Home · Register · Software · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Lighting & Studio Techniques | Join Upload & Sell

  

Reflector Size
  
 
wjlapier
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Reflector Size


I'm doing some pictures for the HS JROTC in a couple of weeks during their annual military ball. The person in charge has asked me to do the pictures since she has seen my work since she was a little girl--yes my daughter asked if I could help out. I'm not a flash guy. I take pictures of my kids doing their various activities in school, primarily sports, but the occasional band concert and ROTC drill meets. Again, no flash ever used. So, I purchased a Sony F20M ( here ). Figured I could throw it in the bag if I ever need a flash again. Camera is Sony A6000 with 18-55 lens. Nothing fancy like using off camera wireless setups. My question is, what size reflector would be large enough if for some reason I got up to 5-6 people wanting a photo? We figured mostly pairs and maybe parents with their kid. I'm thinking of bouncing the flash off a reflector that would be above and behind me. We did a quick test and bouncing the flash off the ceiling in our house pics looked fine and much nicer than firing directly at my subject.

Hiring a pro is out of the question. The organization has little to no money for this, so I'm volunteering to help.

Thinking about a collapsible reflector but I'm wondering about the size and shape and how that would bounce the flash and how it would look.

Thanks a lot for any help.




May 07, 2017 at 02:23 PM
rico
Online
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Reflector Size


@wjlapier, nothing wrong with direct flash, particularly if you're moving and shooting. The F20M can be elevated while aimed forward, so you avoid red-eye, drop the shadows behind the subject, and get a modicum of modelling on the face. If attendees will come to you, then set up a shooting space that allows bouncing off a wall or suspended cardboard reflector. Price of this setup: $0. Bouncing off the ceiling is usually a big mistake: raccoon eyes and a deathly-dull lighting. The ideal low-cost solution is proper off-camera flash triggered with an on-camera flash or wirelessly or by sync cable. The reflector is then angled down by 30 for that appealing daylight effect. Used manual flashes are available for about nothing from eBay. Some classic Vivitar units have optical triggering and generate tons of light.


May 08, 2017 at 12:55 AM
Paul_K
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Reflector Size


I did some research on the F20M and based on the specs it's hardly, if not, a serious option for the kind of photography you, if I understand it correctly (formals of pairs, and groupshots with multiple persons), intend to use it for

It at best is a somewhat higher powered substitute for a camera built in pop up flash, very convenient for occasionally using it as fill or support when the available light is too low (I have a similar type Nikon SB400 for that purpose), but not exactly the right tool for a full night of shooting pairs and groups of people in 'formal' (or something that should somewhat look like that) shots

To begin with, the GN of the flash of 20 (with meters) and 65 (with feet) means that if you use it in manual, at a distance of 4 meters you at 100 ASA will at best have a max usable aperture of f5.
Which won't give very much DoF, necessary to get a whole group in focus (yes, you could take a step back, but that of course will mean less reach = wider aperture = even less Dof) especially considering the max aperture of 3,5 (probably at 16mm) and even less 5,6 (at 55mm) of the lens you are planning to use

Also, using the flash at full power all the time, either in Manual or some kind of automatic mode, will rapidly deplete its batteries and slow down the probably already not very impressive recycle times (5 seconds for full power, probably with full batteries, and those are only two AAA's, which as far as power output even undercut the lowly AA's))
Which really isn't what you are looking for when a having to photograph (a group of) people probably already in a jolly, perhaps even a little tipsy, party mode, and consequently not very likely to patiently pose/wait for yet another 5 seconds in anticipation for the flash to reload after you take the first shot and want to take a second one as fail safe

Adding some kind of reflector won't improve things.

Since you intend to shoot multiple persons (pairs or groups) you'll probably want some kind of reflector which will spread the light better then just using the bare flash.
That will cost you GN of your flash, maybe not so much if you just use a piece of white tissue/cardboard or diffusion filter, more with eg a Stofen like diffuser, and a lot with an umbrella or softbox (not realistic options with a low power flash as the F20M)
And that also translates in having to use a wide(r, if at all possible) aperture, or higher ISO to maintain using the same aperture, and (again) faster depleting your batteries and slowing down recycle times

So my suggestion would rather be to forget using just/only the F20M as 'main light, let alone with and additional reflector, and see if you can find a (couple) of higher powered speedlights you can borrow.
Since you propably will be shooting the pairs and groups on a fixed spot with the camera and speedlight(s) on a fixed spot as well, you won't really need to shoot in some kind of automatic mode (which probably will get the exposure wrong with white dresses and dark uniforms anyway).
So just a couple of 'dumb' third brand speedlights will easily do the job as well, which many people, not necessarily Sony shooters, have collecting dust somewhere in the back of a closet.

