Go to a  "printer friendly" view of this message which allow an easy print Printer-friendly copy Go to the page which allows you to send this topic link and a message to a friend Email this topic to a friend
Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #26471
View in linear mode

Subject: "I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?" Previous topic | Next topic
d80newyorker Registered since 02nd Oct 2007Tue 23-Oct-07 02:09 PM
22 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
"I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"


New York City, US
          

I own a D80 and take mostly portraits but people are starting to inquire about hiring me so I think I may come across a situation where I might need a flash. but I realllllly hate the harsh light of a flash. i think it makes a photo look horrible but maybe it is just because I am not experienced with using flash properly.

heres what I want to know. Do I really need a flash? what could I do to use a flash that would actually make a decent photo. any comments or suggestions?

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
sillyconguru
23rd Oct 2007
1
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
d80newyorker
23rd Oct 2007
2
     Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
Covey22 Moderator
23rd Oct 2007
3
     Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
sillyconguru
23rd Oct 2007
4
          Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
JoelT
05th Nov 2007
26
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
pforsell Silver Member
23rd Oct 2007
5
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
BR Silver Member
23rd Oct 2007
6
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
Brian Harris
23rd Oct 2007
7
     Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
Drbee Silver Member
23rd Oct 2007
8
          Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
Chan Tran
23rd Oct 2007
9
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
jrp Administrator
23rd Oct 2007
10
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
edmun
24th Oct 2007
11
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
HBB Moderator
24th Oct 2007
12
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
d80newyorker
24th Oct 2007
13
     Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
Drbee Silver Member
24th Oct 2007
15
     Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
PhoThomas Silver Member
26th Oct 2007
18
     Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
BR Silver Member
26th Oct 2007
19
          Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
Arkayem Moderator
26th Oct 2007
20
               Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
PhoThomas Silver Member
28th Oct 2007
21
     Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
sixgun
31st Oct 2007
23
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
Arkayem Moderator
24th Oct 2007
14
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
bens0472
24th Oct 2007
16
Reply message RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?
HBB Moderator
24th Oct 2007
17
Reply message Making flash not look like flash
caprae
30th Oct 2007
22
Reply message RE: Making flash not look like flash
PhoThomas Silver Member
02nd Nov 2007
24
     Reply message RE: Making flash not look like flash
Arkayem Moderator
02nd Nov 2007
25

sillyconguru Registered since 31st Oct 2005Tue 23-Oct-07 02:44 PM
1915 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#1. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 0


GB
          

>I realllllly hate the harsh light of a flash. i think it
>makes a photo look horrible but maybe it is just because I
>am not experienced with using flash properly.

Probably. Light modifiers, e.g. diffusers (or simply bouncing the light off a ceiling), will make the flash light less harsh.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
d80newyorker Registered since 02nd Oct 2007Tue 23-Oct-07 03:12 PM
22 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#2. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 1


New York City, US
          

well my experience is with the flash on the d80 and other cameras. not an sb-600 or anything like what most people reccomend on here. is that the case with all of these stock flashes? are there light modifiers for the stock flash

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberTue 23-Oct-07 03:21 PM
10576 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#3. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

, who's known for his popular diffuser domes for Speedlights.

The thing you need to understand is that the harsh nature of flash is most evident in pop-up units. Even with diffusers like Gary's Puffer, the effect is still heavily "direct." At the minimum, you really need a dedicated flashgun like an SB-400, 600 or 800. In order to appreciate subtle lighting, visit the Strobist website and see how people are really creative about artificial lighting.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!

The Covey Blog!

My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

See My Nikonians Gallery

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
sillyconguru Registered since 31st Oct 2005Tue 23-Oct-07 03:25 PM
1915 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#4. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 2


GB
          

Lumiquest make a diffuser for DSLR built-in flash but you could make your own...
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/5/10362363_381be2cd20.jpg

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

            
JoelT Basic MemberMon 05-Nov-07 07:23 PM
281 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#26. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

OMG, that is ghetto.

