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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Glamour & Nude Talk
Thread started 16 Sep 2013 (Monday) 15:09
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equipment for first model shoot?

 
Naraly
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Sep 16, 2013 15:09 |  #1

I was recently contacted by a model through model mayhem that she wanted to work with me in a TFCD (which is what I put I'm doing on my profile because I'm beginner and I would like to get more experience).

For lenses to use I only have my 50mm 1.8 and 55-250mm 4.0 so I'm wondering what are your opinions on those lenses for shooting models outdoors? She just seems like she has a lot of experience modeling already and a good portfolio and I see so many photographers shooting models with larger and more expensive lenses, that I'm a little intimidated and don't know if I should take the offer yet.

I mean I did create my profile so I could do this, but I'm nervous now that what I have might not be enough.

Also, should I purchase umbrellas and/or reflectors or any other equipment? Or do I really just need to buy another lens?

my budget for the next few months in camera equipment overall is $400 (maybe $500 pushing it)

Don't know what kind of shoot I'd want to do with her yet (no nudes) but either pin-up or "vogue" style.

Thanks for your time,
Nora



Cheers,
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nathancarter
Cream of the Crop
Joined Dec 2010
Sep 16, 2013 15:32 |  #2

If she's experienced and you're a relative beginner, what do you have in your MM portfolio that would have led her to contact you? If she likes the look of the things you've been producing so far with the equipment you already own, then why spend money to change that?

- everything below is my opinion as a moderately experienced portrait shooter -

When shooting people, the things to pay attention to, in order of decreasing importance:
1) Expression, pose, makeup, wardrobe
2) Lighting*
3) Setting and background
4) Post-processing style
5) Camera body and lens
6) All the other stuff

* Lighting is extremely important, but this doesn't mean you have to make the light yourself; you just have to see where natural light is flattering on people, and shape or redirect the natural light to create a pleasing portrait.

The two lenses you've listed are certainly adequate for shooting people. I generally don't like to shoot people with anything shorter than about 50mm, unless I'm intentionally going for interesting perspective distortion. The lens should be reliable enough to nail focus when you need it to, and be reasonably sharp so you don't have to go overboard with sharpening in post-processing. If the lens often misses focus, that's when it becomes a problem. A great portrait can be ruined by missed focus.

If you're set on spending money, you can get a decent entry-level strobist setup for a couple hundred bucks. Two Speedlights, two light stands, two umbrella adapters, two umbrellas, two sandbags, trigger & receivers. After that it's just experience and practice. Practice with a friend, a mannequin, a stuffed animal, until you're comfortable around the new gear. Be confident enough with it that you're not fumbling around with your settings, trying to figure it out, while the model is sitting there holding a pose waiting for you.

It'll be hard to find a "good" lens for under $500. You can get the 50mm f/1.4 (Canon or Sigma) but for this purpose it might not be a significant step up from your 1.8, since you already have that focal length doubly covered, and you're not shooting in challenging light situations where you need wider aperture and fast focus.


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yipDog ­ Studios
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Sep 16, 2013 15:51 |  #3

Good advice above!
I would second the idea that you don't need another lens.
I'd go for a couple of speed lights and reflectors with stands to hold everything.
Even if youre working with natural light outdoors, speed lights can really help bring out the eyes which is the one thing that makes or breaks portraits for me. It will also allow easier control over background to subject lighting balance. I have some really small soft boxes from Vello that soften the speed lights nicely and fold down to the size of a wallet for storage.
Does the 60D have the ability to trigger external units? When I had a 7D it worked great cause I could use both speed lights off camera. Now I have to use a trigger.

The biggest thing to remember is be comfortable and develop a rapport with the model. If they are relaxed and comfy around you it will show in the photos.


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nathancarter
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Sep 16, 2013 16:03 |  #4

yipDog Studios wrote in post #16301579external link
Does the 60D have the ability to trigger external units?

Yes, it'll trigger most recent Canon-branded flashes such as the 430EXII. It's a little bit limited, though: It generally requires line-of-sight from the camera to the flash unit's receiver, and is somewhat unreliable in bright ambient light.


