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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 25 Apr 2011 (Monday) 09:25
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How do wedding photogs do it?

 
jeljohns
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Apr 25, 2011 09:25 |  #1

I've been reading (and reading and reading!) books and websites about flash. I know most people say that taking the flash off camera is the best light, I get that (still DO NOT understand flash one bit though).

BUT...

At every wedding I go to the photographer usually just has a speedlight with a diffuser on it (like a stofen). When I see the finished photographs they usually look very good.
So my question is...how do they do it with the flash on camera?

I'm curious about this because I got recruted to take pictures at my job's family night. Just candid shots of families together. I am worried because it will be inside areas where it will be darker and I know I'll need fill light with my on camera speedlight.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!




  
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GavinTing
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Apr 25, 2011 09:28 |  #2

People have been making awesome pictures with on camera flash before the whole "off-camera-flash" craze began...


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TheAnt
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Apr 25, 2011 09:33 |  #3

I've found using a flash bracket helps out. You should also try bouncing your flash if you can. Don't shoot it straight on at the subject.


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Sylvester ­ XxX
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Apr 25, 2011 09:35 |  #4

read up using Flash exposure compensation along with ETTL.

You Probably want to be balancing the flash with the ambient with the on cam flash playing the part of fill light.


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Mike ­ Bell
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Apr 25, 2011 09:36 as a reply to  @ TheAnt's post |  #5

On-camera flash works well for fill-in lighting, but looks poor when the flash is the main light source.

.... that is most of what I know about flash :cry: .... but don't worry a real expert will be along in a minute ...


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Tim ­ Snow
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Apr 25, 2011 09:38 |  #6

Lots and lots of practice.
You have to learn to judge each situation differently, and change your settings as you go. This is one of the reasons I shoot manual, all it takes is a quick chimp and you will know if you need to add exposure or flash or whatever.
Using tricks like second curtain flash or shooting with a slower shutter speed help tremendously to avoid the dark tunnel look.
Practice makes perfect!


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Sylvester ­ XxX
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Apr 25, 2011 09:40 |  #7

It would be good to get an understanding of off camera lighting as bouncing off a surface is effectively creating a larger light source from a position away from the camera.


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jeljohns
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Apr 25, 2011 09:48 |  #8

GavinTing wrote in post #12288267 (external link)
People have been making awesome pictures with on camera flash before the whole "off-camera-flash" craze began...

But how? :)

That's what I need to know. How can I take decent candids of these families inside using just my camera and speedlight.? Oh, and I have to do this next week. As I said before I have spent the last year reading every book/website about flash I could get my hands on. I still do not get ANYTHING about flash. It is probably the most confusing thing in the world to me. Unfortunately I don't think I'm going to magically "get it" in the next week. That being said...I still have to take these pictures and have them look decent! Eeek.




  
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Peacefield
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Apr 25, 2011 09:49 |  #9

It may be just a matter of a critical eye. I, too, have attended events where I see the dreaded Sto-fen appoach being used and I'm always anxious to see the pics. While not necessarily bad (many including possibly the client would think they're very nice), these photos are not beautiful. And if you're trying to attract clients that will pay you buckets of money to shoot their wedding, you need to know how to make those shots beautiful.

So getting back to your situation, I would continue to learn, experiment, and practice, but don't fret your company event. I little bouncing off the ceiling plus a bounce card attached to your flash is all you really need to do a very nice job.


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jeljohns
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Apr 25, 2011 09:51 |  #10

Peacefield wrote in post #12288365 (external link)
It may be just a matter of a critical eye. I, too, have attended events where I see the dreaded Sto-fen appoach being used and I'm always anxious to see the pics. While not necessarily bad (many including possibly the client would think they're very nice), these photos are not beautiful. And if you're trying to attract clients that will pay you buckets of money to shoot their wedding, you need to know how to make those shots beautiful.

So getting back to your situation, I would continue to learn, experiment, and practice, but don't fret your company event. I little bouncing off the ceiling plus a bounce card attached to your flash is all you really need to do a very nice job.

But I am mainly confused about what settings to use on the camera and flash, and also what to do about the dreaded yucky indoor lighting and balancing that with flash. I don't want the pictures to look "flashy" like a crappy point and shoot was used. :)




  
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elogical
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Apr 25, 2011 09:52 |  #11

This is an interesting topic, I've wondered this too. I went to 5 weddings last summer (including my own) and in only one case did I even see the photog get the flash off the camera.... and in this case, it was for part of the ceremony only and then he went straight back to using on camera with a dome diffuser.

I don't shoot weddings and don't ever intend to but I've read up on this stuff a bit for doing event photography. A lot of these photogs I've seen doing weddings appear to be lacking a basic understanding of how to use light.... but then again, maybe they don't because the pictures come out looking better than anything I could take. Experience I guess.

It really bothers me to be at a wedding and watch the photographer make all the n00b mistakes people warn against on here and yet still come out with fairly good pictures.... nothing breathtaking, but consistent and very decent.


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Nathan
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Apr 25, 2011 09:55 |  #12

How: By understanding light.

There're plenty of situations that can be easily controlled with off-camera flash, but it's not always practical. Photography is about understanding light. The best photographers are able to assess the ambient light situation, use what's available, and bounce flash off of walls and ceilings to make up for what's missing in ambient.

So essentially, bounce flash is key. The diffusers help a bit when there's nothing to bounce off of.

Just as others have mentioned... practice, practice, practice! But also... experiment, experiment, experiment! Maybe not so much during an actual wedding, but take notes of different situations and see how you can manipulate a scene.


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elogical
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Apr 25, 2011 09:56 |  #13

jeljohns wrote in post #12288362 (external link)
But how? :)

That's what I need to know. How can I take decent candids of these families inside using just my camera and speedlight.? Oh, and I have to do this next week. As I said before I have spent the last year reading every book/website about flash I could get my hands on. I still do not get ANYTHING about flash. It is probably the most confusing thing in the world to me. Unfortunately I don't think I'm going to magically "get it" in the next week. That being said...I still have to take these pictures and have them look decent! Eeek.

A lot depends on the room and setting. If you have a huge dark room without any light-colored surfaces to bounce off of, that's when it gets really tough, but you'll have no problem getting "decent" pictures with little effort as long as there's something around to bounce off of and you play with the flash exposure comp a little

...and then here we tie back into the wedding question... because wedding ceremonies and receptions are quite often set in rooms that don't allow for the standard bounce tricks and that's where it starts getting tougher


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gonzogolf
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Apr 25, 2011 09:59 |  #14

jeljohns wrote in post #12288362 (external link)
But how? :)

That's what I need to know. How can I take decent candids of these families inside using just my camera and speedlight.? Oh, and I have to do this next week. As I said before I have spent the last year reading every book/website about flash I could get my hands on. I still do not get ANYTHING about flash. It is probably the most confusing thing in the world to me. Unfortunately I don't think I'm going to magically "get it" in the next week. That being said...I still have to take these pictures and have them look decent! Eeek.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice... To make on camera flash work you need to understand the balance between ambient and flash, you need to learn how to bounce the flash so its not blasting directly at the subject, when you cant bounce you need to find some other method of softening the light. Mastering that in a week is a big goal. Start here though
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Blurr ­ Cube
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Apr 25, 2011 10:15 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #15

Keep in mind that in between the "finished" product and the "initial" product, there may have been a lot of PP in play.

These wedding photogs can put in hours of pp on their shots and must present a "final" product to their customers.

So, shoot RAW then PP and you can do the same. ;)


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