Fill Flash Method?

Lambo77

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Shooting prom pics outdoors. And from what i can gather from all the reading i have been doing, is that i need to expose for the background, open the the lens up to get some background blur, and I should use fill flash. How exactly do you do fill flash. I have a diffuser that i bought for my 580ex flash. Do i leave the flash on full and shoot, do i need to adjust it down? aim the flash up, or straight on(with the diffuser) or is it touch and go, and just kinda shoot till they look right? I'm going to use one of 2 lens. Either my 70-200 4.0 or my 50 1.4. depending on availble light.
Thanx
 

KmH

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Shooting prom pics outdoors. And from what i can gather from all the reading i have been doing, is that i need to expose for the background, open the the lens up to get some background blur, and I should use fill flash. How exactly do you do fill flash. I have a diffuser that i bought for my 580ex flash. Do i leave the flash on full and shoot, do i need to adjust it down? aim the flash up, or straight on(with the diffuser) or is it touch and go, and just kinda shoot till they look right? I'm going to use one of 2 lens. Either my 70-200 4.0 or my 50 1.4. depending on availble light.
Thanx
Edit: my fault. Just saw your other thread.
 
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TheDev

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best way for using the flash would be to get the exposure down for the whole image. Then you want to under-expose it about one stop (this is where you can open up the aperture). You do this so that the subject standout even more from the background. After that it is just a matter of adjusting your flash until the exposure looks good.

If it is a possibility use the flash off camera. If your shooting a flash directly from where you take the picture it will make the facial features look flat. This can be as simple as just holding the flash in your hand out a distance from the camera.

In order for the flash to be use as an effective fill take note of where the sun is. Wherever the sun is causing shadows use the flash to brightening them up.

Hope this helps!
 

Mike_E

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Pointing the flash up will do you no good at all outdoors. Unless there are some really low clouds. ;)

You are going to want a lot more than fill for prom formals. You are going to need to show the texture and any stitching of the dresses as well.

This can only be done with side lighting so you are going to need a trigger and a light stand. The easiest way to do this is to get them under some shade so you don't have to nuc them with the flash. Meter them as per normal. Set your camera to manual and adjust your settings for your desired shot- say f/5.6 to get them in good focus and still have some bokeh. Then set your speed for about 1/3 stop underexposure or whatever you like. (the speed only effects the background)

You will then use a guide table to set your flash's power and distance for said aperture setting minus a third to a half stop and have it set at about 30 to 45 degrees for shadow detail. You don't need to worry about diffusing as you'll be outdoors and won't have to worry about casting a shadow.

If you want you can gell the flash for warmth or to color correct for the shade but your WB settings should be enough for color corrections. (shoot RAW just to be safe)

With manual camera settings and the flash set manually (and keeping it the same distance from your subjects) you can shoot all day and not have to change anything until evening.

Something like this http://photocamel.com/forum/weddings/10370-more-fun-metz-flash.html
 
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JerryPH

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Pointing the flash up will do you no good at all outdoors. Unless there are some really low clouds. ;)

Thats not true, it most certainly does do something... it makes the camera blast off your flash at full power and *still* fail to properly expose the picture, and it has the added benefits of draining the battery down way faster *and* increasing recycle times to many seconds.

I hear those extra seconds needed for the recharge time gives the artist time to ponder the next shot... very important for envisioning the masterpiece you are trying to capture. :p :lol:

Set your camera to manual and adjust your settings for your desired shot- say f/5.6 to get them in good focus and still have some bokeh. Then set your speed for about 1/3 stop underexposure or whatever you like. (the speed only effects the background)
... if the flash strength is set properly, you don't need to play with the exposure comp, but it is a great way to make small changes/adjustments without needing to go back to the lights and turn them up or down.

Shutter speed only affects background ambient, exactly as you say. Higher shutter speed (up to the maximum sync speed) darkens the background. Shorter shutter speeds lighten the background (burn in the ambient).

You will then use a guide table to set your flash's power and distance for said aperture...
Too complex... lol. Look at the histogram to make sure you are not blowing out the highlights on all 4 channels (red, green, blue and lumenance), and you are good to go.

With manual camera settings and the flash set manually (and keeping it the same distance from your subjects) you can shoot all day and not have to change anything until evening.

Except the shutter speed will slowly decrease as light drops. You will decrease shutter speed to retain details in the sky and background, but the subject will always be identically lit.
 

johnbergsing

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Prom formals, huh? I'm new around here but, for what it's worth, here's my $.02. Funds permitting, I'd get a Alien Bee B800 or something similar and a beauty dish (positioned just above camera) and use the 580 for a hair light. I'd expose for the subject while underexposing the background.
 

