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Thread: Methods of Flash application

  1. #1

    Default Methods of Flash application

    Hi to all, I need some advice based on experience.

    I am using an external flash and have tried pointing the flash unit 45deg with a built in difusser and nothing else.The result was not very optimum.My question is, what is the basic thumb of rule when taking photos in the following environment.I have not bought any difussers,bounce card or LightsphereII and can't make up a decision.Which one will deliver the results well?

    What equipment to be used and techniques(Eg,tilt flash 90 deg+bounce card or 45 deg with omni bounce/lightsphere)

    For the following 4 conditions:
    1)Indoor-Normal ceiling height(90 deg to the ceiling+bounce card?)
    2)Indoor-High ceiling(45 deg +bounce card???)
    3)Indoor,moderate lighting(??)
    4)Outdoor-To do fill flash to object(point straight 90deg?)

    I know there are multiple threads on discussion of difussers such as soft box,doy bounce cards,omni bounce,LightsphereII,etc but i have not found an answer

  2. #2

    Default Re: Methods of Flash application

    try this...direct flash with built-in defuser (remember, direct), put your shutter to 1/50, F6.1 (or similar) and ISO800

    you will be surprise what you can do with these.

  3. #3
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Methods of Flash application

    at times you will also suprise yourself with over exposed pictures

  4. #4
    Senior Member sammy888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Methods of Flash application

    Not too sure what you meant by "Not very Optimum". This is what I would be faced with when I use an external flash and when I choose to bounce the flash off a surface like a ceiling to soften the lighting, broaden the field of illumination..etc.

    In this modern day, flash have pretty good TTL metering to control and deliver the right amount of flash power to your subject shot. Personally, I find it is still not fool proof. A number of factors comes into play ranging from off-centered subject, to impure colouration of the reflective surface which can cause WB problem and limitation of your flash's illumination power.

    When I bounce my flash, I tend to give it abit more exposure time. I might add anything from 1 to 3 stops over what auto setting the flash or my camera chooses. (this is even more so if you are shooting in non TTL mode) I factor that in as the flash has to travel a longer distance to your subject. Instead of directly from the flash head to the subject, it has to hit the wall, bounce off it and reach the subject. Sometime the TTL can be tricked so the added time or f-stops does help punch up abit more exposure.

    And there is also the angle of your bounce. Set the angle wrong and most of the flash might end up in the back area pass your subject or bounce too near and it fall short of your subject..if you know what I mean. Bouncing flash off a ceiling or any reflective subject takes some getting use to and also some adjustment which comes with experiences and experiments.

    Also, beside bouncing off the ceiling, you can at times bounce it off the side wall too. Have you gave that a try? I have done that to good effect and you can get pretty interesting lighting illumination from it. This is a good alternative if your flash is not powerful enough to bounce off the ceiling or the ceiling height is way too high. That could be why you migth not be getting good result. You did not mentioned what flash you are using and how high are the ceiling. Your flash is rated (GN) base on a direct flash to the subject distance. But when you are bouncing it off a surface or through some semi-transparent material, a lot of the flash internal setting and capability changes...usually that means it perform just a little less powerful then it's specification.

    Of course there is also the purchasing of those mini reflective angular card attached to your flash head or those spheredome or semi transparent difusser covering the flash head. Those are less problematic to use compared to ceiling or wall bouncing but I also do tend to give it 1-2 extra f-stop,use one shutter speed step longer or set compensation to +1 or more. Anything that difuses the flash or borden the angle of coverage will certaining compromise the effect guide number. But as you mention, to use a reflective pad mounted on my flash head and STILL bounce it against a ceiling?? That I never do heheh...beside ..you are losing even more flash power by doing so.

    I have also incorporated the use of an extension cord to my flash. Instead of placing the flash on my camera's flash hotshoe, I bought the Nikon flash extension cable and then hand held it. This way I get to position the flash faster and with more flexibilty for a ceiling/wall bounce and also get it nearer the bounce surface too ( shortening the distance for the flash to travel thus lessen the dimishing flash intensity towards the subject). This is also handy for when I want to shoot a large building shot with long exposure mode. You can switch your flash to multi flash mode and then you flash ( paint) your entire scene with it when your shutter remains open.

    Just my 2 bits......
    Last edited by sammy888; 24th December 2005 at 11:35 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Methods of Flash application

    Thanks Sammy888 for your long essay explanation.I do get what you are trying to say.I have did some experiments but results still not favourable.I got to do more trials. Moreover i have no idea of how to overcome shooting vertically with flash.I tried tilting it 45deg or 90 deg towards ceiling but the result is one side bighter than the other.I'm using a sb600



    Quote Originally Posted by sammy888
    Not too sure what you meant by "Not very Optimum". This is what I would be faced with when I use an external flash and when I choose to bounce the flash off a surface like a ceiling to soften the lighting, broaden the field of illumination..etc.

