Autumn Colours and Fill Flash

Autumn is one of those times of the year when cameras come out by anyone who is even remotely interested in photography. With the wonderful colours on display, especially when sunlit, there seems to be a great picture opportunity in almost every direction.

My personal preference for autumn photography is the latter part of it, around the last week of October to the first week of November, where the leaves are almost off the trees and there is a great carpet of leaves on the ground.

For these photos we headed to a nearby lough which is surrounded by mature, indigenous woodland, perfect for Autumn photography.

I was joined by a few other photographers who, being principally natural light photographers, were keen to try flash in their photography. That’s not to say we ignored any great natural light picture opportunities during the day when they presented themselves, but we did try to concentrate on fill flash where ever possible. During a brief chat in our studio in the moring with some coffee, we discussed the principals and technicalities of using off-camera flash, especially relating to fill flash. With a mixture of Canon and Nikon users we opted for ttl flash control for the day to allow concentration on mixing ambient (available light) with flash.

I think its fair to say everyone left having overcome any fears of using flash, and with some fantastic photography from the day.

Our model was Maurade, runner up of this years Miss Northern Ireland, with make-up by Catherine Fleming MUA  and hair styling by David Graham Hairdressing. We also brought along a collection of hats by Lady Hat Bag as they had asked me for some hat photography, so we used this opportunity to integrate them into the images.

Thanks to everyone involved in what was a great days photography.

This is a great example of using the available light from camera right and supplementing it with flash to bring up the exposure. A photo containing this level of tonal range just isn't possible using natural light without flash.


Another example of how the use of flash allows detail to remain in the sky. With natural light here the sky would have 'blown out'.


A continuation of the image above, but a change of angle to give a different background completely changes the picture.


A 3rd change of location, all within a few yards of each other, and a different picture again as a result. The idea here was simply to include the steep rising bank of leaves behing Maurade to introduce some autumnal colour into the photo.


A change of outfit for maurade, including another hat, and another good example of fill flash while importantly using the available light to full advantage. The available (strong sunlight) can be seen on Maurade's hat, hair and shoulder on the right side of the image.


Flash allows all the deep autumnal colours to shine. You can't beat backlit beech leaves in autumn!


A move around to the other side of the lough and the complete change in the direction of the natural light didn't matter as it quickly disappears early afternoon at this time of the year. I wanted to create something using one of the many fishing jetties, and again this is available light filled with flash.


I've included a couple of natural light images to finish. It's an uphill battle to persuade hardened natural light photographers that flash can work too, as I could hear shutters clicking away in the background and no flashes were firing 🙂 If you can beat I decided to try a few natural light photos myself .


And a final natural light image again. This was caught on the hoof while another photographer was working using natural light.






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