Set up is simple: put your camera and F20M in manual mode (so you have to dial in aperture yourself)
Get a lightstand, and some kind of adapter which allows to mount a (couple of) speedlight(s) which you bounce into an umbrella

An umbrella is the best/easiest/cheapest modifier to be used for groups shots
It somewhat bounces the light in the direction chosen, but in a very (especially compared to a - for many considered the 'holy grail' - softbox) diffused way
Causing less shadows which otherwise would have to be filled in (yet another problem for a flash newbie), which BTW also could create bad skin detail etc (not likely to be appreciated by the lady sitters)

Many non dedicated speedlights (eg the Vivitar 385V, or older Nikon SB600 or SB800's) have an optical trigger (slave) cell, which will react on any other flash going of (no matter which brand) and consequently will trigger the auxilairy speedlights when you take a picture using the F20M (in manual mode !) on your camera (otherwise, the preflash the camera uses to find the 'correct' exposure in whatever automatic mode you're using, will deplete those auxiliary flashes prematurely before the 'real' picture is taken) on condition the speedlights with slave cells are in a position where they can detect the light of the main flash ( so not behind, or too much at the side of it).

Sounds complicated and a lot to digest? Yes, but that's the kind of knowledge, experience and extra/more professional equipment a 'professional' photographer is hired in/paid extra for.

In short, you put yourself in quite a pickle by accepting this job with the limited equipment and (as far as flash photography is concerned) experience you have is concerned

There are plenty of site which give extensive info on so called 'strobist' photography, but they tend to overload on (complicated and expensive) options and 'tech info' and thus IMO not being very helpful for 'quick and dirty' low cost solutions (like I'm trying to give )

HTH



May 08, 2017 at 10:05 AM
wjlapier
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Reflector Size


Like I said, the budget is practically non existant. In fact, I'm assuming the teacher ( colonel ) of the JROTC class is paying out of pocket for a lot of the props and decorations. Not unusual in HS for most groups. The ASB budget is low and spread around so thin as is. That is why a pro wasn't considered. In fact, a cadet said he could do the photos and my daughter figured I'd be a better photographer than a 15-16 YO kid. I know the limitations of the F20m--I don't want to buy into something I won't use again--the flash only cost me $55 here. The bounce of the F20m is easier to implement than the on camera flash. I was hoping I could get a better spread of light from using a reflector, so I was wondering about the size. I have a screen I used way back when to diffuse bright sunlight. I don't have any speed lights like the Vivitar or the Nikon SB 600/800's. Reflectors cost around $50 or so.

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions.

Oh yeah, no tipsie--lol. This is still considered a HS event, so no alcohol served.




May 08, 2017 at 04:35 PM
Paul_K
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Reflector Size


wjlapier wrote:
Like I said, the budget is practically non existant. In fact, I'm assuming the teacher ( colonel ) of the JROTC class is paying out of pocket for a lot of the props and decorations. Not unusual in HS for most groups. The ASB budget is low and spread around so thin as is. That is why a pro wasn't considered. In fact, a cadet said he could do the photos and my daughter figured I'd be a better photographer than a 15-16 YO kid. I know the limitations of the F20m--I don't want to buy into something I won't
...Show more

I understand the problem of not having (a lot of) your own equipment and not having the budget to
buy that

That's why I said
:
So just a couple of 'dumb' third brand speedlights will easily do the job as well, which many people, not necessarily Sony shooters, have collecting dust somewhere in the back of a closet.

In my experience many once aspiring photographers have, after they abandoned this hobby, still gear lying unused somewhere in a closet

I eg despite having fully switched over to digital still have several film bodies and an enlarger lying around, as well as a couple of 'dumb' Metz potato head flashes I can't use in an advanced electronic/ camera steered TTL mode with my DSLR's
Just can't say goodbye to them, for sentimental reasons (the film cameras) or because I may use them at some time in future in a different way then originally intended for (the Metz potato head speedlights have a capacity of 200 Ws each, and eg could be used as dumb manual 'location' flash units with eg umbrella's)

I would ask around at friends, family, members of the photoclub you might be part of, or even parents of the JROTC students if they happen to have something similar to what I mentioned lying around.