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yipDog ­ Studios
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Sep 16, 2013 16:29 |  #5

nathancarter wrote in post #16301610external link
Yes, it'll trigger most recent Canon-branded flashes such as the 430EXII. It's a little bit limited, though: It generally requires line-of-sight from the camera to the flash unit's receiver, and is somewhat unreliable in bright ambient light.

I didn't have a ton of issues with the 7D doing it that way in bright sun but the distances were short. Only a few feet from the camera. Triggers are much more reliable though. I have the cheap Impact sets and they never miss.


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Naraly
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Sep 16, 2013 23:06 |  #6

nathancarter wrote in post #16301526external link
If she's experienced and you're a relative beginner, what do you have in your MM portfolio that would have led her to contact you? If she likes the look of the things you've been producing so far with the equipment you already own, then why spend money to change that?

- everything below is my opinion as a moderately experienced portrait shooter -

When shooting people, the things to pay attention to, in order of decreasing importance:
1) Expression, pose, makeup, wardrobe
2) Lighting*
3) Setting and background
4) Post-processing style
5) Camera body and lens
6) All the other stuff

* Lighting is extremely important, but this doesn't mean you have to make the light yourself; you just have to see where natural light is flattering on people, and shape or redirect the natural light to create a pleasing portrait.

The two lenses you've listed are certainly adequate for shooting people. I generally don't like to shoot people with anything shorter than about 50mm, unless I'm intentionally going for interesting perspective distortion. The lens should be reliable enough to nail focus when you need it to, and be reasonably sharp so you don't have to go overboard with sharpening in post-processing. If the lens often misses focus, that's when it becomes a problem. A great portrait can be ruined by missed focus.

If you're set on spending money, you can get a decent entry-level strobist setup for a couple hundred bucks. Two Speedlights, two light stands, two umbrella adapters, two umbrellas, two sandbags, trigger & receivers. After that it's just experience and practice. Practice with a friend, a mannequin, a stuffed animal, until you're comfortable around the new gear. Be confident enough with it that you're not fumbling around with your settings, trying to figure it out, while the model is sitting there holding a pose waiting for you.

It'll be hard to find a "good" lens for under $500. You can get the 50mm f/1.4 (Canon or Sigma) but for this purpose it might not be a significant step up from your 1.8, since you already have that focal length doubly covered, and you're not shooting in challenging light situations where you need wider aperture and fast focus.

Well I really don't know what she liked about my portfolio honestly. Compared to a few in my area I see mine isn't that bad, but its certainly not good enough in my opinion but it's the most recent I have improved on so far. I learned my mistakes in those shots, I just haven't had anyone else to practice on to see if I can make them better. Here's my profile:
http://m.modelmayhem.c​om/3147132external link
Maybe a favor to help me practice?

Thanks for the info, it's very helpful. I'll have to make sure to take my time with #1, I think I usually rush that because I'm more focused on getting my camera settings and focus right, I usually miss small details in background.

So would you recommend I use that strobist beginner set up if I want to continue doing outdoor photography?

And when a model requests to work with you, in how much time do you schedule a shoot? Like within one week, or several weeks?

yipDog Studios wrote in post #16301579external link
Good advice above!
I would second the idea that you don't need another lens.
I'd go for a couple of speed lights and reflectors with stands to hold everything.
Even if youre working with natural light outdoors, speed lights can really help bring out the eyes which is the one thing that makes or breaks portraits for me. It will also allow easier control over background to subject lighting balance. I have some really small soft boxes from Vello that soften the speed lights nicely and fold down to the size of a wallet for storage.
Does the 60D have the ability to trigger external units? When I had a 7D it worked great cause I could use both speed lights off camera. Now I have to use a trigger.

The biggest thing to remember is be comfortable and develop a rapport with the model. If they are relaxed and comfy around you it will show in the photos.

Thank you for your advice. I think speed lights might be a must now. Is there any that you recommend? I have 2 flashes but I don't know if they are good enough? I have the yongnuo yn-468, I've only used it on camera, I haven't tried it off camera with a stand. And the other flash is a really cheap one that I forgot the brand of that I've used as slave for off camera.



