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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 14 Apr 2018 (Saturday) 08:20
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How to use a flash when there is nowhere to bounce

 
steve67
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Apr 14, 2018 08:20 |  #1

I am going to be the 3rd shooter at a wedding today in a metal barn, with much galvanized steel sides and a 40ft roof. The primary shooter is very good and we will be going over today and discus how he plans on lighting the event/shot locations. As he has already told me several times he just wants me to go and have a good time and roam around, it's my first time helping at a wedding. I have gone over some of the things he doesn't want me to do and it seems very straight forward and he has given me a very short list of things he would like me to attempt, but no pressure. I would like to go there with a little bit of a clue and I don't relay have much experience with on camera flashes, but I have read and played with it. I will be using my 5dmark4,70-200 & 24-105, mono-pod with a Flashpoint TT685C with a bender. I have been running around and flashing pictures of everything that moves in the house (cathedral ceiling) and driving the pets and my family crazy. So, I played with the following configuration (see pic) and seems to work, since I will only be using the on camera flash. Any other ideas on how I can achieve better results while using the on camera flash and keeping the hot spots to a minimum? Also, I what is the highest you would be comfortable with letting your ISO go? Thanks


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gjl711
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Apr 14, 2018 08:47 |  #2

I always have one of these (external link) in my bag as well as one of these (external link). I prefer the soft box but the mini-bounce works well.


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Bassat
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Apr 14, 2018 08:56 |  #3

Disclaimer: I don't shoot weddings. Or anything else where getting the shot is critical. And, I am assuming you meant 'reception'.

That said, I believe the setup pictured is quite ridiculous. Your flash modifier will work great, if you subject is 4' to, at the outside maybe 8' (more like 6') from the reflector. In that range you will notice a more diffuse light than you would with a direct flash. You'll also notice pretty dark backgrounds. The larger the hall, the darker the background.

If you are more than 8' from your subject, the relative size of your reflector drops of very quickly. That means 2 things: 1.) little lighting difference between your setup and direct flash, and 2.) wasting a boatload of battery power to get that vanishingly small difference.

How many shots are you going to take with a 70-200mm lens where the subject is with 8' of your reflector?

Keep in my, I don't do weddings. If I were to undertake your stated assignment, I'd used direct flash, simply because you can't make a reflector large enough to matter at more than 6-8', unless you're willing to mount a 30" umbrella/box on your camera. Soooo..... direct flash, and the lowest shutter speed I could get away with (1/60 - 1/125?), f/2.8 - f/4, and crank the ISO. You are not after 11"x17" high-IQ shots. You are after the 'guests enjoying themselves' shots. ISO/noise is less of a factor is such situations.


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soeren
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Apr 14, 2018 08:59 as a reply to  @ Bassat's post |  #4

Exactly what I was thinking




  
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Bassat
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Apr 14, 2018 08:59 |  #5

gjl711 wrote in post #18606616 (external link)
I always have one of these (external link) in my bag as well as one of these (external link). I prefer the soft box but the mini-bounce works well.

I've used both of these devices. The only thing they offer, compared to what the OP proposed, is that they look better. Results will be the same.


Tom,
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Talley
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Apr 14, 2018 09:03 |  #6

I've had the flash benders but only used them to use as a snoot. My take is it's still a super small light source. When your bouncing in a room where you can your literally throwing a lighted wall up with a 10-30' spread of light creating a huge massive light source. My suggestion would be to shoot manual, F2.8 and you control your shutter to expose the ambiance. At some point you will need to raise ISO. I would direct flash with ETTL but be mindful that colors can effect flash output so use FEC as needed to balance the flash. Shutter exposes ambiance while aperture exposes flash and ISO exposes both.

The key is to perfect that balance. I've seen on camera direct flash look amazing without a slightest hint of direct flash or any flash. Your just wanting to "fill" remember that.

I'm no wedding shooter and I don't even have this perfected myself yet. It's extremely difficult to do this in a run and gun situation but if I was in a open field with only a camera mounted speed light then this is exactly what I would do. I would even try manual flash power adjustments but I just think that might lead to more frustration for ya.


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Talley
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Post edited 12 days ago by Talley.
     
Apr 14, 2018 09:06 |  #7

Bassat wrote in post #18606621 (external link)
Disclaimer: I don't shoot weddings. Or anything else where getting the shot is critical. And, I am assuming you meant 'reception'.

That said, I believe the setup pictured is quite ridiculous. Your flash modifier will work great, if you subject is 4' to, at the outside maybe 8' (more like 6') from the reflector. In that range you will notice a more diffuse light than you would with a direct flash. You'll also notice pretty dark backgrounds. The larger the hall, the darker the background.

