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allan wells
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 10:28
ok so indoors the best thing you can do is bounce your flash off the ceiling/walls correct? these things like the lumiquest promax 80/20, mini softboxes, lightspheres and omnibounces should theoretically be no match for bouncing your flash off something as big as a ceiling and are therefore a waste of money for this type of scenario correct? i just want to be sure :) also i get my best results the further i am from my subject so i will always stand back and zoom in rather than get in close and shoot wide because that tends to create harsher/contrasty shadows on their faces if i get too close. would an index card and elastic be the best solution for this? i'm assuming it would give me far more flexibility to control how much light i'm throwing forward vs something like the 80/20?

so what about when there's no ceiling to bounce off, or you're outdoors and and using flash for fill or as a main light and underexposing ambient, whats the best thing you can do to soften your light with on camera flash? i have umbrellas and stands and remotes for when i want to get serious but a lot of time i only have my camera and speedlite and i'd like to get the best results possible in these situations. so whats the best accessory in these types of scenarios?

and finally to get better results than a shoot through white 32" umbrella, whats the minimum softbox size i would need and would it eat up as much light as the umbrella?

thanks!

SolidxSnake
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 10:53
Softboxes will make your light source bigger, so thus you will soften your light. The rest (ProMax, Omnibounce, Lightspheres) all rely on bouncing. They send 20% of the light forward for fill, and the rest is sent upward. If there's nothing to bounce off of then you'll only be getting 20% of the light (theoretically).

http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/

That works well :)

PhotosGuy
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 10:58
would an index card and elastic be the best solution for this? We used that a lot, but it's a last resort for when we had no other option. Best solution is a big source near the subject, & quality goes downhill from there.

SkipD
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 11:02
ok so indoors the best thing you can do is bounce your flash off the ceiling/walls correct?This is absolutely NOT correct, in my opinion. One needs to be in control of the direction of the light which you put on your subjects. Overhead lighting (i.e. bouncing all your light off the ceiling) is usually horrible for photos of people.

A mix of light bounced off a large surface such as a white ceiling plus some direct light from the flash usually works much better for me than just pointing the flash at the ceiling. I almost always use the LumiQuest Promax System whenever I have my portable flash in operation. Sometimes I use the 80/20 without an insert and sometimes I put the white reflector in it. For close-up work, I will sometimes put the diffuser panel (softbox effect) across the front - usually with the white insert inside.

poloman
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 11:07
Skip is steering you in the right direction.

allan wells
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 11:12
This is absolutely NOT correct, in my opinion. One needs to be in control of the direction of the light which you put on your subjects. Overhead lighting (i.e. bouncing all your light off the ceiling) is usually horrible for photos of people.

really? i generally get pretty good results in standard 8' ceiling rooms so long as i stand far enough back, i also tend to point my flash slightly backward to as much as 45 degrees back if i'm near a wall which usually manages to fill in the shadows under the eyes/nose/etc and give me a nice even spread.. my problem is when i have to stand very close to the subject, thats when i get the unflattering shadows..

A mix of light bounced off a large surface such as a white ceiling plus some direct light from the flash usually works much better for me than just pointing the flash at the ceiling. I almost always use the LumiQuest Promax System whenever I have my portable flash in operation. Sometimes I use the 80/20 without an insert and sometimes I put the white reflector in it. For close-up work, I will sometimes put the diffuser panel (softbox effect) across the front - usually with the white insert inside.

right so my question is instead of using the 80/20 which sends most of your light up the ceiling anyway, wouldn't it be better to use something like an index card and elastic so you can control how much light you want to shoot forward at any given time? just lower the card for less, raise it for more?

allan wells
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 11:16
Softboxes will make your light source bigger, so thus you will soften your light. The rest (ProMax, Omnibounce, Lightspheres) all rely on bouncing. They send 20% of the light forward for fill, and the rest is sent upward. If there's nothing to bounce off of then you'll only be getting 20% of the light (theoretically).

http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/

That works well :)

that looks cool. thanks. so if i'm outdoors or in a room so big i can't bounce my flash anywhere to soften the light, the best thing to do would be to use one of those westcott or lumiquest mini softboxes?