Cheers,
Nora

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yipDog ­ Studios
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Sep 17, 2013 07:16 |  #7

Naraly wrote in post #16302641external link
Well I really don't know what she liked about my portfolio honestly. Compared to a few in my area I see mine isn't that bad, but its certainly not good enough in my opinion but it's the most recent I have improved on so far. I learned my mistakes in those shots, I just haven't had anyone else to practice on to see if I can make them better. Here's my profile:
http://m.modelmayhem.c​om/3147132external link
Maybe a favor to help me practice?

Thanks for the info, it's very helpful. I'll have to make sure to take my time with #1, I think I usually rush that because I'm more focused on getting my camera settings and focus right, I usually miss small details in background.

So would you recommend I use that strobist beginner set up if I want to continue doing outdoor photography?

And when a model requests to work with you, in how much time do you schedule a shoot? Like within one week, or several weeks?


Thank you for your advice. I think speed lights might be a must now. Is there any that you recommend? I have 2 flashes but I don't know if they are good enough? I have the yongnuo yn-468, I've only used it on camera, I haven't tried it off camera with a stand. And the other flash is a really cheap one that I forgot the brand of that I've used as slave for off camera.

If you have flashes, they will more than likely be fine. Get some cheap triggers and some modifiers for the flashes and you'll be all set for a LOT less than your budget. This is what I use..get an extra receiver so both flashes can be off camera if desired.
http://m.bhphotovideo.​com/mobile/detail?R=68​5034_REG&external link

And here's the softbox I mentioned...
http://m.bhphotovideo.​com ...96_REG&title=Mini+S​oftboxexternal link

Once you have everything and book the shoot, set everything up in your backyard at the same time of day you scheduled the shoot to test out light placement and settings. Write stuff down and come up with several ideas for shooting. When you get to your actual shoot you'll be organized and ready to rock without having to create in the heat of the moment. You will be able to fine tune which is a LOT easier!!


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nathancarter
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Joined Dec 2010
Sep 17, 2013 09:45 |  #8

The YN-468 should be fine if you're going the strobist route. You'll set the power manually instead of relying on ETTL. An alternative is to get ETTL-capable triggers, since the YN-468 is ETTL-capable, but I find ETTL to be too unpredictable when you have time to set up and precisely control your light power. ETTL is very useful when you're doing run-n-gun with on-camera flash, otherwise I generally don't use it.

For cheap triggers, popular options are Cactus V5 or Yongnuo RF-603. I have the Cactus V5 and I like them a lot EXCEPT for the shoe locking wheel on the bottom, it's really more trouble than it should be. I've read that the Yongnuo has a better shoe-lock wheel, but the channel selection is less flexible and less accessible.

For the rest of the gear to get you a beginner strobist setup, look at my post #4 in this thread:
http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​329865

You'll also want some sandbags if you're working outside...don't learn the hard way like I did :)

As for working with the model: It's a tough call. Above all, be honest and don't present yourself as anything you're not. Here's how I would respond, were I in your position:
---
Sure, I'd love to work with you! Did you have anything specific in mind, in terms of the theme of the shoot, or the location? Anything in particular you're looking to add to your portfolio?
Let's plan to shoot some in my usual style using natural lighting; for those you can expect results similar to what you see in my portfolio. I'm also improving my off-camera lighting skills and breaking in some new equipment, so after we have a nice set of natural-light shots, I'd like to do some shots using my new lighting gear.
---


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Naraly
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Sep 18, 2013 01:25 |  #9

yipDog Studios wrote in post #16303244external link
If you have flashes, they will more than likely be fine. Get some cheap triggers and some modifiers for the flashes and you'll be all set for a LOT less than your budget. This is what I use..get an extra receiver so both flashes can be off camera if desired.
http://m.bhphotovideo.​com/mobile/detail?R=68​5034_REG&external link

And here's the softbox I mentioned...
http://m.bhphotovideo.​com ...96_REG&title=Mini+S​oftboxexternal link

Once you have everything and book the shoot, set everything up in your backyard at the same time of day you scheduled the shoot to test out light placement and settings. Write stuff down and come up with several ideas for shooting. When you get to your actual shoot you'll be organized and ready to rock without having to create in the heat of the moment. You will be able to fine tune which is a LOT easier!!

