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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 13 Apr 2019 (Saturday) 01:03
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Camera Mounted Flash Questions

 
goalerjones
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Apr 13, 2019 01:03 |  #1

For my church I've been shooting events with just room lighting only but now feel I have to try and tackle learning how to properly use my flash. The building has top-down lighting which amounts to mini spot-lights and creates horrible harsh lighting that I have to try an avoid. I have a new 5DM4 (coming next week and have to learn that thing too) a Speedlight 580EX, and a small paper diffuser that mounts with an elastic strap to my flash, but I cannot bounce the light because the ceiling and walls are very dark.

1) Is there an online source you'd recommend (even an audio book), or perhaps a series of videos that would help?
2) Should I get something like the MagMod, or the Gary Fong system to better do the job?
3) Should I look into getting a newer flash to take advantage of a newer camera?

I won't be using anything else but the camera-mounted flash, so off-camera options won't work for me.




  
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inkista
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Apr 13, 2019 13:48 |  #2

goalerjones wrote in post #18844724 (external link)
... I cannot bounce the light because the ceiling and walls are very dark.

Don't always assume this (external link).

1) Is there an online source you'd recommend (even an audio book), or perhaps a series of videos that would help?

Neil van Nierkerk's Tangents website (external link) is for on-camera flash what the Strobist is for off-camera. It also comes in book form (external link).

2) Should I get something like the MagMod, or the Gary Fong system to better do the job?

Of the two, I'd go MagMod, just because you have a wider choice of modifiers. But the tupperware dome-type things are going to throw light out in all directions, vs. the bounce card/scoop-type and still be relatively hard (small size). A flashbender or maybe the fstoppers disc (if you use the flash on a TTL cable) might work better if what you're after is less hard light.

Ideally, if you can, you get into off-camera flash (external link). :D

If you can bounce, I'd recommend van Niekerk's BFT (external link) flag.

3) Should I look into getting a newer flash to take advantage of a newer camera?
I won't be using anything else but the camera-mounted flash, so off-camera options won't work for me.

The 580EX's main drawback with the newer camera bodies is that it can't communicate with the camera via the flash control menus. The 580EXII can. But the current Canon flashes are mostly about also having built-in radio triggering and more off-camera flash features (groups D&E, Gr mode, using flashes as remote shutter releases, etc.) and you say you aren't interested in those.

But your 580EX is still completely compatible with your camera, and for on-camera use, you aren't necessarily going to see much difference, other than having to make settings on the flash itself rather than the camera menus.

You also don't need to go OEM to get menu-communication. The newer TTL 3rd-party flashes, like a Godox TT685-C or Yongnuo YN-600EX-RT or YN-568EXII can do it, too.


I'm a woman. I shoot with a Fuji X100T, Panasonic GX-7, Canon 5DmkII, and 50D. flickr stream (external link)

  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Apr 15, 2019 05:45 |  #3

agree. gotta at least test it.

Often church walls slope downward toward the left and right which might provide a good bounce area.

Without that option, a couple of off camera flashes on stands left and right bounced can help.

Last option is to just use direct flash. With a color balanced flash, proper ambient exposure, and good technique, direct flash can work wonders and not give obviously flashed image.


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Intheswamp
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Apr 15, 2019 07:33 |  #4

I'm no pro...just flyin' by the seat of my pants.;-)a

I've shot lots of events for our small church. I'm no pro. We do have lower, light-colored ceilings so that is a plus. But, at times I'd have to shoot outdoors. I came up with this item, which I started using indoors also and really seemed to do wonders for fill lighting. https://photography-on-the.net …showthread.php?​p=17328181 . That's a cheap mod if you wanted to experiment on using this type of modifier. FWIW.

Realizing that, though it was a conversation piece for people :lol:, it was somewhat distracting and didn't look "professional". I then bought a Rogue Flash Bender (external link) and it works great!

You appear to have some fair ambient lighting since you report that you have been using it to photograph with. With that ambient light and your flash modifier you would probably see a nice improvement. You might have to gel your flash to match the ambient light color.

