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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 11 May 2015 (Monday) 12:06
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Question about natural light vs off camera

 
digitalduck
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May 11, 2015 12:06 |  #1

Hi guys!

Since im still mostly a portrait guy I still try to go all out and use my strobe off camera in either a soft box or umbrella. My question basically is regarding just using spot metering instead.

I love the idea and haven’t been doing that yet. I have an engagement session coming up this weekend in garden of the gods (Colorado). I have a reflector that I will bring but am curious if I can just leave the off camera equipment home. I would love to use it, but really like the simplicity of just using spot metering and a reflector when fill/key light is needed.

I guess the question is, while ill bring both, it really looks like I could be just fine using spot metering and then finishing in post of course.




  
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RMH
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May 11, 2015 12:42 |  #2

You seem to have two very different things mixed up here? Off camera strobe and spot metering aren't normally one or the other types things. It's almost like saying "shall I use a softbox on my strobe or manual focus?".

You should be able to get the right exposure with or without a spot meter, depending on how well you know the other tools available to you, and your choice to use natural vs artificial light, well whatever gives you the look you're going for.

Can you rephrase the question a bit? (Unless I'm just completely misreading this; apologies if so!)



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digitalduck
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May 11, 2015 12:46 as a reply to  @ RMH's post |  #3

Thanks RHM and yeah I could have phrased it better. I bought the natural light for couples from SLR Lounge. So they only used spot meter for the skin and then a reflector as needed for fill. It actually works out pretty well. However, im so used ot using off camera in either setup (softbox or umbrella) to achieve my exposure... So Ill have ot try it before hand to see how it works.




  
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RMH
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Post edited over 4 years ago by RMH. (4 edits in all)
     
May 11, 2015 12:48 |  #4

oh I see what you're saying, I think... You mean using the spot meter to check the main and fill rations when using natural light?

If so the good thing about natural light is that it's continuous and you can just see the ratios with your eyes (not in numbers, but in effect), but yeah, a spot meter in natural light could be used like an incidence meter in a studio to give you ratios



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digitalduck
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May 11, 2015 12:57 as a reply to  @ RMH's post |  #5

Thank you, that brings up an interesting question. I have a light meter I could certainly use, however, I like the idea of exposing for the skin with spot metering, I guess ill have to see how it comes out. I could always use off camera, but then im exposing for background and then bringing up couple to match that with flash.. so i guess it depends on what is dpeing the or what the environment is (say mountains ine background etc0 Thanks again!

Video clip from SLR Lounge

http://www.slrlounge.c​om …ct-exposures-in-one-shot/ (external link)




  
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RMH
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Post edited over 4 years ago by RMH. (4 edits in all)
     
May 11, 2015 13:07 as a reply to  @ digitalduck's post |  #6

Watched as much as I could take of that video. There's some pretty patch information in there -- the idea you can get 'correct' exposure for everything and anything by using an uncompensated spot meter reading is a long was short of the mark, however, I understand what you trying to do now.

I would meter after you've brought in the reflector. You will have to play around with different compensations for different skin tones, and you will have to decide which bit of skin you want as your mid tone -- you will get different readings from different parts of the face. Id recommend a cheek if you're set on doing this.

In all though honesty it seems like a waste of time to me -- I use manual when the light is controllable and consistent (flash) and Av in evaluative when it's not (outside) and get great results, dialing in some exposure comp as needed.



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May 11, 2015 13:11 |  #7

If i recall, Garden of the Gods isn't exactly filled with trees or much vegetation at all for that matter. Unless you are in the shadow of one of the larger walls, won't you be dealing with direct sun?

I went to that link, but didn't really take time to look it over. Sure looks like they are shooting in "open shade", pretty much the opposite of what i would expect in GoG.


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May 11, 2015 13:15 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #8

HI Left Handed Brisket, thanks and yeah you're right about GOG but we'r going t o start thankfully around 4-5pm so hopefully enough for the sun to be heading behind the "rocks" Ill be bringing out my flash just was wondering how much easier it would be ot attmept using either spot metering or my sekonic meter and a reflector... that's my big dalema




  
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May 11, 2015 13:22 |  #9

What does the light look like at 4-5pm where you are? If it's beautiful I'd go with the reflector as needed for shadows rather than ruin it with flash. If it looks like mid-day at 45 degrees then whatever you find easier.