Thank you for the links! Will definitely look into that. And that is really good advice about practicing at the time I'll be shooting prior to the shoot. I think I'll even head over to that location days in advance to have a practice shoot with someone (once I figure out a location). I think I'll seem way more professional if I look like I know what I'm doing, especially since I sometimes get too nervous.

nathancarter wrote in post #16303626external link
The YN-468 should be fine if you're going the strobist route. You'll set the power manually instead of relying on ETTL. An alternative is to get ETTL-capable triggers, since the YN-468 is ETTL-capable, but I find ETTL to be too unpredictable when you have time to set up and precisely control your light power. ETTL is very useful when you're doing run-n-gun with on-camera flash, otherwise I generally don't use it.

For cheap triggers, popular options are Cactus V5 or Yongnuo RF-603. I have the Cactus V5 and I like them a lot EXCEPT for the shoe locking wheel on the bottom, it's really more trouble than it should be. I've read that the Yongnuo has a better shoe-lock wheel, but the channel selection is less flexible and less accessible.

For the rest of the gear to get you a beginner strobist setup, look at my post #4 in this thread:
http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​329865

You'll also want some sandbags if you're working outside...don't learn the hard way like I did :)

As for working with the model: It's a tough call. Above all, be honest and don't present yourself as anything you're not. Here's how I would respond, were I in your position:
---
Sure, I'd love to work with you! Did you have anything specific in mind, in terms of the theme of the shoot, or the location? Anything in particular you're looking to add to your portfolio?
Let's plan to shoot some in my usual style using natural lighting; for those you can expect results similar to what you see in my portfolio. I'm also improving my off-camera lighting skills and breaking in some new equipment, so after we have a nice set of natural-light shots, I'd like to do some shots using my new lighting gear.
---

So, I'm a little confused now are those triggers to use the flash on camera? Do they do the same as these triggers from the link mentioned by another member? http://m.bhphotovideo.​com/mobile/detail?R=68​5034_REG&external link they look very different so I'm just confused as to what the difference is and which one I need, or both? And are the modifiers to use with one of those?

Also, do you (or anyone can chip in here) recommend the shoot through umbrellas or the reflective umbrellas?

By the way that example response was really helpful! I really didn't know how to reply to her in a professional way. Really gave me a head start an I'll be using it as a template for future replies while modifying it!



Cheers,
Nora

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nathancarter
Cream of the Crop
Joined Dec 2010
Sep 18, 2013 10:18 |  #10

Naraly wrote in post #16305771external link
So, I'm a little confused now are those triggers to use the flash on camera? Do they do the same as these triggers from the link mentioned by another member? http://m.bhphotovideo.​com/mobile/detail?R=68​5034_REG&external link they look very different so I'm just confused as to what the difference is and which one I need, or both? And are the modifiers to use with one of those?

Also, do you (or anyone can chip in here) recommend the shoot through umbrellas or the reflective umbrellas?

Seems like all the triggers accomplish approximately the same thing. Having no personal experience with the PowerSync16 triggers, I can't say if they're worth twice the price of the Cactus or Yongnuo triggers. None of those do ETTL, but you can get ETTL-capable triggers such as PixelKings or PocketWizards.

I prefer reflective umbrellas with diffuser, aka brolly box. The shoot-through just give a different style of light: more spill, center hot-spot, rapid fall-off. That works for certain shooting situations but it's generally not my style. Maybe it's because the brolly boxes that I linked in my other post are the ones I cut my teeth on, and developed my style with.

Naraly wrote in post #16305771external link
By the way that example response was really helpful! I really didn't know how to reply to her in a professional way. Really gave me a head start an I'll be using it as a template for future replies while modifying it!

Great, let us know how it works out.

And, don't be too upset if it never comes to fruition; there are lots of "flake" stories about model mayhem. It's easy to broadcast a message to a lot of photographers; it's a lot more work to actually follow through with a shoot. There are a couple of threads around here dedicated solely to getting the most out of MM, and how to detect the red flags that are clues that the shoot won't happen or won't go well.


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Naraly
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Sep 18, 2013 16:36 |  #11

nathancarter wrote in post #16306474external link
Seems like all the triggers accomplish approximately the same thing. Having no personal experience with the PowerSync16 triggers, I can't say if they're worth twice the price of the Cactus or Yongnuo triggers. None of those do ETTL, but you can get ETTL-capable triggers such as PixelKings or PocketWizards.

