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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #61326
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Subject: "Fill Flash In Strong Backlit Conditions" Previous topic | Next topic
richlewt Registered since 24th Oct 2012Mon 29-Apr-13 11:41 AM
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"Fill Flash In Strong Backlit Conditions"


GB
          

Hi
I was wondering if anyone would be able to offer some advice for the following scenario.
I am soon to take some wedding beach photos soon. I will be using D7000/SB700 and have a hand held meter capable of measuring flash.
I would like to maybe have a backlit shot on the beach with the sky properly exposed and natural looking fill flash on the bride. I guess (using sunny 16) I am going to be around 1/400th at f8 iso 100.
I can take a reading from North sky which will get that part right and obviously will underexpose the subject. I could set flash to auto and play with flash compensation but I want something a bit more controllable.
My meter can measure flash and give the % of ambient to flash, I would like the flash to be no more than about 30% against the ambient.
So is it a question of setting camera at 1/400th f8 (this will engage FP flash setting), setting light meter speed to 1/400th and adjust the flash distance so that the meter reads f8 30%?
Thanks

Cheers
Rich

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 29-Apr-13 01:24 PM
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#1. "RE: Fill Flash In Strong Backlit Conditions"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 30-Apr-13 07:07 PM by Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Hi
>I was wondering if anyone would be able to offer some advice
>for the following scenario.
>I am soon to take some wedding beach photos soon. I will be
>using D7000/SB700 and have a hand held meter capable of
>measuring flash.
>I would like to maybe have a backlit shot on the beach with
>the sky properly exposed and natural looking fill flash on the
>bride. I guess (using sunny 16) I am going to be around
>1/400th at f8 iso 100.
>I can take a reading from North sky which will get that part
>right and obviously will underexpose the subject. I could set
>flash to auto and play with flash compensation but I want
>something a bit more controllable.
>My meter can measure flash and give the % of ambient to flash,
>I would like the flash to be no more than about 30% against
>the ambient.
>So is it a question of setting camera at 1/400th f8 (this will
>engage FP flash setting), setting light meter speed to 1/400th
>and adjust the flash distance so that the meter reads f8 30%?
>
>Thanks

I never use a light meter. The one in the camera works great. Here are some thoughts:

Sunsets are tough to capture the way you described without a lot of setup. Unfortunately, in a wedding environment, you usually don't have time to set up things like that. So, you have to set up your camera based on how much time you have. Also, at sunset the light is changing quickly, and you have to keep changing your camera to get things exactly right.

If you are shooting formals with the sunset behind them, you have more time to set up, so use the camera in Manual mode, fixed ISO 400, Spot metering, f/4-5.6. Point at the sky to set the required shutter for a correct exposure for the sky. Don't get too close to the sun if it is still up. Flash in regular TTL mode, -1.7 FEC. Then adjust the flash FEC up or down to suit.

If you use FP sync, it will cut your maximum flash power to less than half what it is with regular sync. This is often not enough power for the fill required for early sunsets when the sun is still up.

If the subjects are moving around, you won't have time to set up each shot, and you will need 'run-n-gun'. I recommend camera P mode, matrix metering, fixed ISO 400, flash in TTL-BL mode. When you use camera P mode, it will keep the flash in regular sync, and capable of full power. The flash will adjust its fill based on the ambient and the background. If the sky is in the background, the camera matrix metering will meter for the sky (a little overexposed) and the flash will bring the subjects up to match the sky. I typically decrease flash EC by a stop to keep from 'over-flashing' the subjects.

It also depends on how close you can get to your subjects. FP mode will not always provide enough fill if you are over 10 feet away.

When it gets pretty dark, you will want to switch to camera Manual mode and regular Flash Sync once P mode starts setting the shutter speed to less than flash sync. Then, use Camera M mode with f/4 and fixed ISO 400 and adjust the shutter to set the ambient. Adjust the flash EC down to get rid of that 'over-flashed' look.

Also, the camera metering is only used for measuring the ambient, so the metering mode doesn't matter for flash shots in camera Manual once it gets dark. I normally just leave it in Spot mode when its dark, so I won't inadvertently select TTL-BL on the flash.

Russ
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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richlewt Registered since 24th Oct 2012Fri 10-May-13 11:34 AM
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#2. "RE: Fill Flash In Strong Backlit Conditions"
In response to Reply # 1


GB
          

Hi Russ
Many thanks for your reply. There is some great info there to get me going.
My shoot is going to take place around mid-day so the differnce between the sky and a backlit subject is going to be high. I guess the first thing to do, is try and avoid this situation. But, given that we have a mid-day sun and want to include bright skys in shot, would your approach differ?

Cheers
Rich

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 10-May-13 12:55 PM
6009 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: Fill Flash In Strong Backlit Conditions"
In response to Reply # 2


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Hi Russ
>Many thanks for your reply. There is some great info there to
>get me going.
>My shoot is going to take place around mid-day so the
>differnce between the sky and a backlit subject is going to be
>high. I guess the first thing to do, is try and avoid this
>situation. But, given that we have a mid-day sun and want to
>include bright skys in shot, would your approach differ?

Whenever I run onto that situation, and I have to shoot quickly, I just switch to TTL-BL with -2/3 FEC and camera P mode with ISO 200 and matrix metering. Also, try to maneuver into positions that keeps direct sunlight off the faces of the subjects (to avoid blow-outs on faces, since those cannot be fixed in post processing).

That has given me great results.

Russ
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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BoStruye Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Feb 2011Sat 11-May-13 10:06 PM
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#4. "RE: Fill Flash In Strong Backlit Conditions"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

One really important thing would be to try and get your flash off the camera. It you leave it on it, you will be stuck with very flat lighting on the faces.

Unfortunately for that to work well, you need a radio transmitter on the camera and a receiver under your flash. Both PocketWizard and RadioPopper offer TTL versions of their radio triggers.

Another option still would be to forget the flash altogether and, if you can get someone to assist you, simply use a good quality folding reflector. Photoflex makes an inexpensive 5 in 1. The big advantage of the reflector is that you can immediately see what you will be getting with little guess work.

In order to shoot a wedding with some flash compensation, you really need a lot of practice beforehand to make sure your know exactly what you are doing. A once in a lifetime ceremony is not the place to start learning how to use your tools.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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