Question - flashes and reflective clothing

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by mJs, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. mJs

    mJs TPF Noob!

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    I may be completely out of luck here... but does anyone know if there is any way to light a subject (with speed lights) that has highly reflective strips on their clothing without getting the bad reaction between the strips and the flash? Is it even possible? I have to shoot some firefighters and haven't had the opportunity to test different methods, so if anyone has any experience with this, i would appreciate some guidance.

    Thanks!
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Best way to deal with such evil reflective materials is to hit them with a flash in such a way that reflections bounce harmlessly elsewhere; that is, anywhere that isn't the lens. Though those materials are made with reflectivity in mind and will be considerably harder to compensate for than say, glasses. :-/
     
  3. malayneum

    malayneum TPF Noob!

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    i have the same problem. can photoshop repair this?

    [​IMG]
     
  4. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    You can fix the contrast problem in the image, but not the blown highlights. You may also want to try under-exposing the entire scene by a stop, and then bringing up the fill light in post.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have a friend who is a firefighter..the problem exists because that reflective tape is designed to reflect light very,very,very efficiently. The stuff is soooooo reflective that he has begun using it on fishing lures used a great depths, where there is exceedingly little light, such as in deep, murky water.

    Blasting such a substance with a flash burst is usually going to cause a very hot spot. You will in most cases not be able to light the scene adequately if you're going to avoid hot spots on an ultra-reflective tape designed to be visible under night-time and also inside of smoke-filled environments where just the slightest hint of light will show where a firefighter happens to be.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For future reference disable your flash in this situation. It looks like it was light and nothing was gained from having it on.
     
  7. Nicholas James Photo

    Nicholas James Photo TPF Noob!

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    I just mentioned this thread to my wife - her suggestion does not work for me but appeals to her. Take pics of naked firemen.
    However, on a more serious note (although, I think my wife was serious) I think MusicalCA has probably hit the nail on the head,,,, not ideal but probably best bet.
     
  8. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    This efficiency is a rather small portion of the physics involved in reflective material like this. The major portion of the brightness comes from the unsymetrical reflection pattern.

    Reflective material doesn't create light and clean white material can reflect over 99.5% of the light striking it. The only way something can appear brighter is by robbing Peter to pay Paul. The glass beads in the material act like lenses and/or prisms and direct and extremely high percentage of the reflected light directly back toward the light source. This makes it extremely bright when seen from the position of the light source but rather dark when viewed from a significant angle off axis.

    This is why a flash shot, where the flash is on camera, produces the extremely bright reflections and an non-flash shot, where the light is coming from a range of angles and not particularily from the camera's position, doesn't produce nearly the same effect. The fix is, therefore, to not use an on camera flash or any other lighting coming from the direction of the camera. If you must use flash, use a flash off camera at a significant angle from the camera.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Off camera flash may help some very small amount, but as Garbz said... the best solution in this case is to not use flash at all. Even then, you will still likely get reflections from other light sources.
     
  10. mJs

    mJs TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the all the suggestions, I figured a no flash shot would be my only option, I'll try the extreme angle too if the weather doesn't co-operate and I need better lighting.
     
  11. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    The improvement gained from moving the flash off camera is proportional to the angular distance, as seen from the subject's position, between the camera and flash. The further, in degrees, that the flash is away from the camera the less the excessive reflection.
     

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