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Thread: Flash photography- For a beginner

  1. #1
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    Default Flash photography- For a beginner

    Just taken the plunge and entered the murky World of flash photography. I have never bothered to read about this type of photography because it has never interested me. However my hand as been forced so I purchased a Canon 580EXII

    Now I need to figure out how to use the damn thing

    So for you strobist's out there.......

    1.How do I use this beast? (Just go with P mode for a start and hope it all works out?).

    2. Tell me everything you know

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    I haven't done much flash photography, but I found this article which is pretty comprehensive:

    http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

    From what I remember, shoot in Auto/P mode if you want the flash to be your main source of light, and any of the other modes if you want to expose as normal but use the flash as fill light.

    Also as you probably know, always try to bounce the flash of a wall or reflector rather than using direct flash. A diffuser will help to soften the light if you do need to use direct flash though.

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    strobist.org is about all I know.

    One day when I have a flash....

    Nah I just want a FF camera and fast glass...
    Canon 5DmkII, 400L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 24mmf3.5 TS-E, Canon 70-200f2.8L, Tamron 90mm SP AF Di f2.8 Macro, Sigma 50mmf1.4 EX HSM, Nissin Di866 flash, Manfrotto 190xprob & Markins Q3t head, Lee filters, Lowepro Flipside 400AW, Yong Nuo rf 602 triggers.


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    Thanks for the link Chris.

    Rob, I'm with you, but I needed it

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    Rob

    If you ever want to borrow my lowly 430EX give me a bell. I also snapped up an old Bowens studio flash for $100. Its old but its a beast. I am still learning with it, but you can use it if you need to

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    I have been reading the links you guy's posted and think I understand what to do.

    Now just need to put all of it into practice

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    For flash photography what do you set your ISO to?

    I usually shoot at ISO100 for my usual picture taking.

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    Jack

    It will depend on what you are shooting. My flash syncs up to 1/250 sec shutter speeds. (I think the 580 is 1/500)

    I think (though not certain) that as long as your shutter speed is within this ceiling, then the flash will work as desired.

    So, once you have set your desired aperture, if you shutter speed is too slow, you may need to raise the ISO rating to get a useable shutter speed.

    Obviously, the lower the ISO, the better the image quality should be. With higher ISO (800+ on the 40D), the more accurate you need to be with exposure values.

    (This may well all be BS, but it makes sense in my head )

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    Cheers Adam.

    That makes sense to me too.

    One thing though doesn't the 40D only syncs to a max of 1/250th?

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    maybe - i'd have to check but it sounds familiar

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    Hmmm I did say I'd do some tutoral guides. I have some jobs to do tomorrow, (as in today now) but will get to it ASAP. I can honestly say I know the Canon flash system inside out, and even know a few tricks not in any manuals. There you go... That's me committed then LOL

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    Your a good lad you are

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    Quote Originally Posted by North of Auckland View Post
    For flash photography what do you set your ISO to?

    I usually shoot at ISO100 for my usual picture taking.

    I think a major trick is to set the camera to expose without flash for the background and let the flash fix the foreground - assuming thats what you want.


    Adam - cheers for the offer - I may have to have a play but I've a friend in work who has a 580II and a 430 I may borrow them both one day and have a play.
    Canon 5DmkII, 400L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 24mmf3.5 TS-E, Canon 70-200f2.8L, Tamron 90mm SP AF Di f2.8 Macro, Sigma 50mmf1.4 EX HSM, Nissin Di866 flash, Manfrotto 190xprob & Markins Q3t head, Lee filters, Lowepro Flipside 400AW, Yong Nuo rf 602 triggers.


  14. #14
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    Found a nice tutorial which show's thing's in a very simple to understand manner. Good job cos I'm thick

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7l-uLyO_0I"]YouTube - One on One: EP 0[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnn5nzPvoIM"]YouTube - Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 1[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfKzY4wMixQ"]YouTube - Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 2[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP9pluWiGCE"]YouTube - Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 3[/ame]

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    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w9SO9zHF3Q"]YouTube - Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 4a[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SROGaxP-HI"]YouTube - Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 4b[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghDIOK4-H8w"]YouTube - Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 4c[/ame]

