On May 21, Profoto and photographer Jared Platt will host a free webinar on senior portraits and how to make the best use of one flash on location. To get you in the mood for the webinar, Jared has written a short article on the subject. Here it is, in his own words:
So you only have one light on location. Most of the time that is all you really need, because in truth, you always have at least two additional lights, courtesy of the solar system and the planet earth. The sun provides a direct, harsh light and the portion of the sky, opposite the sun, provides a beautiful soft light. Your off-camera flash you brought along with you can do a lot to augment your lighting scenario, but how do you best use that flash? Most people use their flash to fill. Whether they are using a softbox, an umbrella, a reflector, or a bare head, the light is generally placed somewhere forward of the subject to fill in, add catch lights, or cross light a subject. But sometimes, that one off camera flash can be more useful in a less traditional location.
Consider the three images above from a senior portrait shoot at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. We had plenty of shade and you can see the harsh light of the sun peeking through the trees, creating a beautiful dappling of highlights in the background. The eastern sky behind the camera is providing the beautiful soft light that illuminates the background and the subject evenly. In a situation like this, one could get away with a natural light portrait (as seen in image 1).
By the way, the final image exposure is at 1/160 sec ISO 320 at f 4.5 on a Canon 5D Mark III.