Fortnightly Challenge December 29-January 11 : Flash Effects/Flash Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Designer Dale, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #1
    Welcome to the Fortnightly Challenge

    The purpose of the Challenge is to provide a venue where photographers of all skill levels can work to improve their craft by shooting along a common topic for two weeks - one fortnight. Helpful comments and critiques are key to reaching the intended goal - better photography.

    About Your Photos

    Shoot for the topics listed on the schedule. You may shoot for upcoming topics, but post photos only to their matching Challenges. Try to avoid using photos from your archives just for participations sake. If you really want input on an older image that fits the Challenge topic, please let us see it.

    You may post as many photos as you wish for any one Challenge.

    About Your Comments

    Comments are critical to the success of the Challenge. If you post a photo, add a comment to another one. If you are only viewing, please add your comments, too.

    Comments should be meaningful, something that the photographer can use to improve his/her work. Explain why you like or dislike a photo. Spend a moment looking at a photo before commenting on it. Try to answer the question "I like this photo because…" It really helps the photographer.

    Note: This is a special edition of the Fortnightly Challenge. Topics based on accepted photography guidelines will be supplemented with user suggested topics. For more on the basic rules of good photography look at this link:

    10 Top Photography Composition Rules


    The Topic Schedule

    • Leading Lines December 15 - 28
    • Flash Effects/Flash Photography December 29 - January 11 (2012)
    • Symmetry and Patterns January 12 - 25

    Dale
     
  2. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #2
    I have been looking forward to this topic as whilst I enjoy photography I am mainly taking pictures of friends as I enjoy people shots. Unfortunately this hasn't given me a huge amount of opportunity to post in some of the other challenges as my photo's are generally about expression and the people rather than solely composition etc. although I try not to neglect the traditional photographic principles.

    When I visit friends houses I always take my flashgun which has proved to be a valuable purchase to allow more creativity with my shots.

    I hope you don't mind that I post a few photo's, they were taken with the challenge in mind (well to the point where it gave me an excuse to boss my friends around and experiment some more with my flash)

    The colours may be a bit punchy and the vignette's a bit strong for some people's liking but you're only young once so let me go through my pretending to be arty stage!

    Feel free to comment on anything I post and I look forward to seeing what you have to say!

    The first two are attempts at flattering lighting for some of my friends. I have an instagram account on my iPhone and one of my photo's of a friend in a similar style seemed to go down really well so I am trying to get a collection together all of similar poses. These were created by utilising ambient light but also by bouncing the flash off the plain white ceiling.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This is similar to about buy trying for a more "key light feel" to allow some shadow onto the face. You can see the flash in the eyes and see that it is clearly coming from the camera right. I love the IR AF from the flashgun as it's much more trustworthy than the camera body especially in low light!

    [​IMG]

    Although it looks posed it was completey spontaneous! The grate is a dog grate that we quickly moved. I bounced the flash off the ceiling and slowed the shutter to let some ambient light from a lamp on the right to get in. The slight motion light blur gives the photo a slighter edgy feel too!

    [​IMG]

    These two show my attempts at the HSS facility that my flash gun has allowing me to perfectly freeze motion with the flash. These are just a bit of fun and definitely more interesting than the generic Facebook photo's that a lot of people put up, at least that's what I have been told.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I look forward to seeing what everyone else has to offer and to getting some feedback! Cheers!
     
  3. Designer Dale thread starter macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #3
    I like the one I quoted above the best. It still has that natural light feel that a flash will often wash out. What flash did you use and what was the placement?

    While I'm here, I have a general question regarding flash for acearchie. Is there a difference between digital and film era flashes? I have a Vivitar 550 left over from my film kit. I'm not sure the light it gives is the same as the digital flashes.

    Dale

    Note: Not many flash shooters here, it seems. Symmetry and Patterns opens January 12.
     
  4. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #4
    I just got a 580EX II with Christmas money. I need to play around with it some. I'll try to do so this weekend and post some results.
     
  5. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #5
    While my family was watching TV, I took the opportunity to flash them. :D

    For this shot I put my 580EXII on the floor and inside a plastic shopping bag that had a red tint to it. I used the pop-up for a bit of fill. I'm already starting to wish for a second flash so I don't have to use the pop-up for fill (don't like the obvious shadow on the ear), but it'll do for now. I tried yellow as well as no color, but I liked the result of the red the best. I should go in search of some colored gels or some kind of colored plastic instead of just some random shopping bag if I want to do more like this.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #6
    Thanks for the feedback Dale, That was one of my favourite shots to. The flash was still on the camera as with out it the focus is terrible. I twisted it about 75˚ to the right of the camera so it was bouncing off a cream coloured wall and through the angles of reflection would land on the subject. I think I toned in an FEC of -1 to make sure that the flash wasn't overpowering.

