How To Edit (And Create) Interesting Light

Hey there friends! Is your light fading? Yep, mine too. The light is disappearing in the late afternoon taking with it our opportunities to shoot without raising our ISO or adding in a flash. Sometimes playing with a little flash can be fun.


Shea is always my most patient and cooperative subject. He’s photogenic as well! He always jokes that he doesn’t look so good in real life! I wanted to share the results of a little shoot we did. I wanted to play with my off camera flash in a light box and he was willing to play along.


CY365 - How To Edit Interesting light Shea-


I started by positioning him on the couch. That makes it easy for me to have him at eye level or to even be slightly above him. I positioned the flash in a soft box to my right hand side so it would fall over most of his face, but not all. I wanted it close to him for the best light. Once it was positioned I set my camera’s settings with the camera’s flash set to manual. (I don’t recall the flash power, sorry about that!)

Here are the details:

  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens
  • Really old Canon Speedlite 430 (they don’t make it anymore)
  • 200mm
  • ISO 200
  • f/16
  • 1/200th of a second shutter speed

There are MANY ways to convert to black and white. I chose a preset for this photo. Before applying the preset, I did some basic edits to the color image.

Here are the details:

  • Decreases the exposure by .5
  • Decrease the highlights by -.24 (both of these steps could be avoided by adjusting the flash some, but sometimes you just don’t get it perfect in camera!)
  • Cropped slightly
  • Added an Erik Kim BW Preset. You can find Erik’s preset here.
  • Exported to JPEG

I love the shot. It kills me just how much this photos resembles this photo of Ian.


CY365 - How To Edit Interesting light Shea-2


I loved the dark shadow on the side of his face and wanted to see what else I could do with it. Moving the soft box/flash more to his side gave an even more dramatic effect. I love the way the deal in half of his face was almost all lost.


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I brought the photo into Lightroom and simply synched the edit settings from the previous photo to get this result.


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I love the drama. With a quick spot removal in Lightroom I was able to eliminate some of the reflections from his goatee and frame to complete the image.


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I love when i get a photo “right” n camera. But, man, I love a good black and white edit! You can find other methods to convert black and white images here and here and here. Need help with Lightroom? Find my free videos here.   This lighting technique is described in more detail in the INSPIRED ebook. So there you have it. I hope this inspires you to grab your camera and play with light and editing!

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