Before the birth of my son, my wife asked me to produce an original decoration for my son’s bedroom.

We wanted canvas prints of Grumly in original places. If you don’t know Grumly, it is a teddy bear that was sold in France in the 900′s. It was promoted with creative ads.

I have posted these photos on my Facebook page, as a small personal project, that is ongoing.

One of these photos is interesting concerning the light technique used. This photo has been taken during a summer afternoon. I have used two flashed to do it. Here is the final photo :

Grumly Sunbath

And here is what the photo looks like without the flashes:

Grumly Sunbath without flash

There is several flaws on the photo that is not using flashed: a strong shadow behind Grumly’s head created by the sun, no depth on the teddy bear due to the only light used (the sun) and the under exposed photo. The under exposition is not a error as I wanted to have a dark background on the final photo.

To resolve all these issues, I have used two flashes and a light modifier:

  • a Nikon SB800 flash in a Ezybox from Lastolite (softbox). It is my main light.
  • a Nikon SB900 flash with a grid from Honl Photo (HonlPhoto 1/4 Speed Grid for Portable Flash). This is my fill light.
  • a diffuser is hold between the sun and Grumly by my “assistant of the day” (my wife) to remove any sun hard shadow.

Here is a photo of the setup:

Grumly Sunbath - Behind the scene

I’m using:

  • A remote control to trigger my D2X with a 12-24 Tokina mounted on it (Yes, a D2X is always a great camera and is able to take great photos!)
  • An Ezybox,  number 1, as my main light.
  • My fill light is using a grid, number 2. It is standing at camera left.
  • Another SB900 is used as master flash, number 3, on my D2X. It is only used to trigger the two other flashed (Nikon CLS). If I had used my D700, with the strong sun light, I would have to use the SB900 instead of the on camera flash. The on camera flash would not have been strong enough to trigger the remote flashes.

In the final photo, the Ezybox stayed in front of Grumly’s face (on the above setup shot, the softbox is behind Grumly’s face). This position controls the shade of the light created by the softbox. Thus, I do not have a strong light on the chair. Furthermore, this position is adding a softbox reflection in the sunglasses. That adds a lot of dynamism to this photo.

So, use remote flashes on your daylight photos! It will helps you to control your shadows and to create a lot of depth to your photos!

Have you ever used a remote flash during the day?

PS : Yes, I have an old MS Office t-shirt what I had during my old life… I certainly grabbed it in an IT conference somewhere… sometime…

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