how can i avoid the shadow?


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Jan 18, 2009
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Dry Creek, LA
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can someone tell me how i can avoid the shadows in these portraits? what settings will i need to use? i have two continuous lights with white umbrellas and a 430 ex flash



You asked about the shadow not the flash. The flash is overpowered. Turn the power down or bounce it off of a wall or ceiling.
If you want to light images like these, you need off-camera lights without having a light on-axis with the camera. The flash is much more powerful than any other light, and it is not only lighting your background but it is casting that heavy shadow as well.
I don't know if you actually wanted a critique or not, but incase you didn't notice, the kids' feet/knees are being "cut off" by the backdrop in all but the last. It's just something I noticed. :)
You asked about the shadow not the flash. The flash is overpowered. Turn the power down or bounce it off of a wall or ceiling.

if i bounce it off the ceiling or a wall its way to bright. if i turn the power done its orange and it don't matter where the flash is pointed. if i take off the flash and switch to manual mode i get blurry, dark, grainy. the highest ISO i used was 400....i was tryin not to get to much grain
Turn the head of the 430EX up and then attach a bounce card...most of the flash will fire in the direction the Speedlite head is aimed but some of the flash will fire in the direction of your subject because of the bounce card.

A Better Bounce Card

This web site has good information on how to use the on-camera external flash properly: Flash Photography Techniques

For off-camera Speedlite use, check out Strobist: Lighting 101 and Strobist: Lighting 102.

And for help with studio type lighting, check out
depends where you have your flash placed but you could put a reflection card/board to the right to kill the shadows? that might work
Lose the continuous lights. If you want a completely black back drop, move the person farther away from the background. Then move the flash farther from the person.

If you use the flash off camera with an umbrella, you'll get good results. You're going to need a way to trigger the flash while it's off camera and you should be able to shoot at ISO 100 1/250 shutter speed and about f/9 for good results.

The farther the flash is from the subject, the more you'll have to turn this up, but that's good because you have more light fall off as the light comes back. This let's you control how much (if any) falls onto the backdrop.

Same basic theory as in the below link can be applied:
Zack Arias - Atlanta based editorial music photographer » White Seamless Tutorial :: Part 1 :: Gear & Space
Sounds like whenyou turn the flash down and you are getting the orange you are on the right track if you are not getting the shadow. You will have to adjust the white balance to counter the "warmin" orange colour you are getting.

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