Sunday, October 01, 2006

Shake and Bake Event Photography

Photography Copyright Stephenie Hollyman 2006
Last week while shooting an event for a major New York City Museum I played around with what I like to call " Shake and Bake " photography. No, I don't sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs over my subjects. I shake the camera as I shoot a long time exposure and let the ambient light " bake" in...while a nano-second pop of the flash produces an occasional surprise or two.

I set the white balance for the flash rather than putting an organge gel over the flash and setting the white balance for tungsten. It makes everything glow warmly and orange in the background. But the subjects in the foreground come out correctly balanced.

But do beware. There is an element of digital voodoo at work here. The ambient back ground blurs and the subjects lit by flash stand out in sharp relief...if you're lucky. So play it safe and take the standard shot before shaking your camera camera around for the next one.

And set your flash to overpower the ambient light by one stop. Otherwise your the orange from the tungsten will " burn" in to the exposure on your subjects' faces and make them look like pumpkins. ( Although occasionally I will warm up a pale subject by lengthening my shutter speed to allow a " glow" to burn in under the flash exposure.)

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