by William Lulow
Candid photography can be fun. Actually, most people, even many professionals shoot parties, and other gatherings from time to time. With the advent of very sensitive CCDs, some of these shots can be done with available light, but most often, a flash set up must be used to achieve acceptable results. I usually use a radio controlled flash set up consisting of two or three lights, triggered by a radio unit mounted on my camera. Since on-camera flash units will not cover great distances, extra lights must be used to light objects or people in the background. Radio controlled flash units have been around for quite a long time, but now they have become more sophisticated, allowing for through-the-lens metering and exposure determination. Automation has come to the world of candid photography. I still like to shoot manually, but it has become easier and easier these days.
Here is an example of how a second light was used to light people in the background. Without it, the on-camera flash would have only lit the people at the table. The background would have been completely black. It gives more of a sense of the larger party. Also, I have been finding that a bare bulb flash or a bare bulb with a 360-degree diffuser actually produces a softer light.