Westcott Lighting: FJ400 Indoor portrait session


The Light Journey 🔦

The first time I used a flash was at this event in 2019. I was working with another photographer at the time and he brought me to a Quinceanera in the area and with a couple of meetings I had with the lead photographer we talked about flash. It’s purpose, how to bounce, which type to get, and making changes on the fly, and after some practice I learned how to capture beautiful images without using that crappy florescent lighting(aka ambient light).

So fast forward a little bit, I’m still using the same flash from 2019 and its still killing the game but… It became apparent that it might not be powerful enough to produce those dramatic outdoor portraits to fill in shadows and maintain the background. (preventing a blown out sky or a really under exposed subject) So after researching for a month or so I ran into something called a strobe, basically a really big flash😅 The way I see it, the speed light flash (attachment on top of your camera) is used for close quarters spaces to help the less than usable light in the area. While the strobe can be used in a wider variety of situations but more specifically outdoor where a speed light might struggle to fill in the subject. The topic of concern from all these additional light sources is be able to manage the ambient light that is produced by our fireball in the sky or made by available near by source. That light shows what you’ll want to see in your background before you bring in a bright light to fill in your subject. And after all the researching and YouTube videos, I ended up going with the FJ400 from Westcott and after just testing this at home I’m so excited to use this in the field.

To test this, I positioned the light right behind my camera with the Rapid Box attached to soften the light as it hits me in the face hahaha.

Peep some of my images in the background there 👀

As you can see a very evenly lit image was produced, after some setting modifications of course. The key thing that I learned during my testing was that matching the available light. Changing the power of the strobe to match the lighting in my composition. During this little session I did have a glass door on the right side of the image providing light to the right side of my face, but with the FJ400 light in front of me it makes the light pretty even. But what happens if you move it to a different side?

That Now I am blocking some if not all of the ambient light coming in from the door(right side of the image), which is casting a bit of a shadow to the left side of the photo. To fix that bringing the light closer to the camera but not directly behind will help brighten the left side of my face.

If you switch it to the other side you can see a the same thing but with a little less of a shadow with the light coming in from the glass door. The real test will be next weekend 🤣, and that will determine how well I can adjust and fill light outdoors with a subject that’s not me. 

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