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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 27 Sep 2010 (Monday) 03:37
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Had a flash problem I couldn't get over this weekend

 
Gel
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Sep 27, 2010 03:37 |  #1

This weekend I was in a position I've never been before:

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For the first dance I used flash for some of the images and ambient light for the rest.
The images came out ok, but I found that the ceiling/black drapes were too low and well....black. Direct flash blew out the bride in relation to the background and the white in the chequered flooring just glared everything out as well. Bounce card wasn't helpful either.

I didn't use a diffuser as I never do, I always bounce the flash but in this situation I was really stuck.

On reflection I would of used an off camera flash cord and bounced it off of one of the white floor tiles. But would that of worked or would I of been better off just putting a softbox in the corner with a monolight?

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tim
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Sep 27, 2010 04:51 |  #2

You can't bounce of the floor, you make people look like ghouls. Take a look at my "how I photograph receptions" thread for how i'd do it - basically radio slaved lights in the corners.


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sapearl
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Sep 27, 2010 05:47 |  #3

Hi Gel - what sort of external flash unit were you using? This does look like a rough lighting situation.

Here's what I would have attempted, and tweaked the results on the fly for best results, although not being in your shoes I can only speculate that my technique would have worked in your circumstances. I use a 580ex, and even though the ceiling is black I would have attempted some sort of bounce to throw out some low level of "flash" light at least. I probably would have been at ISO 800 or 1600 at least, camera on Manual, aperture around f/5.6 if not open more, and flash on Auto. You'd have to to play with FEC + and - .

As you indicated, you don't want to blow the people out, and somehow you want to retain that pleasant "starry night" effect. Even though your people are underexposed, I like the night sky effect you achieved.

What were your camera settings? Perhaps there is something in that which could have be tweaked for better results. - Stu


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Gel
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Sep 27, 2010 06:29 |  #4

I wasn't using an external flash, just had the on camera one.

It was one of those, 'I can deal with this' (Chimps image of the couple) 'Best think fast' moments.

I was using a 1d4 in ettl and evaluative flash mode and running a high iso for the ambient light.
AV mode, 2.8 on a 16-35 II, Flash was 2nd curtain.

I've never ventured into off camera flash, I intend to but thought I could of got around this one...which I did but have to do more processing in photoshop to finish it off.


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sapearl
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Sep 27, 2010 07:08 |  #5

Gel wrote in post #10985650 (external link)
I wasn't using an external flash, just had the on camera one.

It was one of those, 'I can deal with this' (Chimps image of the couple) 'Best think fast' moments.

I was using a 1d4 in ettl and evaluative flash mode and running a high iso for the ambient light.
AV mode, 2.8 on a 16-35 II, Flash was 2nd curtain.

I've never ventured into off camera flash, I intend to but thought I could of got around this one...which I did but have to do more processing in photoshop to finish it off.

Ah - ok, I see what happened here. You really cannot use to good accurate effect, automation like Av and Tv and P in situations like this. The camera will make up it's own mind and not give you what you prevision.

The way I handle these is to run the camera in Manual - you need to override the automation and dial in your own settings.

I don't believe that second curtain would have offered any benefit and don't understand why folks use it here (never used it in these situations), and agree with your high ISO choice. The aperture of f/2.8 will give you maximum ambient light, but not much DOF if you're close to the subjects. ETTL setting is good, but you really do have to use a more powerful external flash for situations like this. I'm not saying you can't get results with the onboard flash, but you've seen what happened. You want great looking pictures and not simply results.;)

Using my external flash bounced, I would have selected ISP 1600 (or even tried the lower 800 for experimentation), manual shutter speed of 1/30 second, and aperture of f/4-6.3. Again, you'd need to experiment with FEC on the external flash to get some really pleasant, soft effects.


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jerrybsmith
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Sep 27, 2010 09:49 |  #6

Antime you find yourself in a room with a black ceiling, you only have two options:
1. Aim the flash at the subjects since bounce is out of the question. Up the ISO to get as much ambient in as possible. Camera on manual with the shutter/f-stop of choice.
2. Set up off-camera flash to fill in the shadows behind your subject plus #1.
You need to invest in equipment either way.


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Gel
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Sep 27, 2010 10:48 |  #7

Thanks for the advice. I have the equipment, just didn't have it with me.

I have two 580's and 4 500w monolights with pulsar transceivers.
Not sure which to bring though.


