Working inside - with flash

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Overread, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    With these people thingies!

    Well I did some people photography (yes I was that bored ;)) anyway I tormented my family with the flash on the camera for a while and I think I got the lighting right, however this is a totally new area for me so I need some technical input both in shooting and in editing(we will get to composition way way later).

    First off the shooting; I used the following gear for each shot below:
    Canon 400D
    Canon 17-55mm
    Speedlite 580M2 + lumiquest softbox

    I set the flash so that the head was angled slightly forward, but mostly aimed at the ceiling rather than directly at people's face - bouncing off the roof as some say ;). This gave me desirable lighting except when I turned the camera for portate mode, where it started to give shadows on one side (the side most away from the flash). This was not too bad on the night as I tended to use portrate where such shadows would be a little more desirable, but overall it was not something that I found that I wanted in every portate shot; I wonder now if it would have been better to adjust the flash angle to point more directly at the subjects - I know that the ideal would be off camera flash held above the camera, but its just not an option that I had at the time.
    Note that when in portate mode I did reangle the flash so that the light was still hitting the ceiling.

    I set the camera to manual mode and used the settings as shown on each shot below to take each shot. I used this mode as the semi auto modes (av and tv) I found to not give suitable shutter speeds/apertures for what I wanted/needed in the situation; and exposure compensation was often not enough to push the settings where I wanted them. Further my experiences of flash in dim conditions (macro areas) has shown me that manual mode is really the best to shoot it in for most conditions to get the desired exposure.
    For the flash I used the preflash button and let the flash meter itself, EXIF is attached to all the photos and there might have been one or two occasions where I dialed in a flash exposure compensation, but it was all experimental rather than working from an understanding of flash.


    Now we get to editing - firstly something that I find myself almost always using outside, appears to give a horrible colour when used (on auto - though my manual attempts were no better) for these inside shots. Is there some way in which to use this tool best inside, or is it better to leave it well alone?
    After that I did very little to these shots barring RAW coversion - mostly just a little boost in the saturation and contrast with noise and sharpening as well.

    The shots - well here they are:

    [​IMG]
    f5.6, 1/50sec, ISO 200,
    http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u275/overmind_2000/my works/christmas 08/1000/IMG_0025copy.jpg

    [​IMG]
    f5.6, 1/50sec, ISO 200
    http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u275/overmind_2000/my works/christmas 08/1000/IMG_0035.jpg

    [​IMG]
    f5.6, 1/50sec, ISO 200
    http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u275/overmind_2000/my works/christmas 08/1000/IMG_0055.jpg

    There we go then - so anyone able to help me out here? :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  2. impressme

    impressme TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central, New Jersey
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    just a newbie opinion...

    1: shadow from the nose on the face is too harsh
    2: flash seems to fade at the bottom of the photo
    3: flash seems too bright...

    take it or leave it as I've got a lot to learn about lighting myself!
     
  3. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Greencastle Indiana
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    What are you seeing as problems that you'd like to improve upon?

    You should have been able to re-angle the flash so that it would bounce off of the ceiling even when in portrait mode. I'd say get rid of the softbox and just bounce the bare flash with the bounce card pulled out. That will save you flash power and make life generally easier.

    Bounced flash is by its nature fairly clean and even light. It's great for when you need that kind of light, not so great when you are looking for more dramatically lit images.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    woops!
    I made a mistake with the flash description for portate mode - will correct in a sec in the main post == yes I did angle the flash to still hit the ceiling when in portate mode, however as you can see in shot 1, it still caused light to drop off from one side to a noticable degree.

    impressme the flash power might be too powerfull, I really just don't know how to handle it that well, however the histograms for each shot were to too bad (ie no massive blowout areas) so the light being too bright might simply also reflect a part of my editing being imperfect as well.

    tsaraleksi - interesting comment about shooting with the flash bare - but won't that cause an increase in its harshness in the shots - even with bouncing off the ceiling?
     
  5. Jurence

    Jurence TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    For the love of god shop' their faces to look prettier to not embarrass them
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I am half tempted to show my sister that post ;)

    honestly though I do wildlife (well animal) photography I don't know the first thing about shopping a person face
     
  7. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Greencastle Indiana
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    No not if you are bouncing the flash and using the bounce card-- the combo will work as well or better and will not waste as much power.
     
  8. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,732
    Likes Received:
    1
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I think the first is very good, second is far too direct, and third the chest is a hot spot ;). HE HE. No seriously, the first is very good, the other not so much.
     
  9. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    13,601
    Likes Received:
    1,929
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Your results are better than what I came home with.

    Can your speedlight be used with TTL? Apart from #1, your lighting looks flat.

    Jurence: Bad form dude. :naughty:
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have ETTL with my flash and its generally in that mode - and that is all I know ;)

    And yes I am thinking that the lighting is really flat in the latter 2 shots - I might play with highlights and shadows with the last and see if I can bring the face shadows up a little bit more possibly
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hey over--- I find that with some situations and some flashes, that I need to knock the power on the flash down a couple notches to keep it from being overbright. Particularly when using my SB800 in close-up situations... seems like my SB600 is a bit more people friendly without adjustment. I usually wind up knocking it down 1 to 1 and 1/3 EV and that seems to do the trick.

    I think your angled trick is hurting you a bit- notice the second picture how the top portion of his face is brighter than the lower portion? I think that's caused by your angle.

    Generally I find it's best to shoot up and away from the subject... ideally off a corner of ceiling/wall behind my head and to the right or left, for example. Not just up... but up and somewhere off to the side.

    Still... good try given your general fear of taking pictures of eeevil peeeeeeeeople! :)
     
  12. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Messages:
    678
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Waxhaw, NC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I like the first shot. It looks almost like natural light. The second is a bit contrasty and the third is very contrasty, almost the typical on-camera flash shot.

    I made some of the cheap bounce cards from this site ABetterBounceCard.com and shoot with the flash pointed straight up as shown on the videos there. It really softens the light and works better than my $40 Lightsphere.
     

Share This Page