Usually I tend to say, better no shot than a bad one. With lighting sometimes the opposite is true. Better bad light than no light – or even worse: no shot.
In the first days of this year’s Venice Carnival, after I ended the regular shooting of the day, I headed out to a place where I had been told some costumed women would pose. Just wanted to check the location on my way back home.
Since I tend to shoot without (ugly) flashlight mostly, for weight issues I carried my Canon 580 EX II in my bag, but without any further equipment like diffuser or pocket wizards. When I came to San Giorgio Maggiore my mood went quite down. There was this wonderful sunset light and I had a straight on camera flash only. Bouncing from its internal small white card was far too weak. As a last chance I looked out for anybody with white clothing in my despair. It’s winter … dark or colorful were my options.
But as written above, better bad light than nothing, so I decided to take a few shots with pointing the flash straight onto the costumed women (a capital sin).
All these bright reflections in the jewelry are far away from any optimum. But would have leaving without a try been the better choice?
Lots of image improvement could be done in Photoshop later, of course (if one decided it was worth it). But these are the results out of the cam with some smaller Lightroom adjustments, not more than five minutes each.
Shooting technique: Manual settings, exposing for the sky at shutter speed of 1/100. Dialling up to 1/200 to underexpose the background and to push the sunset colors. Flash was simply ETTL minus a little bit (don’t remember how much exactly, probably around -2/3 or -1) to reduce reflections in the mask. And then: fire!