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Thread: need help: exposing with manual flash

  1. #1

    Default need help: exposing with manual flash

    Hi all,

    Before my 2 manual flash get shipped to my house next week, I'm reading up a bit on studio lighting and learning at the same time. I know manual flash are not the best for studio work but due to budget and because I'm just trying out, I shall bear with it for the moment.

    I'm planning to put one on my hotshoe and another as slave. The one on my hotshoe will trigger the slave, and tata, I get my picture.

    Okay, here comes my question.

    1) In the case of modeling lights (which I will not have, but just ask for a start), let's say I have a main light and another light to fill in the shadows. So what are the steps taken to achieve the right exposure (in the absence of a light meter)? Let's say I meter f/11 and 1/60 for the main light. I then switch on the 'fill' light. Do I need to adjust the exposure settings since with the addition of the 'fill' light, the right exposure may be f/16 and 1/60. Or do I not need to do anything to it, since the main light is what I am supposed to meter for?

    2) Now comes the tricky part. Because of my cheapo nature, I'm unable to preview what it's like before the shot. When I meter for the subject, it may read f/2.8 and 1/60 but I'm aware that I will be firing flash, which the camera do not know. So I assume I should adjust the meter reading to f/4 or more to deal with the expected increase in light. My question is: is there a rule-of-thumb that you guys used, or just use the LCD and trial and error until you see something that you like? I'm asking because sometimes when I shoot film or in events where the group of people will not wait forever for you to trial and error, it's faster if we know how these lights affect the exposure reading. I read on the flash specs about f/stops on the flash. Do they come into play? I was thinking it is likely so.

    3) I assume that my flash on the hotshoe will be my main light and the slave to fill the shadows. I believe there are other combi and it would be great to hear more.

    That's about all. I have tonnes of questions before the shipment arrives, so maybe you guys out there have some great lighting tips to share. If my way of describing sucks or the jargon is all wrong, shame on me and LOL..but I still want to hear out any advice.


  2. #2
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Punggol, Singapore

    Default Re: need help: exposing with manual flash

    The strobist, you can find all you need to know about shooting with multiple hotshoe flash units here.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot | iStock portfolio

  3. #3

    Default Re: need help: exposing with manual flash

    hmn..nobody understands what i mean? or nobody wants to share?

    anyway, for those who are interested to learn about exposing with a couple of off-camera flash, this was the response i got from a similar qns posted on

    And this is a very, very straightforward, easy to read and understand article to using 3rd party flash, using both auto and manual modes.



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