External Flash or No Flash?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Jade16, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    On a lifestyle newborn shoot, indoors, in the master bedroom...would you recommend natural light and bumping up the ISO? or would it be better to use an external flash? Help Please! I have a 5d mark iii and 50mm 1.4 and a 24-70 2.8.


     
  2. DB_Cro

    DB_Cro No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How about both? I'd expose for available light, which you can obviously do with your gear, and just fill in with very little flash.
     
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  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This. Ambient light can be wonderful, but rarely is it as good as it can be unless a little strobed light is added.
     
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  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For me, I would not go with any presumptions about the quality of the light.

    I mean; what if it's a cloudy day? Or what if the colors of the curtains are really bad?

    I think I would rather be flexible about the light, at least until I've had a chance to properly evaluate it.
     
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  5. DB_Cro

    DB_Cro No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah, that too, even if my intention was to shoot with natural light only if possible, I'd still bring a flash.
    Or 3. ;)
     
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  6. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    would you point the external flash directly at subjects or is it better to bounce it off of the ceiling?
     
  7. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For portraiture, I would always modify the flash if it is aimed at someone. I think soft light is best, particularly for babies.
     
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  8. DB_Cro

    DB_Cro No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I can't think of a single situation where I'd want to point straight ahead other then pitch dark, paparazzi style journalistic work with fracion of a second chance to capture anything.
     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have lighted portraits and people photos using a flash bounced off of a door, a wall, a ceiling, or the wall/ceiling junction, and even off of the actual corner of a room. Using a bounced flash in the ways I just described can, if done properly, produce lovely,lovely light. Sometimes, in a fairly small shooting area, you can bounce a flash set to a tele or zoom position, and create simply wonderful lighting effects that look very nice. I once shot a whole set in a very small sauna-type small alcove, where a corner bounce created the same effect as flying a 6x12 foot silk above the set. The light was gorgeous!! I had the flash right on the camera in the shoe, and started testing it out and trying different "aims" for the flash head, and after about the sixth different test shot I shot and looked at the LCD and was like--OMG--this is IT! Great light! My on-camera Canon 580 EX-II was aimed backwards, and tilted upward to 11 o'clock, and was hitting the wall at a slight angle, then bouncing off of the wall and then striking a white ceiling that had a 3-foot dropped mini-wall that kept all the light bouncing around in a 6x12 foot, white-ceilinged area. I had the flash zoomed to maximum telephoto, but was shooting mostly with a 24,35, and 50mm focal length range, some at 85mm.

    One of the things that helps a lot is to zoom the flash to a fairly smallish beam spread, which concentrates the light on "the throw". But as with so many things, there is no one, single method or answer. In some realllllllly tight confines, it's better to make the flash's beam spread pretty wide, like the 28mm setting, so the flash that bounces off is more-dispersed,and more even, and has less fall-off over the actual frame area of the photos. This is in TIGHT places, like say the salon aboard a motor yacht, where if you do not diffuse the bounce flash the top of a horizontal frame will be five stops brighter than the bottom of the frame! (This salon is about the size of a typical apartment living room.)

    Bounced flash can create nice side-lighting when shot onto a wall or off of a door. SHot directly straight upward, there's often the danger of raccoon eyes>dark eye sockets; this is why I mentioned the wall/ceiling junction, and the corner of a room. If the subject is very close to the bounce surface, there is a lot of rapid light fall-off; if the subject is farther away from the bounce surface, the light has LESS rapid of a fall-off in light intensity/exposure.

    You can try different flash "aims" in a specific room, and test it out and see how this works. Do not be afraid to elevate your ISO to 400,500,640 or so if the room is large; besides, this speeds up the process of shooting, by requiring less flash output to get a desired f/stop, like say f/6.3 or f/7.1.
     
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  10. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Of course it will depend on the ceiling. If the ceiling is the standard 8 feet above the floor, fairly reflective, and painted a neutral white, then that should be fine, but I cannot say that the ceiling is the most ideal because I have not seen the room. (See Derrel's response, above)

    If the room has white walls and ceiling, then bouncing the light might be ideal. If the ceiling is way too high, not very reflective, or painted purple, then I would use a softbox (or two) and point them at the subject.
     
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  11. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    I can't add much to what's already been said as far as lighting.

    I see you've spent some significant $$$'s on camera/lens gear.
    What lighting gear do you have? A speedlight or 2?

    How best to do photographic lighting is a major part of the art of doing portrait photography.

    Two or 3 good lighting workshops will cost you about the same as you've paid for your 5D III and your lenses.
    What you learn in the lighting workshops will pay bigger dividends than your gear by putting you in a league above your competitors.

    Your profile doesn't show a location. There might, or might not be, good lighting workshops wherever you are.
     
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  12. hopdaddy

    hopdaddy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Please DON'T flash a "Newborn " in the eyes ! Just a small amount of light (Flash )will go a long ways .
     

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