If you are more than 8' from your subject, the relative size of your reflector drops of very quickly. That means 2 things: 1.) little lighting difference between your setup and direct flash, and 2.) wasting a boatload of battery power to get that vanishingly small difference.

How many shots are you going to take with a 70-200mm lens where the subject is with 8' of your reflector?

Keep in my, I don't do weddings. If I were to undertake your stated assignment, I'd used direct flash, simply because you can't make a reflector large enough to matter at more than 6-8', unless you're willing to mount a 30" umbrella/box on your camera. Soooo..... direct flash, and the lowest shutter speed I could get away with (1/60 - 1/125?), f/2.8 - f/4, and crank the ISO. You are not after 11"x17" high-IQ shots. You are after the 'guests enjoying themselves' shots. ISO/noise is less of a factor is such situations.

You could possibly get away with a lower shutter speed due to the flash duration motion stopping capability. 2.8 for sure, 1/15-1/40 if it's a low light venue and then ride the ISO for proper AMBIENT light exposure then fill in the rest with flash. Direct flash.... no sense of wasting flash power at all in a situation like this. You'll run out of battery quick.


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Bassat
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Post edited 12 days ago by Bassat.
     
Apr 14, 2018 09:13 |  #8

Talley wrote in post #18606635 (external link)
You could possibly get away with a lower shutter speed due to the flash duration motion stopping capability. 2.8 for sure, 1/15-1/40 if it's a low light venue and then ride the ISO for proper AMBIENT light exposure then fill in the rest with flash. Direct flash.... no sense of wasting flash power at all in a situation like this. You'll run out of battery quick.

I'm not sure what you are suggesting. Big aperture, slow shutter, and dialing in ambient exposure with ISO makes sense, but will have the shooter chasing ambient for every shot. This will likely yield better results, but shooter will get way few of them than with picking 'acceptable' parameters and just getting the shots.

EDIT: Disregard this dumb comment, please.
The part about direct flash, 'no sense wasting...' puzzles me. Are you agreeing with me on direct flash, or suggesting no flash at all?

EDIT:
Talley, nevermind. I didn't see your first post in this thread before responding to your second. :oops:


Tom,
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Post edited 12 days ago by TeamSpeed. (2 edits in all)
     
Apr 14, 2018 09:36 |  #9

Those modifiers are good for reducing the hot spotting of a dead on flash, that is where they are useful. Of course they are not useful for creating a large light source, but that isn't their intended design either. I use those types of modifiers when I am using the 70-200 for portraits, which means I have some distance to allow that bounce diffuser to do its work. They work in a pinch.


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Post edited 12 days ago by Wilt. (4 edits in all)
     
Apr 14, 2018 10:54 |  #10

I did this comparison many years ago. I put the 'subject' in a shaded area so that the illumination would be characteristic of only of the light that was added via flash.
First shot shows the effect of putting a 5" x 7" softbox on the flash and shooting from 20' away

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/POTN%202013%20Post%20Mar1/IMG_7949_zps12e46ec2.jpg

Second shot shows the effect of putting a 16" x 20" softbox on the flash and shooting from 20' away

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/POTN%202013%20Post%20Mar1/IMG_7948_zps43e5596c.jpg

Most photographers use the small 4x6 or 5x7 modifiers, but they do little to 'soften' the light source to make shadows less distracting, as seen in the shadows cast on the door behind the metal plant stand. While the theory is that softboxes need to be used within about 3*[largest dimension] to be 'soft', one can see that even used at 12* [largest dimension] the shadow penumbra cast on the door is softenened considerably nevertheless. (BTW, the 16x20" softbox illumination is considerably 'warmed' in this example simply because the softbox material had yellowed significantly over its 25+ year age at the time of this shot! )

I used to shoot weddings on medium format film, and I used a 'potato masher' flash (Metz) which put the flashhead high above the camera where a 16" x 20" softbox did not interfere with the view of the lens. My on-camera flash was my 'Fill'...off camera under radio control was a somewhat smaller softbox enclosed flash which was my 'Main'. And just like 'in nature', as I would move around to shoot different scenes the sun did not move to accommodate my shooting (so neither does the 'Main'!) but the 'Fill' was always present as the ambient illumination inherent to the setting. On the dance floor, the 'Main' did not move. When it was time to shoot the cake cut or the garter toss, the Main got repositioned to those different locations but I left the Main in one position and not moved about as camera position around the cake cut changed, for example.

