This past Wednesday Pictage brought Denis Reggie to Denver to speak to small group of photographers. I borrowed a car and drove down there not knowing what to expect, but I’d heard people say that listening to him changes lives. Count me in, he changed mine. See, I love to shoot outdoors. Whether sunny at noon or any other combination of time and sunshine, if it’s not raining, I can shoot outside. Nature provides beautiful light, you just have to see it. But take it indoors, and my palms get a bit sweaty. Sure, I can bounce the flash off a ceiling or a white card with decent results… that’s what a lot of wedding photographers do, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Sometimes I’ll bust out a modifier of some kind to diffuse the flash. It gets the job done, but I don’t love it.
Enter Denis Reggie, and his talk about “foofing.” He defined foof as the sound that light makes when it travels, ya know, like in Star Trek. Emphasize the f’s and not so much the ooo, and you start to get the idea. So he foofs the flash across a room and it foofs back and creates light that looks like it’s coming through a window, from outdoors. His photos look like Renaissance paintings… no joke. And yes, I’ve tried bouncing the flash off wall before, but I’ve never gotten anything that looks like Denis Reggie’s photos. But now I’m determined. I mean, if he can foof off an 18″ mustard-colored pillar, why can’t I? I just need to figure out… like now. And so, The Daily Foof… where every day I try to learn a little and get a little closer to taking natural-looking photos with artificial light.
My first one was yesterday, a little bar/club here in Fort Collins. The ceiling is black, and the walls are all muraled.
Foofed off the wall to my right. Flash pointed at 3 o’clock, manual camera settings with E-TTL:
So that’s cool… Filled in some shadow on the right side of faces without completely flattening them out. And notice, that I even got some light under the singer’s baseball cap. Had I bounced off the ceiling, his face would have been in shadow. Not a Renaissance painting yet, but I like foofing nonetheless. White balance is all wacky because the stage lights were all kinds of different colors, but that wasn’t a main concern anyway. I foofed and I’m proud.
Another foofed shot:
This time, foofed off something to the left. There wasn’t much of a wall there. There was a bike hanging from the ceiling, so that bike was shiny enough to reflect back some nice light. It gave my friend, Trish, soft light and some nice shadow on the right side of her face. She looks 3-dimensional, which is approaching Renaissance paintings. Now I’d like more control over where that shadow ends up… and that will only happen with practice. If anyone has tips and advice, I’m happy for it.
Thank you Mr. Reggie for sharing your techniques with us. And thank you Trish for being the crazy dancing queen you are! I’m off to foof some more!