On-Camera Lighting Setup for Nikon

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by manaheim, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    jcolman got me thinking about my lighting situation with my single SB600. I've not been entirely happy with the diffusion of light off of this when taking interior shots, but don't have the option to cart around a bigger more complex lighting setup. I'm pretty much stuck with one on-camera flash.

    So, the question is, what should I do?

    I see these LightSphere things... they look interesting. I looked around for on-camera softboxes and I didn't see anything too compelling, but to be honest, I'm not sure what is best.

    I'm looking to get as even and pleasant light as possible with a single on-camera strobe. I'm open to any suggestions.

    And yes, I did search first. :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Blech... lightspheres are no better than on camera flash... wait, it *is* on camera flash! :puke-rig:

    Rather than waste $75+ for photographic tupperware, if you want to limit yourself and use ONLY 1 strobe, get yourself a quality camera bracket. At least you reduce Red Eye about 75-80%... but you STILL have the limitation of being stuck with FLAT lighting.

    Only way around that, my friend, is to get brave and carry an extra lightstand(s) and strobe(s).
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    With the SB600's ability to rotate and tilt the flash head, if indoors, you should be able to find a surface to bounce off.... or additionally get a bounce card/reflector to get the bounced light to diffuse even more onto your subject.

    From what I've read, the lightshperes are really just power vampires and make the light bounce everywhere rather than giving you control to direct the light. However, some people are impressed with them.

    With camera in one hand, I have also taken the flash off the hotshoe and handheld it with the other, to get a direction of light that couldn't be acheived otherwise.

    Just my 2ยข.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Did that too several times. The results were surprisingly acceptable! I guess it all comes down to doing what ever it takes to get that flash off-axis from the camera's lens.
     
  5. jcolman

    jcolman TPF Noob!

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    Glad I got you thinking! Here's a couple of things you can do to improve your lighting. First, as the others have said, bounce your flash. Anytime the light is coming straight on from your camera, you're going to end up with flat light. You can bounce light off of any white surface. The larger the surface, the softer the light. By bouncing the light you add depth to the image.

    However, there are times when you may want a direct, very soft light. I've purchased a couple of "professional" light modifiers and used them with sucess, however, none of them are really any better that what you can make yourself. Here's a couple of shots of a homemade "beauty dish" I made for about $10.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bare flash on camera

    [​IMG]

    With beauty dish

    [​IMG]

    with beauty dish

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the dish softens and diffuses the light, almost like window light.

    Other modifiers I've used with sucess are 8" x 10" white foam wrapped around the flash head.

    However, eventually you're going to want to get your lights off camera. The most practical way for you to do this is to invest in a couple of cheaper speedlights ( I use 2-Sunpak 383 lights) and some remote triggers. I favor pocket wizards for a number of reasons but there are cheaper alternatives.

    [​IMG]

    Having the ability to place your lights where you want them and fire them remotely will elevate the quality of your shots from the "good" to "great".

    I also own some studio lights that I will use on location from time to time but I rarely take them outside. When I do thought, the results can be incredible.



    [​IMG]

    A shot of the lights used in the above shot.

    [​IMG]


    However, small speedlights and an oncamera flash (with diffusion) can also produce some excellent shots

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    But I still favor the look of totally off camera flash.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2008
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I challenge your $75 lightsphere against my .50c one:
    [​IMG]

    All that is needed is to make the light source bigger, and to spill more light on the surrounding (roof is a good start). You most definitely do not need to pay for a ludicrously overpriced piece of plastic to achieve great results.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ... and you will WIN! Funny that a 50 cent piece of paper can out-perform a $75 piece of photographic tupperware! :lmao:
     
  8. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'll have to horse around a bit with some DIY stuff... I wonder what kind of looks I'll get when on a shoot, though... :|
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    - From those that are knowledgeable, smiles.
    - From those that are clueless, laughs.

    But what do you care in either case, its all about the results, right? ;) :)
     
  10. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    Yes and no. I mean I understand that it's all about the results, but if you don't inspire confidence in your customers, it can hurt sales and or potential customers...
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If it really means that much to you what others think... you could take the time to educate them.

    I personally think doing so is a waste of time. A portfolio speaks louder than words and in the end, clients should not care WHAT you use, as long as the results are to their expectations or better.

    Take a look at that recent thread about street photography... the man is an ass, rude, inconsiderate... yet most people love his photography. Why would the use of a better bounce card cause more negative sentiments than that to the point that I would fail as a professional photographer, just because of what this looks like on top of my flash? Personally I think slapping tupperware looks and functions in a more detrimental manner.
     
  12. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    I was just playing devils advocate. It furthers the conversation :mrgreen:
     

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