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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 03 Jan 2011 (Monday) 07:38
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New years house party - Lighting issues

 
Gurkkk
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Jan 03, 2011 07:38 |  #1

Alright so I'm very new to strobe lighting. I've been reading forums/articles and decided to put some tricks I've learned in the past few months to good use.

I was the dedicated photographer among 20 people at a party my friends threw on new years. The living room was quite large. Ceilings were fairly low and the ambient light was pretty much non-existent.

What I decided to do with my on camera 580exii was to bounce it off walls/ceilings. Most of the time, I got pretty great results and the light looked natural and not harsh.

In some cases however, I ran in the problem of shadowy eyes. The overall light looked good but the eyes were in shadow, which made the photos a bit unflattering.

So to get a higher rate of usable photos in the future in such events, I started looking for solutions. Here comes the question:

Does it make sense to put a flash or 2 in different sections of the room and pointing them towards the ceiling and use either a ring flash or a small on cam flash with low power to just use as a fill?

Is there any other solution you guys can think of?

Now as you might have guessed, people just didn't stop partying and let me take pictures. The photos were all captures to achieve a more natural look instead of a pose. (well for the most part) So whatever solutions I come up with, it has to be an easy setup and I'd rather capture moments instead of moving lights around the whole time.

Thanks in advance!

PS: Incase you're wondering, I didn't forget to have a blast and leave the camera in the bag once in a while to celebrate with them ;)




  
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tommmy.star
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Jan 03, 2011 07:50 |  #2

Gurkkk wrote in post #11563207 (external link)
Alright so I'm very new to strobe lighting. I've been reading forums/articles and decided to put some tricks I've learned in the past few months to good use.

I was the dedicated photographer among 20 people at a party my friends threw on new years. The living room was quite large. Ceilings were fairly low and the ambient light was pretty much non-existent.

What I decided to do with my on camera 580exii was to bounce it off walls/ceilings. Most of the time, I got pretty great results and the light looked natural and not harsh.

In some cases however, I ran in the problem of shadowy eyes. The overall light looked good but the eyes were in shadow, which made the photos a bit unflattering.

So to get a higher rate of usable photos in the future in such events, I started looking for solutions. Here comes the question:

Does it make sense to put a flash or 2 in different sections of the room and pointing them towards the ceiling and use either a ring flash or a small on cam flash with low power to just use as a fill?

Is there any other solution you guys can think of?

Now as you might have guessed, people just didn't stop partying and let me take pictures. The photos were all captures to achieve a more natural look instead of a pose. (well for the most part) So whatever solutions I come up with, it has to be an easy setup and I'd rather capture moments instead of moving lights around the whole time.

Thanks in advance!

PS: Incase you're wondering, I didn't forget to have a blast and leave the camera in the bag once in a while to celebrate with them ;)

can't see your pics


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Gurkkk
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Jan 03, 2011 07:52 |  #3

tommmy.star wrote in post #11563247 (external link)
can't see your pics

there are none :)
the camera bag is in my girlfriend's house at the moment. I can post some later but I thought my question could apply to many cases with the same problem (top lighting with shadow in the eyes).




  
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smorter
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Jan 03, 2011 08:32 |  #4

Yeah you would be wasting time, energy and effort by trying to address this issue with complex solutions like 2 flashes, fill flash etc. and it would definitely impact on your ability to join the party :)

There's a very simple explanation and solution and in fact your flash has a feature to address this, (the tilt and swivel function)

The shadowy eye problem is when you point your flash too far forward or directly into the ceiling. It's akin to putting a softbox above a person's head.

For soft light, without shadows under the eyes, you need to point the flash behind you. Pointing the flash directly into the ceiling will give soft light only if the subjects are far away.

