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Thread: Flash for night shoots

  1. #1

    Default Flash for night shoots

    Hi All,

    I encounter this problem. Using the built-in flash from my 550D, only the main object is bright but the back are all very dark. Will a external flash help to brighten the background scene?.

    If a external flash will help, any recommendation?. But I have a budget of $150 max.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Member YuccaTheFlower's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    That depends, on how strong your flash is. Your built in flash, only acts as a fill.
    If you want something to even out the whole background, you need a flash strong enough and a diffused enough light to make everything seem even. If your budget is 150, it definitely cant get anything to fill the background. Note even the strongest flash, cant reach hundreds of metres. Unless you have many of them

  3. #3

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Prehaps if you show a photo example, that would help to explain more abt your issues faced??

    If you are talking about architecture buildings at night, most of the time it would be impractical to have you to light it upz.

    Before going into external flash and off cam strobes, prehaps you can try these, if the above situation is what you talking abt:
    1. set your camera in A mode
    2. Adjust to your widest aperture (smallest F stop)
    3. Set iso 800
    4. pop up your on cam flash
    5. mount on tripod (do get one if you dun, yes a simple one should cost you less then 150 )
    * do a -1EV if the background becomes overexpose

    There are better ways and areas to finetune, but these should start you going, cheers

  4. #4
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivshootphoto View Post
    Hi All,

    I encounter this problem. Using the built-in flash from my 550D, only the main object is bright but the back are all very dark. Will a external flash help to brighten the background scene?.

    If a external flash will help, any recommendation?. But I have a budget of $150 max.

    Thank you.
    at your situation here, the flash is only light up your subject, if you increase the power to light up the background, your subject WILL be overexposed, so getting a more powerful flash is not the solution here.

    depends on the set up, the if the overall ambient is bright enough, you can lower the shutter speed, increase the ISO, open up aperture to make the difference of exposure between the ambient and flash smaller, so the background won't turn pitch black.

    if it is an indoor situation with low ceiling, you can use a external flash to do a ceiling bounce, it will make the lights travel similar distance to reach the subject and background, so the whole scene will look more evenly light.

    hope this help.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    It also depends on how far is your background. Dun expect any flash to fill up the entire hall. You might want to save up to raise your budget a little for a flash.
    |SonyA700|T180mmf3.5|M70-210mmf4|S30mmf1.4|T17-50mmf2.8|T90mmf2.8|M5600hsdX2|

  6. #6
    Member dingaroo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    If you want to do a portraiture ...

    Went shooting with my wife and using built-in flash only. I shot @ F4.5 and @ 1/3 seconds. Of course, you'd might have to bump up your ISO, and in my case, 1600. Also, may want to reduce the Flash EV.

    If landscape ...

    No flash needed. Just low ISO, high aperture, long exposure.

    Cheers!
    A picture a day keeps the blues away!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    You want to use for what event?

    If simply you want to "light up" the picture, bump up the iso as the 550D is no slouch in that department. Stronger light will usually kill the ambient light and fill light usually not enough for a wide scene. Direct flash also results in harsh lighting on the subjects.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    perhaps rear sync/slow sync will help. google for it

  9. #9
    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivshootphoto View Post
    Hi All,

    I encounter this problem. Using the built-in flash from my 550D, only the main object is bright but the back are all very dark. Will a external flash help to brighten the background scene?.
    If a external flash will help, any recommendation?. But I have a budget of $150 max.

    Thank you.
    No. Save your money then
    I wud assume you are taking pic of ppl with flash. In this case, you wud need to read up how to brighten the background. A larger aperture lens, Slower shutter and iso help...you can still use the built in flash to work..not necessary an ext flash.
    ...:::..::.Nikon.::.:::..
    RGB Metering & Focusing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivshootphoto View Post
    Hi All,

    I encounter this problem. Using the built-in flash from my 550D, only the main object is bright but the back are all very dark. Will a external flash help to brighten the background scene?.

    If a external flash will help, any recommendation?. But I have a budget of $150 max.

    Thank you.
    Yes and No.

    You'll be able to have a better control over the flash output but you'll still need to understand how the flash works and the theory of light fall-off works.

