It's another quarantined week, and my antsy photo-bugging tendencies got the better of me. Yep, I started taking photos of inanimate objects around the house. But to change things up a bit, I tried creating some cool effects using flash.
I can't take credit for devising this method on my own (thanks YouTube), but I'll share my own experience creating these photos. It's actually pretty simple. You need a camera and a flash, preferably one that allows you to shoot in manual mode. Here's my process:
Step 1. Set up your camera. I like to shoot at a wide focal length; I believe these photos were taken at 28mm. You're going to want your aperture to be decently narrow. I'd say start around f5.6 and play around to achieve your own effects. With a narrower aperture, you are ensured consistent, sharp focus. Taking photos in the dark and moving your camera around quickly make getting focus difficult enough. Set yourself up for success by allowing yourself some aperture breathing room. Finally, slow down your shutter speed. I like 1/4 a second or slower for really long, smooth light trails.
Step 2. Set up your flash. If you can, zoom in your flash as much as possible. This will shoot light right where you want it - at a single, isolated subject. Next, set the mode to manual and find the right exposure. This will depend on your unique environment, but I like 1/64 sec for most of my shots. Finally, aim that flash directly at your subject. Of course, you can bounce it if you want. I've found my own best results with light trails to be shot with direct flash.
Step 3. Start moving. After the flash triggers, I like to slightly bounce my camera around. The flash freezes my subject, while my movement afterward creates the moving light effect. Experiment with different movements. I've found sliding the camera horizontally creates nice, dramatic trails.
That's it! You can use this technique for pretty much anything: portraits, weddings, dances, and of course, inanimate objects when trapped inside. I've found best results when shooting in darker environments. The ideal situation to create amazing light trails would be a darkened space with smaller, well-defined light sources, like strobes or candles.
I am by no means an expert on this method and am always learning new techniques. If you've discovered any other cool effects, please reach out and let me know! I'd love to learn something new. Thanks for reading, you're awesome.