Outdoor lighting with speedlights

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ddeerreekk, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. ddeerreekk

    ddeerreekk TPF Noob!

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    Hey, I'm getting into a lot of on-location photoshoots, mostly portrait and band photography. I've decided the best route to go is probably with speedlights rather then lugging around studio photography everywhere I go.

    I'll probably have a few questions throughout this thread, but my first is about power. Do speedlights generally have enough power to effectively overpower the sun? For instance if you had a picture of somebody with the sun in the background (without flash the picture would be a silhouette), could you properly expose the person as well?

    Here's two examples of what I'm kinda talking about:
    http://www.cpluv.com/www/medias/dawlazdesign/dawlazdesign_45ffd80e0e7d9.jpg

    http://www.dg28.com/technique/images/higgins-075.jpg

    Thanks,
    Derek
     
  2. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    They usually can be great for fill flash. I recently got into doing this because I was sick of blown out backgrounds or a dark subject. I use a Canon 430EXII which works great for what I need. When using fill flash it almost acts like HDR in my opinion (sorry if people don't agree) but you get a properly exposed background as well as a properly exposed foreground.
     
  3. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I assume you know of The Strobist site, if not get there right now. Another resource is a new book I just picked up called "The Hot Shoe Diaries" it goes along the same lines.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can a speedlight overpower the sun? No.
    Can you balance with the sun? Yes, if you have enough of them.

    [​IMG]

    In the shot above, the sun was right behind the clouds a little behind one of the weather vanes of this windmill. It took 3 higher quality speedlights at full power to get this shot. So... can it be done? Yes, barely, and recycle times sucked (3-4 seconds between each shot).

    Better to get yourself a studio head and a portable power supply like a Vagabond II if you need power. *Then* you can overpower the sun and have control of your lighting.

    Having said that, band shots are taken at night and what not, so anytime after 7PM, 3-4 speedlights should be enough to get quite creative with most anything you need.

    A single light source like a Photogenic 2500DR (1,000 W/s) can overpower mid day sun quite easily. The "Sunny 16" rule says that if you are outside on a bright day at noon on a cloudless day, set the aperture to F/16 and you are good. With a single light, like I am talking about, I can set my camera to ISO 100, F/22 and from 12-14 feet away still lightly overexpose a good sized area:

    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After:
    [​IMG]

    The setup:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009

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