Help a video guy w/ some lighting issues...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by cheroxy, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. cheroxy

    cheroxy TPF Noob!

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    Hello, first time poster here with many years of professional video editing experience, and many years of consumer photography experience. I'm trying to up my photography game and have a couple questions. I shot the following (as you can see in the RAW images) with a Canon 40D. The practice Christmas shots were shot with a camera mounted Speedlite 580 II with a softbox over it. My two questions:
    1-is the only way to get rid of the hard shadow on everyone's (camera) right, to have two flashes, one from both sides? If so, do I get a better shot by having three (one in front, one on each side)? I live in Seattle so abundant natural light is not often available.

    2-why is my image not as sharp here when doing manual as it is when shooting automatic? You can see the settings of this test photo in the upper right information panel on each version of it. I posted below that a picture from the same camera on automatic so you can see the resolution I get other times. I would like to crop the final version of this practice shot very tight, but when I get in very far it gets very pixely :grumpy:

    Original test photo in RAW...
    [​IMG]
    Zoom at 200%
    [​IMG]


    Zoom at 300% and very pixely.
    [​IMG]

    As stated above, another image from the same camera of the same boy using the on camera flash. See bottom photo for original. Details = iso 400, exposure 1/60, shutter 1/64, f/4.00, focal length 55 mm.
    [​IMG]
    5
    [​IMG]
    2
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  2. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Are you sure this is not the test shot without the soft box? The shadows seem really harsh for having a softbox on.

    Hard to say where the softness comes from. You're showing an image shot at 55mm to compare to one shot at 17mm. How do your 17mm shots usually look? Some zooms are not their best at the extreme of their range. Maybe yours is not at its best at 17mm. Or, are you sure the focusing was correct? Or, where you set on some crazy ISO?

    The photo doesn't look bad but it is so small, it is hard to tell what it would look like at a regular size. One thing that would definitely help, and there is not reason to do it, is to crop in camera. Compose the image the way you want it instead of enlarging it when cropping.

    As for the shadows, bounce the flash. If you have tilt /swivel that is... If not, take the flash off the camera and attach it to something that you can then place accordingly.

    Here is a site for the basics (and more) of flash photography:
    Strobist: Lighting 101
     
  3. cheroxy

    cheroxy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info. Yeah, I'm sure I had the soft box. I also put the flash power down to 1/2 which is why I'm so surprised as well. The softbox I used was a Westcott Micro Apollo
    [​IMG]

    2200 Westcott Micro Apollo 8" Flat

    I had the camera about 8' away from the subjects.

    Thanks for the idea of comparing my lens at different lengths. It is a Canon EFS 17-55 1:2.8. I'll have to do some comparison shots to test it out.

    The Iso's were all pretty low. The test shot was at 125.
     
  4. keith foster

    keith foster TPF Noob!

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    Try aiming the flash up and bouncing it off the ceiling. That will soften the shadows.
     
  5. cheroxy

    cheroxy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Keith, I do that in other places, but this room has a vaulted, angled ceiling with an orange tinted paint. Three things that make it not work in this situation.
     
  6. keith foster

    keith foster TPF Noob!

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    Looks like a cool room and a great place for a family picture.
    Sorry I couldn't help. I have a couple of softboxes and stands, I would be happy to let you use if you were around here.
     
  7. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    yea if you really want good light you need more than an on camera 'softened' speedlight.
     
  8. cheroxy

    cheroxy TPF Noob!

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    That is what I was afraid of, the need to drop more $$
     
  9. Invictus

    Invictus TPF Noob!

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    That shot might be difficult withought umbrellas / bouncing.
     
  10. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    True but you can get quite decent results with just one flash. You need to be as creative with the gear as you are with the image.

    1/ If you can't bounce off the ceiling or the walls, make yourself a bounce card to attach to the flash.

    2/ Get a couple sheets of foam core at the craft store. They make cheap reflectors. Want more reflection, cover one with aluminum paper.

    3/ Get your subjects away from the background. The more distance between the two, the less shadow you will see.

    4/ If that softbox doesn't soften the light enough drape a piece of sheer over the front. If that's not enough, add a second layer.

    5/ Definitely try toget the flash off the camera and to one side. You will need a cord to go from the flash to the camera but they are not that expensive.

    Be creative.

    Cheers.
     
  11. cheroxy

    cheroxy TPF Noob!

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    Awesome. Thank you
     

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