Wilt
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 11:55
Here's an example of using a small softbox (Wescott Micro Apollo) at a close distance

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=3352828&postcount=10

and at a longer distance
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=3353447&postcount=19

The Micro Apollo is only about 5"x7", as it is sized for on-camera mounting without interference with lens FOV. Larger softboxes can be used, but requires more vertical offset. For example I can use my Chimera Extra Small (12x16) on my Metz handlebar TTL flash unit with my Bronica medium format SLR (or Canon dSLR, if I am not wanting eTTL functionality, due to the lack of that in the handlebar flash)

allan wells
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 12:02
thanks for the pics but rulers and such don't really do much for me, if you have the chance and still own these (and any of the other diffuser/bounce accessories), it would be interesting to see a real life comparison on a human being.

Wilt
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 12:23
thanks for the pics but rulers and such don't really do much for me, if you have the chance and still own these (and any of the other diffuser/bounce accessories), it would be interesting to see a real life comparison on a human being.


Allen, look past the subject...look at the quality of light, the softness of the shadow edges and the transition from shadow area to the usual fill illumination...those are the same shadows that are cast onto people's bodies by bouquets or award plaques held in front of them, and which also are cast on walls and other backgrounds by the subjects' bodies.

SkipD
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 12:24
really? i generally get pretty good results in standard 8' ceiling rooms so long as i stand far enough back, i also tend to point my flash slightly backward to as much as 45 degrees back if i'm near a wall which usually manages to fill in the shadows under the eyes/nose/etc and give me a nice even spread.. my problem is when i have to stand very close to the subject, thats when i get the unflattering shadows..When working close to people subjects is when something like the LumiQuest 80/20 without any inserts is one of the best choices, in my opinion.

right so my question is instead of using the 80/20 which sends most of your light up the ceiling anyway, wouldn't it be better to use something like an index card and elastic so you can control how much light you want to shoot forward at any given time? just lower the card for less, raise it for more?If all you have is the 80/20, I would agree. I strongly suggest that photographers use the LumiQuest Promax System which gives you additional pieces that you can configure as necessary. There are inserts that fit into the 80/20 that close off the holes and let you direct more light forward. It only takes a moment to make configuration changes to the Promax System package as your situation changes.

allan wells
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 12:41
When working close to people subjects is when something like the LumiQuest 80/20 without any inserts is one of the best choices, in my opinion.

If all you have is the 80/20, I would agree. I strongly suggest that photographers use the LumiQuest Promax System which gives you additional pieces that you can configure as necessary. There are inserts that fit into the 80/20 that close off the holes and let you direct more light forward. It only takes a moment to make configuration changes to the Promax System package as your situation changes.

yeah i don't need the additional reflector colours and 95% of the time all i would need is something to throw light forward so i think i'll go with the index card and elastic since it costs nothing, is more controllable and can be used when shooting vertically.. and then pick up a pocket bouncer for half the price of the promax for those times i don't have anything to bounce off.. anyone know if the softboxes or any other product work better than the promax w/ insert or pocket bouncer?

edit: how about this, at 12x18 its an awful lot bigger than the promax/pocketbouncer, larger version of the one in the link posted by solidsnake
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1025&message=21628541

allan wells
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 12:42
Allen, look past the subject...look at the quality of light, the softness of the shadow edges and the transition from shadow area to the usual fill illumination...those are the same shadows that are cast onto people's bodies by bouquets or award plaques held in front of them, and which also are cast on walls and other backgrounds by the subjects' bodies.

yeah i know, its just easier for me to see real life examples :)

JDubya
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 21:13
my favorite bounce-card: A Better Bounce Card feather-light

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/SpeakerPhreaker/bouncecard.jpg

SolidxSnake
26th of April 2008 (Sat), 21:52
Wish I had a swivel-head flash.. or a zoom head for that matter.

allan wells
27th of April 2008 (Sun), 11:13
my favorite bounce-card: A Better Bounce Card feather-light

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/SpeakerPhreaker/bouncecard.jpg

really? if you're outdoors or somewhere you can't bounch you're losing most of your light straight up, and if you're indoors and somewhere you can bounce you're sending a ton of light forward instead of softening it on the ceiling/walls?

