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Candids w/ off-camera flash

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by ATL Jack, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. ATL Jack

    ATL Jack

    690
    Jan 13, 2009
    Atlanta
    I am looking for tips on setting up a flash or two in a room to take candids of the kids playing. I havent done much experimenting with it yet and would like some basic tips to get started.
     
  2. The chemist

    The chemist

    Jul 22, 2005
    nashville
    What kind of room? How big? What color walls? What is the ambient light like? I am assuming you are off camera but either way you can just bounce off the ceilings and if the kids are in a somewhat confined area you can use some reflectors. Now if you want much more of an enviromental shot you can drap some sheets over the windows for soft light. Much depends on the questions mentioned. Have fun and post the shots!
     
  3. ATL Jack

    ATL Jack

    690
    Jan 13, 2009
    Atlanta
    The rooms range in size from medium sized bedroom to large bonus rooms. Unfortunately the wall colors and shades are all over the place.

    I havent had very good results bouncing off the ceiling - if I use a demb flip-it the faces seem too flat and if I dont use a bounce card I dont like the shadows. (although, now that I think about it I havent tried the flip-it off camera). I think I need to try more directional lighting and am thinking about picking up an umbrella or two to stick in the corners.
     
  4. The chemist

    The chemist

    Jul 22, 2005
    nashville
    That sounds good. You can also shoot straight on with a silt or trigrip diffusion panel. Heck purchase a hotshoe softbox from lastolite :p 
     
  5. WayneF

    WayneF

    Apr 3, 2006
    Texas
    So you need a smaller bounce card. For example, the SB-800 pullout card is 1.75x1.25 inches effective area above the head, and it is plenty for most cases except extreme distance. Just a tad is needed. We know small will not sell on the market, but it works best. Try cutting a sliver from a piece of copy paper or an index card, and use a rubber band.
     
  6. a.dickens

    a.dickens

    82
    Oct 6, 2008
    Atlanta
    You can bounce off the ceiling with no problem. Recently I did some photographs at our family's yearly reunion. It was in a private dining room that was about 30'x20'. For the set up, I had the flashes in corners diagonally from each other angled at about a 60 degree angle bouncing into the ceiling. The flash covered the room pretty well. The settings I used on the camera were ISO 200, f/4 and 1/125. When I shot a subject in the middle of the room I had to open up to 2.8 but I was only running the flashes on 1/8 power (or 1/4) and had some room to go on those.

    Give it a shot, and with some trial and error you will be fine, but bounce into the ceiling, and you might need to gel to match your lights to your ambient, just be aware.
     
  7. The chemist

    The chemist

    Jul 22, 2005
    nashville
    That won't work if the walls are very dark
     
  8. 73Z1

    73Z1

    Sep 15, 2008
    Sacramento
    I like Neil van Niekerk's work and the excellent information on using bounce flash presented at his site. For bounce flash check out: http://www.planetneil.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/4-bouncing-flash/

    For the simple but effective flash modifiers he uses see:
    http://www.planetneil.com/tangents/2007/12/13/my-choice-of-flash-modifiers/

    Info on using bounce flash with dark or non-white walls:
    http://www.planetneil.com/tangents/2009/05/11/bouncing-off-bricks/


    I really like the setup mentioned by a.dickens as an example. One thing I would change however is the ISO. I find that most photogs are trying to use the lowest ISO possible for the least noise. That is a good principle, but it has to be tempered with the reality of the job situation. If you plan on making 16x20" prints of the kid candids, then by all means stick as close to a lower ISO as possible. On the other hand, the D80 can make excellent 8x10" prints at an ISO of 640 ~ 800. Why limit your options? There isn't any Kodachrome in the old DSLR, I assure you. Increase recycle speed, flash reach, or DOF (via aperture), by using a higher ISO where practical.
     
  9. The chemist

    The chemist

    Jul 22, 2005
    nashville
    Neat links,thanks
     
  10. a.dickens

    a.dickens

    82
    Oct 6, 2008
    Atlanta
    @thechemist-I think it will work regardless of the colors of the walls as long as he is hitting the ceiling. I am assuming the ceilings are a neutral color. But we all know what assuming does...

    @Z371-I could see shooting at a higher ISO and often shoot at ISO 400 for most indoor stuff to save battery power. For that event I didn't.

    @ATLJack Here was the inspiration for my setup
    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/12/christmas-game-plan-results.html
     
  11. jhelms

    jhelms

    755
    Sep 25, 2008
    Columbus, GA
    How about holding the camera in your right hand and corded speedlight in your left hand (or holding a monopod in your left hand with the flash at the top)?

    I've been able to get some (IMHO) pretty cool off-camera candid kids shots using that method:


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  12. You'd only get one "candid"....once the flash is seen, things aren't the same. Fast glass,
    bump up the ISO if you want to shoot more than one. :biggrin:
     
  13. ATL Jack

    ATL Jack

    690
    Jan 13, 2009
    Atlanta
    I did this exact thing shortly after typing the original post (except it was wireless). I intended to post the pictures to discuss the results but am having computer problems.
     
  14. ATL Jack

    ATL Jack

    690
    Jan 13, 2009
    Atlanta
    Thanks for the suggestions and links. There is a lot of good info.
     
  15. ATL Jack

    ATL Jack

    690
    Jan 13, 2009
    Atlanta
    If I only had a D700... :Love:
     
  16. 73Z1

    73Z1

    Sep 15, 2008
    Sacramento
    Pretty cool indeed. Using a monopod to raise the flash up high is an excellent idea. Good stuff of the wife and kids.
     
  17. jhelms

    jhelms

    755
    Sep 25, 2008
    Columbus, GA

    Thanks! It's my friend's wife but she's pretty and patient with me taking all sorts of pics (as is my wife) :biggrin:

    The kids are her son, and my daughter, so we have a lot of play dates over there.

    And ATL - the D700 is crazy awesome, I've had mine one week and am in LOVE!
     
  18. John - great shots. Check them in a couple of years. Priceless.
     
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