23 Dec 2014

My favorite flashed images from 2014

Speedlighting Blog No Comments

This has been an exceptionally busy year for me and the diversity of work covered has been amazing. I have always kicked against the agency model of uber-specialist portfolios. There are very few photographers can make a living shooting one thing and what’s more when that one thing is removed you no longer have a living. I became a photographer because I wanted a great working life and diversity has been the key to the enjoyment of my work. We even shot coffins this year – empty I hasten to add.

The year kicked off with a portrait of entrepreneur and iron-man Simon Biltcliffe of Webmart. This was taken at his amazing office in Bicester which is actually a modern industrial office unit complete with meditation room, gym, American retro diner and Yorkshire Dales breakout room.

Simon-Biltcliffe-or-Webmart-shot-by-Portrait-Photographer-Angus-ThomasThis image was shot handheld at 1/20th sec, f9, 1250 ISO  in manual using a single Speedlite shot through a white umbrella on 1/8th power . I opened the curtains enough to give a little light to the background and dialed down the flash so that it didn’t “infect” the background. It’s actually one of my all time favorite images.

The secret here is to wind the shutter speed down enough to allow the rich ambient light to dominate but with just enough flash to freeze the subject and separate him from the background with clean  white light.

The next image used on camera flash and was taken at Stoke Park where Katherine Jenkins was performing at a private concert on her birthday.


This was shot in seconds in Av mode at f7.1, 1/125th sec with on-camera flash in ETTL mode. No messing here – 90 seconds to walk on stage weaving through the orchestra, line up and shoot. I got a series of 6 shots but the one the made the  magazine was taken slightly more to the left with the iconic Stoke Park tower showing more.

This next shot was taken using off-camera flash but balancing the strong light coming from the window which provides a nice rim light effect and gets away from the usual hard light effect that distant small flash can produce.


Finally the classic ambient v flash wedding shot – again using a single Canon 580 EX MKII shot through a white umbrella in manual mode.


I never tire of shooting this type of image – sadly the orange sky was way to the left of us but the light was fantastic anyway. The trick here is not to drop the shutter speed too low otherwise you get ghosting on the lit part of the image. This was shot at 1/40th sec, f10 at 640 ISO.

Finally the “funnest” shot of the year has to be Slash and Myles on the roof of the House of Commons as Big Ben struck 10.00pm.


This was on-camera flash on the fly, in the dark using manual focus as there was no light to see who I was shooting – I screwed the flash beam down to its narrowest and used a wide angle lens to get it all in. Bit of a gamble and again the moment lasted all of 90 seconds but the images were used by Warner Music for the recent UK tour print promo and shot for Duff Press.

I am really looking forward to 2015 and look forward to meeting more aspiring flash photographers on the way. If you want to learn how to use flash get in touch for a one to one flash photography lesson – a flash photography course is an investment in your photography skills that will keep delivering dividends, even in your unlit work. Have a happy Christmas speedlighters!

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