I would just need to purchase the triggers, or are modifiers and receivers needed also for off-camera flash?

nathancarter wrote in post #16306474external link
I prefer reflective umbrellas with diffuser, aka brolly box. The shoot-through just give a different style of light: more spill, center hot-spot, rapid fall-off. That works for certain shooting situations but it's generally not my style. Maybe it's because the brolly boxes that I linked in my other post are the ones I cut my teeth on, and developed my style with.

Great, let us know how it works out.

And, don't be too upset if it never comes to fruition; there are lots of "flake" stories about model mayhem. It's easy to broadcast a message to a lot of photographers; it's a lot more work to actually follow through with a shoot. There are a couple of threads around here dedicated solely to getting the most out of MM, and how to detect the red flags that are clues that the shoot won't happen or won't go well.

What kind of style of photography would you say the brolly is aimed for? I saw some of your photos from your flickr in your signature and they're amazing! But would a brolly box still be good for outdoor photography? (seems like the ones I saw in your profile are studio, correct me if i'm wrong please). I'm trying to do research and comparing the lighting from brolly boxes and other umbrellas, but it seems like an endless array of information and in the end I'm still in the same place without knowing which one is what I need since everyone has different preferences :confused:. Would you happen to have an example of what kind of lighting the brolly box can provide outdoors? I was actually just about to purchase a set of cheap umbrellas from eBay and some reflectors, I thought that would do :confused:

And thanks, I will hope for the best while keeping that in mind so I won't get my hopes up too much, I'm sure there will be other opportunities. Haven't had a response yet.



Cheers,
Nora

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nathancarter
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Sep 19, 2013 11:25 |  #12

Naraly wrote in post #16307425external link
I would just need to purchase the triggers, or are modifiers and receivers needed also for off-camera flash?

"Modifiers" generally means your lighting modifiers such as umbrellas, beauty dish, softbox, etc. Unrelated to the triggers and receivers.

The trigger is the part that you stick on your camera's hotshoe to send a signal; the receiver is the part you stick onto your flash to receive the signal and tell the flash to fire. So, yes, you need both, but people often just say "triggers" when they mean "set of trigger and one or more receivers." In the Cactus V5, each unit can act as a trigger or receiver (there's a switch on the side). In most other kits, there's a dedicated trigger, and one or more dedicated receivers. Generally, one trigger can talk to many receivers, so you can fire lots of flashes at once.

As mentioned above, the 60D can control some Canon-branded flashes without the need for any trigger/receiver hardware, using Canon's proprietary IR-based communication system. I've done this before with the 60D and 430EXII, and it usually works well enough, but has some limitations. I don't think you can [directly] control the YN468 with the Canon optical system, though I haven't personally tried.

However, the YN468 can be set to "Optical Slave" mode, which means it watches for any other flash to fire, and fires simultaneously. (or, close enough to simultaneously for photo purposes). Therefore, you could use the 60D's pop-up flash to trigger the YN468 in optical slave mode, with the pop-up flash power turned way down so it doesn't noticeably influence exposure. I've done this before too, with my YN-560s set to optical slave mode. Again, works well but with some limitations.

Naraly wrote in post #16307425external link
What kind of style of photography would you say the brolly is aimed for? I saw some of your photos from your flickr in your signature and they're amazing! But would a brolly box still be good for outdoor photography? (seems like the ones I saw in your profile are studio, correct me if i'm wrong please). I'm trying to do research and comparing the lighting from brolly boxes and other umbrellas, but it seems like an endless array of information and in the end I'm still in the same place without knowing which one is what I need since everyone has different preferences :confused:. Would you happen to have an example of what kind of lighting the brolly box can provide outdoors? I was actually just about to purchase a set of cheap umbrellas from eBay and some reflectors, I thought that would do :confused:

Your first sentence here is a tough question, I don't know if I can put an answer into words, in terms of describing or naming styles and differences between styles. I know what I do, and how it works for me, but I don't think I can eloquently put it into words.