JDubya
27th of April 2008 (Sun), 11:25
really? if you're outdoors or somewhere you can't bounch you're losing most of your light straight up, and if you're indoors and somewhere you can bounce you're sending a ton of light forward instead of softening it on the ceiling/walls?

*indoors that is

I also have a shorter one that I use depending on how much light i want to throw vs. bounce. Because only the angled sides are white it throws light forward in a sort of 'X'--not directly forward, which softens it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaLPwsnW4Hs

Shooting
27th of April 2008 (Sun), 18:58
Nobody mentioned the big Flipit from Joe Demb flash products..I think that is better than the bounce card because it has a hinge and can be adjusted.

tuan209
27th of April 2008 (Sun), 21:45
Nobody mentioned the big Flipit from Joe Demb flash products..I think that is better than the bounce card because it has a hinge and can be adjusted.


The better bounce card or any index card is essentially the same. You can control the amount of light going forward by moving the card higher or lower on your flash. The flipit just looks more professional IMO :).

SFzip
27th of April 2008 (Sun), 22:28
How about tilt and pivot like satellite panels? www.presslite.com (http://www.presslite.com)

a_kraker99
1st of May 2008 (Thu), 14:47
I have a lumiquest big bounce that seems to work pretty good on close ups when there is nothing around to bounce from.

SYS
2nd of May 2008 (Fri), 12:36
I use the following $4 solution:

1) Shooting straight ahead...
267817


2) Bouncing off ceiling...
267818

323
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 01:42
SYS, that looks awsome. where did you buy that foam + velcro from?

martinsmith
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 03:25
Interesting design!

SYS
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 08:49
SYS, that looks awsome. where did you buy that foam + velcro from?

These black and white "fun foams" can be purchased at any art supply stores. I bought mine from Hobby Lobby. The self-adhesive velcro (black and white) can be purchased just about anywhere, but I found it's cheaper to get them at $1 stores.... The velcro band that I used to wrap around the flash with came from my iPod arm band for exercising, which you can get from just about anywhere as well. I'd compare the price between, let's say, a Best Buy or a local pharmacy store's wrist band...

Without the wrist band that I already had with me and tucked away unused, the whole thing came to about $4.

a_kraker99
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 09:08
Every post I see about soft light has a post with Wilt showing his rulers and someone showing their feather light bounce card. :-) Now we just need to start an arguement about the lightsphere and the post will be complete.

airfrogusmc
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 09:15
Heres mine some pure white art board and velcro. Probably less than 5 bucks for a large sheet that will make 6 or so of these. Get all gunked up make a new one.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/Cameras/IMG_3625.jpg

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/IMG_5090.jpg

and I try and filter to match the ambient.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/IMG_5091.jpg

Works great as good if not better than anything else I've tried even the expensive tupperware stuff.

airfrogusmc
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 09:26
Results

Not the greatest photo just a quick almost candid shot (I know lights grow'n outta heads) Ambient was very low so I used strobe as main and ambient as fill one stop lower than strobe. Tungsten gel on Metz 58 tungsten ambient. Allot of times if the light is better than in this room I use the strobe as fill at least one stop down from ambient so the eyes and shadows don't get to dark. I actually prefer no flash but you can't always get away with that.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/IMG_70672.jpg

Shooting
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 10:57
When I can bounce it is either the better bounce card or the demb flipit..when I can't bounce it is the lumiquest pocket bouncer, both ways I do a +1FEC for the loss of light due to bouncing..when I can I'll do a * pre-flash so no FEC has to be done.

