Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Zen Photography and The Multiple Flash Approach

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by using even one remote flash.  It can be a little stressful, especially if you are trying to rush and get the shot.  But to use multiple flashes?  Surely chaos will ensue and the shot won't come out right due to lack of time!!!

So here's my new approach/attitude:  Take more time setting up each shot.  It's pretty easy to feel over rushed and not spend as much time as you should, securing an incredible image. Take time and build up your shots with flashes, rendering a unique dynamic a look.  This is yet another trick that will put your work WAYYY above the competitions.  The world is your studio!


I discovered this while shooting at the CrankWorx Mountain Bike Event for Winter Park Resort.  The first day, I was feeling stressed by the amount of images that was expected of me, and the number of angles the resort was hoping to obtain.  So I rushed a bit and got some good shots, but felt incredibly stressed all day.  Stress will actually slow down your shoot, and give you less quality shots.  This is probably the most important lesson I've learned in a while.

The next day I changed the approach.  I developed a plan and stuck with it.  I started at the top of the course with all my gear, and relaxed.  Gradually building up several flash setups on each feature as I worked my way down the course.  No stress, no worries.  And the results?  Significantly better images than I had taken the day before, along with more energy to shoot all day.


Take some time, gather your thoughts, and craft your vision to perfection.  Logically it seems like it would take longer if you analyze each shot more.  This is not quite true.  Mentally, because you are relaxed, you will set up the shot better, and will be able to capture it in faster time.  More mistakes happen with stress and when your rushing, including simple errors that can ruin the shot (focus).  Relaxation will change your shooting life.  I think I'll call this method Zen Photography, and I'm a strong convert to this new attitude.

The multiple flash approach is something that developed from this event work as well.  Shooting the event was a ton of fun.  But at the end of it, I now had a strong desire to create incredible images and spend time making each one an insane portfolio booster.  This is where I'm at now.  I'm going to shoot the stuff I love (Biking, Skateboarding, Skiing) but turn it up several notches.  No rush for me, no single flash action (unless that looks best, or no flash looks best for that matter).  I want to bring 2-3 flashes into each shot and craft it into dynamic and beautiful lighting.

The method?  Build up your images one flash at a time.  If your shooting action, try and have the athletes make test runs for you (Doesn't work well with skiing because the snow get's wrecked) or have them stand where the action will take place as you build the image up.  If you add all flashes at once, the image may (not likely) work great, but it will be tough to tell what flash needs adjustments, and how much it needs.


Take the Zen Photography approach added to your multiple flash approach, and you will create the best images you've ever made.  On your next shoot, pack as many flashes as you can (you don't have to use them all) and take a deep breath while you enjoy shooting.  Enjoyment is reflected in the imagery.  If your not enjoying what your doing as a photographer, then why would you want to be a photographer?

Please post any comments that you have below, and let me know about your experiences with Zen Photography.  Take a hint from the Buddhist Monks and let peace and relaxation (not chaos and lack of control) rule your imaging life.

That's the BUZZ for Today!  Please Check back soon for more!


koen kallenberg said...

i can only say it works good if you enjoy what you're doing and don't mind about anything else.
i think this is one of the best shots i have ever made.

because i took the time (i was laying in the grass after a photowalk with my camera within reach) expected nothing because i was using a manual focus lens with which i probably wasn't capable of tracking the ladybugs fast enough.

laying in the grass and messing around with your camera sees like zen to me. my photography suffers a lot from it actually. i have a very busy life right now.
if i go out to take photo's i give myself 2 hours max to walk though something.
i come home with pictures, not with photographs and with disappointment.

zen works!

koen kallenberg

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