If you haven't read this already, definitely START HEREexternal link and read through the whole set of posts in the "Strobist 101" series. Some of the specific gear is a little outdated (since those posts are like seven years old) but the concepts haven't changed. The author of those posts uses white shoot-through umbrellas with great success.

Leaning a little more technical here:
The shoot-through umbrella is round, convex toward the subject. Generally the flash is aimed at the center of the umbrella, so you've got the brightest light coming from the center of the umbrella, AND the center of the umbrella is nearest to the subject. So you'll have a brightly-lit center spot on the subject, with rapid "fall-off" meaning the light gets much less bright the farther you get from the center of the umbrella. So it's easy to get dramatic lighting on a face, with the rest of the body and the surroundings being illuminated but much less so. Additionally, you'll have more dramatic shadows, since the edges of the umbrella will create less "wrap" light.

The softbox or brolly-box has a wide, flat diffusion surface that is relatively evenly lit. You'll get much more even lighting, especially for a large area such as a whole body. Additionally, the edges of the box are relatively bright, so you'll get more "wrap" light.

Oh man, I almost forgot about this whole thing here. Read this, it explains with diagrams and examples and stuff:
http://www.lighting-essentials.com ...ce-umbrella-a-comparison/external link

This one's pretty good too:
http://strobist.blogsp​ot.com ...signment-caleb-jones.htmlexternal link


Thanks for the compliments. The stuff on my flickr is a mix of [home] studio, on-location indoors, and on-location outdoors. I generally don't shoot in a full studio, but I have enough room in my living room that I can shove the furniture outta the way and make the equivalent of a full studio. When I have a minute (later), I can post a few examples and talk about them.


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Naraly
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Sep 20, 2013 02:05 |  #13

nathancarter wrote in post #16309171external link
"Modifiers" generally means your lighting modifiers such as umbrellas, beauty dish, softbox, etc. Unrelated to the triggers and receivers.

The trigger is the part that you stick on your camera's hotshoe to send a signal; the receiver is the part you stick onto your flash to receive the signal and tell the flash to fire. So, yes, you need both, but people often just say "triggers" when they mean "set of trigger and one or more receivers." In the Cactus V5, each unit can act as a trigger or receiver (there's a switch on the side). In most other kits, there's a dedicated trigger, and one or more dedicated receivers. Generally, one trigger can talk to many receivers, so you can fire lots of flashes at once.

As mentioned above, the 60D can control some Canon-branded flashes without the need for any trigger/receiver hardware, using Canon's proprietary IR-based communication system. I've done this before with the 60D and 430EXII, and it usually works well enough, but has some limitations. I don't think you can [directly] control the YN468 with the Canon optical system, though I haven't personally tried.

However, the YN468 can be set to "Optical Slave" mode, which means it watches for any other flash to fire, and fires simultaneously. (or, close enough to simultaneously for photo purposes). Therefore, you could use the 60D's pop-up flash to trigger the YN468 in optical slave mode, with the pop-up flash power turned way down so it doesn't noticeably influence exposure. I've done this before too, with my YN-560s set to optical slave mode. Again, works well but with some limitations.

Your first sentence here is a tough question, I don't know if I can put an answer into words, in terms of describing or naming styles and differences between styles. I know what I do, and how it works for me, but I don't think I can eloquently put it into words.

If you haven't read this already, definitely START HEREexternal link and read through the whole set of posts in the "Strobist 101" series. Some of the specific gear is a little outdated (since those posts are like seven years old) but the concepts haven't changed. The author of those posts uses white shoot-through umbrellas with great success.

Leaning a little more technical here:
The shoot-through umbrella is round, convex toward the subject. Generally the flash is aimed at the center of the umbrella, so you've got the brightest light coming from the center of the umbrella, AND the center of the umbrella is nearest to the subject. So you'll have a brightly-lit center spot on the subject, with rapid "fall-off" meaning the light gets much less bright the farther you get from the center of the umbrella. So it's easy to get dramatic lighting on a face, with the rest of the body and the surroundings being illuminated but much less so. Additionally, you'll have more dramatic shadows, since the edges of the umbrella will create less "wrap" light.

The softbox or brolly-box has a wide, flat diffusion surface that is relatively evenly lit. You'll get much more even lighting, especially for a large area such as a whole body. Additionally, the edges of the box are relatively bright, so you'll get more "wrap" light.

