Yvette Nelson Flash Fill

Yvette Nelson FlashFill
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Yvette Nelson - "Flash Fill"

One of the things I get asked about a lot is flash fill on location. I know that some of you guys cannot take a lot of gear on location and do not have the money to spend out on lighting that you can all shlep to your shoots, so here is a very easy way to make your flash fill work for you and not spend a ton of cash. You can use a diffuser on the end of your flash or make one of your own if you are into DYI.
If you don’t have a small battery strobe you can find a small hot shoe strobe/flash like the Canon 420 EX E-TTL Speedlight Flash or something that is close to it like a Godox TT600 2.4G Camera Flash Speedlight or YONGNUO YN560 IV Speedlight on e-bay for a very low price in good condition or new. When you use the flash, it will put out a lot of light and it will be very sharp and hard not defused light which is not the sort of light to use as a fill light, you can use hard light as a kicker for side or back lighting but its best not to use it straight at the model or it will look very amateurish.

A lot of wedding photographers use flash fill and they do a fantastic job, part of why is they do it all the time and can work at getting it just right. But they have a secret and that is they defuse the light, it’s the same as us fashion guys that work with our fill flash, we use sometimes use a small soft box or we use a defused cup like the wedding guys. What is a defused cup it’s a plastic cover that will go over the front of the strobe to soften the light. This is something you might like to get or you can make one of your own out of a plastic container. Next time when you go to pick up your Chinese soup it will come in a transparent container and low and behold it’s just the right size to use over the end of your strobe & all you do is to cut a hole in the bottom were you insert the head of the strobe so that it’s flashing in the container and the light pops out the front, the cool thing is you keep the lid on to help with the softening of the light. Easy and inexpensive. It’s what we like to call in the UK “Cheap and Cheerful”.

How it works is the flash bounce’s inside the container and come out the front and part of the sides when it fires. This give a nice soft fill light and if you would like it even more softer paint the lid white and the light will become a lot softer… Be sure to use TTL if you don’t want to spend a lot time to get just the right amount for the fill. Note: make sure you don’t have it to bright or it’s not a fill light any more as it will become a main light which is not the result you should be looking for as your trying to bring up the shadow detail and at the same time use the sun as a side or back light.

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