Speedlight tutorials

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My TT600 arrived and I took it to my daughter's house Boxing Day for its first outing - it didn't go well... It wouldn't be that hard I thought, after all I'm in control at my home studio with manual strobes, just set up and take a reading, usually everything works out just as planned, but I'm in a controlled environment with grey walls and a white ceiling, not outside.

I mounted it in a large umbrella octabox and tried a few manual settings, took a few readings and thought I would be good to go - I was rubbish, so were the results, it was a shame as one of my grandsons had flown in for Christmas and my daughter wanted a pic of her four kids together.

My trigger is somewhere between China and the UK I guess, so today I decided not to wing it (very dangerous when you're as thick as the proverbial) and hunt down vids on Youtube, which was a minefield of mediocrity. With the little info I did get, I mounted the speedlight on the hot shoe and fired away. I picked up the operation of the thing quickly enough and would be happy using it in manual mode, OK I needed a few test shots, but all in all it went well.

I've been looking for vids and info using the Godox HSS, there was one vid shot in Shanghai which was informative, but I would appreciate links to any info out there. :)
 

inkista

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Most of us learned to use speedlights off-camera via the Strobist website. Starting at Lighting 101 might be worthwhile. If you have access to Lynda.com, David Hobby also has a series of lighting with flash courses there, if video works better for you.

I'm not 100% clear on what it is you need help with? If you've already mastered studio lighting with multiple strobes, then going Strobist with a TT600 shouldn't be that hard, it's just a lot smaller, less powerful, and more liable to give you a hotspot if you're trying to fill a large modifier (fresnel panels will do that). But otherwise, all the principles are the same.

And HSS is a power-suck (expect to lose 2 stops or more when you go above sync speed), and will only work with the TT600 via the built-in radio trigger. You can't do it in optical slave mode, or via the sync port (those are manual-only sync methods). To set it, on an XPro-O transmitter, you use the SYNC soft button on the transmitter. It's pretty easy.
 

ac12

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Old saying, don't use something new, as you need time to learn how to use it.

I bounce the speed light a LOT, walls (if not colored) and ceiling.
The bounced light is a lot softer than direct flash, and subject distance is less of an issue.
One trick that I learned is to swivel the head backwards and hit the white wall behind you, to turn it into a BIG soft light source.

I wish I took my speedlight with me to the family XMas party. I did not like the results of the popup flash.
 
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I'm not 100% clear on what it is you need help with? If you've already mastered studio lighting with multiple strobes, then going Strobist with a TT600 shouldn't be that hard, it's just a lot smaller, less powerful, and more liable to give you a hotspot if you're trying to fill a large modifier (fresnel panels will do that). But otherwise, all the principles are the same.
Thanks very much for your informative reply.

I thought the principles should be the same, but I got just dark backgrounds, it looked like a night shot. The ambient light was poor but steady. I was after a bit of fill at 2.8, so the background was out of focus. Cranking up the ISO just produced blown faces. I resorted to auto ISO, no flash and that came in at 1000 or 1250, which was very noisy. I was using EM-5ll and a 12-40 pro lens. My New Year resolution is to try to get more competent using speedlights, I have a host of portable modifiers.
 
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Old saying, don't use something new, as you need time to learn how to use it.

I bounce the speed light a LOT, walls (if not colored) and ceiling.
The bounced light is a lot softer than direct flash, and subject distance is less of an issue.
One trick that I learned is to swivel the head backwards and hit the white wall behind you, to turn it into a BIG soft light source.

I wish I took my speedlight with me to the family XMas party. I did not like the results of the popup flash.
On reflection (not a pun) a white sheet hung would have done the job. I did rush it a bit, as trying to keep three young adults away from a party and appeasing a seven year old at the same time takes some doing....and I didn't. :) Maybe next time.
 

Repp

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How do you normally go about setting up and adjusting/metering everything? For a shot where you want to keep some of the ambient light (environmental portraiture) start with no flash to dial in your settings that you want for everything but the illuminated part, lock it down, and then add flash to bring out/highlight what you want.
 
