I need help with lighting!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Scout, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Scout

    Scout TPF Noob!

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    I bought this light set from B&H. I know it's not a lot of watts but it had good reviews and seemed to be a good start to see if I wanted to get more involved with studio work/lighting. Well, I set it up and it does not seem to make any visible difference in the new pics. Do I still need to play with it and will eventually find out what works or did I make a mistake and should get something a little "stronger"? Any hints/tips/advice appreciated!

    Thanks in advance for the help as always :D
     
  2. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Wow. 2 flashes at 45 w/s isn't very much power at all. I would think that to get any use at all from these, you'd need to shoot through umbrellas and place them as close to the subject as you possibly can without having them actually in the frame. You might be able to get some head shots that way, but it's hard to imagine much else, unless you really start cranking your ISO.

    Can you post two photos here in the thread that show with and without, and describe how you have them positioned? Include distance from subject.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I suppose it depends on how they calculate the 45 watt-seconds,and how efficient or inefficient the flash tubes are, but 50 watt-seconds from a Speedotron D202 power supply shot through a 65-degree reflector produces a Guide Number of 95, meaning an exposure of f/9.5 at 10 feet with ISO 100, and perhaps a two f/stops lower an exposure using a high quality, metallized silvered umbrella.

    I would think that you ought to be able to make decent exposures with these umbrellas with one set 6 feet away from a person, at around f/8 at ISO 250 or so...but when you say they do not seem to be making "any visible difference", I wonder---do you have them synchronized to your camera? I don't mean to offend you by asking but, are you actually hooking one of these lights up to your camera with a PC cord, and tripping the other light with a built-in slave tripper? I mean...2x45 watt-seconds ought to make a *notable* difference over plain,indoor incandescent lighting.

    Could you provide us some more details perhaps, or maybe post a sample or a link to a sample photograph?

    EDIT: I looked at the specifications--do these have a PC cord connector? If not,and they depend on the camera's flash to trip the optical slaves, perhaps your camera's pre-flash could be causing a missed synchronization with the umbrella flashes. More details on your exact camera,and specific steps you have tried, would help us to diagnose your issue. I looked,and their Guide Number is listed at 90 in feet, at ISO 100, so that's an f/9 exposure at 10 feet suggested by the retailer. Something is probably not synchronized is my guess.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  4. Scout

    Scout TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice....and yes, I am still stumped!

    I am shooting from a Canon Xti, 50mm lens with a 430ex speedlite. Maybe the speedlite is programmed wrong and it affecting the slaves? Both the speedlite and the studio lights are new to me this week. The lights are only a couple feet from the toy. Is this too close or too far maybe? I should probably bump up my ISO it is currently 100. Also they did come with a PC cord, but I was using my speedlite to trigger the slaves. Here are some examples that I just took- (please ignore the fact they are OOF! My tripod is currently MIA.)

    Both lights fired and this is with the speedlite postitioned towards the toy.
    [​IMG]

    This one is with both lights firing and the speedlite aimed at the ceiling.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of my set up-
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    What shooting mode are you in?

    When I shoot with my flash or with off-camera lights I go to Manual and set the aperture, shutter speed and ISO manually.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I do not think the speedlight is actually triggering the two strobes...my guess is that the flash is using some type of pre-flash,and the strobes are firing a bit too early,due to the pre-flash coming from the 430EX.

    I am wondering what exposure mode you are using? You should be using Manual exposure mode, with the shutter set to around 1/125 second.

    Looking at the photo, two, 45 watt-second lights positioned that close ought to be illuminating the subject quite well--enough so that there would be detail in the black background material you are using.

    The easiest thing to do is to hook the lights up using the PC cord...I can almost guarantee you that the two umbrela flashes are NOT synchronized with your shutter.
     
  7. Scout

    Scout TPF Noob!

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    OK....stupid question.....

    Where does the pc cord plug in? I see a place for it on the light itself, but can't find an appropriate place on my camera or flash unit. Do I need an adapter? I will also start shooting in manual. I had it in auto just to see if the lights were working.
     
  8. jpeters

    jpeters TPF Noob!

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    I don't think your XTI has a PC plug. if that is the case you have to get an adapter that has it, the adapter will sit on your hotshoe.
     
  9. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe TPF Noob!

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    Remember Im a NOOB so take this at face value.
    I was in a local camera shop looking to buy some lighting for my father in law. One of the guys told me that when you try to use an on camera flash to fire other lights it usually doesn't work. The "pre flash" lighting will fire the flashes at the wrong time. It happens so fast that most people don't notice it because you do see a flash. But your camera is not capturing the light from the off camera flash. He guided me towards some triggering device like the cactus system. He did not have any in the store so I don't think he was just trying to sell me somethig. He advised that I check Ebay as they can be purchased relatively cheap.
     
  10. zerofourtwo

    zerofourtwo TPF Noob!

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    Well the clerk is right, to an extent, there is a delay when using an optical trigger vs. a radio trigger (i.e. cactus triggers, cybersyncs, radio poppers) but usually the delay to trigger a slave flash optically is going to be much faster than your cameras max sync speed, which in your case is 1/200. So triggering one flash with another shouldnt be the problem. The issue is with that process though is that you usually have to modify your lighting positions in such that the photo will not turn out the way you originally wanted. The whole point to using OCF is so that you do not have to use on camera flash.

    Check out Gadget Infinity for cactus triggers.
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Just a note on your set-up. Your umbrellas aren't pointed at your subject, they are pointed well below your subject.

    That means the lights are feathered, not delivering a full measure of the available light to your subject.
    To get it all, point the shaft of the umbrellas directly at your subject.
     
  12. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    This is the problem, you can almost be sure of it.
    Just go to your local camera store and get a hotshoe PC sync and you will be good.
    Also note tht when shooting with strobes, you will need to shoot in "M" as your camera can't meter for the strobes.
     

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