Guest Post & Images by Clay Blackmore

EDITOR’S NOTE: Clay Blackmore is a master photographer in every sense of the word. He (and his mentor Monte Zucker) taught me most of what I know about light and portraiture. If you are in the Washington D.C. area and have a chance, Clay is teaching a workshop April 26 – 29, 2010 at the Visual Arts Center in Rockville, MD – 301-670-3232, don’t miss him.

I am just settling in from the WPPI convention and I am amazed at a couple of images I made in the Canon booth, with very minimal equipment. I was working on the wireless TTL stage with two 580 speedlights. The fun part was the new modifiers that I found on a recent trip to Italy. These are mini beauty dishes the label on the unit reads VIEWFINDER photography. We simply strapped the unit on the 580 flash and fell in love with the quality of light.

Lets talk about the image. Glamour has never looked so good. Haley (our model,) has never looked so good. I was using the new Mark IV camera and the 70-200 f 4 lens, with the setting on monochromatic. If you have ever studied with me, you know I am a stickler for the loop shadow that falls just below the nose. This shadow should not touch the lip, or you create Rembrandt lighting,. I am not saying Rembrandt was wrong, he just never took a class with Monte. <grins>

Finding an accurate lighting pattern with no modeling light is a tough, however, with instant images in the back of the large LCD finder, I was able to imaginatively create consistent lighting patterns on Haleys face. Once we had the main light worked out we added the hair light. The overall set up images shows me with a third 580 flash on top of the camera. This unit was set up to fire the two lights only, and did not have any effect on the final image.

The new technology allows wireless control for separate channels, A B and C and each can be controlled from the back of the camera, or directly on the back of the flash. This feature, coupled with the super high ISO feature of the new Canon cameras is going to change the entire wedding and portrait photographers ability to work with minimal equipment and still achieve great portraits.