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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 11 Nov 2007 (Sunday) 01:57
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Far subject bouncing question

 
psxindo
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Nov 11, 2007 01:57 |  #1

I'm still learning with bounce flash.

What do you do when you're shooting a person about 15ft away and the ceiling is about 8-10ft?
Do I have to angle the flash? how about zoom? diffuser? I have stofen omni bounce.

Basically what is the best method to take a picture of people that is far, about 15+ft away.

If I bounce straight up, It's not bright enough.
If I angle it, there is a lot of shadow.

Thanks


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Jim ­ M
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Nov 11, 2007 08:19 |  #2

Fifteen feet isn't all that far away and an 8-10ft ceiling isn't all that high. Tell us what you are doing and maybe we can help.

Are you shooting with the flash set on manual and not adjusting for increased distance? Which flash are you using? What ISO? Is the room huge? Is the ceiling dark?




  
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Unity ­ Gain
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Nov 11, 2007 10:39 as a reply to  @ Jim M's post |  #3
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Ok - I don't know if this helps you or not, but I wanted to share.

The farther away a light source is from a subject, the harder the light gets. At certain distances, there will be no difference between a softbox and a bare head.

Try it for yourself. Set up a softbox and move a subject far away...as the distance increases the light gets harder.

I learned this from a portrait photographer that used to shoot lots of large groups of people. He would set his lights up far away and just use bare heads. When I asked him why he didn't use umbrellas or something...he showed me that it made no difference in lighting quality at that distance. In fact, the umbrellas only sucked power from his lights and would force him to shoot at a smaller Depth of Field




  
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psxindo
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Nov 11, 2007 11:57 |  #4

I'm using the flash 580ex II in Ettl about 2/3 to 1 stop FEC. My camera in manual with ISO 400. The room is small. regular home ceiling height.

The problem is I don't want too much shadow. If I were to shoot with the flash pointing straight up, the shot would be darker. But If were to angel the flash, there would be too much shadow.

Is it just better to shoot straight on.

thanks for the help


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Curtis ­ N
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Nov 11, 2007 12:01 |  #5

If you're not getting enough light with any particular bouncing technique, crank up the ISO or open the aperture.

At greater distances you have more DOF, so wider apertures are more tolerable.


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Wilt
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Nov 11, 2007 13:13 |  #6

Unity Gain wrote in post #4295169 (external link)
The farther away a light source is from a subject, the harder the light gets. At certain distances, there will be no difference between a softbox and a bare head.

Try it for yourself. Set up a softbox and move a subject far away...as the distance increases the light gets harder.

This effect is true of a softbox or umbrella, whose surface area comprises the size of the apparent light source. But when you bounce to a ceiling, the ceiling size is very large (compared to the flash) and its entire surface is the light source. An 8' ceiling vs. a 12' ceiling makes an insignificant different in the SIZE of the source, but the height does have an effect on the INTENSITY due to the inverse square falloff from flash to ceiling.


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Wilt
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Nov 11, 2007 13:38 |  #7

Bouncing light is like playing billiards (pool)...the ideal bounce angle you want is where the light strikes the ceiling at a point where the angle downward to the subject is the same as the angle upward from source...angle of incidence = angle of reflectance. To alleviate shadows under the chin and in the eye sockets, one can make use of white reflective card which diverts some light forward to the subject (without going up to the ceiling). If the angle of incidence is about 45 degrees, you get some modest forward direction even without the reflecting card.


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psxindo
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Nov 12, 2007 01:24 |  #8

Thanks...
but when I bounce the flash at an angle, there's too much shadow if the subject is close to the wall, even if the subject to background/wall is about 6-10 ft away...
I will keep learning and trying...


5D mkIII | 5D mkII | 6D | EOS M | 16-35L | 24-70L | 70-200L 2.8 IS mkII | EF-M 22 | 50 1.4 | 85L | 100 2.8 macro | Tamron 17-50 2.8 | 2x 580 ex II | 580 ex | 2x sunpak 383 | 134GB CF |
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SFzip
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Nov 12, 2007 20:49 as a reply to  @ psxindo's post |  #9

Try a smaller angle from vertical, like 80 degrees (between vertical and the 75-degree detent).

Set the zoom to 105mm to reduce the amount of forward light.

Or try vertical + a little bit (1/4") of the built-in white catchlight card.




  
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Curtis ­ N
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Nov 12, 2007 21:32 |  #10

psxindo wrote in post #4299621 (external link)
when I bounce the flash at an angle, there's too much shadow if the subject is close to the wall, even if the subject to background/wall is about 6-10 ft away...

There are several ways to control the amount of light that gets thrown forward.

Varying the angle is one. The Sto-Fen will throw more light from the face than from the sides, so the higher the angle, the less direct light your subject will get.

I almost always point the flash straight up when bouncing and use a bounce card. Sliding the card up and down on the flash head changes the amount of light the subject will get from it.

If you angle the flash head without the Sto-Fen, this can be problematic because the top of the frame might receive direct light from the flash while the bottom of the frame does not. To avoid this, keep the angle relatively high and the flash zoom at a relatively long setting.


