Ok forgive my ignorant ramblings


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Mar 16, 2010
Reaction score
Southern Alberta
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
First off let me apologize for the stupid ???'s about to exit my mouth. :lol:

Off camera lighting. I have a SB-600 and my D90. I have been trying to work on Strobists assignments but am frustrated with the manual and explanations in Nikons manuals. They really suck monkey balls. Is it better to use straight TTL and use the flash compensation or go fully manual. I am trying to overpower the ambient light in my basement. Which is a couple of those fluorescent lights. Does anyone have any link to sites or can you recommend good literature that might explain this. I have a course in flash coming up in October but wanted to get a head start on my own. :blushing:

Appreciate any info. I have found on Amazon these books but not sure which to try first. If you have read these and found them wanting please speak up.

Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting: Amazon.ca: Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua, Fil Hunter: Books

The Nikon Creative Lighting System: Using the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and R1C1 Flashes: Amazon.ca: Mike Hagen: Books

Nikon Creative Lighting System Digital Field Guide: Amazon.ca: J. Dennis Thomas: Books

Speedlights & Speedlites: Creative Flash Photography at the Speed of Light: Amazon.ca: Lou Jones, Bob Keenan, Stephen Ostrowski: Books
Only thing i can sugest you is to shooty in raw then it going to be easier to correct the white blalance in the pictures for the desired effect,
it starts to become a little bit tricky when you start mixing type of light source.
I always shoot in raw. But you are always going to be mixing light sources when you use flash aren't you. Flash is supposed to compliment your ambient to whatever effect your going for. Isn't that the beauty of off camera lighting?
Mixing light sources isn't a problem. If their color temperatures are different then it can result in some weird stuff. That's one thing flash gels are for. so that you can adjust the color temp of the flash if you want it to match the ambient. As for the metering, i've never used TTL flash so I'm probably not the best person to answer. but when shooting in manual and using a fill flash for the subject I just meter to the background, sky, whatever, then adjust the flash power to properly expose the subject.
I have the first two books you listed; Light: Science and Magic and Mike Hagen's CLS book.

You are actually way smarter than the camera, so skip the TTL and just use manual modes.

Remember, when using strobed light lens aperture controls subject exposure and shutter speed controls ambient light exposure and ignore the in camera meter because it cannot meter both and is useless.

That's why studio shooters use a handheld meter, but they take at least 2 readings: one for the ambient light and another for the flash.
Last edited:
Also use Custom White Balance. I did so a few days ago for taking these shots and am very happy with how the skin tones turned out; they were shot in a mixture of ambient, flash and cheap monolight lighting.
I think most likely the flash will be overpowering the fluorescent lights, since the flash exposure in a basement will probably be something like ISO 200 at f/8 at 1/200 second, while the exposure for the fluorescent lights would be at LEAST five EV values below that...regardless....just go Manual...
With enough power, the planets aligned properly, sticking your tounge out at the right angle, you can overpower the sun to eliminate the background, much less any piddlely fluorescent bulb. However, if you have fluorescent lighting and want to color correct because you want the background part of the scene, you'll need to gel your flash. (Is it a CTO or an FL.... I forget right now) Getting your shutter speed at x-synch will be your friend in this situation.

Off camera, I am 99% manual with my flashes. Hotshoe mounted ..... about 50/50.

Another good book, Joe McNally - Hotshoe Diaries.
Thank you guys so much for your replies. I guess its more trial and error. I have the hot shoe diaries right now and it does show great lighting but not so much of the intructions as how to get there. Joe McNally is actually having a two day seminar in November I am attending but first is the flash TTL/manual course in October. I want to at least have basic fundamentals down and find the manuals really limited on explaining going from point A to achieve point B.

I actually want to eliminate the background from the scene totally. Now I could of course turn the lights all off and have just the strobe as my only source of light. But I thought there was a way I could make just my subject pop and have the background way darker with just my strobe.

Derrell you were actually spot on for my settings LOL.

Keith- which of those books would you recommend for the ignorant beginner.

Yes my meter is useless I find since it of course shows the image being totally underxposed yet with flash comes out fine.
That's why studio shooters use a handheld meter, but they take at least 2 readings: one for the ambient light and another for the flash.

I have a question and this isn't meant to be smart or anything because I really don't know the answer. Do studio shooters still use handheld light meters? I can see the point when you're using film but with digital isn't it better to just take the pic look at it and look at the histogram and check the exposure? I saw one used recently on The Real World on MTV the photog was using a light meter to get a group shot but I didn't understand why not just take a sample shot to get lighting?

I actually want to eliminate the background from the scene totally.

To eliminate the background totally, (in manual mode of course) pump your flash as high as it will go, set shutter speed to max with flash (1/200 or 1/250) and start cranking the f stop down (larger number), and ISO down till your subject is properly exposed. Make sure there is nothing behind them for the flash to bounce off of and you should be good. You may not need full 1/1 power on the flash but I think you see where I'm going with this.

Most reactions

New Topics