Balancing Ambient and Flash

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by rp1600, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    Been reading a lot on balancing ambient light and flash. Saturday night had perfect opportunity to practice but results weren't what I expected. Here's one of the photos. See how dark the background is. Wasn't actually that dark in the place. Is there any easy-to-understand method. I'm shooting Digital Rebel and Canon 583EX. I understand betting the ambient reading and maybe stopping down 1/2 to 1 stop, but should that ambient reading be on the main subject or background? Lost here. Help me find my way.

    Here's one of the pics in my failed attempt.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Looks OK to me...you typically don't want the background to be too dark.

    Why would you meter then background and then stop down? That will give you what you got...an underexposed background.

    If you want to balance it better, then meter the background (and shoot at that) and reduce your flash exposure (FEC) by a stop or so.
     
  3. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    That's probably what I meant to say ... meter for background and reduce FEC by a stop or two. I am trying to avoid having the background too dark.
     
  4. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    That depends on what you want lit, and how. But in this case it's no use measuring the ambient light on the subject since you flashlit it, and the flash/cam combo decides how much (flash)light is enough. Want less flashlight on the subject? Halve the power output (or quarter, so on, so forth). Want more light on the background? Increase the shutter time (make it longer).
    However you balance it, though, you will still have to deal with the different color temperatures of the lightsources: flash is at 5500K, Tungsten at 2800K.
    One way to do that is to set your cam at Tungsten lighting and cover your flash with a warming gel. OR, in PP, you can select the subject and apply a warming filter.
     
  5. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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  6. Big Mike

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

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    Looks interesting, I'll read it later.

    Ya, slowing down the shutter, or dragging the shutter...is how you get more ambient exposure...that's basic. But stopping down the aperture will just make it harder to expose the background...and it won't affect your flash exposure (not with a TTL 580 flash, unless your flash is in manual mode). To reduce the flash exposure...you need to use FEC.
     
  7. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to the both of you. Off I go tonight to practice this.
     

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