Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 06 Nov 2014 (Thursday) 12:25
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

Need Advice for Portraits with a City in Background

 
Jeannine
Hatchling
8 posts
Joined Oct 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
     
Nov 06, 2014 12:25 |  #1

I need some advice on taking a few portraits in front of a city at night (specifically Pittsburgh on Mt Washington in case you know the area). I am working with an off camera flash 430ex ii, either a 50mm f1.4 or 24-70 f4 and the flash can be in a softbox if needed. I want the subject to be properly exposed but also get some sparkling city lights in the background. Going out to play with this setup tonight so any advice you have on what camera or flash settings would be appropriate would be appreciated. First time using off camera flash at night thanks for the help!




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
ksbal
Goldmember
Avatar
2,745 posts
Gallery: 374 photos
Best ofs: 9
Likes: 2414
Joined Sep 2010
Location: N.E. Kansas
     
Nov 06, 2014 12:31 |  #2

You will need a tripod and to 'drag the shutter' meaning the flash will fire and freeze your subject, but then the shutter needs to stay open to properly expose the city. Your subject will need to stay still.

So figure out the shot by first figuring out the exposure needed for the city, then adding the model and appropriate flash level for exposure and you got it. You may want to bump the iso a bit so the exposure isn't too long.


Godox/Flashpoint r2 system, plus some canon stuff.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
bps
Cream of the Crop
7,607 posts
Likes: 406
Joined Mar 2007
Location: California
     
Nov 06, 2014 12:42 |  #3

^ This advice is a s good as it gets.

Good luck OP, let us know how it comes out!

Bryan


My Gear List

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
gonzogolf
dumb remark memorialized
30,171 posts
Gallery: 263 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 7906
Joined Dec 2006
     
Nov 06, 2014 12:52 |  #4

This is where you need to get a grasp on the idea that a flash photo has 2 different exposure values in one shot. The first value is the ambient value, basically what your camera records without the flash. In this case its the cityscape. So you need to start by in effect setting up for a landscape photo. Lets guess that you can get the city lights to look good at 1/5 of a second @ f8 ( just a hypothetical ) in manual mode. Then you add the subject and turn on the flash. If you are using ETTL flash it will get close to correct exposure, then dial in flash exposure compensation to fine tune. If you are using manual flash then start at low power 1/16 or so and add more power each test shot until you are happy. Keep in mind that in these circumstances shutter speed has almost zero effect on the flash exposure. So you can adjust the background exposure by lenghthening or shortening the shutter speed without changing anything else. If you change the aperture it will change both the background and the flash exposure so its best to pick the aperture you want for creative reasons and adjust shutter speed and flash power to get the balance between the two elements.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
CanonVsNikon
Senior Member
255 posts
Joined Jan 2013
     
Nov 06, 2014 14:51 |  #5
bannedPermanent ban

gonzogolf wrote in post #17255978 (external link)
This is where you need to get a grasp on the idea that a flash photo has 2 different exposure values in one shot. The first value is the ambient value, basically what your camera records without the flash. In this case its the cityscape. So you need to start by in effect setting up for a landscape photo. Lets guess that you can get the city lights to look good at 1/5 of a second @ f8 ( just a hypothetical ) in manual mode. Then you add the subject and turn on the flash. If you are using ETTL flash it will get close to correct exposure, then dial in flash exposure compensation to fine tune. If you are using manual flash then start at low power 1/16 or so and add more power each test shot until you are happy. Keep in mind that in these circumstances shutter speed has almost zero effect on the flash exposure. So you can adjust the background exposure by lenghthening or shortening the shutter speed without changing anything else. If you change the aperture it will change both the background and the flash exposure so its best to pick the aperture you want for creative reasons and adjust shutter speed and flash power to get the balance between the two elements.

Just as long as you don't go above flash sync speed (usually 1/200 or 1/250) which won't be a problem here as you are probably dealing with really low ss. If you go above flash sync speed you will effect the flash or subject exposure.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Jeannine
THREAD ­ STARTER
Hatchling
8 posts
Joined Oct 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
     
Nov 06, 2014 16:01 as a reply to  @ CanonVsNikon's post |  #6

Thank you all! Do you think I need to do a rear curtain when flashing too? Or does it not matter?




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
gonzogolf
dumb remark memorialized
30,171 posts
Gallery: 263 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 7906
Joined Dec 2006
     
Nov 06, 2014 16:06 |  #7

Jeannine wrote in post #17256320 (external link)
Thank you all! Do you think I need to do a rear curtain when flashing too? Or does it not matter?

