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Thread: Subject too dark in Gig.

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    Member Senifer's Avatar
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    Default Subject too dark in Gig.

    Hello fellow CSers,

    I covered some gig event at a pub last night for my friend. they were performing, so i offer to take photos of them for coverage. However, during shooting, i faced a few problems, so i wonder if any pros here who have done gig coverage to shed some light to me. Would appreciate for all constructive comments given.

    problems i faced:
    #1. Before the gig starts, the people i see in my VF are too dark, I used AF and realised, it keeps hunting. Don't think MF will help because me myself can't see the subject in the VF.

    #2. When the gig started, I used flash to take the shots, and it literally cover over the ambient light which is red in colour. So all the photos are almost like in a dark place with just my flash and some white light. During the shots, i was considering if i should take the shots with the ambient lights but blur photos, or without the ambient lights with clearer photos. you know, without the ambient light, it doesn't feel like a gig. :\

    Thanks for all comments that will be given.
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    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    what the place needs is a spotlight
    if the ambient light has your subjects in the shadows and you only want to use ambient light
    then you need to change the ambient light

    or expose for the shadows and blow out the background

    if the camera cannot "see" the details it cannot "see" what to focus on as well.
    One way is to focus (AF or MF) on the edge of the silhouette and then switch to MF
    Make sure that you have enough DOF for your subject to move around in.

    equipment wise: fast lens and high ISO low noise caperble camera will be of help

  3. #3
    Member Senifer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.



    This is the shot i've taken when they were doing their sound check. the spot lights are on already, I stand quite a distance from them and still the flash overdo the ambient light. :\
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    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    What you need to do is to practise on your flash modes. Namely slow sync and rear sync. These will help you achieve a balanced scene of dark BG with illuminated subjects.

    But you'd have to expose for the BG, which means a high ISO, slow shutter speed as well as a large aperture. Coupled with a corrected flash ev (negative values) to compensate for the subject and not overpower the scene, then you'll have what you'd want to achieve.

    Keep practising... have fun.
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  5. #5
    Member Senifer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by ortega View Post
    what the place needs is a spotlight
    if the ambient light has your subjects in the shadows and you only want to use ambient light
    then you need to change the ambient light

    or expose for the shadows and blow out the background

    if the camera cannot "see" the details it cannot "see" what to focus on as well.
    One way is to focus (AF or MF) on the edge of the silhouette and then switch to MF
    Make sure that you have enough DOF for your subject to move around in.

    equipment wise: fast lens and high ISO low noise caperble camera will be of help
    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    What you need to do is to practise on your flash modes. Namely slow sync and rear sync. These will help you achieve a balanced scene of dark BG with illuminated subjects.

    But you'd have to expose for the BG, which means a high ISO, slow shutter speed as well as a large aperture. Coupled with a corrected flash ev (negative values) to compensate for the subject and not overpower the scene, then you'll have what you'd want to achieve.

    Keep practising... have fun.
    Thanks ortega & zac08. Will keep practicing. currently depending on my built in flash with pop-up flash diffuser.(sorry, no money to get a flash yet! but already had plans for it)
    So I guess i'll try to avoid events like this before i feel disappointed with my pictures again.
    Thanks man!
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Get a proper flash and you'll see how much different it can be when trying to expose for ambient light and yet having the right amount of fill for your subjects.