>Lumiquest make a diffuser for DSLR built-in flash but you
>could make your own...
>http://farm1.static.flickr.com/5/10362363_381be2cd20.jpg

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

pforsell Silver Member Charter MemberTue 23-Oct-07 03:26 PM
690 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#5. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 0


Pori, FI
          

Flash is just another light source. There is nothing inherently "harsh" about flash. What usually makes flash look harsh is incorrect usage, usually a lazy photographer flashing straight ahead. Diffusing and reflecting are the keys to correct flash usage.

When flash is used correctly, it should be impossible to see in the image that flash was used. This takes a lot of practise and skill, but is well worth it.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

BR Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Nov 2006Tue 23-Oct-07 03:52 PM
538 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#6. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 0


Glen Mills, US
          

If you set your camera's white balance to flash and bounce an attached flash off a ceiling or wall, you will get some nice pictures. Next step up, which may not be necessary, is to use umbrellas, soft boxes etc.

Barry


  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
Brian Harris Registered since 30th Jan 2006Tue 23-Oct-07 06:51 PM
246 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#7. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 6


Akron, US
          

Does the flash "know" it's being bounced? It seems the power would have to be increased a bit if it were so the flash would have to say, "Hmm, I'm angled 45 degrees, probably not pointing at the subject, I better add some more juice to this one."

A dumb question, but that's always confused me about flash.

And, with respect to the original power, I too loath flash because I understand it and have harsh harsh results.

- - - - - - -
Brian Harris

__________________
Cheers!
Brian


The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. -A.E

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
Drbee Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Aug 2004Tue 23-Oct-07 07:41 PM
5719 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#8. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 7


Naperville, US
          

Brian,

If you are using TTL (or iTTL) through the lens strobe metering, the metering system in the camera calls for enough strobe output to equal the exposure requirement (either those selected by the camera, or by the photographer). It's possible, due to high ceilings, over-use of a diffuser, etc., that the strobe can't produce the exposure the exposure system is call for. In that case you get a blinking light in the view finder that warns of a possible underexposure.

Or you can set it up manually and do the calculations for each strobe, test shots and adjustments. The Nikon iTTL system really works quite well, including matrix balanced daylight fill flash.

Strobe doesn't have to be harsh. For strobe assisted images that are relatively close, if you have harsh shadows and don't want them, then it is probably due to the lack of or improper use of a strobe modifier, bounce, bracket or diffusion dome.

Best Regards,

Roger
It is still ISO, aperture and shutter speed, right?

Roger
It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

            
Chan Tran Registered since 04th Dec 2003Tue 23-Oct-07 10:45 PM
2598 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#9. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 8


Aurora, US
          

If you're specialized in portrait then get a studio strobe set and a flashmeter.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter MemberTue 23-Oct-07 11:27 PM
34315 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#10. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 0


San Pedro Garza García, MX
          

, where we have included an article on flash usage.

Have a great time
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Nikonian at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story, The Team
Join the Silver, Gold and Platinum members that help this happen; upgrade. Join your personal web site to the Nikonians WebRing
Make sure you check our workshops at The Nikonians Academy and the product catalog of the Photo Pro Shop

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
edmun Registered since 16th Sep 2003Wed 24-Oct-07 01:41 AM
8618 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#11. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 10


eugene, US
          

If you just want to look like a GWC then no you do not.

(Guy with camera - ie does not know what he is doing)

ledmun

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberWed 24-Oct-07 10:06 AM
8442 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#12. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 0


Phoenix, US
          

Hector:

Your profile is blank, which does not tell us anything about your shooting style and needs.

As others have suggested, speelight illumination can be very harsh. This is primarily because it is a point light source which produces harsh, contrasty shadows, particularly when the background is close to the subject. It is also not very flattering on faces, depending on angle and power used.

Diffusers can help by softening things a bit, but you are still basically working with a point light source. Shooting one or more reasonable speedlights (e.g., SB800) into 24 or 36 inch reflective umbrellas produces a nice, soft, diffuse, non-point illumination that opens up whole new worlds where the ugly, sharp shadows magically disappear.

