Best flash for outdoor portraits/candids?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by pony, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1.
    I take mostly portraits & candids and most outside. I would like to eliminate some of the shadows on faces. What is the best type of flash & diffuser for this?
    Can I use the flash on my camera at all effectively, or do I definitely need an off-camera?

    TIA
     
  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    The on-camera flash can work ok for fill on bright days, you may have to reduce the power.

    Off-camera is generally better and you can use it with an umbrella/softbox etc to soften up the light. Another option if you don't want to buy a flash is to use a reflector. They really can pick up and throw a lot of light on your subject.
     
  3. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! I could certainly try reflectors
    Is there some sort of rule about sizes for reflectors? The largest groups I ever shoot are like 2 adults and 2 kids. Just not sure how many or what size I would need.
    Also, can I hold them myself, or are stands or anything else generally necessary?
    We have absolutely NO camera stores here. There is a Ritz camera at the mall but they do not carry any accessories really (just cameras, flashes and bags)
    Anything I would need I would have to get on-line so I will not be able to actually see it before buying.
    Thanks again
     
  4. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    I can't remember exactly right now but I think I have a 32" reflector, silver on one side and gold on the other. Basically silver will reflect the most light, a white one will reflect a little less while slightly diffusing it, and a gold one will give a warm tone to the reflected light.

    If you're doing face only or upper body portraits, you can have the subject hold the reflector. Otherwise if you don't have a helping hand you can get a stand with clamps to hold the reflector.

    Ok I found it, here is one of the reflectors I have:

    Impact | Reflector Disc, Collapsible - Gold, Silver - | R1832

    Here is a reflector stand, has two clips to hold the reflector:

    Impact | Multiboom Light Stand/Reflector Holder - 13' (4m)

    Also another thing you can do if there is bright sunlight, get the subject oriented in such a way that their face is lit well and then use a Lastolite tri-grip diffuser to shade their face. This will diffuse the sunlight and get rid of the harsh shadows while still enabling you to get good light on the subject's face. I have a 30" one-stop diffuser. Little pricey but SUPER high quality.

    Lastolite | TriGrip Diffuser, One Stop - 30" | LL LR3651
     
  5. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    Also for a reflector you may want to consider this:

    Lastolite | Mini TriGrip Sunlite/SoftSilver, | LL LR3528 | B&H

    The nice thing about the tri-grip is that you can hold it easily with one hand, the round reflector I linked is a little more flimsy and it's tougher to hold it up with one hand because it gets a little floppy. You might be in a situation where you would want to hold the reflector with one hand and the camera with another.
     
  6. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    These look great! I am usually alone. Sometimes I try to use the hubby but he is generally more trouble than he is worth ;)
     
  7. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    I am on a tight budget so I looked on ebay for reflectors. These seem like a good size and have all the colors but the price seems too low.
    Do these look like garbage? Or a good option for a newbie on a budget?
    TIA
     
  8. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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  9. Big Mike

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

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    The 5-in-1 reflectors are great. I can't speak to the quality of that one specifically...but overall, they are great. A 30" one would be OK for a single person or a couple's head shot...but for a group of three or a full body shot, you would want something larger.

    You will most likely need an assistant or a stand with an arm to hold a reflector. It's not something you want to do while shooting by yourself. That is one reason why I often use flash for fill, rather than a reflector.

    You can use the built-in flash for fill light...but it's likely underpowered for shooting outdoors in the daylight. The brighter it is outside, the more flash power you will need to compete with it.

    Off camera flash is certainly a better option because it gives you the option to use it as a main light. Fill light can be on or near the camera, but you don't want your main light source near the camera.

    Check out THIS kit.
     
  10. Unspoiled

    Unspoiled TPF Noob!

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    If you really want to go low cost...Try these. Auto Sunshade You can pick them up between $8 to $10 at Autozone, Checker, or Walmart. I have a set that are pretty shinny. I've tested them out and can get a lot of light to bounce off of them. You will just need an extra set of hands to hold them. I haven't tried to shoot with them yet.

    They come in different colors as well as highly reflective. A friend of mine has used them and has had good results so I picked up a set.

    They are seperate so you get 2 for $10.

    Another option....
     

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