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Author Topic: Color temp of pictures using flash  (Read 5153 times)

Caps18

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Color temp of pictures using flash
« on: December 26, 2011, 12:16:48 AM »
I am trying to practice using my flash some more.  I use manual settings, and the exposure meter seems to be pretty worthless when using a flash.

I might be able to post some pictures if it helps, but what is happening is that if I have a quick shutter speed, the pictures show up white.  If I slow the shutter speed down and still use the flash, it matches the actual room color (a yellowish soft white light).

I think I changed the white balance from Auto to Flash, but that didn't seem to make a difference if I remember right.

And I don't understand most of the settings anymore on the back of my flash.

Or do people use a yellow filter covering the flash?  Do you have any other tips?
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Color temp of pictures using flash
« on: December 26, 2011, 12:16:48 AM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2011, 12:28:49 AM »
What camera and which flash are you using?  Are you using it in manual? 

Without knowing what camera or flash you are using, its pretty difficult to help.

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2011, 04:36:48 AM »
I am trying to practice using my flash some more.  I use manual settings, and the exposure meter seems to be pretty worthless when using a flash.

It seems that you've not configured your camera and flash properly. To identify the problem we need all information about your set-up (e.g. camera / flash configuration, where flash is located, sample photos).

The simplest thing you could do with your flash at home is to set your camera to Manual mode and set shutter speed / aperture / ISO to get -2 value in your exposure. Then switch your flash to E-TTL mode and turn your flash head to look at your ceiling.





That's all for the set-up, make photos:



You can read about this technique here.



Here's a good example where external flash was used:



It was triggered wirelessly and some kind of diffuser was set in front of the flash head.



P.S. Color temperature is not something you can easily control on your camera, because your flash outputs light of different temperature compared to ambient light. If your problem is localized in color, you should think about color gels for your flash.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 05:24:25 AM by nightbreath »
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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2011, 06:08:48 AM »

Here's a good example where external flash was used:



It was triggered wirelessly and some kind of diffuser was set in front of the flash head.


Im sorry to be out of topic here, but what strobe technique is this? This is amazing! I cant think of what the WB would be if what the flash fires is blue and the natural light is orange  :o

Caps18

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2011, 06:10:26 AM »
What camera and which flash are you using?  Are you using it in manual? 

Without knowing what camera or flash you are using, its pretty difficult to help.

That is pretty important info isn't it?  My camera is sitting here right next to me, don't you guys see it?  ;)

It is a 5Dm2 and a 580EX II flash.  I only use it in manual because the settings seem to be way off it left in automatic.  I do shoot 90% in manual, so it isn't much of a problem besides just guessing, but the camera tries to set the exposure as if there is no flash when in auto.  Let's say that it will want to set it for 0.3" and f/2.8 at ISO100, where with the flash, I can set it for 1/100 and f/7.1 at ISO100.  The thing I learned last night was that I can leave it at 0.3" but set it to f/7.1 and the color temperature of the photo looks a lot better.

The camera does seem to take good pictures with the proper exposure for whatever settings I use that are close to what they should be.

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danski0224

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2011, 06:24:49 AM »
Im sorry to be out of topic here, but what strobe technique is this? This is amazing! I cant think of what the WB would be if what the flash fires is blue and the natural light is orange  :o

Assuming you are referring to the light fixtures in the photo... those are just different bulbs (lamps) in the fixtures. Possibly sodium vapor (reddish) and mercury vapor (blueish) lamps. The "daylight" flourescent lamps also give off a blue color.

The couple in front of the tree appears to have been illuminated with the camera flash.

Probably a long exposure for the scene and a strobe to illuminate the couple for proper exposure.
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Freshprince08

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2011, 06:25:53 AM »
What camera and which flash are you using?  Are you using it in manual? 

Without knowing what camera or flash you are using, its pretty difficult to help.

That is pretty important info isn't it?  My camera is sitting here right next to me, don't you guys see it?  ;)

It is a 5Dm2 and a 580EX II flash.  I only use it in manual because the settings seem to be way off it left in automatic.  I do shoot 90% in manual, so it isn't much of a problem besides just guessing, but the camera tries to set the exposure as if there is no flash when in auto.  Let's say that it will want to set it for 0.3" and f/2.8 at ISO100, where with the flash, I can set it for 1/100 and f/7.1 at ISO100.  The thing I learned last night was that I can leave it at 0.3" but set it to f/7.1 and the color temperature of the photo looks a lot better.