B Kennedy

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All this advice is great, especially because I too am shooting a pre-prom tomorrow. Although it is calling for rain and I will be cramped inside a house with like 50-75 people. So im not sure if i will have the liberty of setting up an off camera flash/and im not sure of the layout of the house either, so I'm mentally preparing for some compressed compositions as well as my assistant working her butt off to get everyone as tight as possible to fit in the frame. I know it'd be great to set up 2 off camera flashes one as main and other as fill, but I'm not sure if 1 im going to have the time to set up, and 2 have the space. Any advice on indoor prom?
 

Mike_E

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Prom formals, huh? I'm new around here but, for what it's worth, here's my $.02. Funds permitting, I'd get a Alien Bee B800 or something similar and a beauty dish (positioned just above camera) and use the 580 for a hair light. I'd expose for the subject while underexposing the background.

That would work pretty well but you still need the detail in the clothing and it would play merry hell with anyone with glasses.

Oh, an playing with the shutter speed/exposure comp is only to contrast the couple. If they are wearing dark cloths then brightening the background a touch will help to separate them and vice-versa.

And speaking of separation, you will need to position them so that their heads appear fairly close together or they will appear to be "cool" towards each other. If you have the guy in the back have her a little in front and closer to the line between the lens and his face. This will help to light them evenly (with out shadows on one another) as well.


Oh, and Jerry, it doesn't get any easier than a guide table with power settings and distance. You don't have to memorize them just keep one in your case. Just find the f number you want and then look over at the setting and distance from your subject. Set the flash, step off the distance from where you want to shoot and put the light stand there and you are ready to go with no further bother.
 

johnbergsing

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That would work pretty well but you still need the detail in the clothing and it would play merry hell with anyone with glasses.

Oh, an playing with the shutter speed/exposure comp is only to contrast the couple. If they are wearing dark cloths then brightening the background a touch will help to separate them and vice-versa.

And speaking of separation, you will need to position them so that their heads appear fairly close together or they will appear to be "cool" towards each other. If you have the guy in the back have her a little in front and closer to the line between the lens and his face. This will help to light them evenly (with out shadows on one another) as well.


Oh, and Jerry, it doesn't get any easier than a guide table with power settings and distance. You don't have to memorize them just keep one in your case. Just find the f number you want and then look over at the setting and distance from your subject. Set the flash, step off the distance from where you want to shoot and put the light stand there and you are ready to go with no further bother.
I agree wholeheartedly agree on all points! For those with glasses, I'd ask them to remove them and/or swing the light a little to the side.
 

johnbergsing

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Also, to shoot couples with that 70-200 (I have the f/2.8L IS USM and have unsuccessfully tried to use it in similar situations), you're gonna need some room. Although the compression would be great!
 

bdavis

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Thats not true, it most certainly does do something... it makes the camera blast off your flash at full power and *still* fail to properly expose the picture, and it has the added benefits of draining the battery down way faster *and* increasing recycle times to many seconds.

I hear those extra seconds needed for the recharge time gives the artist time to ponder the next shot... very important for envisioning the masterpiece you are trying to capture. :p :lol:

Too Funny!!!! But you forget, if you area photographic genius like Ken Rockwell, you radiate brilliance...which you can then use as your fill flash ;)
 
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Lambo77

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I guess I should have explained more when i said to put the flash up, I have a Gary Fong Diffuser that attaches to the top of my flash, and when its pointed up, it acts as a catch light.
 

GeneralBenson

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best way for using the flash would be to get the exposure down for the whole image. Then you want to under-expose it about one stop (this is where you can open up the aperture). You do this so that the subject standout even more from the background. After that it is just a matter of adjusting your flash until the exposure looks good.

That's not fill flash, that's key lighting. That's a good theory if you flash is off camera, and you want it to be you Key light. For fill flash, you would the flash 1-3 stops under the ambient light, not the ambient light underneath the flash exposure.
 

usayit

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The OP has a 580EX. I think the first step would be to learn how to leverage Canon's ETTL which does an good job in most situations for basic fill automatically. Supposedly it does better than my aging 550EX. You spent the $$$ for the extra featues/intellegence, you might as well try it out.

Flash Photography with Canon EOS Cameras - Part II.

I know.. I know... we are a board full of the "do it manually.. shoot it manually" attitude. Yes.. it is also more fun and beneficial to have the control. I just figure someone should mention it. If not then you might as well saved the bucks and purchased a basic X-sync hot shoe flash (with in trigger spec) with manual adjustability for less than 1/4 the price.


In general, there are two exposures involved. Background which is set via aperture and shutter and Foreground which is set via aperture and your flash output. There are various ways to determine both exposures. You can even go as far as determine both seperately with a flash meter (more useful when you have multiple sets of light sources). In most cases with a single hotshoe flash, the process described by Mike_E will work just fine.
 

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