    When you are shooting on just the flash in a dark situation, the flash is the main illumination and the metering will be set on this value and the rest of the scene will be definitely under-exposed.

    Now, to get a balanced scene and subject, you'll have to meter for the scene (meaning a higher ISO value, larger aperture and also a slower shutter speed)

    Now, if you shoot with those values and use a full value flash on the subject, the end result will be a over-exposed subject with a properly exposed background.

    So, you'll have to reduce the flash power by using a lower flash ev coupled with the settings to get a correct metering setting for a night scene.

    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  11. #11

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    With flash on, the camera metering differently at different modes.

    Take canon for example. At Auto, it use the flash as main lighting, hence background dark as flash is not possible to light up entire scene. At Manual, Av or Tv, it uses ambient light for metering and flash as fill, hence background light up. Read your camera manual.

  12. #12
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by GRbenji View Post
    With flash on, the camera metering differently at different modes.

    Take canon for example. At Auto, it use the flash as main lighting, hence background dark as flash is not possible to light up entire scene. At Manual, Av or Tv, it uses ambient light for metering and flash as fill, hence background light up. Read your camera manual.
    even then, the metering will depend on where you metered it and also the mode of metering.

    You need to understand the basics first.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  13. #13
    Member voxies09's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    try to find nissin Di622, 2nd hand you can get 150.. new one 210
    Canon Kiss X4 | 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II Kit lens | 50mm f1.8

  14. #14

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    even then, the metering will depend on where you metered it and also the mode of metering.

    You need to understand the basics first.
    You need to get correctly how the camera meter before talk about where it meter.

    So who need to know the basics first?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by GRbenji View Post
    With flash on, the camera metering differently at different modes.

    Take canon for example. At Auto, it use the flash as main lighting, hence background dark as flash is not possible to light up entire scene. At Manual, Av or Tv, it uses ambient light for metering and flash as fill, hence background light up. Read your camera manual.
    Err ... IIRC, I don't think so.

    Canon's ETTL/II system was designed primarily to think and act as a fill light on 'A' where the flash is only concerned with foreground subjects. On 'P' is when it acts as a main light for foreground subjects, with disregard to background illumination. Also, on different bodies, a different setting will make the flash meter in a different pattern. Not so directly related, but how it thinks and behaves will affect the result. Additionally, with some bodies, Cfns can alter the way an EOS flash acts or behaves.

    Check the EOS flash bible http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=656979

  16. #16

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Err ... IIRC, I don't think so.

    Canon's ETTL/II system was designed primarily to think and act as a fill light on 'A' where the flash is only concerned with foreground subjects. On 'P' is when it acts as a main light for foreground subjects, with disregard to background illumination. Also, on different bodies, a different setting will make the flash meter in a different pattern. Not so directly related, but how it thinks and behaves will affect the result. Additionally, with some bodies, Cfns can alter the way an EOS flash acts or behaves.

    Check the EOS flash bible http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=656979
    I said AUTO (ie Full Auto) and not A or Aperture that camera uses flash as main light. In fact I did mention Av uses ambient light for metering. So please read carefully.

    You are right too that P and even CA mode use flash as main light. I didn't mentioned these 2 modes earlier because I've not shoot in these modes and couldn't remember. So just did a check to confirmed.

    The rest like M, Av and Tv use ambient light for metering.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by GRbenji View Post
    I said AUTO (ie Full Auto) and not A or Aperture that camera uses flash as main light. In fact I did mention Av uses ambient light for metering. So please read carefully.

    You are right too that P and even CA mode use flash as main light. I didn't mentioned these 2 modes earlier because I've not shoot in these modes and couldn't remember. So just did a check to confirmed.

    The rest like M, Av and Tv use ambient light for metering.
    Oou ... pai seh. My camera don't have AUTO, so while my eyes saw Auto, my brain auto assumed it was Auto Aperture AV.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Flash for night shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Oou ... pai seh. My camera don't have AUTO, so while my eyes saw Auto, my brain auto assumed it was Auto Aperture AV.
    Sorry, make you paiseh a bit more!

    Av is not Auto Aperture too!

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