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sapearl
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Sep 27, 2010 11:51 |  #8

Gel wrote in post #10986789 (external link)
Thanks for the advice. I have the equipment, just didn't have it with me.

I have two 580's and 4 500w monolights with pulsar transceivers.
Not sure which to bring though.

I tend to not like to lug a lot of gear, so I would opt for a single 580 solution. I'm not into radio triggers but that is just me. There are some folks here who are quite expert in their use and will advise you better. You could use your monolights, but well..... that's really hauling a lot of stuff, and there's always the risk of somebody tripping on the stands.


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Gel
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Sep 27, 2010 13:59 |  #9

I like to travel light too, well, two bodies with lenses attached and another 3 in the bag.....if you call that light.


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Jimconnerphoto
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Sep 27, 2010 14:46 |  #10

I carry way too much.
I typically have 4 speedlights on me and studio lights in the trunk.

In the situation you describe above I generally have one light off camera tucked away in the corner conected via radio transmitter and a flash on camera. I set the off camera to a fairly low power and use it as an edge light or backlight. I them pump up the iso and lower the shutter to pick up ambient light.

You simply cannot use the floor for a bounce effectively. If there is no ceiling to bounce or the ceiling is an off color I will use several types of modifiers. Everything from a piece of foam (better bounce card) to the Demb Flip-it. Generally, anything that will increase the size of my light source will improve the quality.

If the dress gets blown out just adjust your FEC (flash exposure compensation.) I am almost always in manual mode. Typically 1/15th to 1/30th sec. at around 2.8-5.6 and the ISO is in the area of 800-1000.


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tim
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Sep 27, 2010 15:27 |  #11

Actually you can bounce light off a black ceiling, it's just not very efficient, and sometimes there's a color cast.

I have four speedlites (two Canon, two Nikon) plus studio lights too, but only three skyport receivers.


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bigarchi
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Sep 27, 2010 15:58 |  #12

zagiace wrote in post #10988210 (external link)
I carry way too much.
I typically have 4 speedlights on me and studio lights in the trunk.

In the situation you describe above I generally have one light off camera tucked away in the corner conected via radio transmitter and a flash on camera. I set the off camera to a fairly low power and use it as an edge light or backlight. I them pump up the iso and lower the shutter to pick up ambient light.

do you guys have the radio triggers velcroed on to the side of your cameras or something, with the on-camera flash in ettl?
i think i'm going to start doing more of this for ocf and on-camera fill, if the ettl works with the other flashes going off on manual like that.

which sounds like it does work well that way.


~Mitch

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tfizzle
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Sep 27, 2010 16:08 |  #13

I set up two lumopro lp120 flashes with cybersyncs on them and a cybersync transmitter on my camera. There is usually enough light to lock onto the subject with AF and then I just adjust my settings in manual to get what I'm looking for. The flash is fast enough that almost any shutter speed (up to sync speed) will catch them. I usually shoot higher shutter speeds if I want to just get the flash and kill the ambient. And I'll slow the shutter if I want ambient to fill. It really depends on the color casting of the room if I kill ambient or not.

If the flash is too hot I'll adjust them via the strobe but if I'm getting different results in different parts of the room I'll adjust the aperture to change the strength of the light instead of running back over and changing the settings on the strobe.




  
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Jimconnerphoto
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Sep 27, 2010 16:17 |  #14

bigarchi wrote in post #10988596 (external link)
do you guys have the radio triggers velcroed on to the side of your cameras or something, with the on-camera flash in ettl?
i think i'm going to start doing more of this for ocf and on-camera fill, if the ettl works with the other flashes going off on manual like that.

which sounds like it does work well that way.

I have velcro on my skyport transmitter. I connect it to the PC port on the camera and attach it to my flash head with the velcro.

On camera flash is set to eTTL and the off camera is manual.


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bigarchi
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Sep 27, 2010 16:28 |  #15

zagiace wrote in post #10988696 (external link)
I have velcro on my skyport transmitter. I connect it to the PC port on the camera and attach it to my flash head with the velcro.

On camera flash is set to eTTL and the off camera is manual.

awesome, thanks.
i'm definately going to to start doing this for certain things..

btw- what a kick ass venue in the OP! (sorry to hijack a bit)


~Mitch

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Had a flash problem I couldn't get over this weekend
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