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Balancing natural / fill and single source
Old 09-21-2006, 10:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello Everyone,
I was able to get part of my family outside today. It was cold and few were willing. I am trying to learn how to balance light outside for natural/fill or single source. I see a lot of beautiful images on this web site but, am finding it hard to match the tech skill needed to pull them off correctly. These are the three images I am posting for tech help and sources to search for better guidence.

I used two 4 x 4 foot white boards to be used as reflectors about 5 feet away from subject. I had one 80-speedlight with Fongs lightspere cloud on it. I was about 5 feet away from the subject. I had the 50mm 1.8 due to me trying to use this lens more for wedding than my 28-105mm.

First I metered the sky with my hand held at ISO 80, 180ss at f11. My camera / flash limits me with flash to max of 125ss. My camera metered at 160ss at f11. I set my flash to -1.5ev on TTL with Rear flash selected. I used manual mode for all images I took. My first shot the sky was good but my subject was black. I then set my flash to 0 ev and started with fair subject light. I had to increase to +1 ev for good shots for teh subject at 125ss at f13. The light changed and I did various settings, locations, and angles in the field we were using. I felt like I was just guessing at the end.

I do not like the images but, must learn this skill better. Raven one has too strong highlights and skin tones were not correct. I did post-process to try and make the best images I could out of them for their efforts I have to print them one 8 x10 each. (Family rules...lol...) Any ideas and help would be helpfull. I need this skill and low light for weddings. If anyone lives near Northern Kentucky I would even be willing to travel to learn or assist to gain more knowledge / skill.

Eric one
1/20ss
f8

Family one
1/125ss
f3.3

Raven one
1/30ss
f11






Thanks,
Tony
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God be with you,
Tony

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Re: Balancing natural / fill and single source
Old 09-22-2006, 12:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It gets overly complicated in my view when one tries to use the on camera type flashes to shoot these types of shots. That is why so many people have problems with using them.

Basically, if you can just treat your flash as a constant light source with a known power, then you'll find it much easier to do this sort of thing. So, first check to see if you can make the flash always fire full power all the time or 1/2 power, etc. In other words you want it to be under your control, not the camera.

Now you need to establish the exposure of the subjects using the flash only. If you don't have a flash meter, then the use a gray card, or a black/gray/white target will allow you zero in on the flashes power and get you the correct fstop for your camera (you'll be using the histogram for this).

Once you have the fstop, that is what you leave the camera set to. Now you meter the background to determine the shutter speed needed for the fstop that is already set. You are now ready to shoot and both subject and background will be properly exposed.

Now for the reflectors. You can use them either to bounce light from the sky into the scene to alter the ratio of the light, or you can set them to reflect some of the flashes light back into the subjects. Again, this is all about getting a proper lighting ratio.

Here is a link to a brief outline of the target based metering technique:

http://www.glamour1.com/forums/tech-...tml#post222362



cheers,
rfs
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Re: Balancing natural / fill and single source
Old 09-22-2006, 11:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with Mr. Smith and only want to add to what he has said. Over the years, I learned that my flash will give me about F11 at ten feet on full power and an asa of 200. So I know that I need to set the aperture there. The shutter speed depends on the background. If my shutter speed needs to be lower than hand-held, it is time to drop the power of the flash to 1/2 (in order to open up the aperture) or else back up. If the shutter can only go up to 200 and I have too much ambient light, I step forward and use F16. Almost all cameras will show you what the proper exposure should be through the viewfinder when on manual. With the flash on manual, you know what you are going to get when you meter it one time.
The problem many people have with cameras and flashes in this situation is they expect the machinery to know what they want. And it doesn't. You have to learn to tell it what you want. Also, in order to maintain this control, I have to use a zoom lens so I can move forward and back to get the amount of light and framing I want. I learned this technique almost 25 years ago and use it for outdoor portraits and weddings all the time. Arkie
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Re: Balancing natural / fill and single source
Old 09-22-2006, 11:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I live in Hopkinsville, KY and probably pretty close to you. And, I will lend you a secret that I borrowed from probably the best wedding photog in North America--if not the world--Mike Colon. He starts out in AP at f2.8 and sets his flash exactly 2 stops underexposed for outdoor lighting and just enough fill to bring out the eyes without blowing the image out completely. I have taken that as well and it works at a great starting point. We both use the same camera brand and same exact flash, so the conversion is very simple for me--you may be shooting from a different format of camera, so you will need to make the adjustments. Once I take my readings and get my instant feedback on what is working for me and what I like on my display--I switch to manual mode and set everything in solid and go from there. When you are outside, the light will constantly change. Every 5 minutes or so, get some feedback from the back of your camera. You may have to make adjustments as the sun rises, sets, etc., thus giving you different lighting. I shoot wide open at 2.8 most of the time--so make slight adjustments with my shutterspeeds. I prefer what the 2.8 gives me in terms of softening the backgrounds.....We are close...let me know if there is anything I can do. I am not Mike Colon by any means, but would offer you my minimal knowledge the best I can...

Cheers,
Jason
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Re: Balancing natural / fill and single source
Old 09-22-2006, 12:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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btw....here's my site with contact info if you would like:

www.whitman-photography.com
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