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First real attempt with flash! And lovely Apollo 50x50 umbrella style softbox

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by leahp26, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    So - I'm not sure whether to thank (or blame!) Linda & Tim (https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=185190) but this thread and the link to www.juliagreerphotography.com/sb-800-article.htm plus the lighting class I attended at the weekend caused me to go a bit crazy on B&H.com on Labor Day.

    Speedy as ever, that lovely big brown box arrived this morning and I raced home to play with my new Apollo 50x50 umbrella style softbox (attached to the SB800 with an umbrella swivel adapter on a lightstand).

    I am pretty clueless with flash so tried to follow some of the tips from the class I was at on Saturday plus some of the things mentioned on www.strobist.com

    Within 5 minutes of getting home I had the softbox set up (love! love! love! how simple it is), used the pop up flash on -- (i.e. no output) and set the SB800 on ttl and here's my dog on a chair (What lovely square catchlights you have.....!)

    NIKON D300    ---    55mm    f/2.8    1/125s    ISO 200

    Dog wasn't too happy sitting still so as I'm the only one home I had to get out my manual to figure out how to use the timer control.

    Here's the first one - please forgive me the location - I was in the kitchen and didn't give any thought to the background in my eagerness to set up - that's the softbox you can see reflected in the mirror on the side (doh!):

    Question: this looks sort of grainy to me (noisy??) - my ISO was at 200 - not sure what's going on?

    NIKON D300    ---    40mm    f/10.0    1/125s    ISO 200

    Then I wanted to add a backlight/hairlight/something to separate me from the dark - I'm not really sure I've got this positioned right. I turned off the main light so I could see where the light behind was falling (loving my expression right!!! But figured I'd post this stunning shot of me so you can C&C!!) - I reduced the background one down -0.7

    NIKON D300    ---    40mm    f/10.0    1/125s    ISO 200

    Here's the two lights together - I know I should have the light higher so the catchlights are higher but my ceiling is not that high and the softbox was touching the ceiling:

    NIKON D300    ---    48mm    f/10.0    1/125s    ISO 200

    I really don't have much of a clue what I'm doing - thank you for looking and any suggestions for how I should improve!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  2. Miguel


    May 12, 2006
    Norwalk, CT
    Well you did pretty good. Image #1 is nice and the catch lights look good. #2 looks slightly underexposed due to the light reflecting off the mirror. That could be causing the image to become grainy. The last image looks good with the added hair light.
  3. tjk60


    Dec 4, 2007
    troy, mi
    I love it when a plan comes together! You'll love playing around (something I have to do more of...)

    Nice to see your steps as you progressed! The last one is lit very well!
  4. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Thank you Miguel and Tim.

    I think I will try some more tonight but put more thought into where I set up - last night I had the mirror reflecting, the hair light in danger of falling down the stairs into the basement and the low ceiling in the kitchen bothering me!

    Any comments on angle/placement of either lights? Thanks!!!
  5. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Yea, you know I take commission? lol

    'Tis no fair - I'm busy moving and you go on shopping spree! haha..

    I really like the doggie shot Leah, you'll get a hang of it real soon I think.
  6. I too use the 50" Appolo softbox. Congrats on your new equipment, it looks like you are catching on quick. On your hair light you might try making a cardboard snoot to eliminate spill onto the shoulders of your subject. I just uses a piece of cardboard and folded it to fit the SB800 with sort of a force fit. It extends 3-4" inches out from the flash.
  7. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Tim - thanks for the risque heads up! I will check at home tonight to avoid being fired at work!

    Linda - seriously, I never knew this kind of softbox existed! So thank you! Hope your move is going well. It was SO easy to set up - I love it. And it folds down to an extremely compact long umbrella style shape. I had bought a small softbox a couple of months back and spent a couple of hours fighting with the stiffener things that make it pop out and the speedring and sort of cobbled it together but it was very flimsy as I think I did it wrong! Your photographs are always so good and I think you would LOVE this box. BTW - I think your original question was asking how to fit an umbrella to a strobe - there is a SUPERB 5 minute video on www.strobist.com (click on Lighting 101 - it literally shows you the 3 ways you can attach your umbrella to the adaptor and stand and which is the only correct way - very useful info)

    Gordon - thank you again for more great info - I will be making a homemade snoot tonight!
  8. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Wonderful Leah, thank for posting that link - and for your very kind words, I have yet much to learn, especially regarding artificial light.
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