Why “fear of OCF” is not an excuse

it happens more And more again in 2022.

My brand client and I will comb through location options, settle on a final choice that matches their overall brand vibe AND seems workable in terms of light & space.

And then we’d step on the set, and the light was NOTHING like the listing photo.

Sometimes because of the weather. Gloomy clouds + rain all day = lack of light.

Sometimes it’s because of a misleading listing photo. Yes, the photographer DEFINITELY took those real estate photos on a tripod + dragging the shutter.

Whatever the cause, my anthem this year has become “get the light bag out of the car.” And GRACIOUS did that bag save me!

Off-camera flash for brand photographers |  Abi Grace

When I first started my business, I stuck to the title “natural light photographer” like a shield- I can’t be expected to know how to use advanced lighting, I’m a *natural light photographer!*

Have you heard that Kelly Lee quote? “If you argue about your limitations, you have to defend them.”

I can stick to my natural light degree for as long as I want, but the fact is… I let it limit me from learning new skills. I’m afraid of off-camera flash (OCF). I’m afraid to feel like a beginner, not knowing what I’m doing.

But you know what’s worse than feeling like a n00b?

Disappointing client.

I say this because I want you to grow: wWhen you show up on set for a brand shoot, having promised the client a certain outcome, your job is to deliver that result… regardless of any predictions the Universe may present.

That means knowing how to make location work when natural light just isn’t cutting it.

Learning how to use an off-camera flash doesn’t mean you have to trade your bright & airy look for a Glamor Shots vibe. In fact, the more experienced you are with OCF, the more better you can mimic the look of natural light.

Don’t believe me? Check these results:

Off-camera flash for brand photographers |  Abi Grace

ALL of these were shot with the help of OCF.

Repeat after me, all nat’l light photographers:

Flash doesn’t have to feel flash-y.

I can fill a few hours with OCF knowledge (and teach a whole class in the Lighting Elective for me Brand Photography Academy students!), but here are the little things you need to know:

  1. How to use the one light setting. This basic knowledge is just the tip of the iceberg, but it will take you a VERY FAR! Get started here with this easy tutorial from my client Katelyn- it’s the easiest introduction to off-camera flash, and you can slowly start upping the ante just by changing that umbrella to a softbox.
  2. The basic principles of light behavior– mainly, how size from your light, direction your light, and intensity your light affects your frame. Google the terms – read Wikipedia pages and blog posts, watch YouTube videos. You can’t shortcut learning theory.

You don’t need to know everything to get started- you just need to understand base.

You don’t need EVERY light, every softbox on the market- you just need each one to get started.

Because when you understand the fundamental laws that govern how light behaves, it’s not a matter of guessing and checking, praying that you’ll somehow find the exact look you want to achieve.

And the confidence to know you can achieve the look you want, no matter what kind of natural light a location may providemeans you can command a higher price for your work because you can guarantee results.

You’re not depending on your optimistic roster photos or the weather- you can show up and do whatever the circumstances, because you, my friend, control the light, instead of letting it control you.

>> Want to hear more about this? Check out the podcast episode where I go into more detail!

>> Looking for more photography education? Archive party!

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