Strobist: productive day, bent umbrella

Joined
Jan 26, 2005
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1,011
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San Jose, CA
My barber appointment was for 1PM, and I was meeting with my August bride & groom at 2PM. I had my camera bag and a small umbrella in the trunk, just in case.

My barber and I were chatting away, as usual, and she told me about her new MySpace site. She wasn't happy with the picture she had uploaded to it, and we both had some time before out next appointments, I volunteered to do a quick shoot.

It was a good chance to practice strobist style portraiture. I used a single flash on a stand, bounced off my little 32" umbrella, as the main light, and ambient light for fill. My biggest problem was getting a natural expression out of Katie.

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Finally, I told her to give me her meanest look...

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... knowing that a genuine smile would be right behind it.

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After I finished up with Katie, I dashed over for my meeting with Eda & Tom. We nailed down some details of their event, and then I asked if they had time for a few shots to start off their online wedding gallery.

We stopped at a nearby park for the impromptu shoot. I tried to use the same setup that had worked for Katie, but, even after stabilizing the lightstand with Eda's gymbag and my camera bag, it still blew over, bending the spokes on my umbrella. At that point, I went real basic, and just used the bare flash without a modifier of any sort.

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It was a great day, thanks to the Strobist... and I was able to straighten out the spokes on my umbrella after I got home :biggrin:.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
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St. George, Utah
Good job Frank. I will say that the first and last images of your barber seem to have too much red in them. For some reason the middle one does not. Interesting. The pictures of the couple came out very well and they look happy.
 
Joined
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I will say that the first and last images of your barber seem to have too much red in them.
I think you're right, Gordon. Do these look any better?

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Frank Couldn't but play With a little post processing on this one I will take it down if you want me to

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G

Gr8Tr1x

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Frank Couldn't but play With a little post processing on this one I will take it down if you want me to

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Nice and contrasty Dan.
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
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Thailand
A couple of tips for ya Frank.

When shooting a heavy set person, use short lighting and light the side of the face away from the camera. Also, use a longer lens and raise your camera a bit as well, to make the double chin less obvious.

On the couple, watch the shadows created by the flash as they can be distracting. Try to pick a background that is not so bright, and underexpose the BG by 1.5 to 2 stops. Open shade with dark trees in the BG works really well.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
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Location
San Jose, CA
A couple of tips for ya Frank.
Thanks for taking the time tt comment, Ray. I'm a newbie Strobist, and every shoot is a learrning experience.

When shooting a heavy set person, use short lighting and light the side of the face away from the camera. Also, use a longer lens and raise your camera a bit as well, to make the double chin less obvious.
Uh, I did short light her, didn't I :confused:? The flash was to frame right at 45 degrees to Katie's nose. The problem may be that I didn't balance the ambient properly. Next time I'll drop it by an additional f/stop.

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On the couple, watch the shadows created by the flash as they can be distracting. Try to pick a background that is not so bright, and underexpose the BG by 1.5 to 2 stops. Open shade with dark trees in the BG works really well.
I agree, but we only had a few minutes for the impromptu shoot, and the only area without people didn't feature a dark background. But I find I actually like the contrasty results.

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Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
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Thailand
Thanks for taking the time tt comment, Ray. I'm a newbie Strobist, and every shoot is a learrning experience.

Uh, I did short light her, didn't I :confused:? The flash was to frame right at 45 degrees to Katie's nose. The problem may be that I didn't balance the ambient properly. Next time I'll drop it by an additional f/stop.

I agree, but we only had a few minutes for the impromptu shoot, and the only area without people didn't feature a dark background. But I find I actually like the contrasty results.
No problem Frank...learning and helping each other along the way is what it's all about.

Oops, you're right. Now that I look closer, I see the catchlights. Drop it 2 stops and you should be about right.

The contrast is ok, but the odd shadows bother me. But, like you said, it was a quick shoot and we learn as we go. Keep it up Frank!!
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
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San Antonio, TX
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Dave Talboys
ok -- dumb question #1 (I'm sure there will be a lot more to follow) when I've been outdoors with the flash (always on camera up until now) I have set the SB-800 to TTL/BL. To stop the flash down, do you meter the background in the camera and then manually change the f-stop on the flash to allow more ambient light in?
 
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Dave, the only dumb questions are the ones we don't ask...as I said it's all about helping each other.

There's no hard and fast rule, it really depends on the situation and lighting effect you're trying to achieve. But generally, you want your background to be 1.5-2 stops underexposed, and you add light from your flash to compensate for your subjects, which would be underexposed as well.

For example, you're shooting a portrait and your ambient exposure is 1/250 at f/2.8. Stop down your lens to between f/4-5.6, then adjust your flash output to give you proper exposure on your subject.

In theory, if using TTL, you shouldn't have to adjust the flash...it should know that your camera is at 5.6 and increase output automatically. In practice that isn't always the case. So what I do is, "take a shot, take a look." If using TTL, and the subject looks fine, you're good to go. If not, adjust your flash output up/down using the +/- EV.
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
450
Location
San Antonio, TX
Real Name
Dave Talboys
Dave, the only dumb questions are the ones we don't ask...as I said it's all about helping each other.

There's no hard and fast rule, it really depends on the situation and lighting effect you're trying to achieve. But generally, you want your background to be 1.5-2 stops underexposed, and you add light from your flash to compensate for your subjects, which would be underexposed as well.

For example, you're shooting a portrait and your ambient exposure is 1/250 at f/2.8. Stop down your lens to between f/4-5.6, then adjust your flash output to give you proper exposure on your subject.

In theory, if using TTL, you shouldn't have to adjust the flash...it should know that your camera is at 5.6 and increase output automatically. In practice that isn't always the case. So what I do is, "take a shot, take a look." If using TTL, and the subject looks fine, you're good to go. If not, adjust your flash output up/down using the +/- EV.
Thanks Ray. Currently, I pretty much do what you say with TTL - I chimp a lot and bump the EV up or down and my results have been ok. Just not steller like what I see from you or Frank, probably more luck than anything else. I have always exposed for the subject and not taken the ambient light into account. I'll have to get out and play with this today.
 
N

Nuteshack

Guest
Dave, the only dumb questions are the ones we don't ask...as I said it's all about helping each other.

There's no hard and fast rule, it really depends on the situation and lighting effect you're trying to achieve. But generally, you want your background to be 1.5-2 stops underexposed, and you add light from your flash to compensate for your subjects, which would be underexposed as well.

For example, you're shooting a portrait and your ambient exposure is 1/250 at f/2.8. Stop down your lens to between f/4-5.6, then adjust your flash output to give you proper exposure on your subject.

In theory, if using TTL, you shouldn't have to adjust the flash...it should know that your camera is at 5.6 and increase output automatically. In practice that isn't always the case. So what I do is, "take a shot, take a look." If using TTL, and the subject looks fine, you're good to go. If not, adjust your flash output up/down using the +/- EV.
good word Ray ....;-)
 
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