When bouncing, you are actually turning another surface into the light source. Think about where that light source is, and how it is hitting your subject

Here's a diagram to demonstrate. Red areas are shadows:

IMAGE: http://dawei.zenfolio.com/img/s6/v5/p837681728-4.jpg

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Gurkkk
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Jan 03, 2011 08:40 |  #5

smorter wrote in post #11563386 (external link)
Yeah you would be wasting time, energy and effort by trying to address this issue with complex solutions like 2 flashes, fill flash etc. and it would definitely impact on your ability to join the party :)

There's a very simple explanation and solution and in fact your flash has a feature to address this, (the tilt and swivel function)

The shadowy eye problem is when you point your flash too far forward or directly into the ceiling. It's akin to putting a softbox above a person's head.

For soft light, without shadows under the eyes, you need to point the flash behind you. Pointing the flash directly into the ceiling will give soft light only if the subjects are far away.

When bouncing, you are actually turning another surface into the light source. Think about where that light source is, and how it is hitting your subject

Here's a diagram to demonstrate. Red areas are shadows:

QUOTED IMAGE

That makes sense. Since I'm new, it's hard to instantly think of the situation and adjust the flash but I assume this comes with experience and in time. I recall not pointing the flash directly above 180 but I do remember a lot of times I was very close to my subjects due to limited space, hence the problem.

Thanks for the tip! I guess I'll be more careful next time before going to multiple lights :)




  
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Gurkkk
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Jan 03, 2011 08:41 |  #6

and that is one pro diagram, i might add :D
(hey it works)




  
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BrandonSi
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Jan 03, 2011 08:44 |  #7

Gurkkk wrote in post #11563422 (external link)
and that is one pro diagram, i might add :D
(hey it works)

This. :)


[ www (external link)· flickr (external link)]

  
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smorter
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Jan 03, 2011 08:58 |  #8

hahaha it's my pride and joy

Yeah definitely! It comes with experience knowing where to point the flash. Here are some quick rules of thumb:

- The amount you tilt your flash backwards depends on how far away your subject is. If they are very close to you, you need to tilt it back a lot. If they are quite far from you (e.g. 5+ meters away) you can even get away with pointing it straight up.
- Be mindful of those behind you as if you point your flash too far back you might hit them in the eyes with spill light. Niel Van Niekerk has a technique where he wraps a piece of black foam around the back side of the flash to try and block this light from hitting people in the eyes.
- In addition to the angle of your flash from vertical, the direction is also important (see below):


This photo helps demonstrate directional bouncing 101. Note the even lighting on the left person and the shadows on the right person:

IMAGE: http://dawei.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v9/p752546633-4.jpg

We will call the person on the left person A, and the person on the right person B. Note that Person A is facing to the camera right, and person B is facing to the camera left.

I swiveled the flash so that it was pointing approximately 45 degrees up and at approximately 5 o'clock position. (Akin to over my right shoulder). This illuminates the ceiling/wall over my right shoulder. When the light comes back, note it evenly lights up person A (Since her face is directly facing the illuminated wall/ceiling, it is akin to a large softbox providing fill light directly in front, from slightly above). However, for person B, note because of her angle in facing to camera left, her nose and the half of her face facing camera right blocks the light from hitting the part of her face facing camera left.

You basically need to choose where the light is bounced so that you minimize unwanted shadows. I was satisfied with this, but if you wanted both to be illuminated, the flash would need to be pointed at the 6 o'clock position (even then you may get a bit of blockage).

If I had of pointed the flash at the 8 o'clock position, Person B would have been evenly illuminated (since the light would have hit her square in the face), but person A may be slightly in shadow. As the angle of Person A is more square to the camera, the shadows may not have been as dramatic as the existing picture.

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focus.pocus
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Jan 03, 2011 09:16 |  #9

love the diagram Smorter... that made my day...lol


I know, right? I'm just sayin'...