    In this modern day, flash have pretty good TTL metering to control and deliver the right amount of flash power to your subject shot. Personally, I find it is still not fool proof. A number of factors comes into play ranging from off-centered subject, to impure colouration of the reflective surface which can cause WB problem and limitation of your flash's illumination power.

    When I bounce my flash, I tend to give it abit more exposure time. I might add anything from 1 to 3 stops over what auto setting the flash or my camera chooses. (this is even more so if you are shooting in non TTL mode) I factor that in as the flash has to travel a longer distance to your subject. Instead of directly from the flash head to the subject, it has to hit the wall, bounce off it and reach the subject. Sometime the TTL can be tricked so the added time or f-stops does help punch up abit more exposure.

    And there is also the angle of your bounce. Set the angle wrong and most of the flash might end up in the back area pass your subject or bounce too near and it fall short of your subject..if you know what I mean. Bouncing flash off a ceiling or any reflective subject takes some getting use to and also some adjustment which comes with experiences and experiments.

    Also, beside bouncing off the ceiling, you can at times bounce it off the side wall too. Have you gave that a try? I have done that to good effect and you can get pretty interesting lighting illumination from it. This is a good alternative if your flash is not powerful enough to bounce off the ceiling or the ceiling height is way too high. That could be why you migth not be getting good result. You did not mentioned what flash you are using and how high are the ceiling. Your flash is rated (GN) base on a direct flash to the subject distance. But when you are bouncing it off a surface or through some semi-transparent material, a lot of the flash internal setting and capability changes...usually that means it perform just a little less powerful then it's specification.

    Of course there is also the purchasing of those mini reflective angular card attached to your flash head or those spheredome or semi transparent difusser covering the flash head. Those are less problematic to use compared to ceiling or wall bouncing but I also do tend to give it 1-2 extra f-stop,use one shutter speed step longer or set compensation to +1 or more. Anything that difuses the flash or borden the angle of coverage will certaining compromise the effect guide number. But as you mention, to use a reflective pad mounted on my flash head and STILL bounce it against a ceiling?? That I never do heheh...beside ..you are losing even more flash power by doing so.

    I have also incorporated the use of an extension cord to my flash. Instead of placing the flash on my camera's flash hotshoe, I bought the Nikon flash extension cable and then hand held it. This way I get to position the flash faster and with more flexibilty for a ceiling/wall bounce and also get it nearer the bounce surface too ( shortening the distance for the flash to travel thus lessen the dimishing flash intensity towards the subject). This is also handy for when I want to shoot a large building shot with long exposure mode. You can switch your flash to multi flash mode and then you flash ( paint) your entire scene with it when your shutter remains open.

    Just my 2 bits......
    Last edited by StreetPumpkin; 24th December 2005 at 10:16 PM.

  6. #6
    Member eng_keow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Methods of Flash application

    What settings are you using on your cam when using your flash?

    Are you on Av mode or manual?

    If manual, what are your settings after metering the surroundings?

    Using the TTl mode on the flash is very useful. For me I would meter the surroundings on iso 800 and set the aperture and shutter speed slightly under and shoot. Use of diffusers, bounce cards or direct flash only gives me the effect I want. If I absolutely want to make sure that there is no shadows, I would use a bounce care or a diffuser aiming the flash completely to the ceiling. I started using the Stofen box but after a while, I find that for me personally, a bounce card is more useful.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Methods of Flash application

    I am using an external flash and have tried pointing the flash unit 45deg with a built in difusser and nothing else.
    1)Indoor-Normal ceiling height(90 deg to the ceiling+bounce card?)
    2)Indoor-High ceiling(45 deg +bounce card???)
    3)Indoor,moderate lighting(??)
    4)Outdoor-To do fill flash to object(point straight 90deg?)
    quick comments on what i do:

    1. with bounce card: tilt 75-90deg up. with no bounce card: angle is impt - no fixed position but aim the beam at the ceiling in-between camera and subject. i don't use diffuser with bounce.

    2. either direct (no bounce) using diffuser, or 90deg with bounce card (will drain batts)

    3. a different question... i set the camera to slight underexposure, usually in manual mode, ISO400 on DSLR.

    4. same as 2.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Methods of Flash application

    Haha I have a suggestion.

    Why not post up your flash pics and tell us what you don't like about them?
    Flash photography is subjective. There's no right/wrong. Just what effect you want to achieve.

    Opinions here are based on what the individual user likes. You may not feel the same way.
    eg. Some people swear by the stofen, others sell it off after a few uses.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Methods of Flash application

    Quote Originally Posted by solarii
    Opinions here are based on what the individual user likes. You may not feel the same way.
    eg. Some people swear by the stofen, others sell it off after a few uses.
    When I was still an intern at The Rochester Chronicles, I was sweared by Stofen OmniBounce. Now I use it at weddings and AD&Ds.

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