Oh man, I almost forgot about this whole thing here. Read this, it explains with diagrams and examples and stuff:
http://www.lighting-essentials.com ...ce-umbrella-a-comparison/external link

This one's pretty good too:
http://strobist.blogsp​ot.com ...signment-caleb-jones.htmlexternal link


Thanks for the compliments. The stuff on my flickr is a mix of [home] studio, on-location indoors, and on-location outdoors. I generally don't shoot in a full studio, but I have enough room in my living room that I can shove the furniture outta the way and make the equivalent of a full studio. When I have a minute (later), I can post a few examples and talk about them.


I really appreciate the time you're taking to help me out! Very informative. I hadn't thought about using my on camera flash to trigger the other flashes (turning the power down), might have to try that and see how I like it before purchasing triggers maybe. And the links were really useful!

I went ahead and purchased the brollies you recommended, I decided since I don't know what kind of lighting style I want, I'm sure those will give a lot of practice with lighting and experimenting and hopefully I'll find my style so I can figure out exactly what kind of equipment I really want or need. Although the 60" octagonal softbox seemed very tempting also lol.

Thank you, and I would love to see your examples whenever you have the time!



Cheers,
Nora

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riffster
Senior Member
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Joined Apr 2009
Ohio
Sep 20, 2013 15:27 |  #14

Alternately you could go all natural light & a reflector. Personally I'd shoot everything with your 50mm (80mm@ 1.6x) at your best, most open aperture and then just make some nice choices in post. Who knows, this could be your style.


5DII | 7D | C100mkII | Tokina 16-28 2.8 I Canon 24-70L | Canon 70-200L 2.8 | Canon 85 1.8 | Sigma 30 1.4 www.riffster.com (external link) www.facebook.com/riffs​terproductions (external link)

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nathancarter
Cream of the Crop
Joined Dec 2010
Sep 22, 2013 14:02 |  #15

OK, throwing out a handful of examples, using a variety of different equipment combinations. These are all with relatively inexpensive lighting gear. For most of these, if you study the catchlight in the eyes, and the direction/hardness of the shadows (or lack thereof), you'll get a pretty good clue as to where my lights were placed.

Note that although I'm now shooting with a 5D3, if you're in control of the lighting you can get great results with just about any body. I upgraded to the 5D3 because I do a lot of low-light shooting as well as video.

Example 1, this is from an art/fashion event a few years ago.
Goal: Get some nice portraits of a handful of the models; the makeup and hair were a big project by my friend Loryn.
Equipment: 60D, 50mm f/1.4, 430EXII in my homemade beauty dish.

I used the 60D's pop-up flash to trigger the 430EXII, with the power turned way down on the pop-up flash. I may have had it in ETTL mode, I honestly can't remember now. I was definitely still a rank amateur at lighting, and this was my first "success" with using off-camera flash and a modifier. I might have had a small reflector to camera-left to soften shadows.

You can see the ring-shaped reflection of the beauty dish on the side of her eyes, and the little tiny dot in the center that's the pop-up flash. Putting the main light on the other side of the model is called "short lighting" and can be used in a dramatic-light portrait to slim and lengthen a round face. It has the potential to exaggerate the nose, though.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7032/6706331007_602a2abd93_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com .../nathancarter/67063​31007/] (external link)
artPOOL.20120114.3643.​jpg (external link) by nathancarter (external link), on Flickr

Example 2, at MegaCon this past year with my portable setup. I love shooting costumes and cosplay, and make it a point to go to many cons just to take fun photos.
Goal: Use directional lighting to bring out the texture and interest of the sculpted mask.
Equipment: 5D3, 24-70 f/2.8, two YN-560s, one brolly box, Cactus V5 triggers, two stands.

This is one of my favorite simple-and-effective setups for head and bust portraits: One speedlight in a brolly box acting as the main light, and one bare speedlight behind/beside the model to act as a rim light, kicker light, or hair light. By moving the exact placement of the two lights, you can get a variety of portraiture styles.

