What Happens When a Photo Shoot “Goes South”?

Brittney set up an appointment for an outdoor photo shoot for herself and her two-year-old son, Ethan.  I prepared for the photo shoot as I normally would. I planned on using my YN460 speed light off camera. I packed a light weight light stand, the umbrella bracket, and umbrella. I arrived at the park with all of my equipment.  Brittney and Ethan also arrived and in three seconds all of my plans for the photo shoot went out the window.

Did I say that Ethan was two-years-old?  (That’s a rhetorical question).  Ethan, like most small boys (and girls), is a bundle of energy!  He wasn’t out of the car 30 seconds and he was moving around (and that’s putting it mildly).  Don’t get me wrong, Ethan behaved normally.  I just forgot how two-year-olds operate!

All of my well laid plans went running with Ethan!  I quickly said good-bye to my lighting plans and wondered what I would do instead.  I always carry a homemade light diffuser in my camera bag.  I decided to use my YN460 on camera, shooting into the light diffuser.  On camera flash is one of the major “no no’s” of serious photography.  On camera flash tends to be harsh; its shadows are unpleasant; because the light is so close to the lens axis,  it is the cause of red-eye in photos.  By shooting into the diffuser I hoped to have a softer light without the harsh shadows and red-eye.

I like the YN460 because it is cheap inexpensive.  It is reliable.  It is cheap inexpensive.  It is a manual flash.  I can control the light output from full power all the way down to 1/64th power.  Power is set on the back of the flash by pushing buttons to increase or decrease the speed light output.  There is minimal hassle in setting the power with the YN460. 

I’ve used the YN460 consistently in photo shoots and have never had a problem with its reliability.  The only time it “causes problems” is when the batteries wear down and need to be replaced.  You can buy YN460s on Ebay for $35 to $40 per unit (shipping included) – far less than name brand TTL units.  The price includes a base, light diffuser/dome, and built-in optical slave for S1 or S2 slave

back of YN460

My homemade light diffuser cost me about 25 cents.  I bought some white craft foam at Walmart and used two pieces of velcro (white) to make a “hood” to reflect the light forward.  I also used white duck duct tape to reinforce the diffuser.  I attach the diffuser to the speed light with a pony tail scrunchee.  I bought a whole package of them at Walmart for cheap.

Light diffuser on YN460

When the time came for the photo shoot, I took a few test shots to get the right output level.  From there it was a matter of following after Brittney, who followed after Ethan, and get the photos I needed.  I think the results are pretty good.  They are straight from the camera without any post-processing except for cropping.  I am please with the results, as was Brittney.


About Jim The Photographer

I am a photographer from Manchester, Connecticut. My photographic interests are many and varied.
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