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Thread: Strobing question

  1. #1

    Default Strobing question

    Ok, just a quick question about strobing:

    Most of the time, for directional single-flash photography (similar to paramount or loop lighting style), the flash will be off to one side, and the fill provided by a reflector near the subject-camera axis.

    My question is, since the fill is usually from the subject-camera axis, can we position a reflector off to one side, and aim the flash with Omnibounce (on the hotshoe) so the light bounces off the reflector onto the subject as the key light, while the light spreading from the diffuser acts as fill light from the camera-subject axis.

    If feasible with quality results, this method may be easier for a lone photographer with no assistant, as he just needs to hold a single reflector off to one side, instead of flash AND reflector at two different angles.

    Hope you guys understand what I'm trying to say...
    Canon 450D | Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM | Canon 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS | 430EXII | Gitzo GT0541, 486RC2

  2. #2
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strobing question

    just post simple sketching of your lighting set up will be easier let everyone understand what you like to say.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Strobing question

    I think I have an idea of what you are saying and I don't think that is possible because bounced light is usually used as fill because it is weaker. In the scenario you have described, your intended 'fill' would become the main light since it is the more powerful one.

    However Zack Arias has successfully used only 1 light as a backlight and reflectors to act as a mainlight. Check this out: http://www.zarias.com/?p=91

    How about getting 2 lightstands; one for you flash and one for your reflector instead. That would solve the problem of not having an assistant. It is not as convenient as having a 'voice operated' lightstand but beggars cant be choosers

  4. #4

    Default Re: Strobing question

    Quote Originally Posted by kaixiang View Post
    I think I have an idea of what you are saying and I don't think that is possible because bounced light is usually used as fill because it is weaker. In the scenario you have described, your intended 'fill' would become the main light since it is the more powerful one.

    However Zack Arias has successfully used only 1 light as a backlight and reflectors to act as a mainlight. Check this out: http://www.zarias.com/?p=91

    How about getting 2 lightstands; one for you flash and one for your reflector instead. That would solve the problem of not having an assistant. It is not as convenient as having a 'voice operated' lightstand but beggars cant be choosers
    Ok, I have posted a sketch.



    Power wise, if the shot is moderately tight, I think the flash may supply enough power. We usually don't shoot at 1/1 power for close portraits right? So there is usually excess power to spare.

    The key light will still be more intense than the fill, because most of the light is directed towards the reflector. The fill only comes from the diffused light from the Omnibounce.

    Zack's idea is similar, but different. He uses a studio strobe. Reflected light would be coming from the side and below; (split lighting) I'm trying to get it from side-top, closer to subject-camera axis (loop lighting). He has no fill that I can see, though he could have added another reflector.

    Lightstands are ideal, but not possible since 1. I'm not professional, so it's not a planned photoshoot. I shoot friends and family on location. 2. Too bulky, cumbersome, and expensive.
    Last edited by WhipLash; 23rd April 2009 at 01:22 PM.
    Canon 450D | Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM | Canon 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS | 430EXII | Gitzo GT0541, 486RC2

  5. #5
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strobing question

    it will not work, you can't control the amount light you want falls on your subject, you will have uneven background light.

    if you plan to take a group, one hotshoe flash might not powerful enough. let alone you still want to light up the background.

    why do keep it simple.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Strobing question

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    it will not work, you can't control the amount light you want falls on your subject, you will have uneven background light.

    if you plan to take a group, one hotshoe flash might not powerful enough. let alone you still want to light up the background.

    why do keep it simple.

    I plan to do this on location, not in a studio, so there is no background lighting required. There will be some ambient light, which I will underexpose by about 2 stops, and use the flash to highlight the face. I agree that I can't control the lighting ratio though.

    Oh, and this is for photographing individuals only, not groups. I AM trying to keep it simple. 1 hotshoe flash + 1 reflector is simpler than 1 off-camera flash + 1 reflector
    Canon 450D | Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM | Canon 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS | 430EXII | Gitzo GT0541, 486RC2

  7. #7

    Default Re: Strobing question

    I've done something like that before.

    It's doable, but you won't get the prominent 'directional' light from one side and fill from another side effect.

    The combination of the diffuser AND the reflector kinda spreads light everywhere. Been there, done that.

    UNLESS you remove the top part of the omnibounce (cut out top) - then you'll get slightly directional (still partially diffused) light off the reflector onto subject left based on your diagram. The hard part would be determining and controlling the angle of incidence and reflection.

    You might be better off just using one main light as indicated in the top diagram, and use the reflector as a fill just next to subject right.

    Lightstands come for as little as $20+ and folds more compact and are lighter than most compact tripods.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Strobing question

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    I've done something like that before.

    It's doable, but you won't get the prominent 'directional' light from one side and fill from another side effect.

    The combination of the diffuser AND the reflector kinda spreads light everywhere. Been there, done that.

    UNLESS you remove the top part of the omnibounce (cut out top) - then you'll get slightly directional (still partially diffused) light off the reflector onto subject left based on your diagram. The hard part would be determining and controlling the angle of incidence and reflection.

    You might be better off just using one main light as indicated in the top diagram, and use the reflector as a fill just next to subject right.

    Lightstands come for as little as $20+ and folds more compact and are lighter than most compact tripods.
    Haha, problem is lightstands tend to attact a little too much attention and is another additional weight to carry. I will give this a shot as soon as I get my reflectors, but it doesn't sound optimistic.

    Thanks guys...
    Canon 450D | Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM | Canon 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS | 430EXII | Gitzo GT0541, 486RC2

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