Matching the Light

When it comes to using a flash I feel I still have a lot to learn. There are some pieces of equipment that I’m better with and others I am not. This comes down to my own experience level as well as my own personnel feelings. I’m sure for many of you out there this is true also. It’s part of being a photographer. We have to keep trying different things in order to grow. The only way to truly master light is by challenging yourself. So here’s the question that came up. Is it better to match the light coming out of the flash to the feeling being given off by the light in the background or to change it?

My good friend Alex needed a portrait taken of him in his lab. Well I had never been to his lab so right there I was walking into the unknown. Thankfully not only was the room really well lit but there was lots of reflectors. Now he works in a greenhouse so naturally it is very warm and as you can see by the overhead lights they are very warm in tone as well as temperature. I did two shots, both simple setups with the D5, 24-70 and SB-5000, didn’t need much. The difference was a dome diffuser and here’s where I bring up that question.

Dome Diffusers add more warmth to the light coming out of the flash. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes that’s not. In this scenario it matches the feeling and the light already present in the greenhouse but it doesn’t feel natural to us because we know that people don’t look that way. The bottom image had no diffuser and was just a white light. It feels more normal to how our brains would interpret this but it takes away from the environment. These kind of questions and decisions have to go into your thinking before you go click.