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    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by Senifer View Post
    Thanks ortega & zac08. Will keep practicing. currently depending on my built in flash with pop-up flash diffuser.(sorry, no money to get a flash yet! but already had plans for it)
    So I guess i'll try to avoid events like this before i feel disappointed with my pictures again.
    Thanks man!
    may i ask ts, how far were u standing from the ppl? as far as i remember, a onboard flash hsa quite a low gn. i'm suspecting that ur flash didnt exactly overpowered the ambient light. something else perhaps just cant put my finger on it.

    so far, i can tell u lighting of subjects is pretty much independent of shutter speed when ur using flash. yesterday was testing out my on board flash, shot a piplup at only 20 cm away, with f9 iso 100. and room was dark. shutter speed 3.2 sec, but cause its dark room, camera only registered flash.

    for ur case, i'll reckon possibly a good flash with a gn of perhaps 42 ++. even if u shoot at f8, u can still light up ur guys at 5 meters away on iso 100. use the GN to ur advantage.

    as for matters regarding rear sync, or slow sync, those are for u to expose the ambient lighting for rooms. use ur camera metering for this. usually its abt 1 stop lesser than ur subject. pretty much u gotta calculate quite a bit using maths.

    not too sure if this is the most accurate information, but at least thats how i view it lar

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    Member Senifer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scoop View Post
    Get a proper flash and you'll see how much different it can be when trying to expose for ambient light and yet having the right amount of fill for your subjects.
    Thanks man. i will get a proper flash soon, probably in the month of August hopefully. Should be either SB600 or SB900.

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    may i ask ts, how far were u standing from the ppl? as far as i remember, a onboard flash hsa quite a low gn. i'm suspecting that ur flash didnt exactly overpowered the ambient light. something else perhaps just cant put my finger on it.

    so far, i can tell u lighting of subjects is pretty much independent of shutter speed when ur using flash. yesterday was testing out my on board flash, shot a piplup at only 20 cm away, with f9 iso 100. and room was dark. shutter speed 3.2 sec, but cause its dark room, camera only registered flash.

    for ur case, i'll reckon possibly a good flash with a gn of perhaps 42 ++. even if u shoot at f8, u can still light up ur guys at 5 meters away on iso 100. use the GN to ur advantage.

    as for matters regarding rear sync, or slow sync, those are for u to expose the ambient lighting for rooms. use ur camera metering for this. usually its abt 1 stop lesser than ur subject. pretty much u gotta calculate quite a bit using maths.

    not too sure if this is the most accurate information, but at least thats how i view it lar
    Thanks for trying to make me understand. Haven't read on flash yet, but will be reading it one of these days when i'm free. I believe it takes some time to understand and use a good flash well. been seeing rear sync and slow sync these two bombastic words around. will check out the meaning with my best friend, Google.
    Nikon D90 | N18-105mm | T90mm | SB-600
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Your shutter speed can go slower (try 1/30s) and ISO can go higher for the ambient light.

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    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by ortega View Post
    Make sure that you have enough DOF for your subject to move around in.

    equipment wise: fast lens and high ISO low noise caperble camera will be of help
    "enough DOF" and "fast lens" are kinda like, don't go together?
    My thinking is while on the one hand, fast lens means opening the aperture big, that also leads to a thinner DOF. But yes, on the other hand, having a fast lens e.g. f1.4 compared to f5.6 where there's almost 4 stops of light differences (16 times as much light going in!) means enough light to even autofocus or manual focus on something too dark previously.

    So it depends on what one has at the time of shoot, and just adjust accordingly one's style and shooting method on the spot.

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    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    "enough DOF" and "fast lens" are kinda like, don't go together?
    My thinking is while on the one hand, fast lens means opening the aperture big, that also leads to a thinner DOF. But yes, on the other hand, having a fast lens e.g. f1.4 compared to f5.6 where there's almost 4 stops of light differences (16 times as much light going in!) means enough light to even autofocus or manual focus on something too dark previously.

