Making Something Out Of Nothing: The Boardroom Shot

There is nothing more challenging that trying to make an interesting photograph in a boardroom….
On this particular day, I had to photograph William Stanley of Atlantic Hydrogen at the office as he was coming through town. Normally we would have gotten him with some of the company’s technology, but all that is in Fredericton and it wasn’t possible.
So, I get to shoot him in our board room. Great.

So at the very least I pull out the flash umbrella kit, and do a nice simple portrait.


Since he had a few minutes, I decided to see what else I could come up with, so I threw a flash on a chair behind him and pointed it at the wall and voila!


Hey, that’s a funky background that works! The glow behind him sort of ties in to the idea of power, and the arms of the chair provided those interesting shadow lines. So now I need to add some light to his face to bring him out. So I throw a snoot on my main flash, and do a test.


Okay, so I need to bring the flash in closer! But wait, where did my background light go?
Oh yeah, I’m trying to do this using the Canon wireless system, which needs line of sight between the flashes so they will fire! I try lots of different options,

including bouncing the flash(above) but even that doesn’t work! Of course the only way it will fire is if I point the flash directly him, which ruins the entire effect!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!

So what do I do?

Run to my desk and pull out my trusting NIKON SB-800 to save the day! (sorry, too lazy to do a funny illustration with a cape…)

It’s built in OPTICAL SLAVE will pick up ANY FLASH firing, so the Canon flash gets the heave-ho(not really, it’s the Telegraph’s of course…) and I set my Nikon SB-800 to SU4 mode and it works perfect!


The moral of the story? Buy a Nikon SB-800 as an secondary flash and life will be good! Unfortunately Nikon has discontinued the SB-800 and replaced it with the just as good, but more expensive SB-900.


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Noel Chenier
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Photographer and teacher
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