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Portrait flash tips

This is a discussion on Portrait flash tips within the Critiques forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; My 680EX just seems to cope. I mostly leave it in auto....

  1. #11
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    My 680EX just seems to cope. I mostly leave it in auto.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yisehaq View Post
    Do I have to positively compensate the flash power when I bounce or tilt the flash say to 45 deg? When I try this situation, the flash seems to produce weaker power even when I use E-TTL. My rule of thumb is that I try to compensate +1 when I used the flash as the main light source and -1 when I used it as fill-in when seems okay when I use it directly but when I bounce it or tilt, it does give me the same strength. Am I missing anything?
    Im not sure about the flash capabilities of your flash/camera setup. If your camera is in auto, av or tv mode the flash will be controlled by ettl UNLESS you set the flash to full manual. If the camera is in manual mode you set the flash manually also with either the flash or with EC.

    So assuming for a minute you want to use AV and bounce off the ceiling. Set your flash to fire full power. Take a test shot then use EC to tone down the flash as needed. If you find the bounce is not strong enough then you will need a stronger flash. This doesnt mean go buy a new flash. You can use a different reflective source or get the flash off the camera.

    Getting the flash off the camera is probably the best of both worlds. It doesnt matter if its by cable or by triggers. Getting the light either left or right will really help your shots, as will getting it up high. With OCF you can hold it close to the ceiling for a stronger bounce.

    Hopefully some of my babble makes sense. If not look at the Bert Stephani videos on youtube and check out the Nikon site there is a few new videos showing ways to use your flash gun effectively.

    Don

  3. #13
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    Thanks DonW,
    The experiment will continue. Currently, I am refering this site by neil van niekerk which I find very resourceful. That is were I got the compensation staff. I will check the resouces you refered to,too.

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    Don has it mostly right but I found his quoted phrase confusing.

    In automatic TTL ETTL modes, IF the flash is powerful enough the bounced exposure is already taken into account so the exposure should be pretty close. It may sometimes not be perfect though and that's normal. That's where the flash EC is needed.

    "So assuming for a minute you want to use AV and bounce off the ceiling. Set your flash to fire full power. Take a test shot then use EC to tone down the flash as needed. If you find the bounce is not strong enough then you will need a stronger flash."
    This is confusing. Full power is a control used in MANUAL mode. We are not talking about that mode.
    We are talking about ETTL or TTL (automatic modes).
    In automatic Mode, If the bounce is not strong enough - INCREASE the exposure compensation on the flash until it is enough. IF you regularly find that that +2 or +3 in exposure compensation is not enough, THEN then flash is not strong enough. I would doubt this is the case though for most normal shooting situations using that flash.

    If the area covered by the bounce is reasonable though, not much EC is normally needed. It goes without saying that it's better to bounce off lightly coloured walls (preferably white).

    Hope that helps - Marko
    Last edited by Marko; 12-24-2009 at 12:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko View Post
    Don has it mostly right but I found his quoted phrase confusing.

    In automatic TTL ETTL modes, IF the flash is powerful enough the bounced exposure is already taken into account so the exposure should be pretty close. It may sometimes not be perfect though and that's normal. That's where the flash EC is needed.

    This is confusing. Full power is a control used in MANUAL mode. We are not talking about that mode.
    We are talking about ETTL or TTL (automatic modes).
    In automatic Mode, If the bounce is not strong enough - INCREASE the exposure compensation on the flash until it is enough. IF you regularly find that that +2 or +3 in exposure compensation is not enough, THEN then flash is not strong enough. I would doubt this is the case though for most normal shooting situations using that flash.

    If the area covered by the bounce is reasonable though, not much EC is normally needed. It goes without saying that it's better to bounce off lightly coloured walls (preferably white).

    Hope that helps - Marko

    My appologies for the confusion. I should have stated I wouldnt use ettl with bounce flash. It just easier to set the flash to full manual power and use the cameras FEC dial to tone down the flash as needed. Using ettl neither the camera meter nor the flash meter will measure the distance properly anyways.

    Basicly if you use the flashes FEC buttons your turning down the flash leaving the shutter speed the same. If you use the cameras FEC dial your just raising the shutter speed which is usually desired. The only time id use the flashes FEC buttons is when the shutter speed exceeds the sync speed.

    Don

    Don

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    My appologies for the confusion. I should have stated I wouldnt use ettl with bounce flash. It just easier to set the flash to full manual power and use the cameras FEC dial to tone down the flash as needed. Using ettl neither the camera meter nor the flash meter will measure the distance properly anyways.
    That has not been my experience Don.

    I regularly bounce flash in TTL mode (on camera) and it works great. For casual portraits and quick shooting situations I would RARELY use manual, as it takes up too much time and the second you change your camera position relative to the subject, you need to adjust that manual exposure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonW View Post

    If you use the cameras FEC dial your just raising the shutter speed which is usually desired. The only time id use the flashes FEC buttons is when the shutter speed exceeds the sync speed.
    I am a bit confused. I thought the shutter speed had minimal role on the exposure. and that what I found when I experimented. The shutter speed took care of the ambient light. Wrong???

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    You have it right Yisehaq, that is correct.

    Don is of course trying to help but I too am finding more than one of his explanations confusing (Sorry Don )

    If you use the cameras FEC dial your just raising the shutter speed which is usually desired.
    This is not correct, the flash exposure compensation button increases or decreases the flash's output.

    The only time id use the flashes FEC buttons is when the shutter speed exceeds the sync speed.
    Not my experience as previously mentioned....I use that button to tweak the flash's output regardless of shutter speed.

    Hope that helps Yisehaq - sorry if I am misunderstanding you Don.

    My ONLY goal in this thread is to make the info as clear as possible for the OP and future visitors, I never contradict just for the sake of it.

    Thx! - Marko
    Last edited by Marko; 12-29-2009 at 01:12 PM.
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