Need Help Metering-Two Flash Setup

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bradracino, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. bradracino

    bradracino TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone...

    I'm going to be hitting the road to shoot some models the end of this week and I need some advice/help with my setup.

    I'm shooting with a 5d and two flashes- a 580EXII and a 430EX as the fill. I'm going to be using two pocket wizards; one on the 5d and one on the 580, and using the 430 as a slave. Now I just recently got a meter (a Gossen DigiPro F) and honestly, I'm not too good with it.

    I know how to do the simple metering, but here's my question: Is there any easy formula or way to meter the model without the flashes, and then take that reading and know what kind of output to set my 580 to for some fill and highlights? The 580 is adjustable from 1/1 to 1/64 increments, and I'm not sure how to save time shooting with it using the meter?

    Can anyone point me to some tutorials or sites that would give advice? Also, I know that the 430 is just a slave and you can't adjust it's output, so it's going to give off the same power as the 580... so any advice on that too would be a great help...

    Thanks so much everyone, as always... you guys are always a great help to the lost photographer.

    -Brad
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The best thing to do would be to go spend some time on Strobist and look for lighting 101 and 102. Do not expect to be all knowing and ready to do a shoot in a couple hours... it takes a little more than that.

    With a single light setup, I can easily come up with 40-50 variations off the top of my head. Add another light and that goes to over 200 variations... it took a little bit of dedicated time and practice, but its nothing that can be easily translated to a single "tell me what to do" thread and expect you to understand and have good results.

    Experience and a lot of practice is a wonderful teacher. ;)

    As for your light meter... have you tried googling how to use a light meter? Have you done a youtube search on how to use a light meter? ;)
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    With main & fill lights...you are usually trying to create a ratio on the model. The ratio is the difference in brightness between the lit areas and the shadow areas. A 1:1 shot would have even light. A 2:1 ration would have a one stop difference...etc.

    Typically, you would meter the main light, then meter the fill light. Adjust them (power and/or position) until you get the ratio that you want. Then take a combined reading to know what to set your camera to.

    Keep in mind that your ambient light can be used, and should certainly be considered...so that might affect how you set your main & fill lights.

    As Jerry said, it's not something you pick up in a few hours...and practice makes perfect.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Funny that I just fell on something, but a photographer that I do respect just had an opinion to share about mastery of photography and about how someone mentioned that 10,000 hours is the minimum required time to get something down enough that it is mastered... this is not the whole post, but a part that I feel is pertinent:

    There is a lot of wisdom in these words... nothing good comes without effort.
     
  5. Captain IK

    Captain IK TPF Noob!

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    I agree completely...except to say that part of that 10,000 hour learning curve...is asking questions. Sometimes on forums such as this.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What would you consider more valuable:

    - asking a random person on the internet a technical question about lighting then waiting 2-3 days for responses

    or

    - whipping out those 2 lights and a camera, and taking maybe 800 pictures and finding out the answer to your single question, then at the same time asking 20 more questions to yourself and answering those too

    Because that is where the real knowledge lies.

    I am definitely not against asking questions here, but to be honest, I find it the lazy way to get (often wrong or partially correct) answers from the net.

    Let's say the OP comes back in 4 hours. Instead of waiting 4 hours, not only could I not take 100 pictures and look and study the results, then find the top 10 angles I like and use them... but likely learn a whole lot more than I intended.

    That is the beauty of taking responsibility for one's edification. I am not going to toot my own horn, but I would honestly say that a year ago, I was clueless. One year and at least 20,000 focused very specific practice pictures later, I have my answers and my questions are not basic anymore. When 30 year professionals shake their heads at my questions, I know I am no longer a newbie, if anything, by the level of questions I am asking myself.

    Now, my challenge is... do a search here and find me 10 posts out of my near 5000 that ask for help on a subject. I doubt you will find 5. Matter of fact, I doubt you will find 2.

    Did I not learn anything from this place? Yes, TONS... I just did not wait for anyone to spoon feed me, I searched myself and if the answer was not here (which was initially not all that often, but as my experience level grew happened more and more), I found it elsewhere faster and in a more complete form. Usually from working it out myself or with a real person face to face or sometimes researching things and seeing what answered the question or not.

    I know a lot more about what doesn't work for me than what does, but at least I have those questions, and sometimes, those questions are more important and helpful than partial answers from unknown quantities. :)
     
  7. JE Kay

    JE Kay TPF Noob!

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    I couldn't agree more with JerryPH, nothing beats just doing it, practical experience. Set it up and shoot, practice and practice. Keep a shooting journal when you start something new, it helps.

    I can see and agree that if you're are genuinely stuck on something asking in forums can save you a lot of time. Forums for sure can be a good resource. In saying that I don't think I'd want to c&p someones advice on lighting something and then using in on a real shoot. That's just a recipe for disaster. ;)
     
  8. Captain IK

    Captain IK TPF Noob!

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    Jerry and JE
    I agree with you both,
    but if a forum is not, at least in part, for asking questions..why be here? All you need is a searchable database.
    There is no doubt that one cannot take all the answers here as fact, but opinions do matter and this is certainly a place to get those LOL.
    It obviously does not come close to replacing experience. And I would hope that anyone asking a question here would know that.

    A forum is a place for like minded people to come and chat, share stories, learn from each other etc...right?
     
  9. CrimsonFoxPhotography

    CrimsonFoxPhotography TPF Noob!

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    I agree with just about everyone. Practice is the best medicine but asking questions never hurt anyone. Photography is part technical and part creativity, and a person's experience can answer a concern of yours in a way that inspires you like nothing else has. There's an art to the technique and an art to the business, so each person can bring something new and exciting to the front..or not, that's the chance you take.

    Now the issue that Jerry and JE have is that there are people who genuinely ask the questions that they do because they want the quick fix. But they have to start somewhere and if they ultimately don't take the bull by the horns then they simply won't grow very much. I'm not afraid to admit that I've asked plenty of questions on this and other forums, but not once have I followed comments blindly without thinking for myself how it applies to my vision..because in the end, I'm the one that has to bring home the Canadian.
     

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