One strobe & Camera Flash - suggestions.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by michaeledward, May 22, 2007.

  1. michaeledward

    michaeledward TPF Noob!

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    I want to take pictures at the karate studio on promotion day. I want to take pictures of the students when they receive their new rank. The pictures will by portraits, and not action shots. After reading a couple of threads, I think I need to get at least one remote strobe to solve the shadow problem from my on camera flash.

    What I am thinking, is I will have my camera with the hot-shoe flash, and one strobe (Alien Bee B-800 or B-400). Last time, I took the photo vertically, and ended up with a nasty shadow on the left side of the subject.

    So, I am thinking I place the strobe over to over my left shoulder to light the subject from a 35 - 45 degree angle on the side with the on camera flash. I am thinking I will use some sort of umbrella on the strobe.

    My questions are ...

    How do I find out the effective brightness of my sunpak flash compared to the alien bee strobes?

    Will a direct flash over power a strobe bounced off an umbrella? (I'm not certain I can lower the power setting on my sunpack flash).

    How will a white umbrella behave differently from a silver or gold umbrella?

    Will a flash through white umbrella be too weak against the on camera flash?


    Your thoughts are appreciated.

    Mike
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    There are other options, if the shadow is your main concern. First, and easiest is just to move them far enough away from the background that there is nothing for the shadow to fall onto. Another option would be to use a flash bracket that holds the flash above the camera, even when in portrait orientation.

    I've used a combination of a studio light and an on-camera flash. However, my goal was to get a pleasing key to fill ratio...rather than eliminate the shadow. You should be able to balance their output but it may take some time to get it worked out properly.

    Yet another option would be to use the on-camera flash to light the subject and use the off camera light to light up the background (and not the subject at all). This can eliminate the shadow but leave you with somewhat flat lighting on the subject.
     
  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    I would ditch the sunpack, point the alienbee at the ceiling, and fire away. You'll get nice flattering light falling everywhere, and with the alienbee 800, you'll get alot more than your sunpack can give.
     
  4. michaeledward

    michaeledward TPF Noob!

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    Matt, do you mean the B-800 will have more intensive light than the sunpak, or that the photo will be a higher quality? (or both).
     
  5. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    The B-800 certainly has more power than the sunpack. Just make sure the ceiling is white and not too high.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Also do a few test shots. While bounced light works beautifully you need to take care to avoid raccoon eyes caused by all primary light coming from above and not enough from walls and surroundings.
     
  7. michaeledward

    michaeledward TPF Noob!

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    Gracias for all the responses.

    I just won an ebay auction for an two strobe interfit kit. They are 300i heads, with a white shoot thru umbrella, and a silver reflecting umbrella. I appreciate that I can bounce the light from these lamps off the ceiling without using the umbrellas.

    I am going to try that, and some different things, hopefully this weekend.

    Going back to my original post, and an original question there ... let me ask what will be the difference in light intensity between shooting thru a white umbrella and reflecting off of a silver umbrella. What should I expect?

    I'm working with film, so I will need to process the film before I see the results.

    I am thinking that I will place both lamps at the corner of an equalateral triangle - with the subject at the third corner. Which lamp will generate more effect. The shoot thru white, or the bounce off silver?


    Thanks.
     
  8. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try useing the shoot through for what is called a moon dish. (google paramount lighting or butterfly lighting) Use the shoot through centered high over the camera and pointed at the subject. Use a reflector at knee or waist level to fill the shadows under the subjects chin and eye sockets. The minor shadow you will be left with is a faint butterfly shape under the nose on the upper lip. This is an easy one strobe setup. You might also want to invest in a flash meter since you will be shooting film. It makes for fewer exposure mistakes.
     
  9. michaeledward

    michaeledward TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I am expecting I'll need to get a light meter.

    But, I think I will be using a pretty consistant setup, once I figure out where and how to place the lights. Same background, same light settings, same camera & film; only thing that will change will be the the person standing in the shot.

    This weekend, I am going to shoot a roll or two of film with different settings and configurations. and see what comes out.
     
  10. michaeledward

    michaeledward TPF Noob!

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    Again, thanks to everybody who offered help here, and in other threads.

    I shot a few pictures last weekend with my two Interfit stobes. Here's what I found.

    1 - a shoot thru, white umbrella high and camera right with a silver reflector low and camera left created an okay picture. Both lamps as full power setting produced an okay picture. The reflector created stronger shadows.

    2 - a shoot thru, white umbrella high and over the camera, with an on-camera flash with a 'soft-box' adapter over the camera flash created an ok image. There were no hard shadows - which was partly what I was looking for.

    3 - a shoot thru, white umbrella high and camera right, a silver reflector high and camera left and deep (behind the subject). This created some nice highlights in the hair, but spilled too much light on the muslin. Also, against the black clothing of our Karate studio, it didn't work out very well. The shadow from the reflector was the strongest (to the front and right of the photograph). Ruled this one out - Although, with street clothes it looked better.

    4 - bounced a strobe off the white tile ceiling from camera right (pretty high) with an on-camera flash with a soft-box attachment. This worked the best. The bounce gives a bit of shadow under the chin, but nothing noticable behind the subject. I think the on camera flash helps soften the shadow a bit.

    Obviously, a very low-tech exercise. But, I have a setup in mind for all of the pictures I will take during our karate school's promotions now, and into the future. It was a lot fun to play with all the new toys.

    Thanks to all for the help.

    Mike
     

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