The Yongnuo's have worked well for me.

Tupperware works well for leftover salads. But, if you opt for it you can always add some reflective material (mylar, aluminum foil, etc) to the backside of it to throw the light forward (and not surprise the folks standing behind you :) ).

Best wishes,
Ed


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goalerjones
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Apr 15, 2019 10:35 |  #5

Our church is in an old hardware store building, so the ceilings are very high.


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gonzogolf
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Apr 15, 2019 18:48 |  #6

Raise your iso and try bouncing before you dismiss it entirely. Even high dark ceilings can reflect back. Also look at a bounce card like the xl sized rogue flashbender




  
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Apr 15, 2019 19:43 as a reply to  @ goalerjones's post |  #7

where are you shooting from?

from the back? then no you aren't going to gain anything from bounce.

from that beam? yeah, you'll see some effect from bouncing.

but really, there seems to be plenty of light to work with in there.


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goalerjones
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Post edited 1 month ago by goalerjones. (2 edits in all)
     
Apr 16, 2019 03:21 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #8

I posted the picture more for illustrative purposes to show the high ceilings. The problem with the light for events is that there's several "spotlight" sections which brings out all the wrinkles and crows feet, and then in the corners very low light. The idea for the flash is to be prepared for whatever comes and let people mingle without having to cluster around one spot that has more flattering light. I have this pair now: https://www.amazon.com …_r_cp_apa_i_7jz​TCbDX5NCG6 (external link)




  
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Intheswamp
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Post edited 1 month ago by Intheswamp.
     
Apr 16, 2019 09:00 |  #9

goalerjones wrote in post #18846321 (external link)
I posted the picture more for illustrative purposes to show the high ceilings. The problem with the light for events is that there's several "spotlight" sections which brings out all the wrinkles and crows feet, and then in the corners very low light. The idea for the flash is to be prepared for whatever comes and let people mingle without having to cluster around one spot that has more flattering light. I have this pair now: https://www.amazon.com …_r_cp_apa_i_7jz​TCbDX5NCG6 (external link)

Have you been using these? If you can't bounce and these aren't working then your solution may be more limited and complex, I would think. You may have to move into mounting a couple of speedlights and radio xmitters to that big post with some type of modifiers (shoot-thru umbrellas for blowing light everywhere?).

It seems that you have a situation that isn't conducive to acquiring a "normally" exposed image. You have the beams of really bright light coming down amidst a somewhat dim scene. Maybe you need to rethink your strategy and shoot for the environment, using the light beams to your advantage in spotlighting people. A wide angle shot will still show blown out highlights...if you expose for the shadows.

It's a scene with a really high dynamic tonal range . You could shoot multiple exposures for processing as HDR images but you have people moving around too much. Something you might try is taking a RAW image and use different exposure adjustments to create a number of images to process as an HDR image. Say, figure out what part of the scene will be the "normal" exposure and shoot it...parts will be in shadow and parts blown out. Take the RAW file and adjust the exposure for the shadows and save that file. Next, adjust for the highlights and save that file. And naturally save a file for the "normal" exposure. Then combine these as an HDR image and see what you get. Here is an image of a hay field I shot. The first image is SOC. The second image was made by using the SOC RAW image to create three separate images. The images were adjusted for -2, 0, +2 exposure adjustments and then ran through the HDR utility in DPP4. It's got some vignetting to it which I didn't try to get rid of...the final HDR image is straight out of the processor with no further processing. You would probably want to shoot so as to preserve the highlights...not blow them out.

I'm an uneducated hobbyist so take this with a grain of salt. But, it might be a way for you to get some more even exposures in these shots.

Best wishes,
Ed


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Wilt
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Post edited 1 month ago by Wilt.
     