  
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Gurkkk
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Jan 03, 2011 09:34 |  #10

smorter wrote in post #11563481 (external link)
hahaha it's my pride and joy

Yeah definitely! It comes with experience knowing where to point the flash. Here are some quick rules of thumb:

- The amount you tilt your flash backwards depends on how far away your subject is. If they are very close to you, you need to tilt it back a lot. If they are quite far from you (e.g. 5+ meters away) you can even get away with pointing it straight up.
- Be mindful of those behind you as if you point your flash too far back you might hit them in the eyes with spill light. Niel Van Niekerk has a technique where he wraps a piece of black foam around the back side of the flash to try and block this light from hitting people in the eyes.
- In addition to the angle of your flash from vertical, the direction is also important (see below):


This photo helps demonstrate directional bouncing 101. Note the even lighting on the left person and the shadows on the right person:

QUOTED IMAGE

We will call the person on the left person A, and the person on the right person B. Note that Person A is facing to the camera right, and person B is facing to the camera left.

I swiveled the flash so that it was pointing approximately 45 degrees up and at approximately 5 o'clock position. (Akin to over my right shoulder). This illuminates the ceiling/wall over my right shoulder. When the light comes back, note it evenly lights up person A (Since her face is directly facing the illuminated wall/ceiling, it is akin to a large softbox providing fill light directly in front, from slightly above). However, for person B, note because of her angle in facing to camera left, her nose and the half of her face facing camera right blocks the light from hitting the part of her face facing camera left.

You basically need to choose where the light is bounced so that you minimize unwanted shadows. I was satisfied with this, but if you wanted both to be illuminated, the flash would need to be pointed at the 6 o'clock position (even then you may get a bit of blockage).

If I had of pointed the flash at the 8 o'clock position, Person B would have been evenly illuminated (since the light would have hit her square in the face), but person A may be slightly in shadow. As the angle of Person A is more square to the camera, the shadows may not have been as dramatic as the existing picture.

That looks great and the run through was very helpful. Thanks.
My situation was very different (almost pitchblack with no ambient light and people weren't posing so not much time to think) but I'm pretty sure most of what you said would apply to my photos if I follow them correctly.

Ty!




  
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Sledhed
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Jan 03, 2011 10:00 |  #11

smorter wrote in post #11563386 (external link)
QUOTED IMAGE

Dude, you should become an artist. Thanks for the laugh, that's about my level of drawing talent too.


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ChasWG
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Jan 03, 2011 10:15 |  #12

Nice work Smorter! A great explaination, diagram and image to support what you said. Nice job.


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tjaudet829
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Jan 03, 2011 11:51 as a reply to  @ ChasWG's post |  #13

How about a flash bounce card?

This is what I use most of the time as I have no off camera equiptment yet.

Same concept bounce off ceiling but the card depending on the size will throw some light directly toward your subject.

see link http://www.themoment2c​herish.com/DIY-Bounce-Card/ (external link)

This is similar to what I use. Made from white foam from walmart and I attach with a rubberband .

Hope this offers some help.
Jeff


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JakAHearts
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Jan 03, 2011 14:00 |  #14

Spend about 24 hours reading through this entire blog. Youll learn a lot. :D

http://neilvn.com/tang​ents/ (external link)


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Gurkkk
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Jan 03, 2011 14:44 |  #15

tjaudet829 wrote in post #11564473 (external link)
How about a flash bounce card?

This is what I use most of the time as I have no off camera equiptment yet.

Same concept bounce off ceiling but the card depending on the size will throw some light directly toward your subject.

see link http://www.themoment2c​herish.com/DIY-Bounce-Card/ (external link)

This is similar to what I use. Made from white foam from walmart and I attach with a rubberband .

Hope this offers some help.
Jeff

I did think about those but man.. the 580exii looks ridiculous enough by itself on the camera. That card wouldn't help much :D

Even if I get past looking like a dork, that still doesn't seem like a large enough source to produce a soft light. I'm sure it beats direct 580exii though.

Thanks anyway I might give it a shot to see if it helps a bit.




  
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