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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 16 Oct 2012 (Tuesday) 17:23
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Natural vs. Artificial Light - your examples and explanations

 
Buchinger
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Nov 03, 2012 20:20 |  #46

Okay - Since I was the catalyst to this thread starting I will jump in. While I'm not comfortable posting pictures given the level of work that started it off, I've got to start somewhere and won't learn otherwise. Hopefully this will help some other beginning flash users as well!

I'd like to focus on the lighting aspect of my photo, and try to avoid tearing me apart otherwise - that can be a different thread.

I feel like I'm having a hard time getting a feel for where to start. Unfortunately, these were shot in ETTL so I don't really know if there is much I can learn.

Basically, I've read that many people start by dropping the ambient about two stops and then use fill to bring the subjects up and make them "pop". In my first image I dropped the ambient about 2 stops (actually, maybe I didn't, I used evaluative metering, and metered the SCENE down 2 stops, which is probably wrong given the subjects were in the shade? This is the stuff I'm trying to learn). I feel the result was a crappy, fake flash looking photo.

In the second photo, I think I under exposed the scene just a hair below 0, maybe a 1/3 stop (manual mode), and used my flash for fill as the subjects were shaded. Unfortunately I don't have a non flash shot of the scene. The second shot I feel is must more natural looking (can't tell there is a flash as much), and much more pleasing and balanced.

I guess, considering I took only 2 shots to get the result that I'm happy with, I don't really know when to under expose the background, and when not to?

My other question is, this was lit with a 430 EXII, shooting through a 40" umbrella. Would a larger light source or modifier (or some other change to the lighting setup), have made photo number 1 look better, or did I initially come at it with the wrong approach?

Thanks!

Oh - another question - is there a way to extract the actual power level the flash fired at when shot in ETTL mode?


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Buchinger
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Nov 03, 2012 20:26 |  #47

And here is the first image with some adjustments (since I hadn't really tried any because I still preferred Image 2 out of the camera...


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JakAHearts
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Nov 04, 2012 17:14 |  #48

As far as lighting ratio and "flashy" appearance goes, your second image looks the most pleasing to me. Try not to worry so much about the exact numbers for now. Also, in the first image, your subjects are underexposed. :D


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Buchinger
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Nov 11, 2012 07:25 |  #49

The numbers are the only way to explain how someone has done something and why an image looks the way it does (from an exposure point of view). That is why I'm so focused on them. Its very difficult to sit there and muddle through it without some type of guidelines. And for some reason I feel the trend on these forums (until this thread), is that most people are very vague about actual settings and the thought process behind it. I'm not sure if its because its top secret, or because they assume everyone else already knows how.

The more I've learned about the math behind the numbers, the easier the decision making process has gotten. Looking and "Seeing" the light has also helped.

But I still may see a scene, and have a vision in my head how I want it lit or the end result to look, but don't know how to make that happen. I can't see "Oh I want this flash to be a stop brighter than ambient" or "that rim light should be 3 stops brighter" or "I'm going to drop ambient 2 stops for this one to add drama". I still can't think of a scene in terms of "stops".

THAT is why I'm so interested in the setup and thought PROCESS as well as any metering that accompanied the setup. So those of use just getting, can see how the more experienced guys do it.




  
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CptTripps
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Jun 18, 2013 19:13 |  #50

To me, in the first picture everything is underexposed where the second is simply a better exposure. Both seem to have a very similar natural/artificial light ratio.

Using ETTL there are not many numbers to be thrown around. When using modifiers + lightstands + still subject then shoot manual everything :) Consistent results that you can troubleshoot/learn from.

As for numbers I use, I have pictures on my phone with guide numbers for all my flash units. I don't use them much anymore but it really helped with understanding my lights capabilities. Just remember each time you halve or double the power that is a stop. 1/8 to 1/4 to 1/2 etc.


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JoeDamaso
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Jun 20, 2013 15:43 |  #51

Natural and artificial light. Key light = natural, rim light = flash+cto

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DigitalDon
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Jun 25, 2013 08:16 |  #52

Buchinger wrote in post #15232405 (external link)
The numbers are the only way to explain how someone has done something and why an image looks the way it does (from an exposure point of view). That is why I'm so focused on them. Its very difficult to sit there and muddle through it without some type of guidelines. And for some reason I feel the trend on these forums (until this thread), is that most people are very vague about actual settings and the thought process behind it. I'm not sure if its because its top secret, or because they assume everyone else already knows how.

The more I've learned about the math behind the numbers, the easier the decision making process has gotten. Looking and "Seeing" the light has also helped.

But I still may see a scene, and have a vision in my head how I want it lit or the end result to look, but don't know how to make that happen. I can't see "Oh I want this flash to be a stop brighter than ambient" or "that rim light should be 3 stops brighter" or "I'm going to drop ambient 2 stops for this one to add drama". I still can't think of a scene in terms of "stops".

THAT is why I'm so interested in the setup and thought PROCESS as well as any metering that accompanied the setup. So those of use just getting, can see how the more experienced guys do it.

" I'm not sure if its because its top secret, or because they assume everyone else already knows how."

I think it is because they assume everyone else already knows how."
I sure wish photography came as naturally to me as computers did, but with photography it's like a friend of mine that is in his early 80's and is trying to learn the computer. I'm sure that computers are as complicated as digital photography but I just can't wrap my mind around photography like I can my computer.

As the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words, picture of the set up and a picture of the end results, A picture with histogram, EXIF, ect. no words needed.



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Zansho
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Jun 25, 2013 12:07 |  #53

I choose this as my artificial light example.

I don't think I could have accomplished a dramatic effect such as this one with just plain ol' natural light. I wanted something very stark, strong, and to make the viewer go WOW.

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5501/9059448155_c3e3a7cd95_b.jpg

Simple as that.

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Zansho
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Jun 25, 2013 12:09 |  #54

Natural light - I choose this one as my example. I felt that if I used a strobe, I'd lose the impact of the sunset light, at around 5PM in the wintertime. Strobe would have killed this effect.

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Jun 25, 2013 19:08 as a reply to  @ Zansho's post |  #55

22" BD with an AB1600- 3:00PM Light

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22" BD with a 4X ND filter 4:ooPM Light
F/2.0 @1/200 ISO 50 with an 85L

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Jun 25, 2013 19:29 as a reply to  @ umphotography's post |  #56

100% all natural light

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CptTripps
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Jun 25, 2013 19:49 |  #57

Fantasic light! Nice examples.


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Jun 25, 2013 20:08 as a reply to  @ CptTripps's post |  #58

Speedotron 202 head running at minimum power into a 3x4 softbox, bounced off the ceiling to further cut power.

Isnt she cute!


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dmward
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Jun 25, 2013 22:51 |  #59

pyrojim wrote in post #16064955 (external link)
Speedotron 202 head running at minimum power into a 3x4 softbox, bounced off the ceiling to further cut power.

Isnt she cute!

Yes! and really patient to let you drag all that equipment into the room where she was trying to relax. :-)


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Jun 28, 2013 07:05 |  #60

umphotography wrote in post #16064801 (external link)
22" BD with AB1600
2:ooPM light
F/11 light
9X ND filter let me shoot t at F/3.2

QUOTED IMAGE

You say F11 light, can you explain what the other settings are that make it F11 please?
I've seen people write similar things in the past, like F8, or F16, but never sure what it means. Is there a given set of the iso and SS that is used so only the aperture requires mentioning?




  
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Natural vs. Artificial Light - your examples and explanations
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