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Archive 2013 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...
  
 
ggOk
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


hi,

been looking through some lighting techniques in this site but haven't found what I am looking for.

during the afternoon, I was taking photo of my friend at with the gorgeous course behind him. I noticed that the strong sun was right behind him.

I figured, I can use the flash but because when using flash in Av or Tv mode, I can only go up to 1/300 in shutter speed even with ISO lowest, I felt like I needed faster shutter speed. what did I do wrong and what can I do to adjust?

I was using Canon 1D4 with 580 exII. thanks.

/r
Andy



Jan 07, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Deanh
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


I'd try high speed sync 1st, a ND filter 2nd.


Jan 07, 2013 at 11:38 AM
basehorhonda
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


Assuming you want to get that course behind the subject in, just close down with your apature.


Jan 07, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


Stop down your apature (assuming your flash has enough power)


Jan 07, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Roland W
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


In general, you need a fair amount of power from your flash putting light on your subject in order to match or overpower the light from the sun that is shining on the background scene. If you only have a 580EXII, and not something with more power, you need to get it as close to the subject as you can, and be sure it is focused to a narrow beam if that will still cover your foreground subject. Then of course make sure you are using the highest sync speed possible on your camera, which is the only way to minimize the light from the background in relation to the flash lighting. A neutral density filter will not help at all, because the ratio between the sun lit background and the light from the flash will stay the same. High speed sync is really for stopping action, and likely will not help much for background lighting ratio, because it cuts the power available too much as the effective sync speed is increased.


Jan 07, 2013 at 03:27 PM
ggOk
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


thank you all...

/r
Andy



Jan 07, 2013 at 05:43 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


Roland W wrote:
...A neutral density filter will not help at all, because the ratio between the sun lit background and the light from the flash will stay the same.


A ND filter can help in situations like this, by allowing a bright-sun shutter speed that is within sync limits.



Jan 07, 2013 at 09:58 PM
 

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BrianO
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


"Apature"?


Jan 07, 2013 at 10:02 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


Start with understanding the range of your flash in various modes and zoom settings at 1/1 in manual power. You can do this indoors.

First set camera in M mode at ISO 100 and sync limit (1/250th on my camera) and adjust aperture for "Sunny 16" e.g f/11. If outdoors in backlight that should (in theory) keep the sunny highlights on a white shirt below clipping.

Now put the flash in the hot shoe in M mode in the forward 0 degree position. Press the zoom button and manually change zoom to 28mm. Half press the shutter button. You'll see a black bar appear above the distance scale on the back of the flash.

At ISO 100, 1/250th, f/11 @ 28mm zoom the flash range in 1/1 power is 15ft. Change zoom to 105mm and half press shutter and distance will change to 20ft because the same flash power is delivered in a smaller footprint.

Now turn on HHS mode on the flash.

Force the flash to go into HHS mode by changing shutter to 1/500th and open aperture to f/5.6 to maintain the same "Sunny 16" exposure. At 28mm zoom the max range will drop from 15ft. to 10 ft. At 105mm zoom the effective range will read 15ft.

Note: By default distance is in meters. To change to feet on 580ex:
Press C.Fn button on flash and enter CF.n mode
Press and hold set button in center of wheel 2 sec until distance scale flashes. Turn wheel one click clockwise to change to feet. Press set button to select.

To see actual results outdoors in backlight shoot manually at ISO 100 for the test. For the single burst mode range put shutter on 1/250 (or your sync limit) and adjust aperture until there is no clipping on a backlit white shirt. Aperture should be around f/11 (per Sunny 16) as above. Now with the flash in M mode at 1/1 power and zoom at 28mm. Start from about 40' away and walk forward in 5' increments taking shots until the flash starts clipping the front of the shirt. If the indicator on the flash is accurate you should at 10' from the subject. Change zoom 105mm and again find the distance where the front of the shirt starts to clip.

Repeat the test in HSS mode at 1/500th, again setting aperture based on keeping detail in the parts of the white shirt the sun is hitting. Find the distance where front side of shirt is just below clipping.

With about 20 min of testing you'll know the realistic limits of your flash in normal and HSS mode at min and max zoom setting. If you use a modifier ln the flash do the outdoor test first with direct flash and then with the modifier. You'll learn how much the modifier cuts range.