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    Nice. I love YouTube

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    Best Kit: 580EX2

    When Joe McNally’s book ‘The Hot Shoe Diaries’ first came out, all the talk on the Strobist flickr group was about his astonishing revelation – Joe uses Aperture priority (Av on Canon) and relies on i-TTL for his flash exposure. Here were all these Strobist geeks with their ridiculous reverse snobbery, who thought if you didn’t go full manual on everything, you were a crap photographer. It was one of the most satisfying and smug making moments I’d enjoyed in a good while. LOL (If you use Nikon and own a speedlite or two - The Hot Shoe Diaries is a must have book)

    I just use what works. Why pay >$12k for a camera body and ignore what it thinks the correct exposure should be? So I use Av 90% of the time, only going to Manual when the ambient light gets too low. Canon have put a great big adjusting wheel on the back of the camera to make AEC as easy and convenient as possible, so if I need to compensate for a backlit - or predominately light or dark scene – that’s how I do it. There is another acronym for manual shooters ‘ENC’ (Emperor’s New Clothes).

    It’s the same with flash. I almost never take people shots without on-axis fill, and these are easily the bulk of my work photography. With my old 30D and 430EX e-TTL was a PITA and needed constant tweaking to get it right. Fortunately the errors were pretty much predictable, and I knew how to set things according to the conditions.

    So when I got the 1DsMK3 and 580EX2, I was utterly blown away by the e-TTL performance. The first thing I do when changing batteries in my strobes, is set them to FP mode (high speed sync). They stay that way when you turn them off, and automatically go to normal mode when the shutter speed drops below 1/250th) I then just forget about it. The flash is always on my camera at event gigs. I might turn it off for some shots, or angle it towards an off axis subject, or feather it to light just a part of the subject.

    But in all the thousands of shots I have taken with the 580EX2 and 1Ds3, I doubt I have moved off the default settings for more than a handful of shots. It really is that good, and just nails it every time, no messing. You can do the same thing with a second off camera strobe if careful about placement, and this gives you so much more interesting images.

    They say the 430EX2 is equally as good, and works well with the 40D and 50D bodies

    All these used two 580EX2s with e-TTL on the default settings (except ratio which is usually 4:1 in favour of the remote strobe) Exposure Av, with ISO high enough to give a decent shutter speed to use the ambient light without camera shake. Getting plenty of ambient light in the shot is the best way to minimise nasty flash glare and hot spots.

    ISO1600




    I should have got the light higher to hide the shadow some more


    Second 580EX2 hand held camera right

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    Trevor do you use a diffuser on your flash? And when you say on-axis fill, do you mean direct flash rather than bounce? Do you use FEC to reduce the exposure of the flash?

    I have a 430EX, and to be honest don't use it much because of the types of shots I take. But if I did start taking more portraits, would the 430EX II really be that much better? Of the reviews I've read, it seems more like a minor upgrade than anything.
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    Have a friend with the 580exII on a 5D (and a 430II), he gets good results too, but the flash has let him down once and also doesnt seem to sit on the hot shoe solidly either.

    Best kit?

    Probably the 10-20mm sigma - for a 'cheap' UWA that had issues at launch it produces the goods time after time.

    Worst? Probably the 75-300, it has no strengths, soft, worse wide open, barely any AF and cant track an oil tanker...
    Canon 5DmkII, 400L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 24mmf3.5 TS-E, Canon 70-200f2.8L, Tamron 90mm SP AF Di f2.8 Macro, Sigma 50mmf1.4 EX HSM, Nissin Di866 flash, Manfrotto 190xprob & Markins Q3t head, Lee filters, Lowepro Flipside 400AW, Yong Nuo rf 602 triggers.


  20. #20
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    Chris, there are several approaches to using flash. I prefer an addaption of the original Chuck Gardener method because it produces nice crisp images with lots of colour. David Hobby and Joe Mcnally use a similar method. Chuck uses small foam reflectors on each strobe, but I honestly can't see that they make a lot of difference at the distance the strobes tend to be from the subjects, so I fire straight in.

    This only works where there is enough ambient. When the strobes completely overtake the ambient (because you were forced to go manual to avoid long shutter speeds and motion blur) then non-diffused direct flash will produce all the nasty artifacts we tend to associate with it.

    It's important to consider the context when discussing lighting. Chuck Gardener and David Hobby are doing photojournalistic shots with almost no setup time. I am doing much the same thing at indoor events, and carry a lightweight stand ($40 from TradeMe) for my second 580EX2. I work out where I want to shoot from; go place the stand, and fire off the shots. This would be using Av, wide open, and ISO set to give me at least 1/60th. I let IS do the rest, and am happy to have a blured hand in the shot.

