Faced with another birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, a place my daughter loves but low ISOs do not, I decided to get creative. I shot a collection of photos with a set of three Yongnuo YN-560 and YN-560 II flashes with a diffuser cap/”omni bounce” inside of small lampshades placed along the table.
I wanted to go for a look like dinner around a table with candles/lamps sort of low key, pleasant ambiance kind of thing. I also wanted to shoot at lower ISOs to get some real nice images of my kid as keepsakes.
I don’t know if something like this would be viable/useful outside of a family event where I don’t care that I can see the bottoms of the lamps are actually flash bodies, but, I had thought that perhaps I could push the idea further in the future and hide the flashes in something that actually looks like a lamp. This was a prototype test run where at least I cared to get some decent shots.
Anyway, the flashes were all set at 1/64th power, zoomed out to 24mm, diffuser down, gelled 1/4 CTO, with Meike omnibounce-alike cap inside simple small white lampshades that I bought at Wal-mart for $3.50 each. The bounce caps (for bare-bulb-like effect) cost $5 each so the modifier cost was very low per flash.
Camera was a Nikon D800 + Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 set to 100 ISO most of the time, occasionally up to 200 ISO, 1/60-1/100s shutter, f/1.4-2 all varied depending on my whim. Just one image from this album is not lit with the lights, it’ll probably be obvious which one.
Keep in mind that this was merely my own kid’s birthday party and not some event I shot for pay. I figured it might be interesting to the strobists anyway due to the unusual approach I took to dealing with a low/mixed light setting where the ceilings were too high and unpredictably colored to bounce (and I don’t really like the eye-shadow effect of bounced flash anyway.)
About the author: Zachery Jensen is a photography enthusiast and software engineer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit his website here, his Facebook page here, and his Flickr here. This article originally appeared here.