This is a "split light" portrait where half the face is lit by the main light, and half the face is in shadow. By putting the main light far to the side, the texture and detail of the mask is exaggerated. The rim light gives separation from the background. Split lighting is hard to pull off for a "beauty" portrait because every line and wrinkle and imperfection on the model's face will be raised and exaggerated.

This was in a moderately well-lit convention hall. I dialed the in-camera exposure way down to kill most ambient light, and turned the flash power way up to compensate.

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8125/8610992141_d78a683f0f_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com .../nathancarter/86109​92141/] (external link)
MegaCon_20130316_2951.​jpg (external link) by nathancarter (external link), on Flickr

Example 3: Pinup. I'm far from an expert at pinup style, but I'm working on it.
Goal: Pinup-style calendar for my friend Kaila. Click through to the set for the rest, but this one's my favorite.
Equipment: 5D3, 70-200 f/4L, two YN560s, one 430EXII, one brolly box, one reflector, Cactus V5. Stands & white paper backdrop.

This is almost to-the-tee using Zack Arias' white seamless tutorial:
http://www.zarias.com ...torial-part-1-gear-space/ (external link)

I used the two YN560s to blow out the background, and the 430EXII in the brolly box with reflector to light the model. The 430EXII was triggered by the Cactus V5, the two YN560s were set to optical slave mode. This was in my "home studio" - the living room, with the furniture shoved out of the way. I've since upgraded from the 5-foot-wide paper to a 10-foot-wide paper which is a little harder to handle but a LOT easier to shoot. I've made a few more upgrades since this shoot as well, such as some tall gobos to block the background lights from spilling onto the model, and an additional piece of tileboard to get more distance between the model and background.

The background lights are just out of frame to the left and right of the paper.

Final:
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8295/8016229838_27d5f6eb3e_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com .../nathancarter/80162​29838/] (external link)
Kaila Calendar 06 June.jpg (external link) by nathancarter (external link), on Flickr

As shot:
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8314/8016881279_b9fefe8129_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com .../nathancarter/80168​81279/] (external link)
Kaila_Calendar_2012091​5_3863.jpg (external link) by nathancarter (external link), on Flickr


Example 4: Bioshock. Again, costumes, my favorite.
Goal: To recreate the look and feel of the undersea city of Rapture from the game Bioshock.
Equipment: 5D3, 24-70 f/2.8, two YN-560s, one 430EXII, one brolly box, one shoot-through umbrella, Cactus V5, stands.

This is at Dragon Con just a few weeks ago, at the late-night event at the Georgia Aquarium. So it's all on-site, and gear that I could just carry in by hand (five long hot blocks from our hotel).

The main light is one YN-560 in the brolly box, camera right. To camera left is the other YN-560 with a blue-green gel to give a bit of an underwater feel, and a shoot-through umbrella to diffuse it. The 430EXII is on a stand to camera left and behind the models - it's pretty low in this shot, you can see it just peeking over the drill hand. All three lights are triggered with Cactus receivers; I often use optical slave mode (less gear to set up) but if there are other flashes around then that's far from ideal.

Again, I've killed most ambient lighting with camera settings, and used extremely directional lighting to give a dramatic feel and bring out texture.

IMAGE: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3790/9681924615_c07f593d23_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com .../nathancarter/96819​24615/] (external link)
DragonCon_20130831_957​8.jpg (external link) by nathancarter (external link), on Flickr

Example 5: Barbarella
Goal: Something interesting and different from the rest of Jessica's set.
Equipment: 5D3, 24-70, two YN-560s, Cactus triggers, stands, white paper backdrop.

I was doing a huge set of different looks for my friend Jessica - click through the image to see the rest of the set. For this one, I used two bare YN560s to make an interesting shadows. One is on a stand to camera left (the shadow gives it away); the other is clamped to the top of the backdrop stand to the right side. The rest of the setup is the same as the white seamless tutorial that I linked above.

Looks like I never went in and cleaned up that seam at the edge of the tile board. Oh well.

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8488/8253128471_997b585d49_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com .../nathancarter/82531​28471/] (external link)
Jessica_20121201_0327.​jpg (external link) by nathancarter (external link), on Flickr

http://www.avidchick.c​om (external link) for business stuff
http://www.facebook.co​m/VictorVoyeur (external link) for fun stuff

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