Need advice with "lighting" issues?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by garymgordon, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. garymgordon

    garymgordon TPF Noob!

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    I am having a very difficult time with lighting. What I mean is this. I have a Canon 5D with a 580ex flash. I was having trouble when I was using my 70 - 200 Canon Zoom (EL series) as well as my Canon 16 - 35 (EL series) lens. My lenses are good. I fear it is something in my "fingers or genes" that is causing the issue. hahaha (Note: I have only been taking photos with quality digital SLR equipment for about a year. And I've been struggling with this - for the past year. But have only recently started noticing it since I am now getting requested to take photos at various events in restaurants, etc.)

    I have been recently taking photos in a variety of locations (indoor) where my pictures are coming out either too light (white washing peoples faces, the walls, etc.) or a tad too dark, etc.

    I don't seem to be able to take pictures (using MANUAL settings on the camera) and get a reasonably good amount of light from my flash. It's either too bright or a little too dark.

    I guess my questions are:

    1. Is this typical? And if so, what recommendations can someone possibly share with me that might help me improve the amount of light I get from my flash (automatically) as I take photo after photo (at an event) without having to consistently change my settings on the 580ex flash?

    2. What am I possibly doing wrong? Is there a way to set up my 580ex flash so that it will automatically adjust when I'm taking a photo of a subject that is maybe 30 to 40 feet away, as opposed to a subject that is only maybe 10 to 15 feet away?

    Any and all advice would be greatly appreciate.

    Thanks,
    Gary
     
  2. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    Mine is a very basic question, but am asking because it plagued me for over 2000 shots before I accidently set it correctly.

    I use a 30D with 580EXII.

    When you look at settings on your flash, is it in "Manual" mode or auto mode? I am talking about that "M" next to "zoom" distance on your flash.

    For 2000 shots, starting day 1, I somehow set my flash to manual zoom so it was always at whatever zoom length I manually set (35mm). I was getting the problems you describe because I was changing everything else on the flash, but did not realize that it had an "auto flash zoom" - I just turned wheel to left a couple times until that "M" next to zoom dissappeared.

    Today, I use camera "M" mode to control aperture and shutter, have flash on "auto zoom" so flash knows length of zoom and adjusts. I also turn on the feature that allows my shutter to go past 1/250.

    Hope your problem is something this basic :)


    I need a Canon Flash for Dummies book :(
     
  3. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    I believe you will need to know the guide number of the flash so you can set the aperture for the distance. It should, in fact, be more accurate than using auto flash. Instructions should be in the manual.
     
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Put it on TTL and point it up. You'll have to have the FEC at +2/3 or so, but bouncing the flash off the ceiling should get you a nice even and consistant shot. The TTL will set the flash to match what your camera meters.

    Knowing flash guide numbers doesn't come into play unless you're putting the flash itself on manual mode.
     
  5. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    When using a flash in auto mode at that distance, you never know what you're metering on. Go with the manual flash.
     
  6. Sandspur

    Sandspur TPF Noob!

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    May I humbly suggest that you use Program mode and set the 580 to TTL. Or at least Aperture Priority (5.6-8, or so) and TTL.

    That camera and flash combination is pretty darn smart. Allow them to work together and you'll get consistently better results ... + you won't be spending all your time trying to figure out exposure while the events in front of you (which are, after all the reason you're shooting, and, I assume, getting paid!)

    Of course there will be variables - ceiling height, ambient light, distance, etc. There always are. And you'll have to adjust for them. But generally you can do this with quick adjustments to exposure (+ or -) or flash output settings.

    My preference for situations like this is to tilt the flash at 45 degrees, using a diffuser. This generally works within allowable limits regardless of ceiling height.

    If something I need to shoot is 30 or 40 feet away, I'll do my best to get closer rather than zoom.

    Of course, there will always be variables, and you'll end up having to make adjustments in post. So be prepared to make Levels adjustments on EVERY SHOT!

    Good luck. These things never get easy ... but they are manageable.

    Trust your equipment and use it's features and capabilities for all they're worth. After all, that's why you invested in high quality pro gear, isn't it?
     
  7. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    Sorry! I didn't see this before I made my last post, but you're right.
     

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