    Out of interest how hard/soft was the light from the other plastic bags? Can you post those pictures for reference?

    I think this shot is great and the fill is a nice addition. I wouldn't have noticed the shadow behind the ear if you hadn't pointed it out. What was your FEC and what lens were you using? Seems quite tight, I'm curious as I've never used the onboard flash with anything more than a 50mm (on a crop).

    I looking at purchasing a cheap flash stand so I can try some similar things like this. I definitely think the next step for me is to get my flash of the camera.

    I recently bought the Speedliters Handbook and it says one of the most important things is being able to get your flash off the camera. I suppose using the tilt and swivel head I am already sort of doing this as I never fire the flash directly forwards.

    Here are two more that I have taken recently.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  7. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #8
    FEC isn't really the right answer since I was using the flash in manual mode and trying varying powers until I got the one I wanted. The 580EXII was at 1/8 and the on-camera fill was 1/64. I was using the 18-135mm kit lens at 92mm, 1/125s, f/5.6 and ISO 200. I wanted to get in tight mostly to avoid the background distractions and be close enough to see the effects of the lighting on his face. I leaned a plastic bin lid against the flash to block it from hitting the chair and my wife in the background, too, so I wouldn't get them in the shot.

    The plastic bag was LEGO bag, which is mostly yellow with the red outline around the word LEGO. I'm including a shot from the yellow part of the bag to compare. I didn't use the pop-up for fill on this one. I also missed the eye focus and got his eyebrow instead, so it looks a bit softer overall. This was at 135mm and 1/60s. I think the flash power is the same. I don't remember if I changed the settings any between shots.

    The shot of my daughter is flash alone with just the white diffuser on it. Same camera settings as the yellow shot of my son, but with ISO 100. I think the flash may be set to a bit more power, but I can't remember here, either.

    On to your shots, I like the processing on the first one. What I find missing is shadow to help add definition. I've been reading Light It! magazine (iPad only digital magazine on lighting) and the articles there talk about using the shadows to add definition to a portrait. So, while the flash isn't firing directly forwards, it still looks like it because it is still on the camera. Comparing your shot with the ones in the magazine, I can tell yours looks 2d because there are no shadows at all on her face to define the features. That's why getting the flash off the camera is important. The shot that Dale pointed out in your first post has the shadow definition, and I really like it a lot.

    I'd also like to know what settings you used to get the flash-frozen motion in the second shot. I know such a thing is possible, but I don't remember how to do it.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #9
    Do you shoot in manual through habit or are you just trying it out? I haven't really experienced with Manual since the majority of shots I am taking are spur of the moment and don't really have time to "re-shoot" so to speak.

    I think the yellow shot has quite an atmosphere and with suitable pose, (although your sons is actually quite good!) I can see a good use. I like the DIY effects as it makes sure that money stays in my wallet for some more important things!

    I did think that the white shot might be with a small diffuser. The light is a bit softer as it wraps around her chin.

    I have been tempted at buying a light stand and an empty soft box to get some nice soft portraits so this is where I might experiment next.

    Thanks for pointing this out. Whilst I realised that the pictures did look "different" I never considered that it was due the lack of shadows. I think this really emphasises the need for me to get my flash off the camera although I may be able to only do this when I am doing slightly more set up shots as I would lose the IR focusing which is a huge need for me when working in lower light conditions. Looks like I might have to save up for another flash!

    To freeze the motion I always use second curtain sync flash. On my 430exii and I assume on your 530exii it's represented but three triangles all touching each other and the last one is black. This means that the flash is firing as the shutter closes not as it opens so the flash will happen after all the previous motion.

    To me it seems the "natural" way to record motion but it seems that most cameras default to first curtain flash. Probably because people hear the shutter and think that the exposure has been taken so expressions are lost with second curtain. I always tell me friends to wait for the second flash, first being the quick ETTL metering flash.

    I would recommend always leaving it on this mode as any shutter speed of 1/30th or faster and the flash will default to first curtain even though the mode may be engaged.

    Thanks for the feedback!
     

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