From tests like that I know my range limit with one direct 580ex in HHS mode is 7ft. With dual key-over-fill configuration with fill on my flash bracket the max. effective range is 10ft.

When shooting with flash I keep the camera in M mode so I control whether shutter stays under the sync limit or not.

If I know I'm out of range of my flash(es) I put shutter at sync limit (1/250th) and aperture at f/11 (or what keeps highlights under clipping).

If I know I'm within effective HHS range (i.e., 10ft with dual flash) I select the f/stop I want for DOF then the shutter that keeps the backlit white highlights and skin / hair under clipping (I don't want the nuked halo look).

While i suggest Manual 1/1 for the test above (because it's 100% output) when shooting I keep the flash in ETTL and HHS modes. The flash switches between regular and HSS mode as I (not the camera metering) decide to move the shutter above 1/250th. I control flash exposure on the front side with FEC adjustments.

I find that if I first get the sunny highlights under clipping and minimize flash overlapping sun (by shooting into the shadow side) FEC=0 does a very good job at matching front side highlights to the sunny side. I take the first shot at FEC=0, look at the sunny / flashed border balance, then adjust as needed to make the flashed side about 1/3 stop darker than sunny whites.

Sunny whites I want at eyedropper readings of 250 not 255 (clipping) so when shooting I adjust until I see clipping in the playback and reduce exposure by 1/3 stop. Flashed white highlights I want 1/3 stop (one click of shutter) below the sunny ones. So I first raise flash until the front side is clipping, then reduce FEC by two-clicks (2/3 stop) which puts them 1/3 stop below the sunny ones. If it sounds complicated just try it. After 2-3 times doing it that way it will be instinctive. You'll never again blow the highlights and sun/shade balance will look "seen by eye" normal in the photo.




Jan 07, 2013 at 11:45 PM
ggOk
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


this just blew my mind... I was always scared to play manual with flash but I think I am going to try this out.

/r
Andy



Jan 08, 2013 at 12:26 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


ggOk wrote:
...I was always scared to play manual with flash but I think I am going to try this out.


When using multiple flashes, and sometimes when doing even a single-flash portrait indoors, I'll use manual flash, but most of the time I use ETTL flash and manual exposure (I set the aperture and shutter speed, and the camera sets the flash output), and use FEC (flash exposure compensation) to tweak the results. It works very well in most cases.

Chuck's description above is spot on in my opinion.



Jan 08, 2013 at 12:38 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


+1 @ manual exposure & ETTL/Auto flash, using FEC to tweak ... simple. I typically set FEC around -1 or so to yield a natural "not flash" look.


Jan 08, 2013 at 01:51 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


I learned flash using two single power flashes "on the fly" shooting weddings. It's actual very simple if it is approached systematically because distance = power and it's just a matter of finding the distance needed for each f/stop when flash is used directly.

For example, 8ft is a good distance for people photos because it makes the near/far perspective of the face in the photo similar to the impression by eye. Shoot closer and the nose will start to look bigger/ ears smaller than what seems "normal". The next variable is f/stop which controls flash exposure and DOF. f/8 at 8ft. creates enough DOF to keep entire subject in focus. The final variable is how much manual power is needed from 8ft. to correctly expose the face and white collar. Try different power until finding the setting which exposes the face and white shirt collar correctly. Let's say it is 1/4 power. It's will always be 1/4 power at 8ft. in a similar room (the amount of bounce spill will affect exposure.

It's similar with dual flash. Shoot from 8ft with fill on bracket. If off camera key is at 8ft key=fill (assuming both lights are identical), but key overlaps fill like this:

H:S
1:1 Even fill from bracket @ 8ft
1:0 Key overlaps creating highlights from 8ft.
==
2:0 The highlights created over fill reflect 2x more light.

The H:S ratio convention assumes key overlaps even fill so 2:1 is the lowest integer ratio under it. It produces shadows which are a bit lighter than average room lighting and is a good ratio for making wrinkles disappear by making the shadows they cast lighter than "normal".

We shot candids at receptions with a 3:1 ratio. With the identical flash scenario shooting from 8ft with fill on the bracket you get a 3:1 ratio with darker shadows by moving key closer to fill. How close? The inverse-square law predicts that. If fill is at 8ft, the key will be 2x it's strength when it is 5.6ft.