It wont matter in this circumstance. Second curtain is only a factor when you anticipate movement in the subject.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
tonylong
...winded
Avatar
54,657 posts
Gallery: 60 photos
Likes: 546
Joined Sep 2007
Location: Vancouver, WA USA
     
Nov 07, 2014 08:30 |  #8

If you can, paste a card to the back of the flash, then bend the flash up to "bounce" it


Tony
Two Canon cameras (5DC, 30D), three Canon lenses (24-105, 100-400, 100mm macro)
Tony Long Photos on PBase (external link)
Wildlife project pics here (external link), Biking Photog shoots here (external link), "Suburbia" project here (external link)! Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood pics here (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Snafoo
Goldmember
Avatar
1,431 posts
Gallery: 92 photos
Best ofs: 2
Likes: 712
Joined Feb 2011
Location: Peculiar
     
Nov 07, 2014 15:52 |  #9

I might also suggest trying to schedule the shoot at dusk rather than in full darkness. This will render the sky a nice deep blue rather than inky black and will even out the overall exposure of the scene. Google "Gregory Heisler Guiliani" for an example of a portrait with a cityscape background.


http://www.jonstot.com​/ (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
iowajim
Senior Member
Avatar
518 posts
Gallery: 3 photos
Likes: 53
Joined Mar 2011
Location: North Central Iowa
     
Nov 07, 2014 15:58 |  #10

Shooting in aperture priority on a Canon will cause the camera to meter for ambient and then flash for fill light on your subject.


Jim, in Iowa
80D / T2i / Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 / Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 / Canon 24-105 f4 / Tamron SP VC 70-200mm f2.8 / Sigma 150-600mm C

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
gonzogolf
dumb remark memorialized
30,171 posts
Gallery: 263 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 7906
Joined Dec 2006
     
Nov 07, 2014 16:14 |  #11

You also have to pay attention to the background separation and the subject. Even though your background will be made of lights you still have to be aware that subjects with dark hair can blend into dark parts of the scene. So take care to either pose the subject so that an area of light is directly behind your subject's hair. You can add dimension to the scene by adding a rim light from behind and to the side.

One more consideration is a mismatch in color between the flash and the glow of the city lights. The city lights will have a warm yellow brown glow if you use the flash white balance. If Pittsburgh has gond to LED streetlamps it might be less so. If you do get a yellow tinge you have the option of gelling the flash to match. An orange gel like a 1/2 or 1/4 CTO and a custom WB would whiten up the city lights a bit.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Jeannine
THREAD ­ STARTER
Hatchling
8 posts
Joined Oct 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
     
Nov 08, 2014 09:55 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #12

So the event I needed the advice for was a surprise proposal. I was extremely nervous because this is out of the norm for me to shoot night portraits and its such an important moment for the couple. I had recently purchased equipment to do an OCF and this was the first time using it in the field. I practiced the settings the prior night and I am pretty happy with how they turned out.The attached images is not retouched or anything. If I could do it again I would just try to think slower and get all the shots I want, watch the shadows, and maybe make the city a bit brighter. Thank you for all of the advice I had it on the 'cheat sheet' in my pocket in case I totally blanked out!


HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
ksbal
Goldmember
Avatar
2,745 posts
Gallery: 374 photos
Best ofs: 9
Likes: 2414
Joined Sep 2010
Location: N.E. Kansas
     
Nov 12, 2014 16:04 |  #13

You did great, now go out and experiment with a willing model sometime - experience on the location is never a bad thing. In this case, an additional flash behind the couple, and low to be blocked by them may have added some rim light to help his black jacket from fading into the bg. Worth getting someone in a black jacket and playing around till you find the right combo for you.


Godox/Flashpoint r2 system, plus some canon stuff.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
gonzogolf
dumb remark memorialized
30,171 posts
Gallery: 263 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 7906
Joined Dec 2006
     
Nov 12, 2014 16:07 |  #14

Yup a slightly longer shutter speed would have lightened the backgound just enough to get the hair to stand out.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
watt100
Cream of the Crop
14,021 posts
Likes: 29
Joined Jun 2008
     
Nov 15, 2014 06:32 |  #15

ksbal wrote in post #17255942 (external link)
You will need a tripod and to 'drag the shutter' meaning the flash will fire and freeze your subject, but then the shutter needs to stay open to properly expose the city. Your subject will need to stay still.

So figure out the shot by first figuring out the exposure needed for the city, then adding the model and appropriate flash level for exposure and you got it. You may want to bump the iso a bit so the exposure isn't too long.

looks like the 'dragging the shutter' technique worked




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

1,938 views & 0 likes for this thread
Need Advice for Portraits with a City in Background
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is john4938
701 guests, 272 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.