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Archive 2013 · Speedlite help please
  
 
1adam-12
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Speedlite help please


I am looking for a little help please...

I am looking to learn how to do.... and then do some OFF CAMERA strobe light shooting... I currently have a Canon 5DM III and a 7d... and one Canon 580EX II speedlite...., so i would like whatever set up i go with be adaptable to either camera..

so, before i go out and buy more equipment, i thought i would ask the questions here...

I am looking to start out with 2 off camera strobes on tripods... Would i be better off using two 580 EX II's on the tripod and a Canon ST-E2 transmitter on the camera... OR... should i use a THIRD 580EX II on the camera and NOT fire the flash and have it act as the trigger only?

I have been watching some the Kelby photography tutorials on the subject (specifically a video by Dave Black on sports portraits) and would like to move up to having 4 speedlites connected on one tripod mount like he is using in the video... (if anyone is familiar with the video) ....

Anyways...

Any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated...

OR... if you have any other set ups or alternate equipment to buy / use...

And... if you have any online tutorials you recommend that you can point me to....PLEASE do so !!!!!!!!!

thanks in advance....Dave



Jan 22, 2013 at 05:27 AM
Michael White
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Speedlite help please


I recommend several things before you go out and buy more gear.

1) buy and read the Speedliters Handbook by Syl Arena. It will teach you how to use the equipment you have and what is next.it will show you tools and how to use them properly.

2) buy all three of Joe McNallys books, The Moment It Clicks, Sketching Light and The Hot Shoe Diaries. These will show the rules and at times how to breah the rules with success. Joe has some interesting stories and it layout drawings are a must.

3) if you are the type that needs to see something done before they understand it the join KelbyTraining.com and watch the courses there .

Now that is said ill take something from the first book I recommended and get an extended OCF cable it is the simplistic and reliable item out there also one of the cheapest OCF means. The next would be to but a second Speedlite like you have.

I hope this helps



Jan 22, 2013 at 09:16 AM
Teper
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Speedlite help please


Along with the above, I would spend a lot of time here: http://strobist.blogspot.com.au/2006/03/lighting-101.html

I did and its well worth it. Depends if you wish to always use TTL, but the above will teach you how to do everything with manual settings ie: the proper way as apposed to the lazy way . TTL can't always read your mind, if you are going for creative effects.



Jan 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM
gpop
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Speedlite help please


rather than the st-e2, consider the yongnuo 622 ett-l triggers (assuming you want ett-l).
as a novice myself, I actually recommend you stick to manual flash settings for static set ups. in my experience non ett-l gear cost much less and gives better feedback for the user to tweak settings to fit your needs.



Jan 22, 2013 at 07:57 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Speedlite help please


1adam-12 wrote:
...I am looking to start out with 2 off camera strobes on tripods... Would i be better off using two 580 EX II's on the tripod and a Canon ST-E2 transmitter on the camera... OR... should i use a THIRD 580EX II on the camera and NOT fire the flash and have it act as the trigger only?


The ST-E2 will limit you to two groups (A:B), which isn't a limit if you only ever use two flashes, but if you want to expand someday then getting a third Speedlite will give you the option of three groups (A:B+C).

You can either set the on-camera Master not to fire for effect (preflashes and command flashes only), or to fire for effect...and -- if firing for effect -- as either a key light or fill light.

Also, the pop-up flash on your 7D can act as a Master, so you could have three off-camera lights...for example key, fill, and background lights; or key, fill, and rim lights.

You could save some money by getting two 430EX II units to go with your existing 580EX II. You only need one Master-capable light, and most times you won't need the extra power of the 580 for your additional lights. (I have one 580EX, one 580EX II, and one 430EX II, only because I got the original 580EX when I got my first DSLR several some years ago.)

Don't waste money getting tripods for the lights; just get light stands. (That may be what you're referring to, but I want to emphasize the terminological difference just in case.)

You can start practicing off-camera flash now, using your 7D's pop-up and your 580EX II; it's a good way to start learning about fill ratios, key-light angles, etc. while you're waiting to get the other flashes.

In addition to the books and link above, I suggest these two books by Neil van Niekerk:

http://www.amazon.com/Camera-Techniques-Digital-Portrait-Photography/dp/1584282584

http://www.amazon.com/Off-Camera-Flash-Techniques-Digital-Photographers/dp/1608952789

and also that author's Web site:

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



Jan 23, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Michael White
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Speedlite help please


Ttl is used when your flash to subject distance varies if it is consistent then use manual for best results.

