Help me with a flash photography with background light problem.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Razeus, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. Razeus macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #1
    2 issues:

    At a car show, I shot with a flash. The place was indoors and had ugly lighting. So for next time, how can I get better color for the overall shot? I shot with a D7K, SB-700 with it's built in diffuser drop down and built in diffuser white cap. Also, I'm not sure why the girls skin came out "plastic-like".

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    Dub_May_11-18.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

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    Dub_May_11-359.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

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    Dub_May_11-284.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

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    Dub_May_11-313.jpg by Photobyharris, on Flickr

    A mode with f/2.8, ISO 1600, shutter around 60-125.
     
  2. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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  3. Razeus thread starter macrumors 601

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    #3
    In other words, I should have used the orange tungsten cap that came in my SB-700 package.
     
  4. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #4
    Pretty much!

    Look at the first photo. The background that was not affected by the flash is orange. The flash-illuminated foreground is blueish. Just turn the flash orange-ish to make the entire scene orange, then you can make it all look normal with your WB setting.

    For # 2 and 3 I think simply dialing down the flash a bit would help. Were you shooting ETTL (Or whatever Nikon calls it)?
     
  5. Razeus thread starter macrumors 601

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    #5
    Ya, I was in i-TTL mode.
     
  6. AirborneAngel macrumors 6502

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    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    If I were you I'd stick your flash in Manual mode, manually control the flash power and focal length. And then set your aperture to something like f/8, lower your ISO to 100-200 (1600 is way too high when you're using off camera flash) and then shoot with a shutter speed from 100-200. Try that out and see how it works!

    Cheers
     
  7. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #7
    This will most likely give you the "guy in black-hole" effect.
     
  8. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    the cold dark north
    #8
    Agreed with Matt. iTTL is perfectly fine but this time its the color cast.... If anything use rear curtain though this requires practice. the tungsten gel might have helped also yes...


    then again, every time you mess something up, you learn :)
     
  9. Razeus thread starter macrumors 601

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #9
    lesson learned.

    the girls sure are pretty though.
     
  10. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    #10
    oh yes they are... :)
     
  11. macjube macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Great White North
    #11
    How Nikon's iTTL System Works

    Hey Razeus... just to elaborate a little on MattSepeta's spot-on comments, it might help to understand what's going on in your D7000 at the car show (great venue for photographing pretty girls, BTW!)

    Nikon's iTTL system tries to balance the flash output with the ambient lighting, which explains why your camera cranked the ISO up to 1600 even though you had your powerful SB-700 powered up and ready. This also explains MattSepeta's very astute prediction that if you used manual flash mode and did a guide-number calculation for exposure, you would certainly get the "girl-in-the-black-hole" look.

    Now let's think like the camera thinks. We want to balance the flash with the ambient light. Our ambient light appears to be that horrendous orange-pink highway-lamp sodium-vapor type, so that's where we set our auto white balance.

    Release the shutter, and we augment the ambient light with a weak burst of blue-white flash, which is rendered even more blue due to the white balance we chose. Result: bluish, plastic-like skin tones.

    With this in mind, we have three options: (1) don't use flash at all, and the camera will white-balance much better, (2) make the flash more orange with the SB-700's tungsten filter but bear in mind that it's not an exact match for sodium vapor lighting, or (3) use flash but set manual white balance to correspond with the flash. This might give the best results, as the skin tones will be natural (they're illuminated more by the flash) and the backgrounds will be an even deeper orange-pink from the ambient lighting, just as it really was.

    BTW, I have a D300s and an SB-700, and I've had situations similar to yours, and they really baffled me. So I bought a really good ebook for $15, "The Nikon Creative Lighting System" by Mike Hagen, http://oreilly.com/catalog/9781933952413/ – I highly recommend it. It helped me to get out of that rut of "what my eyes see should be what the camera sees." Nope, our eyes are great at fooling us, and they do some pretty amazing white-balance stuff on their own!
     
  12. Razeus thread starter macrumors 601

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #12
    Hey thx! I don't really mind the plastic skin - saved me time I would have skin smoothed. Lol

    I guess the other lesson is not buy and learn a flash the day before you go to an event.
     

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