Do you really need a flash? Only you can answer that. If you are comfortable in ambient only illumination, the answer is clearly no. If you want to extend your creativity with a bit of fill flash at times, the answer may be yes. Sometimes, supplemental illumination (speedlight) is necessary to bring dark shadow detail in a scene up to the dynamic range of the camera and avoid blowing out the highlights while trying to expose for shadow detail. Here again, speedlights can help.

Tell us a bit more about your style and we can continue.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
d80newyorker Registered since 02nd Oct 2007Wed 24-Oct-07 01:10 PM
22 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#13. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 12


New York City, US
          

I appreciate all of your input and am learning so much from this site.

HBB, I will try to fill in my profile as much as possible, but I have only recently been seriously getting into photography so I wouldnt say that I was able to pinpoint a shooting style or even knew what type of photography I enjoyed the most. In the past year or so, I have seen myself gravitate towards portraits, not really enjoying a great landscape or scenery shot as much as some portraits I have taken.


I havent used flash because of the harsh effect i would get from the pop up flash, and have become accustomed to low light situations and i think i get some decent shots. Maybe some may say the pictures come out way too warm or soft, I enjoyed the effect. but since people have been asking me to take their pictures for portfolios etc, i figured I needed to learn to use flash in a way that would help. so I will definitely be interested in trying out the techniques all of you have suggested. One thing I am worried about being that I have not taken any kind of photography classes and am basically teaching myself by experience is that the speedlights look like they are pretty complicated.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
Drbee Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Aug 2004Wed 24-Oct-07 02:48 PM
5719 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#15. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 13


Naperville, US
          

While I love the characteristics of north window light and other diffuse light sources especially on traditional B&W film, I challenge you to consider that famous addage "available light, is any light available" that includes strobe. However, to settle for the light as it comes "out of the box" is denying the artist and photographer rolls. Make the light do what you want. If there's not enough, find enough, add it up with a long shutter speed or add some. If it's too harsh, understand diffusers - If the shadows rim the subject, learn to relocate the light - add more.

I dont' know if you "really need it" but to stick to the attitude of "flash is harsh" is to deny the real power of strobe lighting. Studio artists have been using unperceptible strobes for decades.

I'll challenge you in this order to improve your strobe techniques.
1) Nikon compatible CLS off-camera strobe, the SB-800 is tops for it's versatility
2) Learn to bounce the strobe off a white ceiling. If ceilings are off-white - learn to white balance the resultant image.
3) drag the shutter and add just enough fill
4) the SB-800 comes with a diffuser dome, it's a very powerful tool but with limited range - learn to use it's range to your benefit
4a) learn to use the commander / remote strobe CLS capabilites on your D80 - strobe positioning and lighting ratios begin to come into play. There are volumes written on this or you can just have fun experiemnting and deleting.
5) strobe bracket and cord to get your strobe off the camera and help manage the shadows (combine this with bounce and diffuser)
6) balanced fill flash techniques (daylight, dragging the shutter, adding a tripod for better control of the latter, etc)
7) soft boxes - umbrellas

These are not necessairly sequential exercises. The diffuser dome comes with the strobe and many people just use it out of the box but forget to learn it's limitations.

The SB-800, while a pretty potent strobe, has it's range limitations also.

Above all learn how to add a splash of light in combination with your "available light" work. Even an on-camera strobe, when held in the right orientation to carefully control the rim shadow, can add dramatic results to an available (north window) light photo. You may have to control the strobe output with compensation to gain the effect, but try it.

Best Regards,

Roger
It is still ISO, aperture and shutter speed, right?

Roger
It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
PhoThomas Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jan 2007Fri 26-Oct-07 08:37 AM
319 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#18. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 13


US
          

>One thing I am worried about being
>that I have not taken any kind of photography classes and am
>basically teaching myself by experience is that the
>speedlights look like they are pretty complicated.

Originally, I was a flash hater too. Because I came from a compact digicam. This have no comparision with a bounced speedlight at all. So I believe you have to try a SpeedLight, before you can judge if you really need it.