Apr 16, 2019 09:24 |  #10

goalerjones wrote in post #18846321 (external link)
I posted the picture more for illustrative purposes to show the high ceilings. The problem with the light for events is that there's several "spotlight" sections which brings out all the wrinkles and crows feet, and then in the corners very low light. The idea for the flash is to be prepared for whatever comes and let people mingle without having to cluster around one spot that has more flattering light. I have this pair now: https://www.amazon.com …_r_cp_apa_i_7jz​TCbDX5NCG6 (external link)

So, one simply needs to fill in the shadowed wrinkles and crows feet with a 'direct' source of light...it will not totally eliminate the shadows cast by hard overhead lighting, but it certainly reduces the contrast of the shadows.

Years ago I posted a test on POTN to demonstrate just how effective even a 16x22" softbox is at 20'
https://photography-on-the.net …showthread.php?​p=16135123

A source larger than 5x7" can a much softer fill, even from a longer distance away from the subject.
And if the flash is stronger than the overhead, you overpower the overhead stuff.


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Post edited 1 month ago by Left Handed Brisket. (2 edits in all)
     
Apr 16, 2019 11:31 |  #11

Wilt wrote in post #18846453 (external link)
So, one simply needs to fill in the shadowed wrinkles and crows feet with a 'direct' source of light...it will not totally eliminate the shadows cast by hard overhead lighting, but it certainly reduces the contrast of the shadows.

Years ago I posted a test on POTN to demonstrate just how effective even a 16x22" softbox is at 20'
https://photography-on-the.net …showthread.php?​p=16135123

A source larger than 5x7" can a much softer fill, even from a longer distance away from the subject.
And if the flash is stronger than the overhead, you overpower the overhead stuff.

Agree 100 percent.

Still not quite sure where the subjects are standing. The "milling around" comment makes me think shots of people not on the stage are subjects too?

I'd be surprised if a speedlight in a shoot through umbrella tied to the post would have much effect on the stage at all.


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Wilt
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Apr 16, 2019 18:39 |  #12

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18846499 (external link)
Still not quite sure where the subjects are standing. The "milling around" comment makes me think shots of people not on the stage are subjects too?

I'd be surprised if a speedlight in a shoot through umbrella tied to the post would have much effect on the stage at all.

Some guestimation...the photographer is back about 11-12 rows of seats back from the stage...allowing 55-60" pitch between rows, the photographer is back perhaps 70' from the folks on the stage. If the flash were a Canon 580EX/600EX, it has a ISO 100 Guide Number of 135 when using a 'normal' FL lens, or GN 270 at ISO 400.
That means that at f/4, direct flash reaches to 67'; but use a shoot thru umbrella and the intensity falls perhaps -2EV...the flash reaches only to 34'.


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goalerjones
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Apr 28, 2019 14:27 |  #13

Thanks for all the replies everyone. Let me clarify as the answers reveal some holes.

1) the image provided was not taken using a flash, rather it's the place where I shoot many of the church events. so I thought it best to show the room for better understanding of my situation.
2) I'm using a Canon 580EX flash on my 5DM4, and don't plan on using an off-camera flash.
3) seeing as communication between that flash model and camera isn't the best, would it be better to upgrade my flash?
4) should I just bite the bullet and get a Canon Speedlite or are there equally competant 3rd party makers?




  
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gonzogolf
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Apr 28, 2019 16:58 |  #14

goalerjones wrote in post #18852811 (external link)
Thanks for all the replies everyone. Let me clarify as the answers reveal some holes.

1) the image provided was not taken using a flash, rather it's the place where I shoot many of the church events. so I thought it best to show the room for better understanding of my situation.
2) I'm using a Canon 580EX flash on my 5DM4, and don't plan on using an off-camera flash.
3) seeing as communication between that flash model and camera isn't the best, would it be better to upgrade my flash?
4) should I just bite the bullet and get a Canon Speedlite or are there equally competant 3rd party makers?

No. Not really. Your current flash is plenty capable. It works fine with your camera, learn how to use it properly first, then decide to upgrade later. A new flash won't be be appreciably more powerful or capable for how you intend to use it. The thing to acquire now is knowledge and technique, before you get new gear.




  
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Apr 28, 2019 17:30 |  #15

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18846499 (external link)
Still not quite sure where the subjects are standing. The "milling around" comment makes me think shots of people not on the stage are subjects too?

This needs to be answered.


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