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Old 20th of June 2009 (Sat)   #1
podoco
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Default Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

Hi,

Question for those who have figured this one out.

How do you take a picture of a single subject and/or group subjects outdoors at night with hardly any ambient light when armed with a single 580EXII? (ie: no walls/ceilings to bounce, no diffusers or other props - just the camera and flash).

Are you simply doomed to get snapshot pictures or is it at all possible to get decent pictures?

Thx
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Old 20th of June 2009 (Sat)   #2
breathless
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

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Originally Posted by podoco View Post
Hi,

Question for those who have figured this one out.

How do you take a picture of a single subject and/or group subjects outdoors at night with hardly any ambient light when armed with a single 580EXII? (ie: no walls/ceilings to bounce, no diffusers or other props - just the camera and flash).

Are you simply doomed to get snapshot pictures or is it at all possible to get decent pictures?

Thx
Define "decent?"
You have one small source of light. It can(on camera and without modifying) provide one quality of light, which is specular and direct. If you wish to, and have the means to modify, move, adjust the light, that one flash can provide many different qualities and directions of light.
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Old 26th of June 2009 (Fri)   #3
Christopher Steven b
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

At the after party of a very intimate wedding I shot last month, there was the opportunity for a shot outdoors in near pitch dark. there obviously was no ceiling to bounce off of, but there was the front of the house. Had there not been a front to the house (what?), I might have asked for someone in a white top to stand next to me for a moment. Bounce off of whatever you can. where there are no walls or ceilings, make them.
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Old 26th of June 2009 (Fri)   #4
Christopher Steven b
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

Ah. but when there's NOTHING to bounce from?
haha--what about camera upside down and bouncing from the ground?
I really must take this to the patent office.
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Old 26th of June 2009 (Fri)   #5
toxic
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

As stated above, make a reflector, or drag the shutter.
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Old 26th of June 2009 (Fri)   #6
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

Well if they're just standing in a field, you don't have to worry about nasty shadows from direct flash

Use direct flash to light up the subject(s), drag the shutter so it doesn't look like they're standing in a cave.
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Old 26th of June 2009 (Fri)   #7
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

Here's another possibility: via wireless or sync cable use the flash off camera. Even through the light source is just as small, the directionality of it gives it a much more pleasing quality than direct on camera flash in my opinion.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #8
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

why is it so hard to carry a diffuser? they are 2" by 3" and cost $15.
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Old 29th of June 2009 (Mon)   #9
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

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why is it so hard to carry a diffuser? they are 2" by 3" and cost $15.
It'll be $15 wasted, unfortunately. Outdoors at night with nothing to bounce that light on, what's the use?
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Old 30th of June 2009 (Tue)   #10
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

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It'll be $15 wasted, unfortunately. Outdoors at night with nothing to bounce that light on, what's the use?
then i am confused.

if you use a sto-fen on the flash, why are you bouncing?
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Old 30th of June 2009 (Tue)   #11
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

The whole point of a diffuser is to disperse the light so it bounces off various surfaces. If there's nothing to bounce off of, all you do is make the flash work harder for the same exposure.
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Old 30th of June 2009 (Tue)   #12
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

Cosmokid, The "softness" of light is directly related to the size and distance of the source to the subject. The larger the light source and the closer the light source to the subject, the softer the light source. Light does not become soft by "filtering" it through some transparent material. The theory behind the diffusers, such as the Sto-fen, is to spread light around a room, or a wall, illuminating it, hence making the illuminated room or wall the new, larger(therefore softer) light source.

In a dark space, without anything to reflect the light off of, the size of the light source has has not changed with the use of a small diffuser, and will not provide light quality which is much different than a bare flash exposure.
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Old 30th of June 2009 (Tue)   #13
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

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The whole point of a diffuser is to disperse the light so it bounces off various surfaces. If there's nothing to bounce off of, all you do is make the flash work harder for the same exposure.
But putting a Stofen or a Lumiquest softbox on your flash immediately softens and diffuses the light regardless of what you may or may not have to bounce off.
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Old 30th of June 2009 (Tue)   #14
breathless
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

Uh boy...
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Old 30th of June 2009 (Tue)   #15
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Default Re: Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

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But putting a Stofen or a Lumiquest softbox on your flash immediately softens and diffuses the light regardless of what you may or may not have to bounce off.
With nothing to bounce from, a Stofen is worse than useless. It's called the omnibounce for a reason. Using a Stofen in a field just creates a weaker light source.
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