Orbis Ring Flash for On Axis Fill
On axis fill with the Orbis™ Ring Flash
One of the most popular flash modifiers at my Off-Camera Flash Workshop has the be the Orbis™Ring Flash. Not only can you use it around the lens, on axis to create the classic ring flash look and as an on axis fill light, you can take it away from the camera and use is a very portable soft light that also fits a wide variety of hot shoe flash & Speedlites.
Here is one example from a recent workshop held at Park Cameras in Burgess Hill, England.
This first example was set up to show hard side lighting from a Canon 550 EX Speedlite snooted with Rosco PhotoFoil. I used the 550 EX as the manual flash power only steps in full stops, a bit like manual the Lumopro LP 160.
Hard light from the side with Rosco PhotoFoil snooted Canon 550 EX Speedlite - hardly flattering!
Adding a fill light or reflector will fill in the shadows to increase detail while locally reducing contrast. As this was a workshop I wanted to illustrate how different power setting on the Speedlite modified with the Orbis™ Ring Flash would affect the shadow detail and overall image quality.
Roughly 2 stops under the exposure for the Orbis™but as this was a workshop the participants needed to see the options.
Around 1 stop under the Orbis™exposure and maybe a bit bright for some. So one bright spark suggested 1 1/2 stops would be about right. Agreed, but the flash only steps in full stops - see, there was a reason for using a flash that steps in full stops, enter the Rosco Strobist Collection #3415 N.15 also known as 1/2 stop ND.
ND filters are neutral grey gel lighting or glass/acrylic camera lens filters that reduce light intensity, but do not soften or shift the colour of the light.
The N.15 gel was held in place by a Gel Clip whose strap also secured the Photofoil in place.
And this is the final result - shadow detail whilst maintaining contrast and modelling. To read mover on this subject David Hobby has written a detailed post introducing on axis fill.
Do remember that you can use other light modifiers as an on axis fill, including beauty dishes and translucent brollies.
In the following example I used a white translucent shoot-through umbrella as my fill source, whilst not strictly on axis, it was just above eye level to the front of the model.
Here's the main or key light which was a Canon Speedlite with a honeycomb grid and Rosco #302 Pale Bastard Amber held in place by a Gel Clip warming up the winter European skin tone. When working with snoots or honeycomb grids your aim needs to be pretty accurate as the shot above shows.
Top front almost on axis fill from a white translucent shoot-through umbrella, without the key light.
The final combined result. Contrast reduced with shadow detail and a warm skin tone.