Maybe a lightstand with one friend here, and an umbrella with another somewhere else etc, each item on its own not enough to do the whole job, but the whole lot together perhaps just enough to help you pull of the job successfully without having to splash a lot of cash

And (very) young people still can be very 'unruly'/overly active in front of (and away from!) the camera even without alcohol



May 08, 2017 at 09:23 PM
andre2112
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Reflector Size


Im not familiar with your flash or what you'll use to mount and hold your reflector, but if cheap is what your after a large panel of foam core from the big box home improvement store will work. Usually found in the insulation isle they have a white and a silver reflective side and are less than 20 bucks. Usually 4x8 ft and easy to cut to your desired size. Not saying this is the best solution for your job, but if a cheap reflector is what you want.....


May 09, 2017 at 02:11 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Steve Wylie
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Reflector Size


Apparently this flash does not swivel and I'm not aware of any diffuser, reflector, or other modifier that would either fit on or be reached by this straight-on shoe-mounted flash. I would just press ahead without worrying about mods.


May 09, 2017 at 03:32 PM
rico
Online
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Reflector Size


Light quality from Speedlight bouncing off 15" circular piece of white cardboard that I saved from a frozen pizza. Price: $0. Note the specular:



This was positioned to camera right, and the stray light served nicely as fill. OP could suspend something similar from the ceiling over the camera at 45 with tape. Obviously, this implies a fixed shooting location for your subjects, and a nearby white wall would help.



May 10, 2017 at 12:58 AM
wjlapier
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Reflector Size


Today's the day. Turns out I don't need the reflector. Ceiling is low enough I can bounce off of it. I found a Vello off camera ttl cable that works great. Test pics took this morning my daughter and her assistant were very happy. I guess our setup is much better than previous year, lol. Remember, this is HS and these are kids who are easily excited about their selfies and pics on instagram. I hope to do as well or better.

Thanks again for help and suggestions. I really appreciate it.






May 20, 2017 at 07:45 PM
Michael White
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Reflector Size


Ok I'm not familiar with the Sony gear that you have. If it was me and my rep was on the line I would do several things. See if I could borrow or rent some studio lights with two pocket wizard radios one for the camera and one for the lights two to three lights max. Then learn to set them up in the correct position at the correct height so that will require light stands. Imo one for the big one key and one fill with modifiers for the three umbrellas would be the cheapes and easiest. Then setup in a similar size area and have stand in subjects so you can tweak the setups if you need to get some kite string and measure it off for each light and record the height. The go early in the night of the event and setup use your stand in subjects make sure no shadows behind subjects and that you have the desired shadows on the face. Once your setup is finish and you like the images you get your ready then small tweaking of the key and fill might be required because of different heights of the subjects don't try over three to four subjects at a time with this setup and your experience with artificial lighting. Take tips is you must to pay for the gear rental. You are taking on a lot because to this will probably be one of the few if not the only time the parents and students will do this. Good luck. If you were in my area I would assist you with the gear and setups. I thought it was real easy until I tried it the first time I wasn't happy with my images as I had over looked shadows in the setup chimps and didn't haze time to chimp during the event I had a mobile setup I was using my assistant, my brother that knew not what he was doing except holding a softbox or umbrella on a painters pole I told him wear to stand in reference to the camera and the subject and I had a light i that I controlled the light on the subjects was nice but the background was full of shadows from the subjects and fixtures in the area.


May 22, 2017 at 08:39 AM
Robert Snow
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Reflector Size


One suggestion: Be sure to take at least two extra sets of batteries!!! You don't want to be caught with slow or non-existent recycle times.

Good luck.

bob snow



May 23, 2017 at 01:53 PM
wjlapier
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Reflector Size


Robert Snow wrote:
n
One suggestion: Be sure to take at least two extra sets of batteries!!! You don't want to be caught with slow or non-existent recycle times.

Good luck.

bob snow


Had extra batteries and needed to switch them out.

First off, I'm not a flash or lighting guy. Available light and mostly outdoor shooting my kids doing sports.

This was kinda short notice and I didn't have the time to look for lights to borrow or rent. No budget meant I was spending my own money buying the flash and off camera cord. If I were to do this again, you bet I would have spent more time looking into some other better options.

Better ( bigger ) backdrop. They had about 8x5ft of backdrop which was fine for couples, but larger groups of kids they spilled outside the boundaries of the backdrop. Again, they still loved the photos and said these were much better than last year's. I didn't see last year's so I can't comment.

Thank for your time and suggestions, and well wishes. It worked out fine overall.



May 26, 2017 at 03:54 PM







FM Forums | Lighting & Studio Techniques | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username     Reset password