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Flash advice: nightmare scenario - the Wedding disco!

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by arch stanton, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    Hi everybody, I'd love to get some advice on flash technique/settings in about the worst situation possible, a wedding disco! First of all, I'm *not* a pro (obviously!) and this wasn't paid work, I just like to take photos of my friends and want to improve.

    The example image is with the 14mm f2.5 on my E-PL3 and using the clip-on flash (bounce flash is for later!).
    Please stick to settings for this setup, I'm after what I'm doing wrong in the e-pl3 settings! :smile:

    The flash has fired as I wanted, but I couldn't at the time figure out how to get the base exposure longer - I think I was shooting in P mode and wasn't getting the right effect with EV compensation.

    I managed to pull back reasonable photos from the ORFs in lightroom - but getting the exposure better balanced would really have helped at the time.

    I'm after settings/choices to reduce the flash effect, I don't mind blurring the background to have a bit more light on it - but I'm not sure how to acheive this in a reasonably automated way rather than flipping to Tv and manually setting a flash power.

    Basic jpeg taken from the orf with no changes (ignore the EXIF here, it's not all correct):
    E-PL3    ---    14mm    f/2.5    1/60s    ISO Array

    Lightroom'd version of the orf I published to friends:
    E-PL3    LUMIX G 14/F2.5    14mm    f/2.5    1/60s    ISO 200
  2. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Without improving your lighting tools this is pretty good. To get a significant improvement you'll need to get the flash off camera or bounce.

    With what you have the only way to improve is to take control. And that means M. Not P,A or Tv. Set an aperture you want to use (say f4) and then use shutter speed (and to an extent ISO) to adjust your background exposure. The foreground exposure will be controlled by the flash and it's output will depend on the aperture you set.

    • Like Like x 1
  3. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    I don't know if the option is available for your camera and flash combo, but use 2nd curtain sync if it's available.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    FL-50R. ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  5. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    I'm with Ned. I would get an fl36/50 and a omni bounce or a small softbox, and shoot manual for camera and flash.
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    And here's one in the Buy/Sell forum. :)  https://www.mu-43.com/f17/olympus-fl-36r-flash-mint-27675/

    The clip-on flash is only good for allowing you to use the Olympus wireless Remote Commander system to trigger R-series wireless units, or to trigger dumb slaves and studio strobes. Don't bother trying to use it for actual light. :) 
    • Like Like x 1
  7. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    Thanks folks, I only just started using flash as I've always been disappointed with it before. Long-term I'll grab a decent flash or two, thanks for the advice Ned!

    Short-term it looks like a journey into M mode...I was wondering if there was combination of Program EV and flash EV that would give me more background light? I tried slow-sync flash but shutter speed went to 1 second, a nice effect but too blurred.

    One thing I forget with flash is once you've set shutter/aperture they won't change a lot as long as you're providing the light source. Or does it vary a lot depending on subject distance? E.g. in the room above (almost no available light), once you're dialled in would you expect to have to move settings a lot (in EV terms) or just minor tweaks?
  8. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    I'd forgotten this, seen it mentioned before with putting car light trails in the right place. Guessing it's a similar effect for moving people, a faded blur leading up to the crisper flash image. I'll hunt down that setting, think I've seen it in the e-pl3 menus, thanks!
  9. YouDidntDidYou

    YouDidntDidYou Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 18, 2012
    some ideas

    with your E-PL3 I would of done a number of test shots before they started dancing,(check with the DJ what the ambient light will be like).

    I use a mixture of no flash and various types of flash during the first dance and later dances.

    2nd curtain flash can be done either manual or shutter priority mode (you might need to up the ISO) I tend to start with 1/8 of a second and work my way up the 0.5 second depending on the lens used

    example wedding first dance in Darlington | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    or you can use fast glass or very wide glass (preferably 8mm fisheye) and shoot ambient
    example Wedding first dance | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    you can also use mounted video lights or direct flash on 1st synch

    useful group Flickr: Wedding first dance
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Timos L

    Timos L Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    Athens, Greece
    Timos :)
    As said above, you must use the M mode and do some tests before.

    I like to move the camera and create light effects. I have some shots with my LX-5 (altough not wedding ones, but similar light). Check the exifs if you like.



    View attachment 211381

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