Best setup for indoor martial arts photography?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by G41.25, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. G41.25

    G41.25 TPF Noob!

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    I've recently done some 'studio' photography for my club website involving members performing various kicks etc. and the photos have turned out okay, but could be better. Primarily they're a little on the dark and soft side.

    I'm using 2 tripod-mounted studio flashes with umbrellas, to each side at 45° in front of the subject, who is stood in front of, and on, a white backdrop. The camera (Fuji S9600) is tripod mounted directly in front with a shutter release cable.

    ISO is 80. Shutter speed is set to 1/640 (slower than this and the movement will start to show) and the aperture is set for a deep depth of field (I'm trying to keep a potentially forward or backward moving body in focus as much as possible). The camera is reasonably close to the subject so that I can keep the lens as wide angle as I can to let more light in.

    That's it. I've done as much as I can to try and balance out brightness and sharpness but am failing slightly on both. The images are being taken into Photoshop, and I'm having to do a reasonable amount of work to totally burn out the white background to achieve a hi-key effect.

    Can I do anything more with the kit I've got? am I doing something wrong? should I just accept that that's as good as I can do with what I've got to play with?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. themedicine

    themedicine TPF Noob!

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    First off, posting an example or two would be a big help for us trying to help you.
    Secondly, Sounds like you need some back lighting maybe. and I would put the ISO at 100 and keep the shutter speed where it is. Also, Open up your aperture some (may require you to mess with the shutter speed) but aperture is what makes your studio flashes bright or dark. so open up to like a f8 or f11 and see if that doesn't help. You may have to adjust your shutter speed, but probably not much.
     
  3. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How are you focusing the shots?
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    To get a background to photograph as white (even white material) you need to add light to it. Light falls off over distance, so the light that falls on the subject is stronger than the light that falls on the background, from the same light source.

    If you use one or two more lights, aimed only at the background, that should give you a nice white background, without having to fudge it in Photoshop.

    Next, you need to realize that flash exposure and ambient exposure are two different things. Shutter speed does not affect the flash exposure...because the burst of flash is usually much faster than the shutter. So therefore, the flash should freeze the subject and make them sharp in a photo.
    However, if there is ambient light in the room, that will also register in the photo. If there is enough ambient exposure and a slow enough shutter, you will get blur.

    What I would suggest trying, is to turn down the ambient lights as much as possible. Then only your flashes will light the scene. This should make it easier to freeze the movement of your subjects (provided your flash burst is fairly fast...(and that depends on the type, brand, model etc).
     
  5. G41.25

    G41.25 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your replies

    I'll upload a couple to show you.

    I think backlighting (currently) is out because I only have the 2 flashes to play with.

    Opening the aperture reduces the depth of field... right? which is going to adversely affect the focus. I need to keep the depth of field quite 'deep' as the subject has a tendency to move somewhat.

    If the subject is in a static pose, I adjust the angle of the camera to a suitable focus point (face for example), focus, readjust for composition and then shoot. It's a similar exercise for an action shot, the difference being that I don't shoot until the subject has leapt into the air to achieve the desired aerial pose. Obviously, with the latter method, there is far more chance of getting it out of focus.
     
  6. G41.25

    G41.25 TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike
    Interesting, never thought of that! So I'm thinking that additional light can only help the situation by making it lighter, whereas it could actually be making it more blurred!

    Is that the case even with a 1/640 sec exposure?

    BTW anybody, can somebody point me in the direction of 'how' I upload images for you to look at. Thanks
     
  7. G41.25

    G41.25 TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, you've just said it's nothing to do with shutter speed!
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    Hard to say. It depends on the movement and the amount of light etc.

    Your camera has a rather small sensor (compared to a DSLR camera), which means that it's going to give you a fairly deep DOF.
    I don't know how deep or shallow it actually is in your situation, but I'd guess that you have a fairly deep area to play with.

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...15-how-do-i-do-pictorial-guide-using-tpf.html
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    Again, it depends. You can still get blur when using only flash...it just depends on the flash duration of the lights you have.
     
  10. G41.25

    G41.25 TPF Noob!

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    So, really I need to have all the lights off (including the modeling lights) to rule out ambient light. How do I focus without the lights and also not blind the subject whilst taking the photo?
     
  11. G41.25

    G41.25 TPF Noob!

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    Images here:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    The modeling lights shouldn't matter. With most lights that I've used or seen, the modeling lamp shots off briefly while the strobe fires.

    And really, you shouldn't need to completely black the place out.
    With a fast shutter speed like that, the ambient exposure should be rather significant anyway. Actually, with most camera, you can't even use a shutter speed that high, because the shutter can't sync that fast. Your camera probably an electronic shutter though.

    The more I think about it, the more confusing it seems to me.

    How are you triggering the strobes?

    If you can post up an example (along with the EXIF data) it might 'shed some light' :roll: on the situation. :er:
     

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