I have a D3100 and I’m purchasing an SB-700 today. I am photographing my first event in two days and do not have much time to play with the flash. I am worried the pics won’t turn out great as this is a trial run to be this venues nightlife photographer. Any tips you all have as what to do and not to do would be greatly appreciated. The place is a nightclub musical/dance performance. Not a large venue maybe 200-300 capacity. Lots of laser lights, strobes and very vivid costumes from patrons and performers. I will be taking photos of the patrons all night as well as the performance. Please advise!! Thank you in advance!
I think this is one of those situations where you need to know your equipment before attempting to try and use it if this is a "test" to see if they want to use you for future events...
I'm not sure about what exactly you're shooting - that is an open ended question all in it's own. With that said, many venues don't like strobes/flash photography if they are using lighting effects and features (so ask them this first of all - you may just have to pump up your ISO and use good lenses with large apertures and no flash to get the shots you'll need). That is how I'd shoot it I think to begin with.
If you are allowed to use flash or strobes, them use the i-TTL mode on the flash if you are unfamiliar with the flash - it will adjust according to your camera settings (but the best way is to practice with the flash and your camera combination and use it in Manual to adjust the power setting to your surroundings)...
That will get you started at least... you many need to adjust settings along the way so try and do some test shots just before it gets going or as it starts (quickly, obviously).
Welcome to Nikonians! Glad to have you with us. If you plan on shooting in portrait orientation, I would recommend adding a flash bracket and an SC-29 or SC-28 TTL extension cord to your kit. The bracket will allow you to keep the Speedlight above the lens in both landscape and portrait orientation. This will keep the shadow behind your subject.
Since the flash will be your primary light source you should use regular TTL flash mode and not TTL BL flash mode.
I totally concur with Marty's advice, and that poses a major problem for you in my opinion, and is why I highly recommend you DON'T purchase an SB-700. It is not the right Speedlight for you.
The problem is you can't dial in the mode for the SB-700 which you want. Your choice of metering mode makes flash mode choice for you.
With the SB-700, when the camera’s metering mode is in spot metering the SB-700 automatically selects the standard i-TTL mode. If you want to use matrix, or center-weighted metering, which would generally be your best choices, the SB-700 automatically selects i-TTL balanced fill-flash (TTL BL).
There is no way to override these selections when using the SB-700.
For that reason, I strongly suggest you get the SB-910, despite the price, or a third party flash fully compatible with Nikon CLS.
I also agree with Marty about the flash bracket and the SC-29 or SC-28.
Hopefully this isn't a paid thing, or another situation in which you really have to deliver the goods.
I agree with Marty and Ned on the SB-910, but more to the point I think it's far more important to understand how to use flash. That hopefully means not direct flash (ie pop it in the shoe in the conventional way) as that will yield very stark, hard-edge shadows. The result nearly always looks very "amateur".
It also sounds like a very tough venue.
I learned much about this from Neil van Neikirk's writings. Although he's got books out now, you probably don't have time for that. So start at his web page: here. You may find that you don't even need a flash bracket after reading some of that. (I don't even have a bracket, for example, but I don't do this particular kind of stuff that much either.)
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
Sun 16-Mar-14 07:06 AM | edited Sun 16-Mar-14 07:09 AM by jesse101
Everybody has provided great info..Def worth reading the links provided by Brian as I began digging and was intrigued.
Will add what I would do if I was in your situation. I would attend the event early, and take some test shots. I personally use a Gary Fong diffuser, but a bracket with the stock diffuser works much better, just costs more as well. Never direct your flash straight at the subject, try and bounce off the ceilings or walls depending. In this photo, I was in similar conditions, pointed my flash straight up at the ceiling, and used the flash as the key..basically the room was too dark for it to be used as a fill. By pointing at the ceiling, I prevented flash flare and it gave the OCF effect reducing unwanted shadows and such.
Before the event, I ensured to set my WB, Aperture and SS along with ISO. The lighting conditions hardly changed..so it was more of picking the best method to angle my flash and framing the shot. I had no choice but to shoot with my flash in the hotshoe considering I was constantly moving.
Could you explain what you meant by "I had no choice but to shoot with my flash in the hotshoe considering I was constantly moving."
I've done thousands of weddings, events, and press coverage over the years, and have never put my flash on any SLR, TLR or DSLR I've had, since first using an SLR as a teen, in the camera's hot shoe, despite moving around constantly during these shoots, sometimes quite rapidly. Instead, for times I mount a flash on a camera body, it's mounted on a flash bracket. I do so for maximum flexibility, and to ensure that my flash is always above my lens, never to the side (gives lighting a more natural look for people). I have multiple flash brackets, one for each DSLR body I utilize, and/or provide an assistant.
I'm not trying to be obnoxious with my question, but merely want to understand your thinking. Maybe I'm missing something in my thinking.
Well, I guess I should have said I didn't have a bracket at the time, So I had to use my hotshoe. I prefer the flash bracket, but if not available, I used a Gary Fong diffuser and bounced my flash with decent results.
I did use OCF for group shots..but for the event, used what I had available at the time.
Sun 16-Mar-14 03:38 PM | edited Sun 16-Mar-14 03:40 PM by jesse101
Used a bracket once before..def makes a difference, but it is cumbersome, and pretty intimidating from my own personal experience lol but it def works and works well, i cannot disagree with you there Ned.
Would also like to add, doesn't "have" to be a GF diffuser, there are tons out there that do just as good, if not better...Just whatever you prefer i guess.
I own a bunch of diffusers, but none are Gary Fong.
As to flash brackets, there are flash brackets and there are flash brackets. For many years I used a variety of Stroboframe flash brackets, with my main one for many years being the Stroboframe Press T with anti-twist plate.
When Really Right Stuff came out with their wedding flash bracket, I jumped on it. It attaches to the L-Bracket always mounted on my DSLR bodies and is therefore easier to use and more compact than other brackets, and it's easy to travel with. I suspect you would find it less cumbersome than what you've used to date.
They have a new wedding flash bracket which has a slideable flash mount and the ability to mount more than one item on the bracket, with additional sliding shoe mounts. I'll be getting on of those for flash/led light/flash and video work this coming week.
ah yes..really right stuff, their ball heads are on my wish list currently lol i am sure that flash bracket is awesome considering. I will look into it for sure, thanks for the suggestion Ned! or maybe not...considering now I'm going to spend more money LOL