flash & flash bracket questions

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by wet, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. wet

    wet TPF Noob!

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    My flash is attached on camera without any bracket. For doing flash fill & evening shot, picture seem a bit harsh to my eye. I read somewhere that if I have a bracket, should be better, maybe?

    There are 8 pages of different flash bracket on bhphotovideo (T, L, ring, double flash system, attachment to let you handheld the flash ), which one is more convenient & not too intimidating? I don't want to be mistaken as professional. (Expectation that I cannot deliver. :p )

    Do I really need a bracket to get more effective fill flash?

    I have 70-200mm when I shoot outdoor wedding pictures. Do I need flash fill for that too & how to get my flash to travel that far? My is a dinky 420ex. Do I just do spot metering & forget about flashfill?

    Another question, is reflector or fill flash more effective to do flashfill?

    As usual, thanks very much.
     
  2. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    I bought a Stroboframe "QuickFlip" some twenty years ago or more and, since that time, have not taken a single flash shot without it. Better modeling and zero redeye.

    I don't use reflectors. My understanding is that the advantage is distributed light. Unfortunately, that's also a disadvantage if you don't have an extremely powerful flash.
     
  3. wet

    wet TPF Noob!

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    Do you get people stare at you all the time?
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Getting the flash farther away from the lens is usually a good idea and it can improve your lighting. But if you are just shooting the flash directly at your subjects, chances are that it will still look pretty flat.

    The main advantage of a modern bracket, is so that you can keep the flash above the lens in both portrait and landscape orientation. Normally, with the flash on the camera, the flash ends up off to the side when you rotate the camera. This can cause shadows that fall to the side of your subjects...which usually looks bad when they are close to a wall or something close behind them. A bracket allows the flash to stay above the camera, throwing the shadow behind and below the subject, where the lens can't see it. It can also reduce red-eye because the flash is farther from the lens...but with a longer lens like the 70-200mm, you might still get red-eye.

    The most common two types are flip and camera-rotate. Either way, it helps keep the flash above the camera. There are also several different configurations & styles, so a lot of it is just personal preference. The one I have is the Stroboframe Press-T, I like it because you don't hold the bracket, but hold the camera just like normal.
    Remember that if you use a bracket, you also need an off-shoe cord, which is another $50-$75.

    No. Actual fill flash isn't your main source of light. Fill flash is something that just fills in the shadows caused by other light. So if that's what you are doing, it can be on-camera. But if you flash is the primary source of light (not the fill) then the direction and quality of the light is a lot more important.

    The (Guide Number) of the flash is 42 meters (hence 420EX). That is at max zoom and ISO 100. The actual working range will depend on the aperture you are shooting at and the ISO. Shooting outdoors in bright sunlight, your range is usually pretty low. The reason is that with flash, you are limited to the max sync speed (something like 1/200). So in bright light, you would need a small aperture....and a smaller aperture means you need more flash power, thus your range is limited.

    :scratch:

    Good flash photography isn't as easy as just adding something (like a bracket). You need to understand about direction and quality of light. You need to understand the relationship between flash exposure and ambient exposure...and how to balance them when you want to.

    A simple tip is to bounce the light when you can. Bouncing the flash off of a ceiling or wall will improve the direction and quality of the light from your flash, which will improve your flash photos.
     
  5. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    They stare at me anyway!
     
  6. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    The OP described his flash as "dinky." Bounce might not work too well for him.

    For other reasons, I haven't been too successful with bounce flash. Walls are rarely white and the ceilings in my home are blocked by fans. I tried it in my son's yuppie McMansion and had another problem. With the 10-foot ceilings, the flash illuminated the top of my grand-daughter's head!
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    The 420 isn't too dinky (GN of 42M (138 ft)).

    You don't always have to bounce straight up. You can turn the flash to the side and use a wall, or turn it right around and use the whole room for bounce. Most of the flash accessories on the market, are designed to be used in conjunction with bouncing the flash. The Omni-Bounce, the LightSphere, the Pro-Max 80-20 etc. These allow much of the light to bounce, while splitting it and throwing some of it forward for fill.
    Of course, the simple bounce card (or any of the products that mimic it) can be very useful as well.

    Either way, bouncing the light makes it a lot softer than shooting it right at your subjects (on a bracket or not) and that is usually a good thing.

    As for the color, yes, bounced light does pick up the color of the surface...but I find that it's rarely a problem...or at least not enough to outweigh the gain in softness.
     

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