A quick self-portrait session with a new speedlight I purchased from Glazers Camera of Seattle, WA. (Nissin MG8000 Extreme)
Speedlights have been used since the 1960’s to provied a strong and direct flash of light onto the subject being shot. Speedlights can illuminate a subject with focused light that is rather direct, while keeping the backgrounds relatively non-illuminated.
As you can see in these photos, the shadows are relatively nonexistent and there are almost no over exposed (hot) areas. I didn’t do a lot of editing on these photos, in fact I shot them using my Fuji Film X-T1 with the xf 16-55mm set to f4. On the X-T1 you can set it to shoot in raw+jpeg; you can also set the jpeg file to be B&W. To diffuse the speedlight’s light evenly I used an old liquid laundry detergent bottle (bottle must be opaque). After rinsing the bottle of all leftover soap and drying it, I cut a hole in the top of the bottle creating an opening large enough to fit my speed light into. From there it was just trial and error until I achieved the results I wanted.
So why use a diffuser in the first place? Speedlights are great tools however they can be strong and overpowering. Even when using the “bounce technique” you may end up with heavy shadows and dark hard lines created by over exposure within the highlights. Using a diffuser to balance the light out is a great way to get even lighting without shadows. Yes…yes…I know they make diffusers, I know you can purchase them on Amazon for very inexpensive, you can even get some really cool ones as well. However, I wanted shoot today, and I didn’t have time to run to the camera store. So I used what I could find and I loved the results.