    So it depends on what one has at the time of shoot, and just adjust accordingly one's style and shooting method on the spot.
    not true actually. with Flash, everything is pretty much possible. lets assume ur standing 5 meters away from the band that is playing, with a flash of a good gn of 40, u can easily shoot at f8, iso 100. amazing as it may seem, but i had tested and tried it out.

    to give u the formula, GN= Distance*aperture @iso 100

    if u double ur iso, to 200 lets say. a proper exposure will be at f8, 10m away.(i think. not too sure if changing iso will help actually)

    and in line with ur question, if ur shooting at f1.4....... at iso 100. i think u can shoot an approximate 40 meters away. up the iso to 400, u can shoot at a amazing 160m away zomg! (but then u gotta take into account of light weakening by then etc etc etc i think so far never had the need to blast my flash at its max power so never tried)

    and if ur in a dark room, having a slow shutter speed of 1/60 will help u fill in the back ground light. now that is slow sync, where u fire a flash, using a longer shutter speed.

    now, under the category of slow sync, there are 2 extra components, rear sync and front curtain sync.

    what this controls is when the flash is fired. if ur using a long shutter speed, do u wanna fire the flash the very moment the shutter is open? thats front curtain sync.

    if wanna flash at the end when shutter abt to close, its rear sync.

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    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Ah yes... flash. But I would not flash at an event.

    Wait. That last sentence didn't come out quite right

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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    eh. seriously, if you don't know what you're saying, better don't say anything. bs'ing will only make you look... erm...

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    not true actually. with Flash, everything is pretty much possible. lets assume ur standing 5 meters away from the band that is playing, with a flash of a good gn of 40, u can easily shoot at f8, iso 100. amazing as it may seem, but i had tested and tried it out.

    to give u the formula, GN= Distance*aperture @iso 100

    if u double ur iso, to 200 lets say. a proper exposure will be at f8, 10m away.(i think. not too sure if changing iso will help actually)

    and in line with ur question, if ur shooting at f1.4....... at iso 100. i think u can shoot an approximate 40 meters away. up the iso to 400, u can shoot at a amazing 160m away zomg! (but then u gotta take into account of light weakening by then etc etc etc i think so far never had the need to blast my flash at its max power so never tried)

    and if ur in a dark room, having a slow shutter speed of 1/60 will help u fill in the back ground light. now that is slow sync, where u fire a flash, using a longer shutter speed.

    now, under the category of slow sync, there are 2 extra components, rear sync and front curtain sync.

    what this controls is when the flash is fired. if ur using a long shutter speed, do u wanna fire the flash the very moment the shutter is open? thats front curtain sync.

    if wanna flash at the end when shutter abt to close, its rear sync.

  14. #14
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by lostsole View Post
    eh. seriously, if you don't know what you're saying, better don't say anything. bs'ing will only make you look... erm...

    http://www.photozone.de/the-guide-number-gn



    i'm technically correct. a gn 40 meters at iso 100, aperture f8, u can shoot 5 meters.

    and from wiki itself
    The guide number represents an exposure constant for a flash unit. For example, a guide number of 80 feet at ISO 100 means that a target 20 feet away will be correctly illuminated with an aperture of f/4 (80 = 20 4) using a sensitivity of ISO 100. For the same guide number and an aperture of f/8, the light source should be 10 feet from the subject (80 = 10 8). [1]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_number

    and as for slow sync
    Slow Sync Flash is a function found on many cameras that tells your camera to shoot with both a longer shutter speed as well as firing the flash. This means you get the best of both worlds above and can both get a relatively sharp shot of your main subject as well as get some ambient light from the background and foreground.
    rear and front curtain sync
    Rear Curtain Sync – this tells your camera to fire the flash at the end of the exposure. ie when you press the shutter your lens opens up and starts collecting light and just before it closes the flash will fire to light up and freeze your main subject (see the card shot to the left for an example where you’ll see the card trail ending in a nice crisp shot of the card).

