Anyone use off-camera flash to complement their photos?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kingalexthe1st, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. kingalexthe1st macrumors 6502

    kingalexthe1st

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    #1
    Hey guys and girls,

    I've been in to photography for the last year and during that time I've used only the light available at the scene, be it natural, light bulbs or candles. Looking through photos on 500px and the like, and from some reading, it looks like there is a lot of opportunity to create interesting photos using off-camera flash. Does anyone here use OCF? And does anyone have any recommendations for a beginner to start exploring this?

    Thanks all,
    Alex
     
  2. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    #2
    The best place to start by far is www.strobist.com.

    The author, David Hobby, is the guy who pretty much started the new revolution of off-camera lighting about 5 years ago.

    Your first stop should be the "Lighting 101" section. It'll take you through all the basics, including what gear you'll need.

    Cheers
     
  3. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    #3
    I think Joe McNally was using off camera flash a little before Dave Hobby.

    Back in 2011, both Dave and Joe did the Flash Bus Tour, available on DVD or download.
     
  4. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #4
    Folks have been doing indirect lighting for a long time. It's just that off-camera flash capability has become more accessible (i.e. cheaper) in recent years, so it's a bit more commonly seen. Plus with ETTL/iTTL/PTTL an off-camera flash system is a bit more portable than the older qflash / pocketwizard / Red Wing Quick Stand setup. :D

    I'd also recommend the DPreview lighting forum for info - lots of discussion going back many years. Although studio techniques / equipment can tend to differ from what you'll use in the field, there's still a lot of overlap from a conceptual basis. http://www.dpreview.com/forums/1025

    ETA: also check out the Fred Miranda forums: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/44
     
  5. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    #5
    David Hobby doesn't do anything new with his lighting - what he did do was bring it to the masses.

    I first discovered strobist back in 2008 and it blew my mind. Since then, off-camera lighting has exploded (hence me calling it a "new revolution" - apologies for any confusion)

    Sure, lots of others have been doing it longer, but they didn't make it accessible the way Hobby did.

    To the OP - Strobist mainly focusses on using manual flash.
    For similar uses of these manual techniques also check out Zack Arias.
    For info on using off-camera TTL flashes check out any of Joe McNally's books.
    And for tips on using on-camera flash as if it's an off-camera light check out Neil Van Niekerk.

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    Yes, of course. Anyone who does studio type photography would be using off camera lighting.

    My tip for a beginner, or even a pro is to by "continuous" lights and not "flash". Even those way-cheap soft box setups on Amazon that use CFLs can do really good work. I use them for everything now and I do own an large power pack strobe system with three heads. What's changed is that now I can shoot at ISO 400 and get good results. In the old days it was ISO 160 film for people and slower for products so more light was needed. OK I use "flash" is the distance is great (over about 6 feet) but you really the lights to be that far.

    These or something like them are so cheap now. They are not very portable and don't work outdoors but for every indoor shot. The build quality is not really high-end but they are worth the money.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TY7XJA/ref=s9_simh_gw_p421_d0_i7?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0SMGJ1H7SJ6YCP9W24NW&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

    The advantage of continues lights is you can SEE the effect before you take the pictures. My studio strobe system has modeling lights. these have 100W light bulbs inside the heads near the strobe tubes. Some are called "moonlights" because all the electronics is inside the head. Both kinds allow you to see the effect beforehand. But the CFL powered ones are dirt cheap.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    Yes. The very first photographs made over 100 years ago were ALL made with off camera lighting. The idea is older than photography itself as no painter would think of using a light source near his location.

    Only "recently" has it even been possible to mount a strobe light on a camera.
     
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

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    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #8
  9. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #9
    I'm not familiar with any of these, so no idea if they overlap the following thought:

    IMHO best practice is to understand the basics of light in general first, and then understand the tools. In today's world of step-by-step recipes it's easy to get stuck when you hit a situation that doesn't match any of the canned scenarios.

    I'd recommend starting with the book Light Science and Magic - it may be a bit academic but worth the time investment. (disclaimer; I have the 2nd edition, haven't looked at the more recent ones)
     
  10. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    #10
    Ahhhh, that guy! I'm having a hipster moment here. I knew David Hobby before he was cool. :D

    Living not far from Baltimore/DC and starting the DC/Baltimore/NoVa Strobist group, which is now pretty much defunct, on Flickr has allowed for some cool things. I got to shoot at a meet up where DH attended. This is when he was still rocking the D70 as his main camera. I also got to shoot with Don Gianatti where DH just showed up out of the blue with a set of pre-release Radio Poppers that we got to play with in the ghetto of Baltimore. Fun times. :D
     
  11. kingalexthe1st thread starter macrumors 6502

    kingalexthe1st

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    #11
    Thanks for all the info, everyone! I really appreciate it.

    Alex
     

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