So in the dual flash scenario when shooting at 8ft we move the off camera flash to 5-1/2 feet. How do you measure both distances? Well in my case my arm span is 70" so I stretch my arms from flashhead to tip of nose. Then I take three measured paces backwards to 8ft.

H:S
1:1 Even fill from bracket at 8ft.
2:0 Key light at 5-1/2 ft is 2x brighter (incident where it overlaps fill)
==
3:1 Reflected ratio is 3:1 - highlight reflect 3x more light than shadows.

Finding exposure is identical to one light, except you change power on both lights. For example start with both flashes at 1/8 power. The ratio will be 3:1 but the result may be underexposed. If so try 1/4, 1/2, etc. until finding the power that produces correct exposure.

I shoot speedlight portraits that way with my 580ex flashes and DIY diffusers. Shoot from 8ft, key light at 5-1/2 ft., aperture f/8, power on both flashes at 1/2. The 3:1 ratio perfectly matches detail in a black suit and white shirt to the sensor of my 20D / 50D. Regardless of the race / complexion of the face in the middle of that range it is reproduced accurately in tone with highlight shadow contrast which seems unremarkably "normal", how you'd perceive them if you met them in average room lighting.

When use M and ETTL?

As mentioned above M is simple if used systematically - lights at same distance, direct not bounced, repeatable distance / f/stop / power combinations. Bounce the light off the ceiling and the distance = power does not apply.

TTL (through the lens metering) in the generic sense (not Canon flash mode) reads light at the camera and adjusts flash power dynamically until the ideal amount reached the sensor as close as the metering can guess. The Canon system introduced in 2004 uses many metering zones and can make much more sophisticated guess than one that averages the entire sensor.

When you press the shutter button Canon E-TTL II flash metering first takes a baseline ambient reading separate from the one used for setting aperture / shutter, then fires a separate preflash with each group A, B and C if in play. (the 600EX can control 5 groups). The multiple metering zones allow the flash logic to know where key overlaps fill and where both overlap the ambient by subtracting the ambient zone map from the pre-flash maps (which also include the ambient. It's a very clever way to sort out what the flash is hitting and changing when mixed with outdoor lighting.

So if you figure out how to use it ETTL mode on the flash (which is actually E-TTL II on all bodies after 2004) can do a pretty good job of sorting out exposure when flash is used in modifiers, bounced, etc.

First set A:B ratio to 1:2. Master defaults to A so set Slave to Group B. Why 1:2?

The Canon ratio of 1:2 tells the Slave to put 2x more light on the subject (incident) which when it overlaps with the Master A fill creates the same 3:1 H:S ratio described above:

H:S
1:1 Even fill from the Group A master
2:0 2x as much light (incident) from Group B slave
==
3:1 Reflected ratio: highlights 3x brighter (1.5 stops) than shadows

So set A:B = 1:2 at least as a starting baseline and you should get a full range of detail in suit / shirt of flash lit foreground subject. All you need to do is adjust FEC until you see the white collar start to clip (black out) in the playback then back down FEC by one click (1/3 stop) to put the shirt 1/3 under clipping.

The metering zones are relatively large on entry level / intermediate cameras so they don't "guess" as well as the pro bodies with more evaluation zones. For each new scene you'll need to adjust FEC.

For example if you were shooting 50 couples at a party with ETTL the difference in clothing reflectance will affect exposure and you'd need to adjust FEC by trial and error with several exposures for each new set of subjects.

By comparison with M mode described above you set exposure for the first couple and since there is no metering changing power the same setting will work identically for the other 49.

So use M for static lighting set-ups and ETTL when you are running around shooting and you'll getting the best of both.



Jan 08, 2013 at 02:00 AM
novicesnapper
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · help: Afternoon sun, behind the subject...


+1000 for M. Learn to do this yourself, because the camera usually gets it wrong in auto lol. Oh and shoot raw, this allows more leeway on the adjustment of the final image. Jpegs are rendered in the camera, vs raw which is unprocessed. Thus Jpegs "lose" the ability to be manipulated, without losing the integrity of the image, because the camera has already done the thinking for you and rendered it. Raws on the other hand require "you" to determine what is right, but capture more of the true image and give you so much more in the actual capture (more colors/ shades). Myself, I find it harder to deal with a "flashy" image than one slightly under flashed. So I tend to drop the Ettl a stop or 2/3rds because of this. Good stuff guys.


Jan 10, 2013 at 03:44 PM





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