    Front Curtain Sync – this tells your camera to fire the flash at the start of the exposure. ie when you press the shutter, the flash will fire immediately and the shutter will remain open afterwards capturing ambient light.
    info from http://digital-photography-school.com/slow-sync-flash

    perhaps the only error i made was the factor when increasing iso. i wasnt too sure if it was a factor of 2. but here we have it.
    Another thing to keep in mind when using this procedure is when you are increasing your film speed, your guide numbers will double every two stops. This would mean the flash in this example would now have a guide number of 236 with ISO 400 film. This would give you an aperture of f/19.6. Going to an ISO 800 film, your guide number would jump to 472.
    http://www.vividlight.com/articles/1214.htm

    meaning, from iso 100 to iso 400, a gn of 40 will be doubled to 80. then using the same formula, at f8, u can shoot 10 meters away at iso 400.



    pls check ur information before making such comments.
    Last edited by allenleonhart; 11th June 2010 at 05:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    Ah yes... flash. But I would not flash at an event.

    Wait. That last sentence didn't come out quite right
    maybe. but sometimes, getting the shot is more impt. so use flash when needed

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    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    There are a lot of misinformation here actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    not true actually. with Flash, everything is pretty much possible. lets assume ur standing 5 meters away from the band that is playing, with a flash of a good gn of 40, u can easily shoot at f8, iso 100. amazing as it may seem, but i had tested and tried it out.

    to give u the formula, GN= Distance*aperture @iso 100

    if u double ur iso, to 200 lets say. a proper exposure will be at f8, 10m away.(i think. not too sure if changing iso will help actually)

    and in line with ur question, if ur shooting at f1.4....... at iso 100. i think u can shoot an approximate 40 meters away. up the iso to 400, u can shoot at a amazing 160m away zomg! (but then u gotta take into account of light weakening by then etc etc etc i think so far never had the need to blast my flash at its max power so never tried)
    Although the GN formula is right, the rest are incorrect.

    Using the example given above, GN = 40 @ ISO100. At f/8 it is correct that the maximum distance the flash can reach is 40/8 = 5m, and not "standing 5 meters away from the band that is playing, with a flash of a good gn of 40, u can easily shoot at f8, iso 100.", because the flash will not be able to reach beyond 5m, and if you do, your subject will be underexposed.

    Now let's move on to ISO. For every increase in 1 stop, the flash distance increases by root-2, or 1.4142. This means that the GN also increases (or decreases) by 1.4142/stop. So if you increase the ISO from 100 to 200 (1 stop), the GN becomes 40x1.4142 = 56.57, and the max coverage is 56.57/8 = 7.07m. Alternatively you can also calculate like this: 5m x 1.4142 = 7.07m.

    Now from f/8 to f/1.4 at ISO100. f/8->5.6->4->2.8->2->1.4, total increment of 5 stops. So max coverage = 5m x (1.4142)^5 = 5m x 5.66 = 28.28m, not 40m. And you seriously think the flash can reach 160m away? That is one and a half stadium away!

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    http://www.photozone.de/the-guide-number-gn

    i'm technically correct. a gn 40 meters at iso 100, aperture f8, u can shoot 5 meters.

    and from wiki itself

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_number

    and as for slow sync

    rear and front curtain sync

    info from http://digital-photography-school.com/slow-sync-flash

    perhaps the only error i made was the factor when increasing iso. i wasnt too sure if it was a factor of 2. but here we have it.

    http://www.vividlight.com/articles/1214.htm

    meaning, from iso 100 to iso 400, a gn of 40 will be doubled to 80. then using the same formula, at f8, u can shoot 10 meters away at iso 400.

    pls check ur information before making such comments.
    Yes the article on vividlight.com is correct, but please read carefully of what was written. I quote: "when you are increasing your film speed, your guide numbers will double every two stops. This would mean the flash in this example would now have a guide number of 236 with ISO 400 film."

    Why GN doubles for every 2 stops? Simply because square of root-2 = 2. And yes, if you increase from ISO100 to 400, a GN of 40 will double to 80, and the max coverage doubles as well as a result.