Wilt
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 11:19
yeah i know, its just easier for me to see real life examples :)

OK, I deliberately put the camera into Portrait orientation, but did not use a flash bracket so that a side shadow would result. Note the shadow edges, as well as the 'opacity' of the shadows...(BTW, for those who wonder, these are not pictures of rulers)

Example of native flash lens at 10' from subject:
http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/IMG_0400.jpg

Example of use of 5"x7" mini softbox (or a product like a large bounce card attached to flash when no ceiling present) at 10' from subject:
http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/IMG_0402.jpg

Example of native flash lens at 20' from subject:
http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/IMG_0404.jpg

Example of use of 5"x7" mini softbox (or a product like a large bounce card attached to flash when no ceiling present) at 20' from subject:
http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/IMG_0403.jpg

323
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 12:11
These black and white "fun foams" can be purchased at any art supply stores. I bought mine from Hobby Lobby. The self-adhesive velcro (black and white) can be purchased just about anywhere, but I found it's cheaper to get them at $1 stores.... The velcro band that I used to wrap around the flash with came from my iPod arm band for exercising, which you can get from just about anywhere as well. I'd compare the price between, let's say, a Best Buy or a local pharmacy store's wrist band...

Without the wrist band that I already had with me and tucked away unused, the whole thing came to about $4.


kool thanks :)

Double Negative
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 17:02
For sheer portability and number of modifications possible on a flash, I can't say enough good things about the LumiQuest ProMax System... You can bounce with the 80/20 option, add a white, silver or gold reflector and finally put a diffuser over the whole thing for a softbox effect. Works with or without a ceiling nearby. Best part is, it folds completely flat for storage in your bag and weighs nothing.

poloman
14th of May 2008 (Wed), 23:42
That is what I use and am very pleased with it. Here is a sample with the diffuser for the softbox effect. Technically, I am really happy with it.

sml
15th of May 2008 (Thu), 00:20
Nice shot, Poloman! Captures a mood and personality!

poloman
15th of May 2008 (Thu), 01:36
Thank you Steve. :) She is one happy kid. I am happy about that but most happy about the exposure of a backlit subject in a dark room!

sml
15th of May 2008 (Thu), 10:13
You should be happy...it actually looks bright and airy!

martinsmith
19th of May 2008 (Mon), 14:11
SYS> I just built one of these A4 sized and it's pretty impressive. To attach it to the flash I made a velcro strap and used a couple of rubber bands around the flash so that it could grip so that I didn't have to use velcro around the flash.

Took a couple of test shots of the wife and with +1FEC dialled into my 580 it worked well.

SYS
19th of May 2008 (Mon), 14:14
SYS> I just built one of these A4 sized and it's pretty impressive. To attach it to the flash I made a velcro strap and used a couple of rubber bands around the flash so that it could grip so that I didn't have to use velcro around the flash.

Took a couple of test shots of the wife and with +1FEC dialled into my 580 it worked well.

I'm glad it's working out for you. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I think I've pretty much figured out the light output to distance for good exposures...

dougsmit
4th of June 2008 (Wed), 08:20
http://www.pbase.com/dougsmit/image/83802483.jpg

I've tried several but seem to fall back on my baby apple juice bottles most often. They are recycle code 7 (slightly milky plastic) and fit by rotating a cut end on the flash. I have two versions, one with both ends removed that does better with light ceilings and one with one end intact that does better when the ceiling is no good for bounce. Around here, some brands of ketchup come in similar bottles. When not in use, I put the bottle over the shoe end on the flash as protection in the camera bag.

Certainly the diffusers made of foam work well too but I find them harder to transport without bending out of shape.

