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Messages - digital paradise

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Have you used it in a live situation yet? Dark venue like a wedding reception or another event.   

Lighting / Re: The Flash Bracket? Do they really matter anymore?
« on: January 11, 2013, 11:03:04 AM »
Let us know what you think when you get it.

Lighting / Re: The Flash Bracket? Do they really matter anymore?
« on: January 10, 2013, 07:51:26 PM »
I was talking to a fellow photographer who works weddings all the time. We were discussing on-camera flash and he spoke of always using a flash bracket for on camera.

I've seen them before, those large hulking contraptions that some photogs carry around on a wedding. Is it really necessary though anymore? I think one of those would slow me down but if the benefits are really worth the hassle i'd might look into it.

Supposedly, it will remove the horrid side-shadow when shot in portrait orientation but why not just use a TTL cable and hold the flash in proper orientation rather than carry a bulky and heavy bracket? Or just bounce?

Dunno, It was interesting enough to want some opinions on brackets.

Even though I still use one if there is no where to bounce my flash guru has stopped using them. Todays high ISO capable cameras allow the photographer to bring in much more ambient light therefore less flash is required which greatly reduces the side shadow issue. Of course keeping people away from walls is also a huge factor.


I read an article where someone just stopped shooting portrait style at events. Again high ISO capable cameras allow for better cropping so this person just made portrait shots out of landscape orientation.


Lighting / Re: The Flash Bracket? Do they really matter anymore?
« on: January 10, 2013, 07:40:10 PM »
I finally bought this bracket. It's small and compact but does the job.


Can I ask why you chose this style? Why lower the flash to the lens rather than raise it?   

The CB Mini brackets are intended primarily for shooting in portrait orientation, IMO, so the flash is above the lens axis. If one will be switching back and forth from landscape to portrait orientation, an adjustable blacket is a much better choice, IMO.  I use one of the RRS ring brackets, personally.

Oh I see. Thanks

Lighting / Re: The Flash Bracket? Do they really matter anymore?
« on: January 10, 2013, 08:19:36 AM »
I finally bought this bracket. It's small and compact but does the job.


Can I ask why you chose this style? Why lower the flash to the lens rather than raise it?   

Lighting / Re: The Flash Bracket? Do they really matter anymore?
« on: January 10, 2013, 08:17:52 AM »
The Wedding Pro Flash Bracket looks promising from Really Right Stuff.

Anyone have this and can provide some feedback?


This is the bracket I use. It is very versatile and gets the flash higher in relationship to the lens. I will always try to bounce first. If I can't then I pullout the bracket and shoot direct. I also will also crank up the ISO.  A very solid product.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Snow tubing with 5D III + 24-70 II
« on: January 01, 2013, 01:13:08 PM »
Good points from @digital about keeping it cold... you definitely want to avoid as much as possible bringing it straight inside.  Putting it into a big zip lock bag works great too... but still put it in the camera bag so it warms up slowly.

Zip lock bags do work well but I gave up them long ago. They are a pain when it is cold. Keeping it in the bag works well - less hassle. 

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Snow tubing with 5D III + 24-70 II
« on: December 31, 2012, 08:39:51 PM »
I'm from Canada and have used my gear in -30 Celsius and colder. Secret is to keep your gear cold until you are done. If I come in for hot chocolate I put out gear into the camera bag (which is outside) and zip it up. When really cold I will wrap it up with my parka as well. If I can leave it outside I will.

When done for the day I follow the above procedure. Now I will wait several hours before I open the bag. You want to warm up your gear slowly. If you expose your gear quickly you get condensation on it. No problem on the outside, it is the inside. Over time this can lead to mold growth particularly with lenses. Of course these are extremes but something to be aware of.

Check this out.


Lighting / Re: Getting started with 600EX-RT, advice?
« on: December 31, 2012, 04:07:03 PM »
Before getting too dependant on the sphere learn why your flash head rotates ;).  After going through Syl's excellent work try this site. Start in the blue column on the right - flash photography techniques.

My flash guru


That is too bad. I doubt Canon will ever do anything about the light pattern and density. That would mean a recall.

Pickup a X‑Rite ColorChecker Passport and make profiles based on the Camera body, lens and lighting conditions.

This is a good starting point... build profiles based on your needs. I think you answered your own question though, there will never be a "setting" that is universal. Only a good point from which you can evaluate and build on based on the situation.

