Doubt on DOF, mounted flash, indoors photography

aprilskies

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Ok, I posted this on Flickr but I think people are more active in this forum :blushing:


I'm still learning how to use my mounted flash (SB-600), and I own a Nikkor 35mm 1.8 and a Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4.

I've been trying to achieve a result similar to this?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/absurdaparty/8708470926/

@bsurda YOLO w/ Bonde do Role e Banda Uo @ Mercado das Borboletas 27.04.13 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

@bsurda YOLO w/ Bonde do Role e Banda Uo @ Mercado das Borboletas 27.04.13 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I love this person's work, unfortunately there is no exif data on any of these pictures. I can never, ever, get shallow enough DOP indoors using my flash.

The closest I got was on this night on this really tight space boucing the flash on the low ceiling.

It's more visible on these photos because they're pictures of a table and I got really close, to the subject, making it easier to put them in evidence.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/xmarcelaxx/8589249155/

Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

But when it comes to people's portraits I cant never achieve the result I aimed for

http://www.flickr.com/photos/xmarcelaxx/8589240867/

Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 

Destin

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Look into aiming the flash up at a 45 degree angle with a bounce care attached to it. Or a commercial product like the lumiquest 80-20. Also, much of what you see in the second example that you posted is done in post, and not a product of his lighting techniques.

Personally I'm no too fond of that photographers work, many blown out photos and very inconsistent. But to each his own, everybody has their own preferences. That's why it's art and not science.
 
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aprilskies

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You mean, maybe he adds fill light in post processing?

I just find it very intriguing that he manages to photograph at night using flash wihtout making the subject super bright and the back super dark, and still manages to make the people in the pictures pop up, distancing them from the back, you know?

I think it can be really useful in some events. But what bugs me the most is not knowing how to do it :raisedbrow:
 

Josh66

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What mode are you using the flash in, and are you using a flash meter? If not, how are you metering?
 
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aprilskies

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I'm not using a flash meter, I normally use it on manual and just test it until I think it's balanced, according to my camera settings. Just recently a couple of people told me to use TTL and I have been getting better results... Why?
 

bratkinson

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With the DOF evident in the pictures, I'm going to say the photographer is using a 'fast' lens such as f2.8 or even f1.4 at or near wide open with a fill flash to brighten up the subjects' face. That wide open with a flash then requires a slower ISO (200-400ish?) and or a fast shutter speed (1/250 or faster) to prevent getting an over exposed photograph. Although the images appear to have been taken 'close up', the photographer may have been using a short telephoto such as an 85mm f1.8 to get a wide-enough DOF to get the subjects' head fully in focus.
 

weepete

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Looks to me like a combination of things to get this effect. I think the shallow dofeffect you are looking for not only comes from a wide aperture but he has a fair amount of space between the subject and the background which increases the amout of blur you get, in your portrait photo above you dont have the same distance between the focal plane and foreground and background. The way to avoid getting a really dark background is to expose for the ambient light and use the flash to freeze any motion.
 

Josh66

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Just recently a couple of people told me to use TTL and I have been getting better results... Why?

TTL will 'usually' tend to go with a higher power rather than a lower one. For what it sounds like you want to do, you probably want to use the lowest power you can, and the lowest ISO you can. If that is still too much power, I'd say the only thing you can do is get farther away (actually, moving back would not help add far as getting less DOF...), or get a different flash that can be set to a lower power. (I guess you could also put an ND filter on the flash, but it really doesn't seem like that should be necessary...)
 
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Josh66

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I love this person's work, unfortunately there is no exif data on any of these pictures.

The exif wouldn't tell you anything about the flash anyway, except for whether it fired or not, which it obviously did.
 

Infidel

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You mean, maybe he adds fill light in post processing?

I just find it very intriguing that he manages to photograph at night using flash wihtout making the subject super bright and the back super dark, and still manages to make the people in the pictures pop up, distancing them from the back, you know?

I think it can be really useful in some events. But what bugs me the most is not knowing how to do it :raisedbrow:

Adjusting shutter speed will have the effect of changing ambient (background) exposure without altering flash exposure. Maybe you need a combination of larger aperture for background blur, relatively slow shutter for ambient exposure and low flash power (w/ diffuser) to achieve the correct subject exposure. For me, ISO is a bit of a wild card here...hopefully someone more knowledgeable can chime in. If you want a blurred background, any effect of motion blur from slow shutter may not be a problem, as the flash should freeze motion on your sharply focused subject anyway.

This may not be the right combination, but is where I would start.
 

cynicaster

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Here’s what I’d do:


  • Set dial to ‘M’
  • Set wide aperture
  • Assuming handheld, set shutter speed at ~1/(focal length). I think a lot of people automatically go to max sync speed when using flash, and I don’t understand why.
  • Set base ISO (this may cause background to be too dark)

Take test shot, check background exposure. If too dark, adjust by increasing ISO.

Bring in subject, start with a low-ish power flash, chimp, adjust as needed.

The big variable here is how to deliver the flash—I’d probably prefer to bounce it off something or diffuse it in some way, but with the gear I have I’d probably just hand-hold one of my speedlights off camera.

Also, as somebody mentioned, don’t discount the contribution of post processing to the final product.
 

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