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Jim ­ M
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Nov 12, 2007 22:42 |  #11

psxindo wrote in post #4295517 (external link)
I'm using the flash 580ex II in Ettl about 2/3 to 1 stop FEC. My camera in manual with ISO 400. The room is small. regular home ceiling height.

The problem is I don't want too much shadow. If I were to shoot with the flash pointing straight up, the shot would be darker. But If were to angel the flash, there would be too much shadow.

Is it just better to shoot straight on.

thanks for the help

In an ordinary home-sized room, I think you should have enough light with a 580EX. Try using no FEC and shooting not quite straight up, but at one or two notches forward. I just did this very thing as a test and I even tried the wide angle pull-out thing over the flash. I also shot with and without the little pull-out card for catchlights. I was shooting pictures of my wife 15-17 ft away at f/5.6, ISO 400 and getting well exposed pictures with no deep shadows. f/5.6 was about as small an aperture as I could use under those circumstances. (I would show you an example, but I promised my wife that if she would help me, I wouldn't show the pictures to anyone.)

If you still can't get a decent exposure, try upping the ISO a bit or opening up the lens a bit more or both. I really think you are on the verge of getting it.

I might mention that I almost never use FEC with bounce flash.




  
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Jim ­ M
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Nov 12, 2007 22:56 |  #12

psxindo wrote in post #4299621 (external link)
Thanks...
but when I bounce the flash at an angle, there's too much shadow if the subject is close to the wall, even if the subject to background/wall is about 6-10 ft away...
I will keep learning and trying...

I think you must be bleeding some of the direct light from the flash onto your subjects because if you were moving the light striking the ceiling closer to your subjects, the shadows would actually be lower down than if the light was bounced from directly above the camera. Try bouncing at just one or two notches from vertical. This effect may be worsened by one of the various so-called diffusers since they spread the light more than does a bare flash head and as a result, send direct beams at the subject since none of them is actually big enough to diffuse the light by itself.




  
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Souwalker
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Nov 12, 2007 23:00 |  #13

Jim M wrote:
=Jim M;4305317 f/5.6 was about as small an aperture as I could use under those circumstances. .

I understood that f.5.6 is good for 1 subject but if I used f/5.6 in a group of 3 subjects, the middle subject is always in focus but the other 2 is slightly out of focus. How do I get all in focus? I read somewhere in this that f/8 is good for more then 1 subject but that's what I did and I still got one subject slightly blurred.

does the aperture speed have any bearing to the amount of light getting in?

Rgds
pat




  
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Jim ­ M
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Nov 13, 2007 07:44 |  #14

Souwalker wrote in post #4305409 (external link)
I understood that f.5.6 is good for 1 subject but if I used f/5.6 in a group of 3 subjects, the middle subject is always in focus but the other 2 is slightly out of focus. How do I get all in focus? I read somewhere in this that f/8 is good for more then 1 subject but that's what I did and I still got one subject slightly blurred.

does the aperture speed have any bearing to the amount of light getting in?

Rgds
pat

It depends on how far you are away from the subjects, the focal length of the lens, and most importantly, how far the subjects are from each other front to back. There are lenses out there that have curved planes of focus as well, but that is a whole different kettle of fish. A smaller aperture (larger f/stop number) increases depth of field (the depth of what is in perceived to be in focus). So, f/8 has increased depth of field over f/5.6. Is either one of those values providing enough depth of field? It depends. I used to shoot a group of about thirty kids lined up on three or four steps at the front of a church sanctuary. I shot at f/5.6 with a 35mm lens and everyone was in reasonable focus. Using the same lens at the same aperture, if I were to get closer so that I only had three kids in the shot, one on each step, probably only one would be in sharp focus. Lots of factors enter into this.

As to your other question, an iris diaphragm forms a hole in the center of the lens that is the aperture. At f/8 the hole is smaller than it is at f/5.6. The smaller hole lets in less light. In fact, the amount of light between f/5.6 and f/8 is exactly half or, in photographer's shorthand, one "stop." The "stop" expression came from the fact that lens manufacturers in the good old days put a click stop on the aperture adjustment ring at these 1/2 values. So to answer your second question, yes, adjusting the aperture does adjust the amount of light going through the lens and that includes when using flash.

It occurs to me that modern cameras don't make the aperture very obvious because they only close down for the instant of the shot. The exception is in those instances where the camera has a depth of field preview and you use it while looking at the lens from the front. The result is that you never actually see the iris diaphragm that makes f/stops so obvious and relatively easy to understand. I suspect there isn't an old timer out there that didn't take his/her lens off and play around with the iris diaphragm just because it was cool to look at. So far, that is about the only advantage I see in being an old geezer.




  
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fotofitness
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Nov 13, 2007 12:11 |  #15

psxindo,

Point the 580EX II straight up. Use the builtin catchlight card on the 580EX II. I think you will be surprised at the results.


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Far subject bouncing question
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