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Using Flambient Light (Flash + Ambient) to overcome problems and completely change the look and feel


Hi, I am Rachit Singhal, photographer based in New Delhi, India. In this post, I am going to talk about my workflow for this image which I shot long time ago for a 3 Star Hotel, Lotus Paradise.

So, Let me begin with a single ambient exposure.

Here, we notice a few problems:

Since the image was shot in the middle of the day, there was sunlight coming in through the curtains at the back.

All the lights were Tungsten balanced, except for the one on the left, which was Dayliht balanced, creating problems for correcting the white balance.

The room in general lacks good lighting and there is visible color cast on the walls and the colors in general are not accurate at all.

I should probably mention that I was shooting on a Canon 600D with a Canon 10-18mm Lens to capture this image and all the lighting was done by 1 off camera speedlite.

To begin with I bracketed 7 exposures to capture the entire range of ambient light ranging from +3 EV all the way down to -3 EV.

Now reviewing these images, I don't think that the hard light from the ceiling is doing justice to this image. I want to create a warm, soft light to create an atmosphere which invites the viewer into the room.

So, in order to resolve the above problems, I start lighting this room with a wireless speedlite. There's no thumb rule to how many exposures needs to be taken. I try and break the image into several parts and light each area individually.

In this particular instance I took a total of 4 flash exposures:

1st to light the bed

2nd to light the front right side

3rd to illuminate the far left corner and the sofa set

4th exposure to light up the far right side of the room.

Notice, that I am using a bare wireless flash bounced off the ceiling to create soft directional light. I am not a fan of on-camera flash or placing a light from the camera's perspective as it flattens out the image and takes away the 3 dimentionality of the room.

With all the flash exposures that were used to light up the room and a couple of ambient frames for the ceiling, I took all the images to photoshop and composite them back together to create one exceptional image. Just to clarify, there was no Pen tool used and clone stamp tool was used only to get rid of some wires on the right side. Everything was layer masked together with big soft brush strokes. Complete Photoshop work took about 15-20 minutes to edit. An ambient image was used for the ceiling which was converted to B&W and then warmed slightly using curves adjustment layer.

Let me know what you think of my workflow in the comments below and feel free to share your inputs.

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