In the winter, I started using my first real flash, the SB-600. Read: I was a novice regarding flash.

Realising the Nikon manual make things look more complicated than they are, this flash is very easy to use. Of course, I didnt get professional results instantly, but very soon, I got way better results than with the built in flash on the D80. I'll bet you can do the same.

I got a SB-600. If I should buy again, I would consider the SB-800, because I later on added a Stofen OmniBouncer, which decreased the price difference between the 600 and 800.

Anyway, if you set SB-600/800 on TTL (=auto mode), then you'll get nice results. If you switch the camera to CW, and WB=flash, you'll get even better results.

Now, to get started, all you have to do now, is work like you use to, and then work with the bouncing angel.

A good starting point is to think about the angel the light enters the bouncing surface, equals the angel it leaves the surface - just like playing pool at the bar.

With a little practice, it's quite easy to figure out, how to make most of the shadows dissapear. And once bounced, you'll get much nicer and more natural-looking light.

Try it. If you have a good local dealer, it shold be possible to have the the option of rerurning the SpeedLight. However, I'm quite sure, you'll keep it

Best regards,
Thomas

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

            
BR Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Nov 2006Fri 26-Oct-07 01:55 PM
538 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#19. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 18


Glen Mills, US
          

> If you switch the camera to CW, and WB=flash, you'll get even better results.

What is CW?

Barry


  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

                
Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 26-Oct-07 02:10 PM
5986 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#20. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 19


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>> If you switch the camera to CW, and WB=flash, you'll get even better results.
>
>What is CW?

CW = Center Weighted.

But I get better results most of the time by using Matrix metering on the D200 camera. The camera metering affects mostly the background exposure while the flash metering system affects mostly the power of the flash.

I mostly use TTL-BL outdoors and TTL indoors.

Russ
http://russmacdonald.smugmug.com/

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

                    
PhoThomas Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jan 2007Sun 28-Oct-07 02:40 PM
319 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#21. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 20


US
          

>>> If you switch the camera to CW, and WB=flash, you'll get even better results.
>>
>>What is CW?
>
>CW = Center Weighted.
>
>But I get better results most of the time by using Matrix
>metering on the D200 camera. The camera metering affects
>mostly the background exposure while the flash metering
>system affects mostly the power of the flash.
>
>I mostly use TTL-BL outdoors and TTL indoors.
>
>Russ
>http://russmacdonald.smugmug.com/

Yeah... I forgot to point out that CW usually is good for portraits, which the original question aimed for...

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
sixgun Registered since 26th May 2004Wed 31-Oct-07 08:38 PM
480 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#23. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 13


Austin, US
          

but since people have been asking me to take their pictures for portfolios etc, i figured I needed to learn to use flash in a way that would help.

It all depends on what you want to use the flash for. If you’ve got perfect ambinent light no flash needed.
Understanding what you are using the flash for (or rather what the flash can do for you) is important.

The best use of the flash is to cast more light on the subject to separate them from the background.
This throws the emphasis on the subject and adds depth to the picture. It might be illuminating the subject when there is no light (ie wedding receptions), bringing the subject up to the level of the background (ie Flash Fill) or Adding depth and shadow where there is none (lighting ratio’s).

It is also used to provide light when their isn’t enough to get the proper exposure. But you have to decided based on your limits as to what you can light. With a good bounce you can light a whole room, or you can fire directly and get the just a chosen subject.

>. One thing I am worried about being that I have not taken any kind of photography classes and am basically teaching myself by experience is that the speedlights look like they are pretty complicated.<

Join the club. I use to think of them as little black boxes. The more sophisticated the better. Now I use my high $ SB-800 as manual slave flashes for the most part. The key was finding out how they worked, what controls they had and how each of those controls affected their performance.

There are a number of great resources on the net
www.strobist.com is perhaps the most comprehensive for using Off camera flashes. Dave the strobist holds as a basic premise that flashes in and of themselves don’t look bad, it’s the angle of the light (straight on) that people normally use them for (because having it on the camera is real easy) that gives them a bad name.

