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Basic flash techniques

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:12 pm
by dingo27mobile
Hello there, i am owner for 430EXII for around year, but i feel completely novice about it.

I know some basic stuff like bouncing from walls when available, setting auto exposure with flash exposure lock, but what i need is - how to get those images look more natural?

I mean, wet skin is shining , object (people most of the time) looks like shining angel, some tricks and tips? I use it mostly for fotoreports, no modelling and stuff.

White balance, exposure corrections, using diffusers with tilted head ... ?
Any advice would be highly welcomed.

Re: Basic flash techniques

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:37 pm
by jameswilby5
Chances are if your photos are looking too unnatural that you are relying on your flash to provide a lot of the light. As you said always try and bounce the light of a wall as pointing the flash directly at the person will result in an unnatural overpowering result. For best results use the flash in manual mode. This will allow you to lower the flash power until the light it produces does not overpower the rest of the shot. If you want a natural looking shot your flash should provide the near minimum amount of light required to get a good exposure with the aperture, shutter speed and iso you want to use.

Re: Basic flash techniques

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:46 pm
by dingo27mobile
Thanks, but what about when there is nothing to bounce off? Day, open ground, price giving ceremony, sun pointing toward me ... ?
What about the power of flash to start with? 1/4th?

Re: Basic flash techniques

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:12 pm
by Jean-Pierre
If you are looking at creating a perfect shot, I'd say you probably need some sort of modifier on your flashes. There are a panoply of them depending on what you're trying to create, from umbrellas, to diffusers, to soft boxes, to gels, etc, and each comes in a variety of prices.

The basic progression I think is for people to get 1 flash and point it at their subject for very bad results.

The next step is to learn to bounce it, which you seem to have gotten a hang of.

The next step is to get a diffuser for that flash (I'm personally tempted in Gary Fong's collapsible lightsphere).

The next step I think is to get a reflector, and either an assistant or someone else to hold it for you. The reflector helps you throw some light on the darker side of your subject.

The next step would be to get a stand for your flash to bring it off-camera, offering you more options.

The next steps would be to add flashes with modifiers, such as softboxes and umbrellas. Typical setups would have a key light, fill light, hair light, then a couple of background lights if needed. Or you can leave the background with no light so it comes out black or dark.

Colored gels can be used creatively to mess with the white balance of a shot, but wouldn't have much effect on the softness or hardness of the shot.

Re: Basic flash techniques

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:28 pm
by jameswilby5
If you are going to be using the flash on camera buy a diffuser. They are really cheap and will probably cost less than £5. In terms of power I would suggest putting it on auto mode and seeing what power the flash suggests using. Then take a shot and if the shot is looking unnatural switch to manual mode and turn the power down. The flash power will greatly vary depending on the lighting and the settings you want to use. As Jean said there are off camera solutions. These would include using flash triggers or a cable to connect the flash to some form of a tripod with an umbrella or softbox. The results from a set up like this would be better especially since the light would be a lot softer and it would not be coming directly from the camera. However a set up like this would be reasonably heavy and inconvenient to carry around as well as costing a fair amount of money. If you don't mind this its a great way to go but a flash with diffuser would be a much easier and cheaper option.

Re: Basic flash techniques

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:24 pm
by dingo27mobile
EX430II does not show output power, neither does camera.

But i will try some advices, even when most of them are more for shooting static subject then photoreports, some can be used.

Re: Basic flash techniques

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:47 am
by RexGig
A quick way to diffuse the light a bit, when there is no available surface to reflect the light, is to extend the bounce card, and raise the flash so it does not directly impact the subject. A 45-degree angle is often a good place to start. I will typically set the camera in Manual mode, aperture f/5.6, and a shutter speed of 1/100 or so, with the flash on E-TTL, with the head extended upward at a 45-degree angle, bounce card extended, as a starting point. Often, the result is quite good, with no flash exposure compensation adjustments needed, depending upon what I am trying to achieve.

Flash Exposure Compensation for the 430EX II (and 580EX II and 600EX-RT) can be easily adjusted on your camera's LCD, assuming the camera is a 2007 or later model. The flashgun's menu is accessed through the camera menu. To make this quicker, I set the flash menu to appear in my 7D cameras' "My Menu settings," which is the far right box in the 7D menu. This will vary a bit with the various Canon models. Notably, the original 580EX and 430EX, as far as I know, will not work this way with the camera menu. The ST-E2 must also be controlled directly, not with the camera's menu, though its radio-technology successor can be controlled with the camera menu.

In Aperture Value mode, use of flash is trickier, as the camera tries to use the flash only for fill-flash. I have little experience using flash on live subjects in Av mode, as I generally set the camera in Manual mode when I install the flashgun or ST-E2.

Re: Basic flash techniques

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:55 am
by Ikonen
Hello, I just stumbled onto this discussion. I just wanted to chime in and thank you for all the helpful tips. I tried out some of these suggestions today when I was photographing some backstage goings-on at a rehearsal (I work as a stage manager). Being fairly new to photography, I had never heard of bouncing the flash off walls. It worked pretty well for me.

Thanks! I will be using these tips more and more as I continue to work in low-light situations.