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first attempt with a strobe, your opinions please

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by jyc860923, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jyc860923/8240777960/" title="PC010628 by jyc860923, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "1024" height="768" alt="PC010628"></a>

    Camera Manufacturer: OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
    Camera Model: E-PL5
    Exposure time : 1/160
    F-Number: 6.3
    ISO speed ratings: 200
    Date taken: 2012:12:01 15:37:51
    Exposure bias value: 0
    Max aperture: F3.5
    Metering mode: Multi-segment (5)
    Flash: Flash fired
    Focal length [mm]: 14
    Exposure mode: Auto (0)
    White balance: Auto (0)
    Focal length (35mm): 28

    Was shooting this with the p14-45 @14mm, using the newly bought Metz 44 AF-1 Digital. I tried with several flash output compensation values, don't remember which one was this but it seems to have worked, a little bit underexposed though. I don't have a RC adapter yet but I think maybe using an off-camera flash fired from another angle could've worked out better. The 1/160s sync speed limit bothers me sometimes, with the flash came with E-PL5 the limit is up to 1/250s. What do you guys think?:rolleyes: 
  2. hankbaskett

    hankbaskett Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    I think you did a pretty good job with what you had available there. "Bare" flash is pretty harsh light though, as you can see from the reflections on the jacket and the boots. Ideally, off camera flash with some kind of diffuser would work better in a situation like this, assuming you're not going for that paparazzi look. Something like this: Strobist: By Request: The LumiQuest Softbox III or a homemade version of it is a pretty nice thing to have if you're looking for a softer, more pleasing portraiture light out of your flash.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Omega

    Omega Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 3, 2012
    I think that to have a bit of even lighting, you should have gone for a little longer, and get the flash diffused or with a bounce card, so it'd be nice, even lighting across the picture. Other than that, nothing a fix in PS can't handle.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    Thanks for both comments, I did have a diffuser but I forgot to use it...
    I guess the reason I forgot to use it is I wasn't quite sure if the flash was going to be strong enough with a diffuser used against the sunlight, will try next time and ask them to change the jacket and boots :p 
  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I agree, the flash is a bit harsh, but the balance against the background light is pretty good. Diffuse the flash and keep the balance and this would work well.
  6. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    In this case I liked the harshness that the flash produced. It make the subjects stand out. It you do not like it you can always use a brush in LR to tone it down.
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I would characterize your photo as using "fill flash." Your subjects are brought forward from the background by the flash illumination. In such situations (for a given flash power) the aperture controls the flash exposure and then the shutter speed is used to control the background exposure.

    If you look at old baseball cards on eBay, you will see many where the baseball player has been lit with flash and the background has been underexposed. Most of them are a little extreme in my view, but YMMV. Here's an example: 1968 Topps Baseball 280 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees Note that the fill has almost completely eliminated the shadows that would normally have been caused by bright sunlight.

    I often use fill flash but very subtly. If I can easily see that fill was used (as in your photo) I will brighten the background or knock down the fill until the effect is less obtrusive. My idea is to make the subject(s) slightly more prominent without poking the viewer in the eye. You might want to play with this idea a bit and to determine your own taste in using fill.

    Re diffusers, IMHO they are slightly better than nothing, but they basically turn a small hotspot into a slightly larger hotspot. In your picture IMHO a diffuser would not make much difference, particularly if you substantially increase the exposure of the background. If you really want to soften the light you'll have to get a stand, an umbrella, and appropriate fittings. Then, as you learn, another copy of the same thing for a second strobe. They are not expensive but are a PITA to carry. Ceiling bounce (indoors) also a good fill technique to learn, though it has its drawbacks.
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