flash on a bright sunny day

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Jus7 A Phas3, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. Jus7 A Phas3

    Jus7 A Phas3 TPF Noob!

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    Do you think using and a off camera flash like lets say an sb-600 in the middle of a sunny day will brighten up your subject and make him/her stand out more or will the strong sun just cancel out the flash all togther?
     
  2. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    If theres a shadow you can use the flash to fill it in.
     
  3. Sandspur

    Sandspur TPF Noob!

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    When I shoot people outdoors -- especially in the middle of the day when the sun is almost straight overhead -- I always use flash to fill in those nasty shadows under the nose & chin & eyebrows.

    Or a reflector (if I have one ... and an assistant to hold it.)

    With the SB 600 you might experiment with the flash output so that you're not geting too much.

    Simply put: that harsh overhead sunlight is probably the most unflattering light source there is. Do whatever works to balance it out.
     
  4. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    yup, the main idea is to use it as fill flash to get rid of nasty shadowing on people's faces.
     
  5. Jus7 A Phas3

    Jus7 A Phas3 TPF Noob!

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    Alright, thanks guys.
     
  6. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    Like the others said, Jus: fill-flash is your friend in outdoor people photography when the sun is out. It is the standard technique for e.g. the celebrity photos you see in all the gossip and glamour magazines.
    Using fill-flash off-camera is not a good idea, though: you will create new shadows you don't want. So use your flash on-cam.
    You can set the cam/flash combo at full auto fill-flash, and that will generally work very nicely. Excellent for journalistic/event/documentary style photography. So in fluid situations. But if you're doing a quality outdoor portrait/model shoot, you want really subtly balanced fill-lighting – not too much, and not too little. Then set your cam to manual, and the power setting on the flash to 1/4 or 1/8th.
    Experiment, bracket, and shoot RAW.

    Have fun!
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The creative option that many miss is using the sun as a secondary backlight. This is even more dramatic if you put something like a CTO filter on your flash and then use Tungsten white balance. The flash lights your subject and the sun becomes a backlight, something that the Strobist group is very fond of.

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=125749 We semi discussed these ideas in the flash sync speed thread.
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    As many have said, you can use flash as 'fill light' to fill in the harsh shadows caused by the sun. Or, as Garbz said, you could turn your subject away from the sun and use the flash as the only light source on your subject.

    One thing you could do, is try to balance the flash exposure with the ambient light or even underexpose the ambient to really give your subject some pop. You could even shoot with the sun in the frame and set the exposure very low so that it looks like a star, rather than a blown out blob...and at the same time, use flash to light up your subject. In this scenario, you would need a lot of power out of your flash.
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nicely balanced flash and reflector on a sunny day:
    [​IMG]

    Vivitar 285HV overpowering the sun on a nice sunny day. Ambient is slightly underexposed:
    [​IMG]
     

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