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Author Topic: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?  (Read 9250 times)

RLPhoto

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Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« on: September 10, 2012, 03:43:43 PM »
I can never get good direct flash, how do you get decent images like the one below.

http://photos.posh24.com/p/737011/z/david_letterman/the_most_memorable_celebrity_quotes_from_2009.jpg

I like off-camera and very competent in that, but direct flash I never could quite grasp it.

Tips?

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Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« on: September 10, 2012, 03:43:43 PM »

brianleighty

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2012, 05:27:37 PM »
I can never get good direct flash, how do you get decent images like the one below.

http://photos.posh24.com/p/737011/z/david_letterman/the_most_memorable_celebrity_quotes_from_2009.jpg

I like off-camera and very competent in that, but direct flash I never could quite grasp it.

Tips?

Without seeing the EXIF data and what sort of like it was taken in you don't know. My guess just looking at it is that's not a full on flash for the light source but more for the dot in the eye and removing some shadows. That's just my guess though.
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Ryan708

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012, 06:13:38 PM »
gotta have one of those plastic thingies that cost 70 bucks and resemble a tupperware container a-top of the flash! Wish I invented those things! But yeah, Im surprised you bow down to that shot, as I bow down to the work I have seen you post!
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Ryan708

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012, 06:23:15 PM »
The catchlight in her eye is to the left a bit, (makes sence with a portrait shot, tipping the camera and all) so maybe that slight sidelighting helps. She seems to be a decent bit away from the background too, makes her pop a little more. Plus she is a celeb, in full make-up 24/7 :-P
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wickidwombat

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2012, 06:29:34 PM »
I can never get good direct flash, how do you get decent images like the one below.

http://photos.posh24.com/p/737011/z/david_letterman/the_most_memorable_celebrity_quotes_from_2009.jpg

I like off-camera and very competent in that, but direct flash I never could quite grasp it.

Tips?


that shot is with a ring flash notice the lack of shadow on the face so its very bright and alive also look closely at the catch lights in the eyes, i have a rayflash that pops onto the 580 ex or exii to do this its light and portable and gives good results. a ring flash gives a much more different look to a straight up hotshoe mounted blast
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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2012, 06:41:16 PM »
I can never get good direct flash, how do you get decent images like the one below.

http://photos.posh24.com/p/737011/z/david_letterman/the_most_memorable_celebrity_quotes_from_2009.jpg

I like off-camera and very competent in that, but direct flash I never could quite grasp it.

Tips?


that shot is with a ring flash notice the lack of shadow on the face so its very bright and alive also look closely at the catch lights in the eyes, i have a rayflash that pops onto the 580 ex or exii to do this its light and portable and gives good results. a ring flash gives a much more different look to a straight up hotshoe mounted blast


Neat. I'll have to order one soon but, Still...

Any tips on direct flash? Like this one looks to be a speedlite straight on to me.

http://photos.posh24.com/p/737009/z/david_letterman/the_most_memorable_celebrity_quotes_from_2009.jpg

I was recently thrust into a situation with no other option but direct flash, and it wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it. I'm not implying these are the greatest photos but they're passable.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 06:44:06 PM by RLPhoto »

CharlieB

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2012, 06:57:45 PM »
The distance is longer than you might expect, the lens longer than you might expect.  The perspective is very "flat" or "compressed".   Not sure if its a "ring" flash, but the flash is almost on axis, very very close to the axis of the lens, just barely above it.  There was no other modifier used.  The under-chin shadow is abrupt... hence no modifier.

Truth be told, some of the nicest direct flash ever, was with that awkward contraption on the old "283", which let you mount a Kodak grey card's white side as a soft reflector.   It worked.

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2012, 06:57:45 PM »

studio1972

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2012, 07:25:32 PM »
I think these shots just look good because the subjects are attractive people. I doubt any diffuser was used.
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wickidwombat

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2012, 07:39:43 PM »
well the second person is not attractive :P

another thing to be super aware of when shooting flash at events is the flash balance with ambient
if you balance your flash well then you will get very nice results if the exposure is not balanced the flash will look far too harsh  ie bunny in headlights (if this happens then check the flash is in ettl and dial in some negative flash exposure compensation on the flash itself) or the flash looks too weak if this happens in ettl dial in some + flash exposure compensation.

rule of thumb if the ambient is darker than the subject dial in negative flash
if the ambient is brighter than the subject dial in positive flash

just practice with a subject set ettl and in a range of light conditions take a series of shots from -3 to +3 and see the results once you understand this principle its pretty easy
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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2012, 07:50:06 PM »
I've also struggled with this. I think metering and exposure are critical to getting good shots with on-camera flash. Whenever possible, I think on-camera flash works best when used to fill in shadows and not as the primary light source. The only exception is when you can bounce the light off nearby surfaces and diffuse the light.

With regard to flash toys, I don't think there is a silver bullet. All of the various manipulators seem to have their pluses and minuses. I've used cards, diffusers, bouncers, etc. Like most photographers, I have a flash toy graveyard.

I've also looked at ringflashes, but I feel like they are one-trick ponies (and the good ones are expensive). I wouldn't even call a ringflash "on-camera" because it's about as cumbersome as a tripod, imo.

wickidwombat

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2012, 07:57:57 PM »
I've also struggled with this. I think metering and exposure are critical to getting good shots with on-camera flash. Whenever possible, I think on-camera flash works best when used to fill in shadows and not as the primary light source. The only exception is when you can bounce the light off nearby surfaces and diffuse the light.

With regard to flash toys, I don't think there is a silver bullet. All of the various manipulators seem to have their pluses and minuses. I've used cards, diffusers, bouncers, etc. Like most photographers, I have a flash toy graveyard.

I've also looked at ringflashes, but I feel like they are one-trick ponies (and the good ones are expensive). I wouldn't even call a ringflash "on-camera" because it's about as cumbersome as a tripod, imo.

the rayflash is seriously good, its light takes 2 second to take off and put on if you want to change to bounce flash, i just keep it stashed in my shoulder bag so its on hand should i want to go there. Not the best light to hit older people with though. there are lots of cheap copies around which i have not tried however i can recommend the genuine ray flash i'll dig out some pics
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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2012, 08:19:20 PM »
@wickidwombat I looked at both the Rayflash and the Orbis ring flash. Those two were the most tempting for me. But I felt like they would probably find their way to the graveyard. I don't shoot glamour shots for a living, so I have the option not to walk around town with a giant piece of plastic around my camera. I'm much more inclined to just wait until I have the money for some real studio gear like Alien Bees. For me, a ring flash is studio gear.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 08:22:34 PM by dirtcastle »

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2012, 09:05:30 PM »
Definitely not a ring flash.  If it was the catchlight in the eye would be a circle like a white doughnut.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 09:08:56 PM by TexasBadger »
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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2012, 09:05:30 PM »

dirtcastle

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2012, 09:54:08 PM »
Sorry, a bit off-topic...

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http://www.paulcbuff.com/abr800.php

CharlieB

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 10:36:10 PM »
Sorry, a bit off-topic...

Alien Bees Ringflash
http://www.paulcbuff.com/abr800.php


Actually.... a lot of ringflashes let you fire half/half at any variability from full to various ratios per side.  If the photographer had one side turned off... the catchlight might just look like that.

And... there are some "macro lights" that are not even round, but a pair of rectangles mounted very close to the lens axis.

OR... it might be a rig that the photographer came up with himself (that NEVER happens right?!!!?).

Situation is the same - its a flash mounted very close to the lens axis, being half a ring, one rectangle, whatever....

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Re: Direct Flash - How to make it useful?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 10:36:10 PM »