(BTW, anyone who wants to 'steal' these unattractive photos is welcome to them. It was shot expressly to be posted on POTN to illustrate principles under discussion in controlled circumstances.) :grin:

With eTTL, my tests show that eTTL flash units are more troublesome and inconsistent when the flash is in a softbox. I have not solved that issue, but since I quit shooting weddings for hire (now I only do some supplemental shooting at weddings of friends/relatives, where there is a hired gun) it does not matter to me that eTTL has its failing. I don't WANT to look like the hired gun with a 16x20" softbox!

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RicoTudor
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Apr 14, 2018 13:09 |  #11

For event coverage, I use direct flash—no bounce, no modifier. I had a complete portable studio for this wedding, but the formals were instead managed by late afternoon sunlight. If you want studio-grade lighting on the event floor, first reconsider. If you still want it, then set up a shooting station in a quiet corner and lure your prey into the area. Otherwise, no puny modifier on a flash makes any difference. In these tight spaces, maximum response to transient moments is the priority:

IMAGE: http://makino.fi/rico/nikon/misc/wcc1588a.jpg
Even with no ambient, I shoot at ISO 100, f/5.6, and have ample full-spectrum light for the key. Dragging the shutter is okay (1/4sec above) for b/g context, but I won't let it serve as fill.

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Talley
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Apr 14, 2018 14:20 |  #12

Why would you not want ambient in? Your shot is basically 100% flash exposed. The background is only barely lit because of the ISO 100 and 5.6 you have chosen.

One other KEY important thing is to GEL GEL GEL for the artificial lighting.


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Apr 14, 2018 14:52 |  #13

I'm presuming you don't want an off-camera flash option for this event, especially as a third shooter, but it is perhaps helpful to think about as you work your way into this process.

A very deliberate set up is placing a couple very high up units at opposite corners aimed across the room (a good method but not something a third shooter would do). The two units light up the environment a bit and provide rear or rim illumination and are used in conjunction with on-camera, which can be dialed back. Typically the off-camera units are on manual, on camera is manual or TTL and dialed back a bit.

I have used a strobe held with the left hand in a "real" modifier, but you need practice not only with the physical set up but also to develop the social skills around this sort of method. It isn't inconspicuous :). That's how this was created at a Halloween party:

https://www.instagram.​com …en-by=storyinpictures_com (external link)

I haven't used it, but I have been curious about the Sunbounce Wall unit.

http://shop.sunbounce.​com/en/97-bounce-wall (external link)


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Talley
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Apr 14, 2018 17:49 |  #14

F2Bthere wrote in post #18606826 (external link)
I'm presuming you don't want an off-camera flash option for this event, especially as a third shooter, but it is perhaps helpful to think about as you work your way into this process.

A very deliberate set up is placing a couple very high up units at opposite corners aimed across the room (a good method but not something a third shooter would do). The two units light up the environment a bit and provide rear or rim illumination and are used in conjunction with on-camera, which can be dialed back. Typically the off-camera units are on manual, on camera is manual or TTL and dialed back a bit.

I have used a strobe held with the left hand in a "real" modifier, but you need practice not only with the physical set up but also to develop the social skills around this sort of method. It isn't inconspicuous :). That's how this was created at a Halloween party:

https://www.instagram.​com …en-by=storyinpictures_com (external link)

I haven't used it, but I have been curious about the Sunbounce Wall unit.

http://shop.sunbounce.​com/en/97-bounce-wall (external link)

Pretty much the two strobe setup is the choice of many. For every wedding I've attended the main photog sets this up for the reception.


My entire hobby of gear lust has temporarily been shifted into overload. Please be patient while my mind tries to get back onto the road to recovery. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause....
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dmward
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Apr 15, 2018 12:48 |  #15

If the OP were a second/third shooter for me I'd make the following suggestions:
A) Use only the 24-105, keep it toward the wider angles.
B) You're role at the reception is to get "in the moment" shots.
C) You are documenting an event not trying to light an editorial shoot. i.e. KISS!
D) Set your auto ISO for 100 minimum ISO, 12800 max ISO use F4 or 5.6 1/60 shutter and make sure IS is turned on.
That means camera settings are Auto ISO, F4, 1/60 use 5.6 if there is a group of people.
E) Try bouncing flash off ceiling by manually zooming to a telephoto setting and place a card on head to kick some fill into faces.
If that doesn't deliver brightish faces on main subjects, then tip flash to fire at them and dial back FEC to minimize obvious shadows
F) Set camera to -2/3 EC and TTL flash to +1/3 FEC
G) Concentrate on getting the subject near the center of the frame.
H) Bring lots of batteries for your flash.


Note: These suggestions are based on my own experience photographing wedding receptions and other events where the only option is a single flash on camera.

Most important suggestion: Talk to the guy that hired you and ask them to give you camera settings that they want to ensure acceptable images that will work with theirs.


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How to use a flash when there is nowhere to bounce
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