to work with three different points of light: main, fill (or secondary) and backlight. This does not mean that we need to work with at least three different sources, but that our subject has to get the light from three different directions to get an interesting image with volume, using flashes, natural light or reflectors.
Another important aspect when working with flash is that you have to shape the light to achieve the desired results. The flash burst is very hard and is not always distributed on the subject as we wish; especially when we work with a rectangular cobra flash that does not distribute the light evenly like a studio flash. The first and easiest solution is to use reflectors to bounce or direct the beam better. For this purpose there are reflector hoods, umbrellas and reflectors (collapsible, framed or a polly board). Another very common resource is to reduce the light’s intensity, either directly decreasing the power of the device, moving the light source away from the subject or using a softbox or diffusion frames.
In conclusion, flash photography only needs us to pay enough attention, to how we shape it as well as the equipment we use. Recently, Profoto has released the Profoto A1, for rent in Aclam for both Canon and Nikon, with the slogan of being the smallest studio flash in the world, and is perhaps the most obvious step for the inexperienced to enter the world of flashlight. The Profoto A1 offers an easy-to-use design but with many possibilities to learn from until you are an expert in light shaping. It can be used either mounted directly to camera (Canon or Nikon); using it alone or as a trigger for other Profoto flashes; or externally with a Profoto Air Remote trigger, keeping the TTL and High Speed Sync features regardless of the model (provided the Air Remote allows it with the camera used). In addition, its oval design, which distributes light more naturally and much more efficiently, and the included light-shaping accessories, makes it an ideal option to improve your talent to control light and grow as a photographer.