This summer I have had the opportunity (and finally time!) to start working on better understanding of available light photography, light modification using various kinds of scrims, diffusors and reflectors, and the use of multiple radio controlled electronic flashes. I did also upgrade my primary post processing toolchain to Adobe Lightroom 5, and that I must say has been a great improvement. Needless to say, but I have spent many hours shooting new photos, and re-processing older images using LR5 in order to practice and improve my skills using these tools.
Understanding flash photography takes time and is about much more than automatic light control by the camera. The picture below was made using a Leica M-E with Summarit 50mm lens at f8.0 and lit by two Canon speed lights. The subject is my son, Bjarne. Each of the lights were attached to a Westcott Rapidbox softbox, measured individually using a light meter, and triggered remotely by a set of Pocket Wizard radios. The third spot flashlight I intended to give some backlighting to Bjarne's hair did not fire. I would have given some more separation, but with Bjarne's messy hair I guess it was OK after all. For a setup that took less than 10 minutes I guess this is a pretty acceptable result.
So, I now have a basic setup and will add a set off backdrop curtains I can use to get better control of the overall background content of the photos. Some time over the next couple of weeks I will post updates on my progress with the backdrops.
The Pocket Wizard radios are pretty good. Using a Sekonic L-478DR lightmeter I can remotely measure and control each of the flashlights one at the time. It works like a charm. The only challenge I am facing with this setup is that Pocket Wizard currently do not support full integration with Leica cameras. For this reason I cannot go faster than 1/90s X sync speed. When I work indoors this is not a problem. However, outdoor shooting in bright sunlight does. I'll do an experiment with ND filters on the lenses in order to see if that would give me acceptable setup. If not, I'll stick to available light photography outdoors on bright sunny days and use reflectors and diffusors instead.
Regarding post processing. With the enhanced Develop module in LR5 I now try to do as much non-destructive editing natively in the Develop module. In this picture of Bjarne most basic editing post removal (including a lamp in the background!) was done using the Develop module. The final picture was afterwards processed by Portrait Professional 11, Google/NIK Color Efex Pro II, and finally Google/NIK Sharpener Pro III.