    Because this works so well, when the ambient becomes a problem I plan to use my big Bowens to lift the ambient while still firing straight in. I have only tried this once at the last wedding I shot (my accident has slowed me down since) at the time I was still trying to work out the logistics and couldn't think how to trigger the Pocket Wizards AND a camera mounted flash, so just used the Bowens. You can see from this shot that they filled the room with enough light to match the daylight outside the door:


    That was two weeks after I broke my back (and three), but before the buggers had diagnosed any of it. I trusted they knew what they were doing so got through that day with enough morphine to put a horse to sleep - that's why I couldn't work out the lighting. It was a simple matter of using the camera's PC socket for the Pocket Wizard, and the hot shoe for the flash, but you would not be able to use e-TTL.

    The point here is that you have lifted the ambient to a lecel where you can through fill flash straight in with zero flare/glare problems.

    In daylight all you are trying to do is cope with the problems of very bright sunlight and impossible contrast. High speed sync limits the range of your flash, but other circumstances very much tend to compensate, so it works out quite well:

    You almost certainly want to limit DoF to isolate the subject, so will be shooting f2.8 to f4 (sometimes f5.6) the large aperture makes the most of the flash range, and I can get up to six meters of useful fill at f2.8. If you can catch your subjects in a bit of shade, then even more - these youngsters were shot at 200mm and are a LONG way from the camera



    A few sets to demonstate daylight fill. The first shot with a 30D and 430EX

    Multicultural Festival 07

    The rest all with a 1Ds3 and 580EX2

    Multicultural Festival 08
    Christmas Parade 08

    The stage was shadded enought to use a second flash in some of these. This was nothing to do with the power of the strobes, but just how well Canon Wireless works in Daylight
    Concet in the Park 09

    I use FEC when I want to be creative, and this might be when bouncing off a side wall to get some modelling light on the subject. e-TTL would give me less flash light than I like because of the way it averages, so some plus FEC, and minus AEC gives you a nice rich image.

    Someone I admire a lot (I am a mod on his flickr group) is New York wedding photographer Neil van Niekerk. His Planet Neil site is an absolute must read for any event photog who uses flash. Neil NEVER fires straight in, but he gets some amazing shots with almost no PP. If he has nothing else to bounce off, he gets and assistant to hold a reflector. He does a lot of work, and so gets the practice, but by heck, he is good at what he does.

    [Edit] reading your post again Chris, as I understand it, the 430EX2 has similar e-TTL performance to the 580EX2. Obviously the body does make a difference, but I believe a 430EX2 on a 40D would produce results similar to mine.

    Something else I should have mentioned - when using second strobe with e-TTL it is crucial not to place it so the camera can see the second strobe. If you place the second light behind the subject, for instance, it will confuse e-TTL and underexpose. There is a workaround using Group C, but it is messy. I carry two black straw grids to snoot my strobes when stray light becomes a problem. these are made from cheap TradeMe Stofen diffusers (about $20) and are a real situation saver at times.

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    Guy's I have copied the last few posts and pasted them into the flash thread for beginner's. This is really helpful to us (me) flash using newbie's

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    When I use flash I have been metering for the background as I normally would a scene and setting my shot up accordingly. I then just fire hoping the flash does it's thing without me doing anything.

    Is this right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by North of Auckland View Post
    Cheers Adam.

    That makes sense to me too.

    One thing though doesn't the 40D only syncs to a max of 1/250th?
    If you set your flash to hi speed sync then you get around that limitation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisgin View Post
    If you set your flash to hi speed sync then you get around that limitation.
    Hey?

    I thought 1/250th was the max the 40D could go

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    Quote Originally Posted by North of Auckland View Post
    When I use flash I have been metering for the background as I normally would a scene and setting my shot up accordingly. I then just fire hoping the flash does it's thing without me doing anything.

    Is this right?
    If you use Av mode, then the flash acts as fill only. In other words, the exposure is exactly the same as if you weren't using a flash, but the flash helps you eliminate some shadows in the foreground.

    This is different than in Auto mode, where the flash provides the main source of light, which is why with your typical P&S flash shot, the subject looks lit up but the background is dark.

    You can also adjust the flash exposure compensation (FEC) to increase or decrease the amount of flash as well.

    That's what I understand in theory anyway - I haven't really tried putting this stuff into practice!
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