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Old 6th of June 2012 (Wed)   #1
erikfig
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Default Expose for the ambient light? I need your help here :)

Hello All,

I'm planning to shoot with speed lights in the middle of the day and I want to under expose the background and use the speedlite flash instead to pop up my subjects.

I notice in the all the youtube videos all the photographers saying expose for the ambient light first and then adjust the speedlite accordingly.

Can somebody explain what exposing to ambient light is and how to do it?

I know that I can use exposure compesation to underexpose the background with my Canon camera but I'm kind of lost about what exposing to the ambient light is.

Thanks!

-Erik
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Old 6th of June 2012 (Wed)   #2
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Default Re: Expose for the ambient light? I need your help here :)

Ambient is a fancy word for available. It has other meanings as well, but in this case it's available light. I think what they're trying to say is that you don't want to really have a noticeable break between your background light and the subject's light or maybe you do, but I'm not 100% sure what you're trying to achieve. Meter for the ambient light and then adjust your flash so you have a more seamless fill light.
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Old 6th of June 2012 (Wed)   #3
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Default Re: Expose for the ambient light? I need your help here :)

It's the light that is NOT from the flash. So meter the person you are shooting, take a shot and get the ambient/environment light the way you want. I like to match both the background and flash so that they are even and you really can't tell a flash was fired.

For example:

201206031668-2.jpg by D. Harris, on Flickr

I exposed for the ambient light, but when you take a test shot, the people are underexposed. I used my SB-700 to fill in the people with a setting of +2EV on the flash unit. That count me even lighting from the flash and the environment lighting. Looks like I lit them up with umbrellas, but it was just a flash on top of my D700.
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Old 6th of June 2012 (Wed)   #4
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Default Re: Expose for the ambient light? I need your help here :)

So basically I just need to take a test shot with the flash "off" and once the background looks the way that I want it to look, then I turn the flash on?
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Old 6th of June 2012 (Wed)   #5
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Default Re: Expose for the ambient light? I need your help here :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikfig View Post
So basically I just need to take a test shot with the flash "off" and once the background looks the way that I want it to look, then I turn the flash on?
Yes. Expose your background first. I highly recommend you put your camera in manual mode. That way your exposures stay consistant from shot to shot. Using Av Mode can change your shutter speed without you wanting to resulting in your ambient lighting all over the place, espeically in the evening when the sun moves rather fast while setting.

Just remember you are making 2 exposures for your photo. One for the ambient light, one for the flash. If you want a darker background, raise your shutter speed. If you want more light to come through, shorten your shutter speed.

Here are a couple of vids I learned from:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHUt8BEAgmg&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUbus...eature=related
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Old 6th of June 2012 (Wed)   #6
erikfig
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Default Re: Expose for the ambient light? I need your help here :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razeus View Post
Yes. Expose your background first. I highly recommend you put your camera in manual mode. That way your exposures stay consistant from shot to shot. Using Av Mode can change your shutter speed without you wanting to resulting in your ambient lighting all over the place, espeically in the evening when the sun moves rather fast while setting.

Just remember you are making 2 exposures for your photo. One for the ambient light, one for the flash. If you want a darker background, raise your shutter speed. If you want more light to come through, shorten your shutter speed.

Here are a couple of vids I learned from:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHUt8BEAgmg&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUbus...eature=related
I really appreciate your time, THANK YOU!!
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