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Archive 2012 · Help with setting up flash shot...
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Help with setting up flash shot...

I would like to set up a shot in my home with a speedlight or two, and could really use some help...

Since I have incandescent lighting in the house which tends to cast an orange hue, I suppose I should first take a custom white balance shot of a white piece of paper? Do I do this with the flashes in place? must they be the proper distance from the subject? And how about the white paper? Should it be placed at the subject location? This will probably be somewhat of a macro shot.

Then, should I first set up the proper ambient exposure WITHOUT flash, then set up the flash power to my liking? If depth of field is important, do I just adjust the flash power manually until it is to my liking?

I will shoot in RAW, and I know I can correct any color cast later, but I would like to understand the proper way to set up the shot from the beginning!

I hope I am being clear with my questions.

Thanks for any help.


Nov 07, 2012 at 02:19 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Help with setting up flash shot...

You can set the power of the flash manually, using either a flash meter or just by referencing the histogram of the test shot(s) on your camera, or you can use the TTL flash metering of the camera. If your subject has an even range of tones, either will work well. If the subject is mostly dark or mostly light, the TTL meter can be fooled, so in that case setting it yourself will often work better.

As for color, the best course is often to match your flash's color to the ambient color using gels, and then set a color balance. But if the subject's color is the most important factor and you don't mind the visible lights in the scene going warm then it's fine to set a color balance from a flash-lit neutral target. In your case, the light fixtures may not even be visible in a macro shot, and the flash will easily over-power the ambient light, so the color of only the flash is what you'll balance.

Setting the color balance should be done with the flash power setting that will be used, because changing the power can cause a color shift in the flash, although with Speedlights the shift is minimal compared to most studio strobes.

Yes, the target should be as close to the subject location as possible.


Nov 07, 2012 at 06:17 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Help with setting up flash shot...

Yes that helps greatly! Thank you. I will try it out and report back.

Nov 07, 2012 at 09:32 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Help with setting up flash shot...

What I would do is set a item in place where you plan to shoot. Find the correct exposure using at least 125sec or faster shutter. Also the DOF you want should be decided at this time. This will cut down the room light. Slow shutter will allow more in. Does not change the flash amount unless you are over the sync speed then you will have shadow areas. After exposure is correct use your whitr or gray card and do the custom WB. This should be the light color you are actually shooting in assuming you keep about the same distance and camera settings. With this neutral color you can fine tune in post.

For DOF you need to find that number first. Lets say you want a F5.6. In Manual. Yes keep camera and flash in manual. Lock in the F5.6 then adjust your ISO and flash power to get you the correct exposure.

If you make major changes to the camera settings during the shoot then do another WB shot just in case it made a difference.

Nov 09, 2012 at 01:08 AM

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