The camera does seem to take good pictures with the proper exposure for whatever settings I use that are close to what they should be.

I think the thing to remember is that you can set the camera to meter however you like (i.e. in Manual if you desire) and the flash at it's default ETTL, and the system will combine to try and give a balanced exposure. The change in shutter speed above (from 1/100 to 0.3") is allowing a lot more of the ambient light to expose, resulting in the yellowish tone you mention, which I assume is from tungsten lights. White balance is a subjective choice and can be tweaked in post (assuming you shoot RAW), so this yellow cast may or may not be desirable. When you shoot at 1/100, a lot less of the ambient light is affecting the shot, and the predominant light source is the flash (which appears white with your AWB settings).

Flashes are daylight balanced (approx. 5400K off the top of my head), whereas tungsten is much warmer. If you want to balance the two, use CTO gel on the flash head, set your white balance to tungsten and then the two light sources should match.

I use AV and ETTL together usually and it's normally ok, however for more control I'll often shoot with the camera on Manual and leave the flash on ETTL, and use flash exposure compensation if required. This allows you to balance ambient and flash light as desired.

Masses of information here: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101-balancing-flash-and.html

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2011, 06:25:53 AM »

Caps18

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2011, 06:31:40 AM »

Im sorry to be out of topic here, but what strobe technique is this? This is amazing! I cant think of what the WB would be if what the flash fires is blue and the natural light is orange  :o

It is a great photo.  It looks like there is a sodium vapor light putting off the orange light.  Then the other lights have a blueish type of mercury vapor or somekind of bulb in them that produces a bluer color than normal mercury vapor lights.  Or maybe some post processing was done to add the color?

The couple it seems has a spot flash on them I would guess.
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nightbreath

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2011, 08:37:01 AM »
Im sorry to be out of topic here, but what strobe technique is this? This is amazing! I cant think of what the WB would be if what the flash fires is blue and the natural light is orange  :o

The photo is not mine, but I guess they used external flash behind the tree (got it from shadows' direction) and made the shot with a relatively long exposure (such as 0.3 seconds). Long shot retrieved ambient light of 2 different color temperatures (cold and warm) and then flash added details in the middle with its own temperature (flash was triggered with the second curtain, added a moderate color temperature). I see a lot of post in the shot though (colors / contrast correction, tilt-shift simulation). This photo may be combination of several different shots.
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RC

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2011, 09:27:13 AM »
Do yourself a big favor, the best $30 you will ever spend and pick up a copy of Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites.  Not only is it geared for Canon's flash system but it addresses  your questions precisely: 

- Controlling exposure for ambient and flash lighting separately
- balancing color temperature so your ambient and flash are naturally blended
- manual flash, when, why, and how
- every single function and setting explained for 580s, 550s, 430s, ST-E2, and even the 270
- gelling speedlights


http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324908510&sr=8-1

I don't mean to keep plugging this book on CR (I think this is the 3rd time), but trust me, the book is really that good!   BTW it also comes in a Kindle version, but don't buy the Kindle instead of the printed copy--too many photos, charts and illustrations.  Buy it in addition if you need a portable copy.

Meh

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2011, 09:49:48 AM »
What camera and which flash are you using?  Are you using it in manual? 

Without knowing what camera or flash you are using, its pretty difficult to help.

That is pretty important info isn't it?  My camera is sitting here right next to me, don't you guys see it?  ;)

It is a 5Dm2 and a 580EX II flash.  I only use it in manual because the settings seem to be way off it left in automatic.  I do shoot 90% in manual, so it isn't much of a problem besides just guessing, but the camera tries to set the exposure as if there is no flash when in auto.  Let's say that it will want to set it for 0.3" and f/2.8 at ISO100, where with the flash, I can set it for 1/100 and f/7.1 at ISO100.  The thing I learned last night was that I can leave it at 0.3" but set it to f/7.1 and the color temperature of the photo looks a lot better.