Skip all of the non flash triggers buy another flash. I prefer buying gear once instead of having to replace it when you advance your tools. Get a canon 430 or better yet 580 if you can either mkI or mkII versions. If you do go manual get Vivitars 285s. They hold there resale better. I made the mistake and went the Vivitars route and sold them after I got my Canon speedlites to buy more Canon speedlites. I've got a 580 exII, 580ex, and 2 550exs. I want one more each of the 580s to balance everything out and give me 6 speedlites after that I might go for the new 600s but I use pocket wizards o the canon radio trigger is uses less to me wish they had radio and non radio versions or they would license the PWs freqs so it would work with the radios I already have.



Jan 23, 2013 at 03:12 AM
 

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Ralph Thompson
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Speedlite help please


Dave, I started off with a bank of 285's (6) with ebay triggers, then moved up to PWII's. Loved the 285's, very cheap, very versitle. However, as I upgraded my gear I went with Canon speedlights, 550 then 580 (I & II).

Recently I got a couple 600 EX RT's & ST-E3. Be mindful of what your desired endstate is with your lighting. If I was starting out and $$ was no object, I'd go 600's & ST-E3 (or even quantum Q flashes). I've found them very versitle. I've used them in my youth sports T&I work as well as gym strobes. I really like being able to change the settings from the camera. I really like how they work in manual mode. I find myself going manual more and more over ETTL. If you want to buy a system once (w/radio triggers) and have a system that will grow with you, the new canon speedlights & triggers are a solid choice IMO. Many others may disagree but hey, that's how we spin the planet!

I always advise guys starting out to go the manual route so that you are forced to learn how light works and how to make adjustments. Many times ETTL isn't the answer. There is a lighting guru here on FM, Chuck Gardner. He has a website with tutorials. He is crazy good with speedlights. So seek him out!

Ralph



Jan 25, 2013 at 10:03 PM
1adam-12
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Speedlite help please


Ralph Thompson wrote:
Dave, I started off with a bank of 285's (6) with ebay triggers, then moved up to PWII's. Loved the 285's, very cheap, very versitle. However, as I upgraded my gear I went with Canon speedlights, 550 then 580 (I & II).

Recently I got a couple 600 EX RT's & ST-E3. Be mindful of what your desired endstate is with your lighting. If I was starting out and $$ was no object, I'd go 600's & ST-E3 (or even quantum Q flashes). I've found them very versitle. I've used them in my youth sports T&I work as well as
...Show more


Ralph.. I tried a search of FM for Chuck Garner.. and was unable to get any results... would you happen to know his screen name or how to reach him??

thanks...dave



Jan 26, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Wobble
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Speedlite help please


cgardner, and he is online now


Jan 26, 2013 at 03:50 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Speedlite help please


I'm here

My tutorial site is http://photo.nova.org

My starting baseline with flash was having the top wedding pro of the day (early 70s) hand me a Rolleiflex with single power manual flash above it on the custom bracket and an identical flash on a rolling stand, which I later realized was a IV pole not a light stand. He said "Use this, it works" and proceeded to show me how and why.

Raising a single flash straight up makes single flash shots more flattering than flash on camera by: 1) hiding most of the unfilled shadows, and 2) making the vector of the modeling a closer match to the downward vector of natural light. That's not how Zucker explained it, he just stressed the importance of getting light in the eyes and avoiding harsh shadows if you want to flatter the subjects in single flash candid shots.

Zucker also understood (before many of his contemporaries) that when a single flash is moved off axis it creates UNFILLED shadows that are dark and unflattering. The solution for that used in studio lighting is to keep a second fill source over the camera. That's what the flash on the bracket becomes when a second light is added IN FRONT OF THE FACE. Why do I stress the back of the face? Because when the off camera flash is behind the subject, it's like natural backlighting by the sun and whatever you use on the front side needs to provide KEY and FILL on the face, or alternately hide the shadows as with a single flash and a bracket.

So given that equipment; a flash on a the bracket and one on a stand there are two flattering strategies for people photos:

1) When you can't precisely align the face to OCF don't put it in front of the face. If a light is in front to one side and the faces are moving half the time the face will be turned away in shadows. If there isn't a ceiling bouncing "spill fill" back into the shadows they will be dark and unflattering. Remember flattering the subject is the goal of the exercise here.

When faces are moving around, in candids or in a studio session more flattering results overall are obtained by keeping the "Key" modeling source centered and overhead: what the bracket does in automatic "no brainer" fashion. Thus a more flattering strategy is bracketed flash in front to model the face (as in the single flash shot) with OCF behind acting not as "Key" but as "Rim" lighting to define the overall shape of the person, add a sense of 3D space a front>back lit shot lacks, and more evenly light the background behind the subject.

