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My husband may be the world's most reluctant model..(Flash C&C pls!).

Discussion in 'People' started by leahp26, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    So I've been trying out different flash techniques (maybe I should have posted this in lighting??) and when my husband (Paul) decided it might be a nice night to go to the beach and do a spot of fishing I saw an opportunity to use his as a model (he is SO SICK of me pointing the camera at him!)

    I managed to stall our departure till early evening in an attempt to try to get some good sunset scenes. I am a sneaky wife.

    My objective was to try to capture some of the background and use flash to illuminate my subject. I would appreciate any/all feedback/suggestions for next time on my exposure/lighting/placement of lights etc - not so bothered about WB, composition but if there is something REALLY bothering you about any of those fire away! Didn't do major post processing, just levels/curves tweak and some sharpening.

    #1 this is to show you without any flash. 17-55 2.8 lens. SS 1/200 f7.1
    I metered for the background in P mode and then switched to manual and dialled in those settings. Was this correct???

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    #2 I set an SB800 on a light stand, sort of 45 degrees above husband's head - had to be a bit careful as the water was all over the place. I wanted the light to my right but the CLS system didn't seem to be working too great unless it was to my left and the camera could "see" the little line of site IR thingy. Set the popup flash to commander mode and -- (to get no output) and set the SB800 to TTL 0.

    Same settings - had to mess with the crop a bit as I was forced to stand to the right of the light to make it fire.

    I think it looks a bit superimposed/fake with the separation between him and background - maybe a different aperture or less flash??

    BTY - doesn't he look happy?!

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    #3 Here's one with my fisheye (I think) - cropped. I reduced set the SB800 at TTL -1.0 if I remember correctly. Maybe a bit better? How would I go about reducing the big shadows behind him? Diffuser? Second light?

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    Sorry for all the questions! Thank you for looking.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2008
  2. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    really really bad???
  3. Leah, these really aren't that bad at all. I understand your frustration, I'm trying to master this myself.

    To reduce the shadow you'll need another flash or move the flash closer to the subject.

    #2 looks over flashed, but I like the composition.

    #3 I like the lighting much better, but I don't like the composition.
  4. ERAUGrad04


    Jan 15, 2008
    Number 1 is by far my favorite. I have never been able to pull off a great silhouette shot like this.

    I too am learning off camera flash techniques. Here would be my $.02 on the flash images.

    #1: Background look *a little* under while the flash seems to be a bit much.

    #2: Better than the first in terms of flash exposure. Maybe just a hair more with the flash, but overall a good blend of ambient and flash.

    What I find gives the superimposed look is the different color temperatures between the flash and ambient. The ambient in this image is considerably *warmer* than that of the flash. I have yet figured out a way to get around this. Gels maybe?

    My only other suggestion with the light in the images would be to move the flash/lightstand to the other side of the camera to throw the shadow out over the water where it would not be as visible.

    Your technique for metering the background works, it just has extra steps that could be very easily eliminated. I usually shoot these type shots with the camera in Manual and the metering set to center-weighted. Set your aperture and then point the camera (focus point to be more specific) at the background. Crank the shutter wheel until you see -0.3 to -0.7EV. You now will have a *slightly* underexposed background to allow your subject to "pop" in front of it. I find TTL works OK, but for tricky lighting like the situation you have, I like Manual better. Depending on modifiers (umbrellas, diffusers, etc) I usually start around 1/8 power and work from there. Usually after 2-3 shots I have the flash and ambient exposure dialed in. Then work fast before the light changes on ya! The main reason I like manual on everything for these kinds of shots is the camera will not change anything on me. A good example is when the camera gets a glimpse at a hot spot in the sky right before you pull the trigger. It pushed the shutter speed up to compensate and now your properly exposed background just got considerably darker without your permission!

    Great shots and keep on practicing!

    BTW- your husband's excitment look's remarkably like that of my wife's when I pull out the camera! :rolleyes: 

  5. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Thanks Phil - I also really dislike the composition in #3 - my SB800 would only fire if I was REALLY close and on one side with my camera - time to figure out pocket wizards methinks....

    Morgan - thank you SO much, this is excellent info for me to take in! I will try some gelling next time, I think I have the little yellow and green ones but maybe more of an orange or red in this situation? And big thanks on the time saving step in manual.

    Husband just walked by and is not very impressed that I have posted him as an example of my lighting mistakes :) 
  6. Anytime you want to go shooting, I'm right here in Chelmsford.
  7. lisa_h


    Sep 6, 2008
    New England
    I don't pretend to know beans about off camera lighting, lol, I just wanted to say that I think #1 looks fantastic. Great color, clarity and comp.

    P.S. you two aren't that far from me either.
  8. MurphyD


    Jan 17, 2007
    South Texas
    #1 you could meter with pretty much any mode for this. Spot meter or center weighted meter the sky or underexpose a bit to turn your hubby to full black. Hit AE lock and recompose. If you are exposing for the highlights know that the darker parts of the scene will be even darker. Pay very close attention to what part of the scene you need to meter to for your shot. Metering on hubby would make him perfect and the bg too light.
    #2 too much flash
    Your flash needs to be strong when you have lots of light (noon). When in low light your flash does not need to be strong.

    #3. Much better. In A or P mode, even -2 or -3 flash ev might have been enough. Manual flash at about 1/64th power would probably have been enough. But take one at 1/128 and 1/32 to be sure. Any diffuser will further decrease the flash output and somewhat soften the shadows.

    Low batteries will make the Sb800 not respond well in CLS. I think all flashes are pretty much the same way.

    His feet on the wet sand and light the rod would have been cool.
    A casting shot with the camera on rear sync so the flash catches him at the end of the arc would have been cool.
    Him sitting down with the pole and the flash up real high would have spotlighted him.

  9. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Phil - I might take you up on that - did you figure out the class at Sopha?

    Lisa - thanks! I love the pictures you've been posting. It's cracking me up that #1 seems to be relatively popular and that was the "terrible" shot I posted to show "before" flash. Although I must admit I think it works with the fishing rod pointing up like that. Maybe I should just stick to silhouettes!

    David - thank you very much for the detailed feedback. I think you could be right about the batteries in the Sb800 it's been a few weeks since I changed them. I'm thinking I need to move from ttl and try manual on my flash. And I LOVE your fishing ideas - rear sync is something I've only read about so far but it gives me something to work to.

    Thank you everyone - just need another fishing excursion now - who'd have thought I'd have said that!
  10. There's a class coming up in Nov. I might take.
  11. I think you did great for a first effort. You get the concept, which is the tough part. All you need now is some fine tuning.

    Dave Hobby goes through the process in detail in his blog piece titled How to Shoot Flash Into a Sunset. I think of it as a "dual exposure", and used his technique for this family photo, where I used the sunset in the window as a backdrop.

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    Your biggest problem is geometry, as witnessed in this comment:

    The flash head on your sb800 is like a Rubik's Cube... it can be rotated so that the flash is pointed at the subject while the Light Sensor Window is pointed at the popup flash no matter which side of the subject you decide to position the flash on. Fiddle around with the flash head for 10 minutes and you'll have it figured out.

    That's a good result, Leah, though I would have chosen a perspective that didn't feature the dark, foreboding silhouettes of the trees. You can control shadows by selecting the location and height of your flash. Based on the angle of the shadow, it appears your flash was almost directly in front of the subject. If you had positioned the flash at camera right, 45 degrees to the subject, the shadow from the fishing rod would have been less prominant.

    You can get more feedback/advice from the group of flashers :eek:  that hang out on the General Flash photography forum.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
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