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Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite

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Thread started 20 Jun 2009 (Saturday) 18:04   
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podoco
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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

Post #1, Jun 20, 2009 18:04:50




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breathless
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podoco wrote in post #8145476external link
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.

Post #2, Jun 20, 2009 21:31:32


Chris
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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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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.

Post #3, Jun 26, 2009 03:28:59



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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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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.

Post #4, Jun 26, 2009 03:31:55



christopher steven b. - Ottawa Wedding Photographer

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toxic
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As stated above, make a reflector, or drag the shutter.

Post #5, Jun 26, 2009 03:58:01




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egordon99
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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.

Post #6, Jun 26, 2009 06:48:55 as a reply to toxic's post 2 hours earlier.




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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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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.

Post #7, Jun 26, 2009 12:06:04



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CosmoKid
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why is it so hard to carry a diffuser? they are 2" by 3" and cost $15.

Post #8, Jun 29, 2009 14:20:30


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breathless
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CosmoKid wrote in post #8195453external link
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?

Post #9, Jun 29, 2009 14:52:59


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CosmoKid
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breathless wrote in post #8195626external link
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?

Post #10, Jun 30, 2009 12:54:14


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toxic
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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.

Post #11, Jun 30, 2009 13:20:33




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breathless
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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.

Post #12, Jun 30, 2009 14:33:27 as a reply to toxic's post 1 hour earlier.


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Rodreguez
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toxic wrote in post #8201379external link
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.

Post #13, Jun 30, 2009 18:22:46


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breathless
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Uh boy...

Post #14, Jun 30, 2009 21:11:52 as a reply to Rodreguez's post 2 hours earlier.


Chris
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sjlund
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Rodreguez wrote in post #8202795external link
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.

Post #15, Jun 30, 2009 21:19:08


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Shooting people at night with a single Speedlite
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