It is possible to make a high key portrait using a speedlight as in today’s portrait of my former muse—Tia Stoneman. (I’m still looking for a muse. If you know any who’s interested, please have them contact me though CONTACT directly above.)
One of my favorite tools for SLRs or mirrorless cameras is the Exposure compensation control. This control (sometimes you have to push two button or turn a control wheel or dial) let’s you increase or decrease the camera’s selected exposure settings in half or one-third stops to fine tune an image’s exposure. When I make an exposure and look at the image and its histogram I’ll often make another exposure using the camera’s Exposure Compensation controls to produce the best possible exposure for that particular subject and its lighting conditions.
Flash compensation is the flash version of exposure compensation that lets you adjust the output of the built-in flash or a speedlight an auxiliary shoe-mounted to increase or decrease it’s output to produce a look you want in the final photograph.
Caption: Shooting with a Pentax K100D, I used the camera’s flash compensation mode to increase the flash amount from a Pentax AF540FGZ speedlight to give this portrait of Tia a high-key look before converting to monochrome with Silver Efex Pro.
Joe is the author of “Studio Lighting Anywhere,” which available from your friendly neighborhood camera store or Amazon.