It is hard sometimes to decide whether I want to use flashfill or natural light. Many times the flashfill makes or breaks the image. For the most part I use it in old buildings where dark shadows are a real problem. Even outside at times where I know without it I lose the character of what I am shooting, Natural light, I love it when I can get it to work for me. If all possible I try to use the light from openings,windows,door cracks. Many time I have tried and failed,but the great thing is when you get it right it is worth the trouble. Now I think flashfill is a great thing,but nothing creates a magic image light Natural light, Here is an image attached where I normally would have used flashfill,but choose not to. Monte Johnson.
Nice image. Isn't that the idea, though, that we make these decisions, and use what tools we have to. Using some light from inside would have made an entirely different, though not neccesarily a better or worse image. I think some of us "old school" folks get to enamored of natural light. It's all light, though don't think I'm criticizing; I still carry, though seldom use, a 50mm f1.4, my little pride and joy. I guess what I'm saying is that I like using fill flash, when there seems to be a need, as it can really make a difference. But, moderation in everything, including moderation.
This image, howsomeever; the flash would have been one of the main lights.
I know what you are saying. I use flashfill a lot and when used at the right exposure for the situation it works very well. Without it many times I would not have the results I do. I just love to use natural light when all possible. You are right using flashfill would not make this image worse,just different. Thanks for the comment. Monte Johnson,
My gut feeling is that fill flash would have distracted attention from the window. If there was something in the texture of the wall, or other objects that might have enhanced the image, fill flash might have worked. But in this case, with just enough natural light to highlight the backs of the pews, the story is told. Sometimes, less really is more.
Did I mention that it's a very nice shot?
I know fill-flash is used a lot, particularly by wedding photographers, but having cut my teeth photographically in Hollywood and often working on motion picture sets, I quickly learned the value of reflectors to fill shadows, and to do it in a way that appears entirely natural. When I was in the field I almost always had at least one collapsible reflector with me and usually more in my car. But unless I wanted to create a deliberate effect outdoors, usually using a flash not as a fill but a key light, I never carried a flash for fill purposes with me.
Different strokes for different folks.
I don't think the photo would have been a keeper without the mood of the ambient window light. I'm assuming that's what drew you to capturing it to begin with. Besides the straight on shot, I would have experimented with different camera angles emphasizing the ambient light hitting the tops of the benches or pews, the window being secondary to the lighting. And I probably would have rested my camera on top of one of the pews to steady it if I didn't have a tripod with me.
From a personal point of view, I never use fill flash to capture mood, only for photographs of people.
I believe reflectors would be the way to go, but how did you use them by yourself. I am always alone. I have thought about them many times but was never sure if they would benifit me. Monte Johnson.
I would have tried different angles,but was at the end of my film. I used a tripod for this shot. I use one for probably about 75 percent of the shots I take. Here is one where I used flashfill. It seemed to work for this one. Monte Johnson.
Do you have a version without fill flash to compare? I would have taken the photo exposing for the highlights which would have made the shadowed area more mysterious, leaving more to the viewer's imagination. In looking through my galleries of photos on my various web sites, I was hard pressed to find any examples of using fill flash except for family events. In all the years I've been shooting I've always opted to try and capture the mood that available light sources provided.
No I do not have any of this one to compare. I wish I had done it both ways. I have thought about the same thing you have said here. The nice thing is it is not far from here so I will take it again. This time without flash. Monte Johnson.
The immediate benefit of a reflector as a fill is that you can SEE what you are going to get. I also worked alone nearly all the time. I nearly always used a tripod, A relatively heavy Gitzo, so sometime just used a bendable aluminum arm clamped on one end to a tripod leg and the other end holding a small circular colapsible reflector. I usually had a C stand and a sandbag also in the trunk of the car to hold a reflector if I needed to work hands-free. I also had a somewhat typical hip-length photographers jacket (lots of pockets) made for me with a metalic silver (lame') lining. I could just take it off, turn it inside out and drape it over a bush or a tree limb or what have you, or just wear it reversed.