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View Full Version : fLASH pHOTOGRAPHY... WHERE'S THE RIGHT SECTION?



zacker
06-08-2006, 11:15 AM
Hey all, Here's one for the pros and those who know.. (hey, I rhymed!) Can we talk flash photography for awhile? I have a 420EX that i never use.. I avoid it like the plague... mostly because i really dont know anything about using flash... how to set it where to set it, how to use it at all. if and when i do use it, i just use the pre flash button and hope the flash/ camera gets it right!
lol
does anyone have any knowledge on settings..esp for canon stuff?
thanks!
-zacker-

convergent
06-08-2006, 11:17 AM
You can talk about it here... we'll probably eventually add a Lighting forum if we get a lot of this. Its probably one of the most confusing topics for beginners, thats for sure. I can try to help you... I have a bunch of 580EXs and use them sometimes. Do you have a specific question?

convergent
06-08-2006, 11:31 AM
Two sites with good information on Canon flash are these. The first one is the absolute authority on it, if I have the right site. It has been down this morning so I can't be sure, but I'll check it later.

http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

The other is Canon's Photoworkshop site.

http://www.photoworkshop.com/canon/index.html

I'm sure there are many others, but these will give you more information that you'll know what to do with.

If you have any questions about using it, I'll be happy to try and help, although I'm certainly no expert. It would also help if you had some sample shots too.

zacker
06-08-2006, 12:32 PM
thanks mike,
I have basic questions like, how do you meter a shot when you will use flash? and how do you know what to set the flast too, or even how to set it? this is something i want to know but have been putting it off for awhile now, the only time i use it now is if i can bounce it.. and even then i use "P" mode so hopefully the camera will set everything right..lol ( cheater aint i?) I like to controll the shots so i try to use full manual mode for everything except for fast action shooting.. The "sports" mode works wonders i find! other than that, i will use manual mode for the shot. i have a stofen Omni bounce but the one time i tried it, i still had horrible hi-lights.. Flash = Major confusion for me.
-zacker-

JustinL
06-08-2006, 12:49 PM
love this guy's site.

http://www.filmlessphotos.ca/IndexPage.htm

i have the 420ex as well, but mainly for a slave since you can't really adjust the output on it. I'm controlling mine with an older used 550ex (and i'm new at this too!)

convergent
06-08-2006, 08:30 PM
That first link I posted is back online now. If you have a couple hours, I'd read that and it will answer almost any question you have about Canon on camera flash. Amazing amount of info.

But, to your question. This answer is Canon specific. Nikon does not work the same way, so make sure you keep that straight if you are not a Canon user. You are, so here we go.

The canon flashes don't have nearly as many settings as Nikon, and that means that the flash figures out things on its on and takes away some choices... I don't like that. For example, there is no "fill flash" mode you can set. If the camera is in Program mode, then the camera meters and sets the flash as the primary light source. If the camera is in Manual (or Shutter or Aperature priority), then the flash is automatically set as fill flash and metering is for ambient. I almost never shoot on Program. Once in a while if I'm lay, I'll try P with flash and see how it comes out... if it works, I might stick with it, but usually I go with Manual.

What you want to do when using fill flash is meter for the ambient light, or the background. If you are outdoors, meter for what is behind the subject... be it the sky, trees, a house... whatever. I usually use a meter, but you could use the camera's spot meter as well. You really just need to determine if the background is in the shade or the sun. If it is in the shade, then you would hold your meter in the shade (you don't have to actually go to the shade at the background, you can just put your hand or a clipboard over the meter to shade it) and set your camera accordingly. Then set the flash to E-TTL and it will take care of lighting up the subject for you. What you'll end up with is even exposure and a nice pop of the subject. If you tried to do this in Program, you might get a very, very dark background and flashed subject, or you might get a washed out sky. Using flash correctly means that you can tell a flash was used.

Another good idea if you are shooting the scenario above is to shade the subject if they are directly in the sun. You still meter for the background, not the subject.

If you are indoors, then meter the ambient light, and use the flash to fill the shadows. Basically its the same thing except there usually isn't sun and shade indoors.

If you want to shoot manual flash, I haven't done a lot of that other than with studio strobes. In that scenario, you'd really want to have a meter and you'd figure out how you wanted to set things up... gets much more complicated than what I described.

zacker
06-09-2006, 07:35 AM
Thanks Mike, Yes, I looked at the Canon one last night, they make it seem all to easy, "With a Canon EOS body and EX speedlight, You never have to worry again" BS! I have tried using flash and i think it automatically ruined the shots!! lol Although, I have to try using some of the info I did learn and check out the other link,,, Today looks to be a very sloooooow day at work again so I think Ill have some time to do some reading.
Thanks for the tips. I will try it out this weekend. Someone told me for macros, they use a diffuser disc to block out the harsh sunlight and use their 430EX to fill flash the subject with no diffuser on it at all... They say it works great and the camera and flash use the right output.. just like the canon site says.. I gotta try that!
-zacker- (the flasher?...Maybe some day..lol)

convergent
06-09-2006, 07:47 AM
Thanks Mike, Yes, I looked at the Canon one last night, they make it seem all to easy, "With a Canon EOS body and EX speedlight, You never have to worry again" BS! I have tried using flash and i think it automatically ruined the shots!! lol Although, I have to try using some of the info I did learn and check out the other link,,, Today looks to be a very sloooooow day at work again so I think Ill have some time to do some reading.
Thanks for the tips. I will try it out this weekend. Someone told me for macros, they use a diffuser disc to block out the harsh sunlight and use their 430EX to fill flash the subject with no diffuser on it at all... They say it works great and the camera and flash use the right output.. just like the canon site says.. I gotta try that!
-zacker- (the flasher?...Maybe some day..lol)

Yep, that is similar to what I do shooting individual sports pictures outdoors. I put the kid under a tent to shade them, and meter for whats behind them. You would want to do the same thing. If you don't meter for the background, then you'll have it be either washed out, or too dark, potentially. Remember if you are shooting Manual, that the camera will automatically just power the flash for fill, not primary light. You can also use the Flash Exposure Compensation. Just hit the button in the center of the dial on the flash, and crank it up or down. That is going to be mostly a situation where you'll have to get a feel for how much extra kick you need. Sometimes the "automatically" is fooled.