    It is good to be helpful, but it is also important to get the facts straight. Further more, there are tons of misinformation on the web. If you really want to learn, learn it from books written by renown authors. Otherwise without having the facts right, you're really just spreading misinformation rather then helping. As the saying goes, empty bucket rattles the loudest, and to be honest those noises can be rather irritating.
    Last edited by ziploc; 11th June 2010 at 07:18 PM.

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    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by ziploc View Post
    There are a lot of misinformation here actually.



    Although the GN formula is right, the rest are incorrect.

    Using the example given above, GN = 40 @ ISO100. At f/8 it is correct that the maximum distance the flash can reach is 40/8 = 5m, and not "standing 5 meters away from the band that is playing, with a flash of a good gn of 40, u can easily shoot at f8, iso 100.", because the flash will not be able to reach beyond 5m, and if you do, your subject will be underexposed.

    Now let's move on to ISO. For every increase in 1 stop, the flash distance increases by root-2, or 1.4142. This means that the GN also increases (or decreases) by 1.4142/stop. So if you increase the ISO from 100 to 200 (1 stop), the GN becomes 40x1.4142 = 56.57, and the max coverage is 56.57/8 = 7.07m. Alternatively you can also calculate like this: 5m x 1.4142 = 7.07m.

    Now from f/8 to f/1.4 at ISO100. f/8->5.6->4->2.8->2->1.4, total increment of 5 stops. So max coverage = 5m x (1.4142)^5 = 5m x 5.66 = 28.28m, not 40m. And you seriously think the flash can reach 160m away? That is one and a half stadium away!



    Yes the article on vividlight.com is correct, but please read carefully of what was written. I quote: "when you are increasing your film speed, your guide numbers will double every two stops. This would mean the flash in this example would now have a guide number of 236 with ISO 400 film."

    Why GN doubles for every 2 stops? Simply because square of root-2 = 2. And yes, if you increase from ISO100 to 400, a GN of 40 will double to 80, and the max coverage doubles as well as a result.

    It is good to be helpful, but it is also important to get the facts straight. Further more, there are tons of misinformation on the web. If you really want to learn, learn it from books written by renown authors. Otherwise without having the facts right, you're really just spreading misinformation rather then helping. As the saying goes, empty bucket rattles the loudest, and to be honest those noises can be rather irritating.
    yes. i admit that it was my mistake on perhaps the max range. i'm sorry for the mistake.

    as for the flash, yes my error on the part of the max coverage. perhaps i had misunderstood, or never had the need. what i intended for it to mean is the correct exposure for a given guide number can be given by the GN formula. i admit that it is my error with the 1.4 part. perhaps i didnt phrase it properly.

    and i also admitted that i wasnt sure of that part remember?
    "but then u gotta take into account of light weakening by then etc etc etc i think so far never had the need to blast my flash at its max power so never tried)"

    haha. perhaps it was my error on my part. needa read up more. and i'm sincerely sorry for the trouble caused.
    but i take it the rest of the info on slow sync, and at least gn formula is right? so i got 1 wrong out of the many. haha
    Last edited by allenleonhart; 11th June 2010 at 08:13 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Looking at the sample photo, the subjects are very near the wall. Can a rear curtain sync really do the job in this case? The light fall off from the flash would have to be very precise falling off within that 1m or less from the wall behid, so as not to light it up.

    Any thoughts, suggestions... ?

  19. #19
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    Looking at the sample photo, the subjects are very near the wall. Can a rear curtain sync really do the job in this case? The light fall off from the flash would have to be very precise falling off within that 1m or less from the wall behid, so as not to light it up.

    Any thoughts, suggestions... ?
    Yes exactly.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Subject too dark in Gig.

    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    Looking at the sample photo, the subjects are very near the wall. Can a rear curtain sync really do the job in this case? The light fall off from the flash would have to be very precise falling off within that 1m or less from the wall behid, so as not to light it up.

    Any thoughts, suggestions... ?
    want the flash light to fall off rapidly, ones has to place the flash very close to the subject, that the flash will be show up in the photos.
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