There are so many things you can do with a speed light, but for this project I focused on balancing the light to get some dramatic backlit portraits.
To make sure the light was in balance I first set up two speed lights on either side of my model. Taking that frontlit shot allowed me to test out my settings to ensure the best light for my portraits. Underexposing is key to getting a great shot using an off camera flash. My professor, Caryn Esplin, has hammered that rule into us every time we talk about flash photography.
Here is my set up:
Once I had those in camera settings ready the real fun began. Adjustments were made so the light light hit more on the side and behind my model to create some dramatic backlit shots. Speed lights are great for catching movement so my last shot here I had my model flip her hair so we could catch some movement.
Here is my set up for the backlit portraits:
You can also achieve this effect using natural light. Here are some examples of both natural and artificial lighting to achieve backlit portraits.