Flash Bracket?

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Mar 17, 2008
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I was taking pictures at my sons Blue & Gold (boy scouts annual dinner) banquet last week using an SB900, and 70-200 on a D3. I ended up with a lot of red-eye. If I do it next year, I could try off-camera flash, but I would like to know if anyone has a camera bracket they would suggest to help with the red-eye.
 
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Home: Columbia, MD, USA; Present: Bogota, Colombia
A flash bracket could help. Were your shots mainly on stage, candids, or something else? If you moving around doing candids a flash bracket will increase the distance from the lens to the flash, however another option would be to use a bounce card. I have made many of these using foam sheets from Walmart. If you are doing shots of the presentations "on-stage" another option would be to put the flash on a lightstand and trigger it wirelessly.
 
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Red-Eye

The stage shots were the ones that showed red-eye. Since I was moving around and also taking candid shots, seems like a bracket might be best.
 
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The stage shots were the ones that showed red-eye.

Sounds like the distance to a stage was the problem. A flash bracket may not be high enough to help that much.

One very vague rule of thumb for preventing red eye is one inch of flash separation (flash to lens) for every foot of distance to subject. An angle of 12:1.

You might argue it should be 6:1 or 20:1, and more is better, but 12:1 seems to usually be enough, IMO.
 
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Ratio

Are you suggesting 1 degree for every 12 feet? If so, the center of the Flash head (SB-900) at 90 degrees and the center of the lens (On the D3) is about eight inches. This suggests I'd be OK if I stay somewhere inside of around twenty feet.

Sounds like the distance to a stage was the problem. A flash bracket may not be high enough to help that much.

One very vague rule of thumb for preventing red eye is one inch of flash separation (flash to lens) for every foot of distance to subject. An angle of 12:1.

You might argue it should be 6:1 or 20:1, and more is better, but 12:1 seems to usually be enough, IMO.
 
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Are you suggesting 1 degree for every 12 feet? If so, the center of the Flash head (SB-900) at 90 degrees and the center of the lens (On the D3) is about eight inches. This suggests I'd be OK if I stay somewhere inside of around twenty feet.


No, I am suggesting one inch of distance separation (flash to lens) for every foot of distance to the subject. That is a 12:1 ratio, which is arc tan (1/12) = 4.8 degrees (or more), but that's tough to measure.

If 8 inches separation (flash lens to camera lens), then that suggests subject distances of 1 foot for each of the 8 inches = 8 feet, should normally be no issue with red eye. This would work for shooting couples at events, but a stage is likely farther.

And there are no exacts: Sometimes twice distance might sometimes be OK, and half might be a problem (in some cases), but a foot for an inch is a fairly safe way to bet.
 
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Apr 27, 2008
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London UK
You could also try an on camera soft box. Lumiquest make several, including a nice 'quick bounce flash' attachment. They're very light weight and just velcro to your flash gun. You'll obviously loose a little power but with an SB900 I don't imagine that will be a big problem.
I've certainly not done any serious experimentation but I'm pretty certain I've never seen red-eye when using one. There are other manufactures that make similar products so there's plenty to choose from.

Another plus point of getting the flash head onto a bracket is that an off-set flash is going to be a lot more flattering to your subject. I find that with the flash head directly above the lens (i.e. on the hot shoe) I get a 'rabbit in the headlights' effect far too often.
 
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Tough to avoid red-eye on a stage at that distance even with a flash bracket. Part of your problem is that children tend to have very large pupils which worsens red-eye.

Your best option would be to try off camera flash mounted on a light stand. Another choice is to crank up the ISO and shoot without flash. If the lighting on the stage is decent, you may be pleasantly surprised.
 
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