Is a flash Bracket a good idea for nightclub shooting?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by hankejp, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. hankejp

    hankejp TPF Noob!

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    From what I read, the consensus is to have the flash off of your camera when shooting clubs/bars.

    Is a flash bracket that answer for this or do you hold the flash in one hand and the camera in another? (Sort of Joking there.)

    If a flash bracket is the answer, does anyone have a recommendation on one for a Nikon D90?

    I'm struggling with my shots, and just want to be sure I'm using the right setup. I currently use the SB-600 hotshoed on my D90 with a Tammy 28-75 2.8

    It just seems that if I use the flash, the photo doesn't seem to capture the atmosphere. If I don't use the flash and just try to use the stage lights, the photos are a little darker than I would like.

    Here are some shots without the Flash:

    ISO: 800
    Exposure: 1/400 sec
    Aperture: 2.8
    Focal Length: 55mm


    [​IMG]


    ISO: 1600
    Exposure: 1/320 sec
    Aperture: 2.8
    Focal Length: 52mm


    [​IMG]


    Thanks
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    When people say to get the flash off the camera, they usually aren't talking about a bracket. They mean that the flash should be put in a position so that the light is at a different angle to the subject, than the camera.
    For example, the shot of the drummer, the light is coming from below him and at an angle that is way off to the left of the camera position.

    A bracket just moves the flash above the camera, and maybe off to the side a little, depending on the model.
    T
    The main advantage to most brackets, is that it can keep the flash above the lens, even when you turn the camera 90 degrees. This throws the shadow directly behind the subject, and not off to the side (causing side shadows). It's a good solution when you need to have the flash with you, but it's not really as good/dramatic for the lighting as when you can actually get the flash to a different position.

    People do that, no joke. It can give you more dramatic lighting than a bracket, but it ties up both hands.

    To really get dramatic lighting, the flash (or main light source) should be off the camera/lens axis. This causes the light to give your subjects depth and definition, rather than the flat light that you get when the flash in on the camera.
    This is typically don't with a remote trigger system.

    You can also bounce the flash to give the effect that the light is away from the camera. This, of course, depends on the location you have to work with.

    Whether you use a bracket, hand held or a remotely triggered flash, it comes down to your personal style and how you like to work and what you can do with the location and circumstances that you're in. You may not want to be moving through a busy club with a big rig of a camera/bracket/flash etc. It might be best to keep your gear compact.

    This really isn't so much of a gear issue, but an exposure issue. The flash doesn't need to wash out the atmosphere of the venue, you just need to balance the flash exposure with the ambient exposure.
     
  3. hankejp

    hankejp TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike, your contributions to this forum are invaluable.
     
  4. LearnMyShot

    LearnMyShot TPF Noob!

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    nice work..most flashes have a manual overide..so under expose your flash so it fills a little without ruining the mood .....hope it works!!
     
  5. hankejp

    hankejp TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Robert. I did in fact played with the manual settings on the flash. I'm going to have to re-read the manul, because I forgot a lot about using the manual mode. I just glanced at your site. Interesting. I will be re-visiting it and reading more.

    Thank you again for your input.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    In some situations, manual flash is great. Primarily because you know it will be consistent, and not influenced by something that may only be in one or a couple shots. However, if your scene, angle, distance is constantly changing, it could be hard/annoying to constantly adjust for that.
    That's why I love E-TTL flash for events.

    You can still adjust the flash, to keep it from 'ruining the mood'. It's called FEC (flash exposure compensation). Using FEC, you can turn the flash exposure down, but down from the metered value rather than just a manual power setting that might be too much for some shots and too little for others.
     
  7. hankejp

    hankejp TPF Noob!

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    That is normally what I have been doing, changing the FEC. Last shoot, along with trying Manual, I also changed it back to TTL and had the EV at -1 to -3. It's just part of the learning process I guess.
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  9. iskoos

    iskoos TPF Noob!

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    The shutter speed is way too fast I agreed. I really do not think 1/400 is necessary. But 1/15 won't do it either. He will get crazy motion blurs with anything under 1/60.
    OP didn't stated if he was shooting in manual or auto exposure mode but I really didn't understand why such a high shutter speed was used.
    Those shots should easily be done at 1/100 which gives 2 extra stops to lighten up the seen...

    I don't have much experience with external flashes but I know a fast prime lense would do amazing things at low ambient light. The only problem is that you will have to move back and forth all the time:)))
     

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