Tutorial on Using PocketWizard Hypersync for Shallow Depth of Field in Bright Daylight

This week, Ben Von Wong shows us a set of great conceptual photographs he shot with model Jen Brook that feature a great shallow depth of field and dark, moody atmosphere despite being photographed in bright daylight. Ben was able to do this using PocketWizard hypersync and was kind enough to document the shoot to show us exactly how he did it.

"The environment was important just to set a mood, but not more important than to tell a story which meant that I would want to shoot with a shallow depth of field as well as use a longer lens to help compress the perspective and blur the background out even more.

The lighting that day was cloudy and at the time of the shot we had a very flat even lighting which meant no harsh shadows – Great! But that also meant that the lighting on Jen would be flat and unexciting. The solution? Strobes!

A quick lighting test with my D800E told me that I would be shooting at ISO100, f2.8 and 1/1000th. Classic sync speed for strobes is 1/250th but thanks to Pocketwizard’s Hypersync (using the Flex TT5 for those of you who are curious), I was able to get a 1/1000th with my X1600 with relatively little loss of power.

And just like that, by tossing a strobe directly over Jen, we managed to carve her out just a touch from the background, making all the difference in the image."



As always you can see more images and read significantly more detail in his full breakdown at his blog.

All images, video and quotes used with permission.

Jaron Schneider's picture

Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

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Keep in mind that HyperSync and HSS both reduce the max power of your strobe/speedlight by about 2 stops. It's often better to just use an ND filter to stay within sync speed so you have the full power of your light available (and better recycle times, also).

Agreed. I might not miss those two stops on a cloudy day, but in full sun, I need my strobes going full blast sometimes.

But doesn't an ND reduce those stops anyway? why is an ND better?

This post by Neil van Niekerk explains it thoroughly: http://neilvn.com/tangents/high-speed-flash-sync/


this was not a "tutorial" in the least? its just a BTS video...

There's been a titling issue lately on FS. Just like the post "How to Process Your RAW..." had nothing to do with actual processing, rather adjusting levels for dynamic range.

Pretty sure they're creating a title that will provide the greatest impact in regards to seo. As opposed to creating a title that accurately describes the content of the article. Smart play...

It have been better for seo if they had had the octopussy word in the title.

any reason why you guys used an image that wasn't shot using hypersync in this post?

image two, straight from his site - Shipwreck – Nikon D800E | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 1/5 sec at f8.0, ISO 150 | Flex TT5 |AC3 | AC9 | Lee filter Bellows | 3 stop ND filter

My first thought seeing that blurred water was that it didn't look like 1/1000th sec. Nice pic, but huh?!

Why ever use HSS when you can just us ND filters? Is it just for people that don't like the extra glass on their lens? What am I missing..

If you need to freeze something, Hypersync works perfectly.
Case in point, sports photography and strobes, a lot of us are using it now in order to get a perfectly frozen image using strobes.
In this case he just needed the shallow dof, so yes an ND filter may have worked.

Makes sense, thanks!

art photography = girl with octopus on face

we would have liked more with an octopussy on her face. at least the octopussy if there is no tutorial in the tutorial

So where was the "tutorial" part of this tutorial????

o basina. acest site devine din ce in ce mai mult o basina. a fart. this site is becoming more and more a fart.