Planet Neil as mentioned earlier is a good tour about the situations that you might use your flash in and how to use them. He doesn’t seem real keen on direct deer in the headlights type flash if it can be avoided.

Moose Petersons site has an excellent tutorial on HOW a flash works, not necessarily instructions or what settings when. For me this was a big plus, after I understood how it worked it removed the fear and mystery. Once you understand and start working at it you can get some good results.

Here are some samples
http://sixgun.smugmug.com/gallery/2874340#169752371

The bike picture was 2x SB-800’s
The first picture of the family was 1 x SB-800 into an umbrella
The second picture was the SB-800 directly
The first picture of the boy and the lizard was one SB-800 (directly) in a living room (not a photo studio)
The next two were 2x SB-800’s (directly)

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberWed 24-Oct-07 01:34 PM
5986 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#14. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I own a D80 and take mostly portraits but people are
>starting to inquire about hiring me so I think I may come
>across a situation where I might need a flash. but I
>realllllly hate the harsh light of a flash. i think it
>makes a photo look horrible but maybe it is just because I
>am not experienced with using flash properly.
>
>heres what I want to know. Do I really need a flash? what
>could I do to use a flash that would actually make a decent
>photo. any comments or suggestions?

Any light source that comes from a single point will be harsh. One of the harshest is direct sunlight which is also a point source because the sun is so far away. However, when there is a layer of clouds, the sun's light is beautifully diffused into the softest possible light which is perfect for portraiture.

You can do the same thing with a flash. The larger the diffuser the better. I really good diffuser is the room itself, when you bounce the flash off walls and ceilings. The more bouncing you can achieve the softer the light.

Diffusers like the Gary Fong Light Sphere will provide some softening when very close to the subject (say under 5 feet), but beyond that they begin to look like a point source again unless you combine them with bouncing. That's how I use mine.

Large professional portrait diffusers that are placed very close to the subject also provide very soft light. But, move them a few feet away, and the light becomes much harsher as the diffuser starts to look like a point source.

So, again, the best way to soften the light from a flash is to bounce it off light colored walls and ceilings in conjunction with a diffuser.

If you are outdoors and need to use a flash, there is really no way to soften it much. The best thing to do in that case, during daylight, is turn the flash way down and use it for fill only, so it is not as noticeable. If it is nightime, the only thing you can do is use a large diffuser like an LS II, but you will still have pretty harsh lighting - no way around it.

Russ
http://russmacdonald.smugmug.com/

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

bens0472 Basic MemberWed 24-Oct-07 03:37 PM
819 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#16. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 0


Roswell, US
          

Hector,

As has already been said, portable strobes can be used to create some incredibly professional effects. In fact, I've seen plenty of photographs that would challenge you to determine whether the light sources are natural or artifical and, of those that are artificial, which are strobes. Used correctly, even the effect of a speedlight strobe can be made largely indistinguishable from natural light sources.

Make sure you visit www.strobist.com. You'll find months of good reading and exercises there on how to use off camera speedlights to amazing effect. You won't find a better resource for this information. Nearly 1,000,000 per month visit this guy's site for just that information and if you visit the associated Flickr discussion and photo group, you'll see some impressive examples of what can be achieved with those harsh speedlights. You'll even see examples of just how useful the harsh, point source light from a bare strobe can be used to great effect. It's not always a bad thing to have harsh shadows. In fact, you'll find that professional photographers many times manipulate the light coming from much more expensive studio strobes to achieve a harsh, direct look instead of softening or diffusing the light source.

At Strobist, you'll also likely find a link to purchase a book called "Light, Science and Magic". I recommend purchasing this book once you're comfortable with the basic concepts in Strobist's "Lighting 101" section. It's proven to be a very valuable reference resource for me. Despite having read it cover to cover three times, I still go back to it for ideas and informaiton.

