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Thread: Questions on effect achieved with electronic flash

  1. #1

    Default Questions on effect achieved with electronic flash

    Hi there,

    I'm trying to pick up some simple lighting techniques and am wondering if such an effect can be achieved with a Speedlite430 and an EOS 5D.

    The lighting for this picture 1 looks rather flat so if an electronic flash was used, I would think it's mounted on the camera body aimed directly at the subject.

    Picture 1:

    For picture 2, I think the flash unit was fired from the right of the camera. I cannot tell if there is a fill flash mounted on the camera body.

    Picture 2:

    At the moment, I'm only picking up some basic techniques for strobes from books. Will really appreciate if experienced photographers can provide some pointers. At the same time, I'm hoping to pick up some lighting techniques from the pros out there in studio lighting and electronic flash. Due to a limit in budget, it's not possible for me to purchase studio lights and learn so I'm wondering if any pro photographers out there would be kind enough to pick up an apprentice? Or perhaps a studio lighting course from the SLCC thing. I'll check it out.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Questions on effect achieved with electronic flash

    In my opinion both images #1 and #2 are images I would not show, unless I would want to demonstrate how NOT to use flash. In both images the model is overexposed and the background is underexposed.

    #1 is just a typical flash on top of camera fired off with full effect. It would have looked better if the flash was set to underexposure (EV-2 or even less) and only used as fill in (if that is possible with that flash). That way the highlights would not be washed out and background would not be so much underexposed.

    I think #2 is taken in sunlight, and again the flash was on top of the camera, set to about EV-1. I think the flash was still too intense, that's why the background is so dark while there are indications that the image was taken in broad daylight. The light from the side is the sun.

    I can not see anything else in the two images except possibly two ordinary tourist photos. Definitely not my taste, but remember, taste is very individual.

    If the images can be done with a Speedlite430 and an EOS 5D or not, I can not say since I use Olympus FL-50 and E-500. I would say, my guess is it can even be done with any P&S and a built in flash, so I don't think there is any reason why it couln't be done with a Speedlite430 and an EOS 5D.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Questions on effect achieved with electronic flash

    From the shadow under the chin in picture 1, I think the flash is high to the right.

    Metering is key when using flash outdoor. The ratio of the ambient light to the flash to creat the effect you want.


  4. #4
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Punggol, Singapore

    Default Re: Questions on effect achieved with electronic flash

    photography is all about lights, you need to study the light, know the quality of light, how to use lights to create moods, able to use lights to sculpt your subject, give your subject form, shape, textures, be it natural or artificial lights.

    I don't find the sample photos which you show has any good for you to learn from.

    however, you can learn more interesting things from here, they are using one or more hotshoe flash units to light their subjects.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot | iStock portfolio

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Volcano Land

    Default Re: Questions on effect achieved with electronic flash

    Oh yes. Heh. The Strobist is a great reference resource

  6. #6

    Default Re: Questions on effect achieved with electronic flash

    Very interesting. Thanks for the reference, Catchlights.

    Olyflyer and Scaglietti, picture 1 does look like the flash has been set high to the right with that bit of shadow on the left. The subject had a white shirt on. Is the white balance off?

    I didn't think much about under exposure when it comes to picture 1 but it makes sense now that it's being pointed out. For picture 2, it appealed to me because of a slightly stylized appeal. Professionally, I have no idea if it is a quality shot and I cannot tell.

    At least based on your verdict, there isn't a fill light lingering somewhere. I am posting a photograph of a recent photo session taken with RL660 flash on critique corner. If possible, I would like to seek your advice on what has been done wrong in terms of lighting, exposure and setting, even framing. And what could've been improved on. How it could've been metered.

    Going out with a similar strobe light this weekend, hoping to correct what has been done wrongly the first time round. Appreciate any advice from you guys. Thanks for taking the time.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Questions on effect achieved with electronic flash

    First I have to say I am not a pro, just somebody with about 35 years of SLR experience. Not just family pictures onece or twice a year but a genuine interest in photography.

    I agree with catchlights, the samples are not good to learn from. Yes, as pointed out, flash looks like coming from the right in both images. Maybe the photographer had a grip on the right of the camera, above the lens but I don't think high above. Anyway, the balconies on #1 cast shadows to the right, indicating strong sun from left. Also the tower has light left side and dark right side. That intensity is counteracted by the flash, since the guy has shadows on the left (his right side). I don't think WB is off because the skin colour is right. Just an example of bad light balance, shirt overexposed and background underexposed. IMO, the reason of missing colours from the park (?) behind is because of bad underexposure.

    #2 is equally bad but this time even the sun is from the right (the guys left). I would say both images are very unprofessional unless the photog wanted them this way for some strange reason.


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