Advice from the pros

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by jocose, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. jocose

    jocose TPF Noob!

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    Hey there fellow forumites.

    My sister's wedding is coming up soon, and although I probably won't take too many pictures (being caught up in the moment and all), I'm bringing my D70s with me. I've also went and rented a the SB800 flash for the weekend (it's like $10 if I pick it up after 5 on Friday and return it before 11 on Monday...I'm actually gonna pick it up on Thursday, but still...I get to use a $350 flash for $20--can't beat that).

    Anyway, I was looking for some advice on how to use a flash...I very seldom ever use the built-in flash, let alone a monster like the SB800.

    So, any words of wisdom? Also, I won't be able to take any shots of the ceremony since I'll be in it, but any pointers for the reception and the rehearsal dinner would be great!

    Thanks as always.
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    From my experience... Don't mount the flash on the camera. Get a cord and connect it that way. Use the camera in one hand and hold the flash high and to the side with the other. It's a pain, but that's the way to keep from getting flat lighting.

    Ooh! Actually that one has a built in slave! No cord needed. :D
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/ittlslave.htm

    You could use it for you main light off to the side and use the built-in one turned way down for some fill.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, I'm not a pro (yet) but I taken many, many flash shots at wedding receptions.

    I shoot in manual mode.

    I don't have a matching camera & flash...so I don't have fancy TTL metering...but I've heard that even pros who do, often shoot in manual.

    Basically, I match the aperture to the flash power setting (or adjust to flavor)...and use the shutter speed for the amount of ambient (back ground) exposure.

    My flash max sync speed (20D) is 1/250...so I can't go faster than that...but I don't need to because the flash will freeze the action, especially if it's dark.

    I usually like to shoot at 1/60 or 1/30 to include some of the background. Of course that can change quite a bit if the background is reflective or darker.

    Autofocus is hit and miss in the dark so I usually manual focus and shoot at F8 or F9. Although, with a matching flash unit for your Nikon, you will probably have AF assist.

    You can also try dragging the shutter for neat effects. Can you set 2nd curtain sync on that thing? Try exposures like 1/10 to 1 second...or even more.
     
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  4. jocose

    jocose TPF Noob!

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    Mike...I feel like your talking a foriegn languge here :) I get like every 5th word... You match what to your shutter speed? What is flash sync?

    I DO know what second curtain is, and yes I have that on the D70s.

    (oh, and advice from non-pros is of course welcome as well...didn't mean to imply it wasn't :D )
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sorry, I'll dumb it down for you...it's just that you look so smart in your avatar :lol: j/k

    The sync speed is the fastest shutter speed that your camera can use with flash. As long as you don't go any faster than that, you will be OK.

    Other than that, Flash exposure really has nothing to do with shutter speed. The flash has a power setting, (& ISO setting) should be in F stops and that is what you should set the camera to (to get the subject exposed to 'normal'). With a dedicated flash unit like that, it may be automatic.

    So if you set the flash to F8 and the camera to F8 & 1/125...the subject should be exposed properly. If you change the shutter speed to 1/30, the subject will still be properly exposed...but more of the background may be exposed from ambient light...get it?

    Really, every flash exposure is two exposures. One from the flash and one from ambient light. Normally, you won't see two images because the flashed image (of the subject) is very dominant. If you use a slow enough shutter speed, with enough ambient light...you may get ghosting from a moving subject...a ghostly image from the ambient and a sharper, frozen image from the flash.

    The best thing to do, it to experiment (easy with digital). Although, time will be short on the rented unit.

    It may be that you can just put everything on auto and get great photos...but what fun would that be?
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Flash sync is the fastest shutter speed you can use and still expose the full frame. Very fast shutter speeds have the trailing shutter start to close before the leading shutter opens completely. There is no way to have the flash completely expose the frame when that happens, so you need to stay below that.

    You set the aperture to match the flash's power output. This determines the exposure of what gets lit by the flash. By using a slower shutter, you can also expose areas of the image that the flash wouldn't reach. You run the risk of having the movement still be blurred, while the flash gives a sharp image just at the point it goes off. The trick is to get the righ balance of it all.

    -- Mike beat me to it. :p
     
  7. MommyOf4Boys

    MommyOf4Boys TPF Noob!

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    ahh shucks, just take all the photos outside in the sunlight LMAO
     
  8. jocose

    jocose TPF Noob!

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    Hehe...yea, that's why I went with my avatar! He looks even smarter now with the sh*t-eating grin and the guinness!

    And yes, dumbing down is exactly what I need for the flash...thanks!

    So, if the flash is set to do it's thing thinking it's at F8 and 1/125, and I slow the shutter to 1/30, it's still gonna fire at the power it would for 1/25, but with the lag on the shutter at the slower speed, more light will get in...is that right?

    I hope to have some time to play Thursday and Friday day, but the rehearsal dinner in Friday night

    I will probably keep it on auto mostly...these are really just gonna be snaps more than arty...let the guy they're paying thousands to take the arty pics. :)

    Thanks again.
     
  9. jocose

    jocose TPF Noob!

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    Mark, no worries, I still appreciate it. Hopefully that badass flash will just have an auto and I'll just let it do it's thing....
     
  10. ChopstickHero

    ChopstickHero TPF Noob!

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    hopefully it's not too dark at the wedding and you can still use a reasonable amount of ambient light. If possible, use some kind of diffuser over the flash. this will soften flash on the subject. having a straight flash on your subject in room with low light looks harsh. if you use a diffuser, it cuts back the distance of the flash, so you will have to test out how far it will go.

    Have fun taking pics at the wedding.
     

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