I used to LOVE the CC passport, however with the 5d3 and 1dX the reds ALWAYS have way too much blue, and in daylight the WB is always way too warm. Any idea why? It's crazy annoying.. I can clearly see it makes the colors way more accurate, but not all and I never had this issue with the 5d2...

Once you buld the profile you can edit and save tweaks... also the WB is has to be set seperately. The profile only adjust the color profiles not the WB. Basicaly you are making profiles like Canon's Neutral, Portrait, Faithful, etc... even with the color checker its only a good starting point. The two middle rows of the passport have WB panels for cooler to warmer... The top row is for portraits, the bottom one for landscapes.

First shoot the colorchecker, then pick the WB suitable for your needs, then build the profile... check profile, tweak and resave. This should be done for every camera body+lens+lighting combo. It can be a pain but it has saved my ass on many event shoots where the lighting has been less than perfect and PP would be difficult to say the least. I usually make profiles for lighting situs with the worst being mixed light... tunsten, flourecent and flash is the biggest offender lighting wise.

Actually it's quite essential to use the built in greycard to get a perfect WB BEFORE you shoot the CC. The manual also states that the WB can't be set afterwards. You can correctly warm or cool it, but it still has to be correct when on location. The problem is that the greycard gives me way too warm WB, and when I apply the profile and compare (yes my screen is calibrated, and monitored every 5 minutes) it gives colors that doesn't match the real life colors, and it ALWAYS did with the 5d2, in fact, I can shoot with my girlfriends 5d2 now and get correct wb and colors.

I purchased the passport but don't use it. I find the blues over-saturated. I was testing it on my wife's hand. Here sweater was teal but it came out blue. So did several blue articles on the table. Too blue. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.   

This is one I was really impressed with.


Can you explain which brush you are using to desaturate the skin tones only? Thanks in advance.   

I find that the "camera calibration" settings for my 5diii are best on neutral when shooting scenes with skin tones in them.  You will have to add some contrast back into the scene after changing this but it's worth it.

I find that scenes with skin tones are the most difficult to adjust.  Here is my work flow for wedding photos:

1) Get the skin exposure right with the exposure slider
2) Get the color temp, this is often the hardest one of the bunch!
3) Adjust the white and black sliders while holding down the cntrl key so that whites are pure white and blacks are pure black.  This kind of stretches the DR a bit and adds contrast.
4) I will usually bump the vibrance up to 40-50 and the saturation to 10-15 to start.  Doing this screws up the skin tones so I will go into the color saturation panel and use the dropper to click on the skin and draw down the saturation of just the skin tones.  (I have a couple of presets for this and will tweak the presets for each wedding couple)  This process adds the "pop" to the colors.
5) Add a little bit of contrast.  You can do this with the slider but I find that adjusting the curve to an S curve is more natural.  (just use the pre-programed curves)  The amount of contrast is going to depend on the lighting and on your lens.
6) Tweak the white and black sliders again to get the final effect i'm looking for.
7) Tweak the noise reduction with the picture at 100%

Obviously I jump around these steps and use a little different settings based on lighting but for a "standard" picture this is basically it.  Some might say that colors (particularly reds) become too saturated using these settings so you have to adjust for the scene but most people today are looking for the photos that "pop" rather than a very natural look.

FYI, I also use a 50d for weddings and the settings are totally different for it.  The tones are rendered very differently between the two cameras.  Most of the photos I take with the 50d end up as black and whites.

I used to hate Adobe colours but they have come a long way in the last few years especially (as mentioned) adding camera profiles. When I compare DPP set to faithful and LR to faithful on my screen I find they are pretty close. Adobe is still a little stronger on the yellow but much improved.

For skin tones I use a simple preset. I first make sure I'm on faithful adjust exposure (if needed) and my preset is

Clarity - 10
Vibrance +10
Saturation - 10

I then adjust black do get back that contrast/punch lost in my preset and make slight adjustments on the basic panel as required. Now you do lose a little sharpness but it really smooths out the skin tones and hides minor defects. Depending on how much editing you have to do you can do a little selective sharpening around the eyes, etc but for mass edits it is impractical unless you want to spend all that time. I will do it if really necessary but I find the output sharpening using LR does a pretty good job at the end.

I have seen some work amazing work by people. Not sure what PP software they use but they get the skin tones so natural and creamy looking. I'll try to find a link if can. I'm still trying to figure that one out.       

I am interested in step 4 of your process. I might play with that after my process to add a little more punch to my images if I can get the skin tones back to where they were.

Thanks for the info!                   

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