Using Fill Flash Outside In Early Morning Light – The Details Of How I Shot This In Under 5 Minutes

Fill Flash In Early AM Light

Canon 5D Mark III with 70-200mm f/2.8 using fill flash on TTL in early morning light.

Before I dive in, my wife, Brenda, does our post production editing. She HAS NOT edited this image. I made some minor tweaks and posted it. I'm not saying it's the best shot of a motorcycle ever taken by any means. It's one of a few images that I popped off in about 5 minutes early one morning. Some of the dynamics of what I did may give you some ideas which is the core purpose of this post. FYI, I am a HUGE BMW fan, so the bike brand was also an appeal for me personally.

The best camera to use is the one you have with you. Fortunately, this motorcycle was sitting in my studio parking lot, so I could grab the Canon 5D Mark III, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and the Canon 600EX-RT flash. However, if I had not have been able to grab my pro gear, I still would have likely photographed this with my iPhone.

Always Be looking...
As a photographer, you should always be looking for an opportunity to shoot something you and/or someone else may enjoy. In this case, I pulled in my studio parking lot early one morning and this BMW Motorcycle was parked with no other cars around it. An empty parking lot made for a better shot of the bike.

Angle And Light...
The motorcycle was parked on an incline which helped give the bike a different perspective and with it being early morning (around 6:30 a.m.), the light was very soft because the sun was not shining bright on the bike. It was like having a giant softbox in the sky. I chose to use my Canon 600EX-RT flash to provide some fill flash and POP to the image. I was about 25 feet away, so I used the flash straight on set in TTL mode.

F/Stop...
I choose to shoot at f/5.6 with an f/2.8 lens, but I could have even shot it wide open at f/2.8. The important thing is that I got a shallow depth of field in order so I would not take away from the main subject ..."The BIKE." One of the key reasons to use shallow depth of field is to bring more attention to the subject of your image.

As I said in the beginning of this post, this is not the best image ever taken of a motorcycle. The post is simply meant to encourage you to always be looking for the shot and think about how you want to pull things together when you only have 5 minutes to do it. Minutes after I shot this, I looked back out and the bike was gone. Seize the opportunity!!!

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David Williams

About The Author: David Williams is a professional still photographer and videographer focusing on corporate and commercial work. His love for still photography began in 1982 while still in High School. David started making money at photography in 1982. David and his wife Brenda started working together in photography in 1988 when they met and were married in 1989. Brenda is the photo editor for the business. David and Brenda have two daughters in their 20's. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed: our goal is to respond as promptly as possible. You may also call David direct at 919.723.8453. You may share this content using the larger social icons above this bio section. You may find David on various social platforms by clicking the smaller icons to the left of this paragraph under David's headshot. Check out David Williams on Google Plus. Finally, you may also want to visit our home page as well.