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Use of flash outside #23744
06/24/09 01:18 PM
06/24/09 01:18 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Kentucky, US
L
lucy Offline OP
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lucy  Offline OP
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L

Joined: Jun 2007
Kentucky, US
Hi guys....

Is there a general rule of thumb or thought about using a flash when shooting outdoors? I realize there are variables to be considered, such as location, background, etc. Thoughts, suggestions, and any other info would be appreciated.
Thanks
L

Re: Use of flash outside [Re: lucy] #23745
06/24/09 01:32 PM
06/24/09 01:32 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
TN
Julie Offline
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Julie  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
TN
That is a HUGE question. I don't use it very often, but, I know people who will use it in full sun and overpower the sun for effect.

I use reflectors more often than flash, but, it does have its place. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules though

Re: Use of flash outside [Re: Julie] #23746
06/24/09 05:22 PM
06/24/09 05:22 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Kansas
psmith Offline
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psmith  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2008
Kansas
Here is a video of the ultimate outdoor shoot...in the middle of the desert sun.

http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/desert-shoot-w-joe-mcnally/15933346

Now, all you need are a few dozen speedlights and a half dozen assistants and a Ms. Universe.

Re: Use of flash outside [Re: lucy] #23747
06/24/09 06:04 PM
06/24/09 06:04 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Lucy,
I use my Canon 580 EX as a fill light outdoors a lot -- especially when shooting show formals outdoors. It softens the shadows and makes it easier to bring them up later in PhotoShop. I set up the flash to balance with the available light rather than overpower it. Canons have a Custom Function that allows you to choose which way you want to use your flash unit.

I also use my AB400s with a Vagabond II outdoors when I want to control the light completely. I meter the highlights and shadow areas and then set up my lights to fill in the shadows while I set up the camera to underexpose the highlights slightly. Camera settings are manual. That's pretty tricky stuff and it takes some trial and error (mostly error ) but with digital, the viewing time is immediate so you can tell what's working when you make your changes.

For me, the trick to using flash outdoors is not to make the images look as if you have. Lots of folks use flash to properly expose the subject(s) but then underexpose the rest of the frame so much that it's obvious that they've used flash. Personally, I prefer to balance the lighting so it looks as natural as possible.

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
Re: Use of flash outside [Re: Jim Garvie] #23748
06/25/09 10:10 AM
06/25/09 10:10 AM
Joined: Jun 2007
Kentucky, US
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lucy Offline OP
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lucy  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Kentucky, US
Thanks everyone for all the great info. Jim, I am sure most of mine will "error" until I get a whole lot more experience. But, it is fun trying. My malinois hates to see me come out with the camera because he knows he will be the subject. And, he lets me know what he thinks of that.

L

Re: Use of flash outside [Re: lucy] #23749
06/25/09 05:10 PM
06/25/09 05:10 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Lucy,
the easiest way to learn how to use the flash outdoors is to use the flash outdoors. Today's camera/flash combos have so much computer power behind them it's almost impossible to make a mistake. Once you're comfortable shooting with everything on automatic, then start experimenting with manual exposures of the camera and, eventually, couple that with manual exposure of the flash unit varying the power so you can open up your lenses for shallower depth of field.

The great thing about digital is that when you experiment, you aren't burning up rolls of film which you then need to send out to be processed, wait and then review the prints/slides. With digital, you're only wasting your own time and talent in an effort to get better. Besides, experimentation is fun.

So, try some stuff and see what you get. If you like it, you're doing fine. If you don't, figure out what you don't like and make some adjustments. Or share it with the troops here and we'll tell you what we think the problem is.

But most of all, have fun. After all the business of being a photographer, if you aren't having fun when you shoot then you need a new hobby.

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
Re: Use of flash outside [Re: Jim Garvie] #23750
06/25/09 05:29 PM
06/25/09 05:29 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Kansas
psmith Offline
Pooh-Bah
psmith  Offline
Pooh-Bah

Joined: Nov 2008
Kansas
Lucy,

You haven't mentioned what equipment you are using. Is it the builtin flash, an on camera speedlight, a studio flash? What brand is it?

With Canon gear, a good place to start in automatic mode is the Av or aperture priority mode. In this mode, the speedlight gives you a 'fill' amount of light to match the ambient light of the scene.

Re: Use of flash outside [Re: psmith] #23751
06/27/09 04:13 PM
06/27/09 04:13 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
James Morrissey Offline
I
James Morrissey  Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
Hey Lucy,

I definitely use flash outdoors at times - though usually for shooting humans as we get shadows over our eyes when the light from above hits our foreheads. This is particularly true when it is very bright outside and I am trying to take in both the subject and a background scene (such as a landscape).

While this is not a hard and fast rule, I find that I often use the flash at or near it's highest power to help knock out the shadows (as you are competing with the sun to get the midtones). This makes metering a bit hard - and sometimes the light a little less flattering than you might want, and you may sometimes lose some highlight detail, but that is the way it goes.

Common sense dictates to attempt to photograph when it is not so harshly lit, but, LOL, I guess we cannot always control when our clients want to shoot. :P


James

Re: Use of flash outside [Re: James Morrissey] #23752
06/28/09 06:53 PM
06/28/09 06:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Massachusetts
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Loueen Offline
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Loueen  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2009
Massachusetts
Hi, I'm new to this forum and wanted to ask a question regarding this topic.
I take photos for a rescue group and usually end up with less than great conditions. In this photo I used an external flash because it was so dark and my camera is not good in low light or high iso settings. We were between T storms and didn't have the luxury of rescheduling.
I'm not sure what caused such a high contrast with the dog. It really doesn't look too natural. Could you tell me what causes this?



Loueen
Re: Use of flash outside [Re: Loueen] #23753
06/28/09 08:04 PM
06/28/09 08:04 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Loueen,
flat lighting plus flash and black dog = high contrast for the dog. Did you use RAW or jpeg? If you used RAW, you could cut the contrast in Post Processing (PP).

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
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