Lighting and Bounce Diffusers

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by charles181, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. charles181

    charles181 TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys. I was looking at several professional portraits, and I couldn't help but realizing the awesome lighting job they do. I know they have some umbrellas tilted probably at 45 degrees on the four corners of the object, but can someone either teach me some cool techniques other than that, or link me to a place that can (in case you don't want to type that much).

    Also regarding bounce diffusers like sto-fen, what're they good for? Is it primarily to reduce the lighting exposed on the subject so it doesn't "ruin the mood"?. Do bounce diffusers serve more of a purpose than that?

    Thanks!

    Also, I want to get into some cool lighting tricks, but I don't have any professional setups. Is there any other alternative I can do with just a 430ex?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Photography. Photo (meaning light) + graphy (meaning drawing). So photography literally means drawing with light. It's all about light.

    I'd suggest finding some good books on the subject. They shouldn't be too hard to find in a library because the principles of light haven't changed with the digital era, so a 20 year old book on lighting is probably as good or better than a book published two years ago.

    Most of them (Stofen Omnibounce, GF Lightsphere etc.) are meant to be used when you are bouncing the flash.
    Bouncing your flash is probably the easiest way to improve on-camera flash. When it's pointed directly at your subject, the light is rather flat (even) and the size of the light source (flash) compared to the subject, is pretty small, which makes for 'hard' light. But when you aim the flash at the ceiling (or wall etc.) the bounce surface then becomes the light source, which is now much bigger compared to the subject, so you get much softer light. One problem with bouncing light off of the ceiling, is that the light is now coming down onto your subject, similar to sunlight...and this may cause shadows (raccoon eyes for example).
    That's where these flash accessories come in. The Omnibounce lets some of the light go out to bounce, but it also throws some of it forward, directly to the subject and filling in those shadows. A simple bounce card can do the same thing. Some accessorizes, like the lightsphere, throw light in all directions, hoping that it bounces off a lot of surfaces and gets back to the subject very soft. It works well in some situations but is very wasteful in other situations.

    The best thing you can do, to improve your lighting technique, would be to get the flash off the camera. With the flash off the camera, you can use directional light, which allows you to 'sculpt' your subject with light and shadow. With the flash on a stand, you can add useful accessories like an umbrella or softbox etc.

    Read everything you can on THIS SITE.
    Starting with THIS PAGE.
     
  3. Nic Nube

    Nic Nube TPF Noob!

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    There is so much 'free' light around and its real nice too! I think these gimmicks just cost you an arm and a leg for nothing. sorry mr fong and co

    Shoot where the light is good and make it work for you..whats easier seting up your octa and ranger rx with remote triggers and the works or picking a nice location where the light is as good. studio lighting is great if you live in a cave imo..light is light and if you shooting people you dont need fancy junk imo
    Im not Ansel f adams but Im tired of gimmicks ..the world is a gimmick
     
  4. AliasPros

    AliasPros TPF Noob!

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    I use 580exII after my 430 broke... I also love the Gary Fong light diffuser "Cloud" as the light it gives off is so smooth and soft, very little shine on the face even outside of studio such crouded receptions etc... for the price you cant go wrong.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here is the next one I am looking into picking up, the "Whale Tale"
    [​IMG]
     
  5. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    Light is not just light! There are colors, temperatures, umbra, penumbra, feathering, inverse square law, and much much more, but your right, you don't need to buy every piece junk that comes down the road. Long before Fong a simple white index card and a rubber band would do the very same thing. Total cost less than a nickel. Or you could bounce your light off someone's white shirt or a wall even. If you want something that looks better than an index card and rubber band check out dembflashproducts.com. I think you'll find it works at least as good, I think better, for a lot less money.

    Did you know you can cut a hole in the top of a cd/dvd plastic cylinder, throw the spool away, and you have a Fong style light modifier. Get a sample gel pack from B&H for a dollar and you just saved yourself a bout $100 and you'll have a lot more colors to play with. It won't look as pretty (depends on how crafty your are) but you can play with little or no investment.
     
  6. AliasPros

    AliasPros TPF Noob!

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  7. Layspeed

    Layspeed TPF Noob!

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    I used an crushed soda can on my back tire :lmao::thumbup:

    I bet the "real" photographer wanted to kick your ass! :grumpy::lol:
     
  8. WaywardShinobi

    WaywardShinobi TPF Noob!

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    As did I, worked much better than a card.

    Speaking of card, I've seen a photographer in my area use card stock in front of a shop light. The shop light was powered with two nine volts, lol. Around here, we use all we can to get whatever job we do done. He's one of only two photographers within an hour or so of me.
     
  9. AliasPros

    AliasPros TPF Noob!

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    WOW Santa Barbara and San Louis Obispo California (snooty wine country) is inundated by photographers and they it's an upscale market where you gotta stay up with your equipment (I do pretty well in that respect). I wish I was in an area where I was in more demand. However my equipment is growing and word of mouth has been great since a lot of people already recommend me from my videography also...

    Hmmm... Crushed soda cans huh? never thought of that, it was just easier and more reliable to buy me the 50cc with paper route money... always been a hustler that way. Anyone else feel me on the professional flash diffuser???
     
  10. keith foster

    keith foster TPF Noob!

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    There are lots of tutorials out there showing how to get very good shots with a lot of makeshift lighting techniques.
    I think if you can consistently get the results you want and people like it then most folks don't care how or what you used to get it.
    This may not apply to weddings though. I could see a bride passing out if she caught you crushing a beer can to use as a diffuser at the wedding. :lol:
     
  11. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't recommend taking the homemade stuff to a paid gig, could you imagine the look on the Bride's face. Now there's a Kodak moment. The homemade stuff is good to play and learn from without the investment. But taking a bag full of home made junk to a paid event would be about as classy as trying upstage the paid photographer and passing out business cards at an event or wedding.
     
  12. mrmacedonian

    mrmacedonian TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup:
     

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