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Thread: How to aviod hardlight effects?

  1. #1

    Arrow How to aviod hardlight effects?

    Hi,

    i went to cover an event for school and it was at night. then i had to use flash. but the pictures came up very hard, as in the flashes bounces on the subject and reflects hard (or rather overexposed)

    i tried lowering the flash level, but don't really work.

    Any advice?

    Using digital cam F717 or Canon 420EX also like that..

  2. #2

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    The point here (pun intended) it to change the source of light from a point source to a more diffused one. To do that, you'll need to either bounce it off a surface (bounce card will not work), or use a proper softbox (but it'll rob your flash's power immensely). Another way is to move the flash off camera, with some fancy bracket or your hand (better learn how to shoot with a single hand).

  3. #3
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    Solutions ranked from (approx) cheapest to elaborate:

    1. Get the subject to move to more lit area, preferably with surface to bounce a flash.

    2. Get a tripod, use flash, expose for ambient. Put a tissue or diffuser in front of the flash. Very tactfully, get those with oily or sweaty face to clean up. It's the oil/sweat that gives you those ugly hot spots, esp from direct flash.

    3. Get a remote flash trigger (like ST-E2 type), get two persons, one to hold flash near subject, one to hold diffuser/reflector/umbrella. Can play around until you get the lighting proprerly diffused.

    4. Get something that can do ISO 800/1600 and a fast prime lens like 85/1.2. DOF of field will be very shallow though, so watch it.
    Last edited by ST1100; 13th October 2003 at 11:14 AM.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ST1100
    4. Get something that can do ISO 800/1600 and a fast prime lens like 85/1.2. DOF of field will be very shallow though, so watch it.
    Shoot at high ISO, high resolution and push the pics using Photoshop. Sometimes pics are decent enough for 4R print.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by YSLee
    The point here (pun intended) it to change the source of light from a point source to a more diffused one. To do that, you'll need to either bounce it off a surface (bounce card will not work), or use a proper softbox (but it'll rob your flash's power immensely). Another way is to move the flash off camera, with some fancy bracket or your hand (better learn how to shoot with a single hand).

    Why doesn't a bounce card or something like Lumiquest work?? I see pros using them too..... must work to diffuse the light source right otherwise they won't be using them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yamcake
    Hi,

    i tried lowering the flash level, but don't really work.

    Any advice?

    Using digital cam F717 or Canon 420EX also like that..
    apart from setting flash compensation lower, try also underexposing by 1/3 to 1/2 stop. give it a go on your dc and see if you like the results

  7. #7

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    Reducing flash power doesn't work. See my post.

    TME, bounce cards work best in a confined envrionment. They still result in a point light source. Lumiquest stuff usually will not eliminate the ugly reflections. The best way is still to move the flash off camera.

  8. #8

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    i had that problem.... the only really effective solution is to have a DSLR which can do ISO 800 / 1000 or 1600.... but a cheaper way is to use photoshop to tone up the backgrounds. it's a slow and tedious process but it works... unless the background is totally dark then only the high ISO way works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by YSLee
    Reducing flash power doesn't work. See my post.

    TME, bounce cards work best in a confined envrionment. They still result in a point light source. Lumiquest stuff usually will not eliminate the ugly reflections. The best way is still to move the flash off camera.
    ??? Moving the camera will also result in a point light source what..... just that the direction of light comes from an axis off the lens axis... so that the photo looks more flattering..... at any rate, I thought the Lumiquest is meant to disperse the point source so that it looks as if the light came from a larger source than the flash..... and that is the effect that most photographers want to achieve in diffusing the flash pulse from their flashes... changing the angle at which the flash pulse illuminates the subject will not remove the reflections/hotspots, it just projects them from another angle..... only a multi-point light source will eliminate reflections and shadows and that u will need studio lights and reflectors........

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    In my opinion, Lumiquest is over-rated. The surface area of the bounce area isn't exactly big enuff to diffuse the kind of power that the flash emits. The result is just a bigger-sized point source. Not to mention, it irritates the hell out of fellow photographers in a confined space. So far for my assignments, most photographers I encountered simply just use a stofen diffuser and try to bounce the light off a ceiling or wall.

  11. #11

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    TME, heh, Prismatic shows his experience; you show your lack of it. The basic idea here is to avoid specular highlights, so moving the flash off camera will usually help.

    Prismatic: actually, I'd be careful of the omni bounce.. it can bring about the same problem of specular reflections off shiny faces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YSLee
    TME, heh, Prismatic shows his experience; you show your lack of it. The basic idea here is to avoid specular highlights, so moving the flash off camera will usually help.

    Prismatic: actually, I'd be careful of the omni bounce.. it can bring about the same problem of specular reflections off shiny faces.

    So why does shifting the flash off the camera avoid specular highlights? Let me try to reason and u tell me if I am right or wrong okie? ......... Hotspots appear usually because the light comes from a single spot, right? Which is also why natural light is best if u can have it cos it comes from all around... I understand that the Lumiquest/bounce card tries to enlarge the light source so that the illumination is more even. But of course nothing is perfect... so the diffusion of the light from the flash is not like what we would like it to be... but it helps..... some people prefer softboxes or even tissue..... if u shift the flash off the camera (if I understand u correctly), that is either use a bracket or use wireless flash or cables, the illumination from the flash would still be unidirectional isn't it? And it would still be from a single source...... only the reflection off the subject would not be directed into the camera's film plane directly but at an angle... in which case the areas which are shiny will still appear a lot brighter than the others but maybe not like a front flash shot. In any case, u still have highlights. It's just not as obvious..... and perhaps one may feel that these highlights are more flattering or better... in any case these are still specular reflections and depending on the angle of the reflections, they can still look very ugly..... so I dun see how shifting the flash off the camera will automatically remove the hotspots...... but if u want something to be evenly lit without any such highlights, then I think u need a large external light source like a studio lamp?? I'm not sure if this is always true but usually studio shots turn out with very even illumination (unless shadows were created deliberately) nnd this because of the kind of light source that the studio can have - multipoint and very large and very diffuse....

    At the end of the analysis, both on camera and off camera flash will give highlights..... just that off camera flash gives less intense highlights which are deemed better looking or more desirable, etc...

    Okie.. your turn YSLee.....
    Last edited by TME; 17th October 2003 at 04:52 PM.

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