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How do you normally go about setting up and adjusting/metering everything?
If I'm at home in my small studio, I set up a 1,2 or 3 light system. Then fire the synced stobes with a trigger and take readings with a Sekonic 308, usually adjusting the two lights manually, one at f8 and the other at 5.6, and maybe with a backlight of some sort. I often use just one light (quite often a beauty dish) for single head and shoulder stuff.
 

Repp

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Ok, you’re going to have to think of location/environmental lighting a bit different. The flash/strobe will be the last thing you add to your exposure. Using just the normal aperture/shutter speed/iso settings, get the environment exposed the way you want within th confines/limitations of your lights (flash sync speed of 1/250 if no hss or etc). Once you have that looking the way you want, bring in a light and adjust it’s power to light your subject as needed.

Want the background brighter? Drop the shutter speed, up the iso, or open the aperture. Want it darker? Raise the shutter speed or aperture, or use a nd filter or hss. Then all you need to do is add a light or 3 and adjust them as needed.
 

PakkyT

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Want the background brighter? Drop the shutter speed, up the iso, or open the aperture. Want it darker? Raise the shutter speed or aperture, or use a nd filter or hss. Then all you need to do is add a light or 3 and adjust them as needed.
Right. The thing for @StephenB to keep in mind is the length of time the flashes are on when fired are typically MUCH faster than your exposure time. So it doesn't matter if your shutter is 1/60, 1/120, or 1/250 if your flash burst is only 1/1000 of a second long. The light is gone long before your shutter closes. So the aperture size dictates how much of the flash light gets through to the sensor, not time.

So you dial in your aperture to get your subject exposure correct with the flash settings or as you said you decide on your aperture then dial your flashes' power in so the subject is exposed how you want for that aperture. Shutter speed doesn't really matter for your main subject but instead effects the background. So he can dial the shutter speed all over the map to go from super bright background to subject looks like they are in a cave. But so long as the aperture, flashes' power settings, and flash/camera/subject positions all remain static, your flash exposure of your subject will remain static and you can change background brightness at will.
 
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Right. The thing for @StephenB to keep in mind is the length of time the flashes are on when fired are typically MUCH faster than your exposure time. So it doesn't matter if your shutter is 1/60, 1/120, or 1/250 if your flash burst is only 1/1000 of a second long. The light is gone long before your shutter closes. So the aperture size dictates how much of the flash light gets through to the sensor, not time.

So you dial in your aperture to get your subject exposure correct with the flash settings or as you said you decide on your aperture then dial your flashes' power in so the subject is exposed how you want for that aperture. Shutter speed doesn't really matter for your main subject but instead effects the background. So he can dial the shutter speed all over the map to go from super bright background to subject looks like they are in a cave. But so long as the aperture, flashes' power settings, and flash/camera/subject positions all remain static, your flash exposure of your subject will remain static and you can change background brightness at will.
Great reply, thanks. I've since done a bit of research and found this Craig Beckta vid which shows what you're saying, for anyone interested it's a good six minute watch.
 

speedy

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I'm no expert, I want quick & easy, so this is how I do it.
Set flash to Auto TTL. Turn off flash. This is quite important, as it lets you see the preview of what your camera settings will give you. With the flash on, you lose that.
Pop camera into Manual mode. For maximum effect, use as large an aperture as you can. As explained above. This is rather self explanatory, as low light levels are basically what you need the flash for anyway, so you're going to be using large aperture anyway. Don't be scared of cranking your ISO up a bit, the flash will work as a subject noise removal tool.
Turn flash on. Try & bounce it whenever possible. Walls, ceilings, whatever.
Take shot. Happiness ensues. If the background is too dark, open up your aperture, or slow your shutter speed if possible. Or bump ISO a little bit. If your subject looks a bit bright, turn the flash compensation down a bit.
I have the 2 front buttons (near the lens release button on my G9) set for this. One enables/disables flash, the other is flash comp. It works an absolute treat. Can do it all with the camera to my eye. Fast, effective, & consistent

PS All the experts say nice things about Canon flash implementation. I think m43/Panasonic is better myself.
 
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