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Thread: First Lightstand Setup

  1. #1

    Default First Lightstand Setup

    I dont own a flash meter or digital camera.

    Do you think SB-28(GN max 110 feet at 85mm(max)) with a convertible umbrella has enough flash power to shoot at F8 to F16 if i place the flash 1 metre away from the subject ? Accordingly to kenrockwell website, with that GN, it is able to shoot at F11 for 10 feet away. But no mention about using it with umbrella. maybe someone with experience with umbrella can help me. How much light is lost (1) shooting thru umbrella or (2) bouncing off the umbrella (with black cover)? The distance between flash and umbrella is 0.7m.

    Do i need to make any flash compensation if i shoot outdoor or indoor?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    I spotted at least 21 questions that need to be answered if you're going to do this fully manually without any sort of metering or visual testing.

    Short-Cut: One easy way is this: Go with a suggested basic setting, and whenever in doubt (which you will be in this case), BRACKET LIKE CRAZY! 5-10 stops would not be unreasonable.

    Another much simpler and cheaper solution: borrow a simple digital camera. Even a PnS camera can help tremendously if it can be set to manual.

    I'm assuming testing with polaroids would be out of the question.

  3. #3

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    Last sunday, I used sunny F16 rule to set camera exposure to shoot models on the beach. Shot at 1/125 at F8. Flash at F8. Most of my slides were underexposed. I suspected either my umbrella was too far away from the models or my flash was underpowered to deliver F8 effectively.

    Maybe there are a few tested guidelines for example the sunny F16 rule for Flash exposure. The aim is to reduce the percentage of underexposure. And focus on more important aspect of making portraits.

  4. #4
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by CasualSnaper View Post
    Last sunday, I used sunny F16 rule to set camera exposure to shoot models on the beach. Shot at 1/125 at F8. Flash at F8. Most of my slides were underexposed. I suspected either my umbrella was too far away from the models or my flash was underpowered to deliver F8 effectively.

    Maybe there are a few tested guidelines for example the sunny F16 rule for Flash exposure. The aim is to reduce the percentage of underexposure. And focus on more important aspect of making portraits.
    sunny f16 rule is only for shooting under DAYLIGHT, f8 with 1/125 sec, I guess you are using ISO 100 film, so that day is a very cloudy day? no distinct shadow cast by sunlight? if so, you should be using f5.6 or even f4.

    anyway, without flash meter, or even a digital cam, you will not know what exposure the flash can give you. especially you use the flash with an umbrella.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    Aperture Lighting Conditions Shadow Detail
    f/16 Sunny Distinct
    f/11 Slight Overcast Soft around edges
    f/8 Overcast Barely visible
    f/5.6 Heavy Overcast No shadows
    f/4 Sunset

    The sunny 16 rule is the starting point. we can adjust F-stop based on table above or the table can be a basis for other setting. observe light and adjust accordingly.

    On that day, whenever the cloud block the sun, shadows are barely visible. But most of the time, there are not very soft shadows. Anyway, I am not very critical with ambient exposure. I am more concern with flash exposure.

    I might even consider using minimum aperture so that I can easily spot presence of flash on my subject. Ignore sunny f16 rule and operate within GN limit of the flash (F11 at 10ft). Maybe the beach is not a ideal place to learn flash photography.

    I notice my beach slides are very soft. On another separate occasion, i made a softbox from a shoe box. I was shooting at 1/125, flash and camera both at F8, subject and flash distance at 1.3m, softbox at 45 degree left and top from subject. I metered the face using my camera. It was 6 stops underexposed. When i got back my slides, the images are very sharp and the light was not harsh. I think the reason is because the size of the softbox is roughly the size of the face, therefore it is sharp (i could be wrong).

    This make me to think whether i can get sharp images shooting thru my umbrella. my umbrella is 45'; much bigger than my softbox. my umbrella apparent size is bigger than face but smaller than a body. Will increase in size of "flash surface" make image soft? I thought umbrella is to soften the light. not soften the image, right?

    another reason could be:-
    What make the image so soft? Is it because of ambient light? In my softbox example, it was 6 stops underexposed. Those images have sufficient flash and little ambient. In my beach images, there are ambient light everywhere(underexposed 2 stops for model face but not underexpose for the beach). Could the presence of ambient light affect the sharpness of images?

  6. #6

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    One really good thing about this is: you're thinking about exposure. Most photographers have lost their ability to think, or choose not to.

    Could I ask - is there a reason why you do not use a light meter?

  7. #7

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    I dont own a light meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    One really good thing about this is: you're thinking about exposure. Most photographers have lost their ability to think, or choose not to.

    Could I ask - is there a reason why you do not use a light meter?

  8. #8

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    Would you be willing to use one?

    There are some capable flashmeters available used at good prices. Just look around the classifieds here, and on e-bay.

    It would make your life much easier, and coupled with the fact that you are exploring various lighting set-ups, and have given exposure some deep thought, it would augment your understanding of light.

  9. #9

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    Thanks for your advice. I know I don't own a digital camera yet, but with digital, are flashmeters obsolete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Would you be willing to use one?

    There are some capable flashmeters available used at good prices. Just look around the classifieds here, and on e-bay.

    It would make your life much easier, and coupled with the fact that you are exploring various lighting set-ups, and have given exposure some deep thought, it would augment your understanding of light.

  10. #10
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by CasualSnaper View Post
    Thanks for your advice. I know I don't own a digital camera yet, but with digital, are flashmeters obsolete?
    no,
    you still need flash meter if you want to do multiple lights set up,
    you need to know the lighting ratio of all the lights, else you are shooting in blind.

    however, you can live without a flash meter unless you are everyday shooting with the studio flash, knowing what f stop should use all by heart.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  11. #11

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    with digital, can always reshoot on the spot if not satisfactory.

    we can set flash aperture and vary the flash power on each flash, why do you need flash meter? maybe with the meter, it is faster.

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    no,
    you still need flash meter if you want to do multiple lights set up,
    you need to know the lighting ratio of all the lights, else you are shooting in blind.

    however, you can live without a flash meter unless you are everyday shooting with the studio flash, knowing what f stop should use all by heart.

  12. #12

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    Yes, with digital it's a lot easier, but a lot slower and slightly less precise to squint at the LCD and read the histogram, and check the RGB just to be sure.

    Also, a flashmeter gives you much more precise readings especially when you want to balance flash with ambient, and work out ratios.

    Flashmeters are hardly redundant. In fact, flashmeter technology has progressed by quite a bit with the advent of digital usage.

  13. #13
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by CasualSnaper View Post
    with digital, can always reshoot on the spot if not satisfactory.

    we can set flash aperture and vary the flash power on each flash, why do you need flash meter? maybe with the meter, it is faster.
    without a flash meter, how would you know how to set you key light @ f11, fill in @ f5.6 and background light @ f16?
    you can always agar agar, but you will never learn how to set the light effectively.

    just like if you never see a ruler before, how would you know 1m is how long. but if you are using a ruler every day, you can tell the length of an object rather accurately without using a ruler.

    digital camera has already replace the instant film (Polaroid, pros always do a test print before do the actual shoot on film), but will never replace exposure meter, whether for flash or ambient light.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  14. #14

    Default Re: First Lightstand Setup

    can i borrow your flash meter ?

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