The camera does seem to take good pictures with the proper exposure for whatever settings I use that are close to what they should be.

@Caps18 the simplest explanation for your troubles and inconsistent results may be that you don't have the flash set to ETTL mode.    All the comments from others are correct... when using flash, the exposure is a combination of the ambient exposure (as if you had no flash) and the flash exposure.  Think of it like two separate exposures superimposed on each other.   

The camera's light meter is only telling you about ambient exposure.   As @nightbreath said, if you set your aperture/shutter/ISO to give you a -2 exposure then the ambient exposure will be fairly dark.  In ETTL mode the flash power will be set by the camera to add enough light to get a correct exposure.  In this case, most of the light contributing to the final exposure is from the flash and your white balance will be good (if you set it to flash).

Conversely, if you wanted more exposure from the ambient light, you might increase your exposure, by choosing a longer shutter speed for example.  The camera will decrease the flash power a bit (I believe) to still give a correct exposure.  In this case though, the white balance might be a bit complex.  If there are tungsten lights, you will see more of the yellow color cast.  This sometimes looks good for example in the photo nightbreath posted.   In other cases, if there are fluorescent lights in the room, you might not like the green color cast.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 09:52:13 AM by Meh »

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2011, 01:12:28 PM »
What camera and which flash are you using?  Are you using it in manual? 

Without knowing what camera or flash you are using, its pretty difficult to help.

That is pretty important info isn't it?  My camera is sitting here right next to me, don't you guys see it?  ;)

It is a 5Dm2 and a 580EX II flash.  I only use it in manual because the settings seem to be way off it left in automatic.  I do shoot 90% in manual, so it isn't much of a problem besides just guessing, but the camera tries to set the exposure as if there is no flash when in auto.  Let's say that it will want to set it for 0.3" and f/2.8 at ISO100, where with the flash, I can set it for 1/100 and f/7.1 at ISO100.  The thing I learned last night was that I can leave it at 0.3" but set it to f/7.1 and the color temperature of the photo looks a lot better.

The camera does seem to take good pictures with the proper exposure for whatever settings I use that are close to what they should be.

Here is a technique you might want to try, let the flash set the lighting level.

http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2011/speedlite580exii_article.shtml

Freshprince08

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2011, 07:10:45 PM »
Do yourself a big favor, the best $30 you will ever spend and pick up a copy of Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites.  Not only is it geared for Canon's flash system but it addresses  your questions precisely: 

- Controlling exposure for ambient and flash lighting separately
- balancing color temperature so your ambient and flash are naturally blended
- manual flash, when, why, and how
- every single function and setting explained for 580s, 550s, 430s, ST-E2, and even the 270
- gelling speedlights


http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324908510&sr=8-1

I don't mean to keep plugging this book on CR (I think this is the 3rd time), but trust me, the book is really that good!   BTW it also comes in a Kindle version, but don't buy the Kindle instead of the printed copy--too many photos, charts and illustrations.  Buy it in addition if you need a portable copy.

Agree with this - very informative read.
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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2011, 07:10:45 PM »

Mendolera

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2011, 08:14:31 PM »
Do yourself a big favor, the best $30 you will ever spend and pick up a copy of Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites.  Not only is it geared for Canon's flash system but it addresses  your questions precisely: 

- Controlling exposure for ambient and flash lighting separately
- balancing color temperature so your ambient and flash are naturally blended
- manual flash, when, why, and how
- every single function and setting explained for 580s, 550s, 430s, ST-E2, and even the 270
- gelling speedlights


http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324908510&sr=8-1

I don't mean to keep plugging this book on CR (I think this is the 3rd time), but trust me, the book is really that good!   BTW it also comes in a Kindle version, but don't buy the Kindle instead of the printed copy--too many photos, charts and illustrations.  Buy it in addition if you need a portable copy.

Agree with this - very informative read.

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bigblue1ca

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 10:42:49 PM »
Do yourself a big favor, the best $30 you will ever spend and pick up a copy of Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites.

http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324908510&sr=8-1

+1 Great book, very informative.

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Re: Color temp of pictures using flash
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 10:42:49 PM »