Adding Dramatic Lighting to Flower Photographs

Today’s Post By Mildred Alpern

Not surprisingly, I get tips from Mirrorless Photo Tips and sometimes they steer me into new paths. Two MPT posts boosted my interest to work on dramatic lighting with a slave flash— off camera flash—and the Olympus E-M5 Mark II (Wireless Speedlights in the Studio and Mirrorless Speedlight Choices).

Earlier I had purchased a Olympus FL-600R speedlight and wanted to trigger the flash remotely using the small flash that came with the camera mounted to the hot shoe. I was interested to see the effect of this lighting technique on mellow yellow and white chrysanthemums.

With the help of a photographer friend and the manual, we went into the camera’s menu and selected the RC (remote control) mode of the flash in the second shooting menu. Then we accessed the RC controls on the LCD screen by using the Live View button (Fn3) on the camera. We chose Bank A, Channel 1, Manual Mode, and 1/8 power setting for the flash.

The light blinked on the front of the off-camera flash and I was ready to go. Hand holding the unit, making sure to have a “line of sight” between it and the camera flash, I tried different angles. The effect suggested light and shadow German Expressionist drama with the sculpted petals seeming to reach out and embrace. Next, I used an off camera shoe cord photographing with the Olympus FL-600R.

Both flower images were shot with the Olympus M. Zuiko 30mm f/3.5 lens at an exposure of 1/50 sec at f/16 and ISO 100.