PhotosGuy
4th of June 2008 (Wed), 20:27
That's a lot like the old bare bulbs. Good idea, Doug!

sixsixfour
4th of June 2008 (Wed), 21:01
http://www.pbase.com/dougsmit/image/83802483.jpg




are those Noink heads on a canon body? :eek:

SolidxSnake
4th of June 2008 (Wed), 21:10
are those Noink heads on a canon body? :eek:


Shame Canon doesn't use Nikon's CPS... regardless, we don't need to.. High-ISO anybody? :D :D

Bootlegger0173
4th of June 2008 (Wed), 22:23
I sometimes use the Fong Sphere. I know, I know, but I do like it for some things.

Never tried an apple juice bottle. Nice variation to my alcohol containers.

To keep from having my bounce cards messed up so easilly, I started making them out of Clorox jugs. Really white, waterproof, and really stain resistant. Like them a lot better now.

Double Negative
5th of June 2008 (Thu), 07:14
Never tried an apple juice bottle. Nice variation to my alcohol containers.

How do you attach a whisky bottle to the flash? :D

Bootlegger0173
5th of June 2008 (Thu), 10:16
HA!

That would be a neat trick, wouldn't it?

Probably would result in softer images though, instead of softer light...

Shooting
5th of June 2008 (Thu), 10:55
If you bounce off a colored ceiling or walls then you got the color cast to deal with. Anything you use to modify light will cause a loss of light so anything you use you will have to do a FEC to make up for the light loss...

martinsmith
27th of June 2008 (Fri), 16:07
If you bounce off a colored ceiling or walls then you got the color cast to deal with. Anything you use to modify light will cause a loss of light so anything you use you will have to do a FEC to make up for the light loss...

Unless I'm mistaken, this is the point of E-TTL. It makes the calculations for you so no adjustment of FEC is needed.

Titus213
27th of June 2008 (Fri), 17:13
Unless I'm mistaken, this is the point of E-TTL. It makes the calculations for you so no adjustment of FEC is needed.

Partly right - it makes the calculation for you so that's not the reason for FEC. You do use FEC depending on your subject - white wedding gowns need different light than black tuxedos...

But you are correct about E-TTL calculating it for you.

PhotosGuy
28th of June 2008 (Sat), 10:35
You do use FEC depending on your subject - white wedding gowns need different light than black tuxedos... Yes. Photographers are supposed to think? Meters don't. They go by what the software geeks at Canon programmed them to guestimate what you're pointing the camera at.

daduls
28th of June 2008 (Sat), 12:19
You do use FEC depending on your subject - white wedding gowns need different light than black tuxedos...



So in a perfect world, if shooting the gown/tux combo above you would use your gray card to create a custom white balance based on available light sources and then take your shots?

Titus213
28th of June 2008 (Sat), 13:21
So in a perfect world, if shooting the gown/tux combo above you would use your gray card to create a custom white balance based on available light sources and then take your shots?

No, it's the bride's day. I would expose for the gown and let the groom be dark. But don't confuse white balance with exposure. Color and light.

martinsmith
1st of July 2008 (Tue), 14:10
Partly right - it makes the calculation for you so that's not the reason for FEC. You do use FEC depending on your subject - white wedding gowns need different light than black tuxedos...

But you are correct about E-TTL calculating it for you.
I wasn't talking about adjustments for clothing, backgrounds and so on and I don't know where that came from. I was just pointing out that light modifiers don't need FEC adjustment.

As for weddings, I think it should be law for bride and groom to wear only light grey. lol!

Titus213
1st of July 2008 (Tue), 14:24
I wasn't talking about adjustments for clothing, backgrounds and so on and I don't know where that came from. I was just pointing out that light modifiers don't need FEC adjustment.

As for weddings, I think it should be law for bride and groom to wear only light grey. lol!

Now there is an idea I could get behind. Or at least make it mandatory that the bride and groom and wedding party dress in the same color.....:lol:

Wilt
1st of July 2008 (Tue), 16:02
Now there is an idea I could get behind. Or at least make it mandatory that the bride and groom and wedding party dress in the same color.....:lol:

...18% gray!

poloman
1st of July 2008 (Tue), 17:33
With a white and black square strategically placed!