I would strongly recommend going and doing some spot meter test shoots in your back yard with a friend relation first -- on an engagement shoot is not really time to be trying out a whole new way of working. Get comfortable with the spot meter technique first, then just decide whether to use a reflector or flash based on artistic preference at the real shoot



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May 11, 2015 13:24 as a reply to  @ RMH's post |  #10

Sorry, I should have mentioned ill be there with my wife and daughter before hand because we like the area and ill definitely do some test runs to see which I like best... thanks for all of the advice!!!

Light about that that around this:

http://www.localattrac​tions.com …s/844_picture1_​image.jpeg (external link)




  
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May 11, 2015 13:25 as a reply to  @ digitalduck's post |  #11

well unless it's today I'd head out to somewhere even sooner and give it a go. No such thing as too much practice...



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May 11, 2015 14:05 |  #12

digitalduck wrote in post #17552129 (external link)
HI Left Handed Brisket, thanks and yeah you're right about GOG but we'r going t o start thankfully around 4-5pm so hopefully enough for the sun to be heading behind the "rocks" Ill be bringing out my flash just was wondering how much easier it would be ot attmept using either spot metering or my sekonic meter and a reflector... that's my big dalema

I'm with RMH when he said: "In all though honesty it seems like a waste of time to me -- I use manual when the light is controllable and consistent (flash) and Av in evaluative when it's not (outside) and get great results, dialing in some exposure comp as needed."

"Chimping" might be derogative, but not using the tools modern cameras give is just silly. Looking at the LCD and using blinkies and the histogram with manual exposure settings would provide exactly what i wanted in this controlled situation. I would set a manual exposure and forget about it until the location or light changed.

Reflectors don't do much good with full body environmental poses. You just can't get them close enough. Tight shots, sure, but if you're going out to a scenic location, i'm guessing there will only be a few tight shots. I've never been afraid of on camera bare flash when in open sun, or open shade for that matter.

I took a look at google maps: https://www.google.com …x36dbc21ae7596b​3a!6m1!1e1 (external link)

link probably won't work right, but it jogged my memory a bit. Imagine standing behind Pigs Eye in the shade and using the white rock just a few yards to the east as a gigantic reflector! I haven't looked at Photo Pills lately, but i'm guessing the sun is setting pretty close to due west.

Wait, what? you don't have Photo Pills? You'd better go check it out. :D


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digitalduck
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May 11, 2015 14:18 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #13

LBH, thanks for the info :) I guess I felt that after learning to use my OCF well whether it be strobe or speed light that that is what i would normally have to use outside to allow me to expose for the background. While that's normally true in most cases, what I need to do more of is use natural light unless the couple wants something specific in the background.

So I need to learn to use whats available to me, true, I just need ot make sure i know the difference and when one would be better then the other (natural light or ocf) yes, use my blinkes and dial in so expose comp which again is something i need to do more rather then using my OCF.. Would it make sense to even use my light meter or just rely on the camera :)




  
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May 11, 2015 14:30 |  #14

digitalduck wrote in post #17552222 (external link)
So I need to learn to use whats available to me, true, I just need ot make sure i know the difference and when one would be better then the other (natural light or ocf)

exactly. Using "always" and "never", or even "most cases" is dangerous. Take whatever gear you can easily carry, set up, and effectively use with the resources at hand. Who knows when a cloud bank rolls in, or the client gets there 30 minutes late and the light you had hoped for is gone.

yes, use my blinkes and dial in so expose comp which again is something i need to do more rather then using my OCF.. Would it make sense to even use my light meter or just rely on the camera :)

bold: these two are totally separate issues. Metering is to tell the camera what to do, period. You decide if the flash is needed.

external light meters are great. same advice as above, bring it. but if you keep it in your bag and still get the shots, does it matter?


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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May 11, 2015 14:43 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #15

Thanks LHB! Yeah I think the video threw me off a bit because I was thinking like (you can do that?) meaning that I didn't think using spot metering all the time would achieve results like that and i would just be using my soft box etc instead. However, ill bring it and see if just some natural light while dialing in whatever i may or may not need would be sufficient.

Also, I think one area of using OCF works well for me is I love catch lights.. I know most people do but if I don't I feel defeated lol... so I need to make sure i know "where the light is" If it gets shady etc... but if the sun is to their back then I need something to generate a CL..however on the actual video (purchased one) he either has the sun behind then or just finds the light and is able to generate some decent CL's ... this is mostly irrelevant to my point, im just saying if the son was to their back still, even if its setting, that i would be out of luck for CL lol...its just me..




  
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Question about natural light vs off camera
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