Good luck,


Ben

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberWed 24-Oct-07 07:20 PM
8442 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#17. "RE: I Hate Flash !!!! Do I really need it?"
In response to Reply # 16


Phoenix, US
          

Ben et al:

In case you aren't aware, the "Light Science and Magic" book is in its third edition which was released earlier this year (2007). It is a fairly major revision, with new material and, for the first time, lots of color pictures.

Chapter 8, "An Arsenal of Lights" offers extensive material on portraiture, including several color examples.

A worthy addition to the library, even if you already own the second edition. Like Ben, this work has become my primary reference source for difficult situations and I refer to it regularly.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

caprae Registered since 20th Apr 2006Tue 30-Oct-07 10:06 PM
925 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#22. "Making flash not look like flash"
In response to Reply # 0


Athens, US
          

Wish I could say I had this mastered. Read this 13 page article to get a better idea of what is possible.

http://planetneil.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/

Tim
We think because we have words, not the other way around. Madeleine L'Engle

My Gallery

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
PhoThomas Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jan 2007Fri 02-Nov-07 09:46 AM
319 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#24. "RE: Making flash not look like flash"
In response to Reply # 22


US
          

>Wish I could say I had this mastered. Read this 13 page
>article to get a better idea of what is possible.
>
>http://planetneil.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/

Very nice article.

This one somewhat nailed me, oups:

"There’s a side-effect to using automatic metering that I’ve noticed among newcomers to photography - there is a tendency to blame the camera. It’s a subtle shift in mind-set, but it is there. Instead of assuming responsibility and learning about good technique, it becomes a quest for a camera that will do it all.

With manual metering you are in control. So if there is a problem, you are the one that needs to figure out why, and how to improve on it. You decide. Not the camera."

Did I hear someone mention "Matrix" ?

What I like in the article, is the good examples and the following explanations. I also like the explanation about how the metering system works, and it's limitations.

But particularly, I like the introduction to mix flash with natural light, while still looking natural.

So last night I turned to manual camera, and TTL flash, and played around indoor. Wow, what an improvement. And much easier, than I thought a few days ago.

Thanks for sharing, and inspiration.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 02-Nov-07 01:06 PM
5986 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#25. "RE: Making flash not look like flash"
In response to Reply # 24


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>So last night I turned to manual camera, and TTL flash, and
>played around indoor. Wow, what an improvement. And much
>easier, than I thought a few days ago.

This is how we all use our flashes in my studio for most indoor shots. It is easy to do when the ambient lighting is dim and the flash is the primary light source on your subject. Then, you adjust the manual settings on the camera to increase or decrease the background, and it doesn't affect the brightness of the subject.

You still have to adjust flash ev up and down based on the reflectivity and color of the subject, however. Increase flash (about +1 ev) when shooting something light in color (bride in her white dress), and decrease flash (about -1 ev) when shooting something dark (groom in his black suit).

However, if the ambient is bright, like outdoor daylight, it is usually easier to set the camera to S or P mode and the flash to TTL-BL, and use matrix metering. You can also use the camera on A mode, but you have to be very careful if it is really bright not to overexpose, because the shutter is limited to 1/250th. Using S or P mode lets the camera stop down the aperture as necessary to get the right exposure. P mode works great, but you never know quite as much about how your image will look as when you control either shutter or aperture.

Matrix is almost always the best metering mode to use when you are using the flash in TTL-BL outdoors. Indoors, matrix and center weighted metering usually work best with the flash in TTL.

Normally you should not use TTL-BL indoors unless the available light is very bright and the color of the available light matches the color of the flash. This might be the case when there are lots of windows letting in lots of daylight.

I rarely use spot metering when using flash.

Russ
http://russmacdonald.smugmug.com/

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #26471 Previous topic | Next topic


Take the Nikonians Tour and learn more about being a Nikonian Wiki /FAQ /Help Listen to our MP3 photography radio channels Find anything on Nikon and imaging technology - fast!

Copyright © Nikonians 2000, 2014
All Rights Reserved

Nikonians®, NikoScope® and NikoniansAcademy™ are trademarks owned by Nikonians.org.
Nikon®, Nikonos® and Nikkor® are registered trademarks of Nikon Corporation.