Logistically working with two flashes that way is as easy as one. Just park it in a corner behind the action and keep it out of the frame. For more background ambience bounce it off the ceiling. For more of a "stage lighting" look with a darker background to isolate the foreground action use it direct.

2) If you observe any "candid" situation you will notice where people turn and look when talking to someone or looking at the action it the room. At a wedding there are a lot of traditional staged events like toasts, cake cutting, etc. which are also predictable or can be manipulated by the photographer to get flattering "studio style" results. By studio style I mean careful attention to light placement on the faces and camera angles. What made Zucker famous was his attention to those details in the candid wedding shots.

It's not really difficult as he explained it. Take the OCF and put it so it is 45 degrees from the subject's nose and over their head REGARDLESS OF WHERE THE NOSE IS POINTING. Then walk around to the front or the other oblique view and take the shot. In other words, don't think about where the OCF stand is on the floor relative to the camera (as seen in all those lighting diagrams you can download) focus on where the light is RELATIVE TO THE FACE.

Once you grasp the difference intellectually lighting a face is much simpler to understand. In a candid situation where the person is moving around I will set the OCF to put it 45 degrees from where the nose points most of the time, walk around until I'm 45 or 90 degrees from the OCF and wait for them to turn full face (when 45 from the light) or obliquely (when 90 from the light) to my camera. If I move around to where I'm 135 degrees from the light I can capture a dramatic profile.

Back in the day shooting weddings I'd try to capture the best man toasting all three ways. I'd start 45 from the OCF for a full face / full length wide shot as looked at the couple (predictably) and started his toast . Then with the light hitting the face from the same 45 degree angle RELATIVE TO HIS FACE I'd move the camera around until I was seeing his face obliquely and tighten the crop to H&S. Then if the toast was a long one I'd move around until I was looking at his face in a perfect profile and wait for the "decisive moment" when he lifted the glass high. Same lighting relative to the face, different POV for the camera selected to look balanced, natural and flattering in the photo.

It's really that simple to get "studio style" lighting in candids with dual flash. It that the only way to use two flashes? No of course not and I'd encourage you to try them all. But I'd also give you the same advice Zucker gave to me 40 years ago: use this it works

It will work with whatever flashes you choose or however you choose to trigger them. Adding modifiers will change the character of the lighting but the MODELING the light creates is a function of where the key light is RELATIVE TO THE FACE. If there is more than one face in the photo (couples / groups) it's simpler to get flattering results "on the fly" with centered lighting (i.e. move the OCF behind as rim light and rely on the flash on bracket to model the faces).

If you decide using a bracket is too much of a hassle your direct lighting vectors on the face will be unnaturally low, even with a diffuser. Will bouncing solve that problem? Only if there is a ceiling. The better approach? Use a bracket + diffuser + bouncing when possible and the bracket and diffuser when bouncing isn't possible.

Should you use the built in flash as Master (if your camera has that feature)? Yes it will fire the slave and work as fill in some situations but will be too low to the faces when you move the OCF behind. When using a Master controller it will also lack the range of a Master 580ex flash.

When buying into the Canon system in 2004 I opted for a pair of 580ex flashes. If I was on a budget today I'd do the same. The 580exII is newer, but it has several design related problems such as random firing at full power in TTL (film body mode) it also lacks the Master/Slave switch on the base which is very convenient when shooting on the fly and needing to take a few shots without the Slave.

If budget allowed and need justified I'd buy a pair of 600EX-RTs. I'd skip the ST-E3 as I did the ST-E2 because the Master on bracket has more advantages that wrangling two stands in situations were I'd use speedlights vs. my studio lights. I haven't upgraded to 600EX personally because I've never had a problem with the optical signaling and don't a need for the other features.

Again, my approach with speedlights is one of many and based largely on the fact I started with two on bracket and stand in the beginning. I've tried just about everything else since myself and still find it the best solution for what I shoot with speedlights. Try it, then try everything else and decide what works best for your needs






Jan 26, 2013 at 05:47 PM
1adam-12
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Speedlite help please


cgardner wrote:
I'm here

My tutorial site is http://photo.nova.org

My starting baseline with flash was having the top wedding pro of the day (early 70s) hand me a Rolleiflex with single power manual flash above it on the custom bracket and an identical flash on a rolling stand, which I later realized was a IV pole not a light stand. He said "Use this, it works" and proceeded to show me how and why.

Raising a single flash straight up makes single flash shots more flattering than flash on camera by: 1) hiding most of the unfilled shadows, and 2) making the vector of
...Show more

THANK YOU !!!!! i will be reading thru your tutorials ,,, Dave



Jan 26, 2013 at 11:22 PM





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