Sometimes we all get complacent in our work, and just get kind of stale. When this happens, go out and test some sort of new technique and see what can come from it.

Today’s daily juice is how to use your speedlight to create something really cool for the senior market.

So let’s get started with the shots.

First off, this is the way I would normally shoot a senior in this lighting situation. Obviously, Essie isn’t a senior in high school (even though she looks like it), but you get the idea.

It’s a nice clean shot, but I want to do something different.I shot this at f2.8 at 1/1000 of a second.

The big thing these days seems to be using your speed light outside to bring the background exposure down. Let’s give that a try.

This is the shot of the background exposure I want for my shot. As you can see, Essie is way underexposed. This was shot at f22 at a 250th of a second. That is where the flash comes in. In this shot, I don’t want to mess with high speed sync, so I am going to keep my shutter speed a t 1/250 of a second and use my aperture to control the background.

This was my lighting set up. I used a flash bracket and a small reflector with my Nikon SB900 flash. I also had a commander unit on my D3 for this shot (SU800). I also used my radio popper px system so I would make sure my flashes would fire no matter what.

This is the lighting set up for the shot. Nothing special, just one light and the sun behind her. Now from prior experience, I knew that I was going to need a lot of power for this shot. I set my SB900 on manual and at full power. The flash was fairly close to her ( about 6 ft) and I took my first shot.

Pretty good guess on the exposure. Now let’s try and get a little more interesting pose from Essie. This is no easy feat, as she hates to model for me!

So you can see that the exposure from the background is the same, and we are then just worried about lighting her with the proper amount of light. In manual, you can control the exposure on the subject by either moving the light closer or farther away, or changing the output of the flash. Because it was full sun, I needed full power on the flash.

So now that we got a nice shot, let’s take it into the computer and do something even cooler.

I brought the image into OnOne software Perfect Photo Suite 6

This is one amazing piece of software, and can make the ordinary amazing.

I first hit it with the Just Enough Darkness setting in the Effects area.

Then I used the Urban Sickness setting on another layer.

Then I went into the vintage tab and added a vintage warm layer at 78%. The beauty of On One is that you can control your layer density right in the program, and then it outputs it to a photoshop file.

From here I just wanted to put a finishing touch to it with a frame. I am not a big user of frames, but I think this one really works with this image.

I went into the borders tab and used the dano border to create the final image.

You can really see the difference in this before and after.

You need to push yourself and play. Sometimes it’s in your lighting, other times it’s in post, and sometimes it’s both. Don’t get into the habit of just fixing it in post. As you can see the first image was acceptable, and really didn’t need much. I just wanted to show that you can do some amazing things to create a look for your studio.

I am planning on doing a different type of senior shoot this year, as a sort of add on. So this was a test for that.

Go play!!!