Close
Close
  1. #1
    NicoleScraps's Avatar
    NicoleScraps is offline \m/\>.</\m/
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,855

    Default Reflectors and on camera flash questions

    There has been a lot of talk about using flash lately, but after reading the threads, I still have a few unanswered questions in my mind.

    Reflectors-does anyone have a diagram or photographic example of how to set up a shot using a reflector? Honestly, how to use a reflector is just not connecting in my brain at this point. I cannot imagine that the proper way to use one is to bounce a direct light source onto your subject as that would just cause squinting. But simply placing it in front of the subject with no light source other than...well, nothing, that does seem to compute either. I am referring to taking a portrait in open shade or on an overcast day when you might need some fill light.

    Pop-up flash-I know they are sucky in comparison to off camera flashes or speed lites, but this is all I have right now. I have heard people mention that these can be used just for fill light, but how? Do I need to diffuse it somehow? Does the camera just KNOW that I want it to be fill light not full flash based on my settings? (I mostly use AV or M trying to keep the meter at 0 as often as possible). Do I change the settings to underexpose a bit if I am going to use the flash like this? Or do I still try to acheive 0 on the meter with the pop up flash? can I adjust the pop-up flash power?

    So many questions, I know. I am sorry. I just feel the need to master the things on the camera before I go buying other stuff, kwim?

    If it helps, I use a Canon T1i.

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    zona5101's Avatar
    zona5101 is online now Molon Labe
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    near Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    9,073

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleScraps View Post
    .

    I cannot imagine that the proper way to use one is to bounce a direct light source onto your subject as that would just cause squinting. But simply placing it in front of the subject with no light source other than...well, nothing, that does seem to compute either.
    Ya, it actually is just like that... kinda like making a bank shot in pool (billards). You can feather some of the reflection off the person which will help with squinting. Even when there is "no" light source, if you can see, there's a light source. You can use the reflector do redirect additional light where you want it. A reflector is also helpful to bounce flash off of. I know you said you don't have an external flash yet but when you do you can angle your flash into the reflector and bounce it back to the subject, softening the light and making a bigger light source even then there are no walls or ceilings handy. I used that this weekend when the wind was too strong to use an umbrella outdoors.
    Last edited by zona5101; 08-30-2010 at 07:07 PM.

  3. #3
    RichardTaylor is offline dPS +1000 Club
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    7,868

  4. #4
    LeeR's Avatar
    LeeR is offline Professional Wanderer
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gainesville, Florida
    Posts
    1,617

    Default

    Check out the following link. About halfway down they show a picture of an assistant using reflectors. If you aren't lucky enough to have any unpaid assistants (better known as 'children') you may have to fork out for some stands. The best reflectors are made from cloth and are different on each side, say, white on one side and gold on the other.They are made with a loop of spring wire that holds them on place but allows you to fold them and put them in your bag when you are done. Look on eBay for some great deals.
    Lee R
    http://lucentbydesign.blogspot.com//
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
    -Marcel Proust

  5. #5
    BigVinnie's Avatar
    BigVinnie is offline dPS Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Lakebay WA
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Your pop-up flash is pretty low power but can work in a pinch. I've used mine a couple of times in low light where I just needed a bit of light.

    Your camera menu there is an item "Flash exp com". Set that somewhere between -1 and -2. That will make the flash kick in below ambient light. Really good for filling in those racoon eyes.

    This is really bad example but shows the idea:


    Shot data:

    XSI / 100mm f/2
    1/50th @ f/2.0 iso 1600
    on camera flash set at -1

    The idea was to just fill in the front. It was REALLY dark with just some floods a long ways away and a couple lights lighting up the back of the stage. I wanted to keep the backlight and just put some light on the front. I needed a bit more shutter speed to keep it sharp. My camera maxes at iso 1600 and f/2 is as open as the lens gets.

    Your camera would probably get the shot, it has better high iso than mine.

  6. #6
    NicoleScraps's Avatar
    NicoleScraps is offline \m/\>.</\m/
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,855

    Default

    That is basically all I want to learn, how to fill in the eyes. I will look for that flash compensation in my menu.
    And thanks for everything else. I will read over it all!!

  7. #7
    inkista's Avatar
    inkista is offline Gear Geek Girl
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    San Diego CA, USA
    Posts
    11,162

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleScraps View Post
    ...Pop-up flash-I know they are sucky in comparison to off camera flashes or speed lites, but this is all I have right now. I have heard people mention that these can be used just for fill light, but how?
    Turn it on and pop the flash, but make sure the power is low enough that it doesn't overpower the ambient (i.e., the background exposure isn't affected, only the shadows). That's what fill flash is.

    Do I need to diffuse it somehow?
    You don' t need to, but you might get hard-edge shadows. Diffusing is likely to make it look better, but diffusion is generally done by increasing the size of the light source. Something like an omnibounce isn't really a diffuser, unless you use it indoors, where it can throw lights in all directions to bounce off the walls (hence the name) and soften the light that way.

    Does the camera just KNOW that I want it to be fill light not full flash based on my settings? (I mostly use AV or M trying to keep the meter at 0 as often as possible).
    In Av and Tv, the camera assumes you're doing fill flash, and essentially leaves the ambient settings alone, unless you messed with custom functions that set the shutter speed in AV mode.

    In P and green-box auto, the assumption is the flash is for main illumination, and you want a shutter speed that lets you handhold.

    In M, it's assumed you know what you're doing and can balance the flash/ambient for yourself.

    To learn to balance flash against the ambient, the Strobist explains it far better than I can in these two articles:Which is why my first advice to someone wanting to do flash is "get comfortable with full Manual mode shooting, first."
    Do I change the settings to underexpose a bit if I am going to use the flash like this? Or do I still try to acheive 0 on the meter with the pop up flash?
    Here's the thing. The meter can only show you ambient exposure, not the flash illumination, too. So, setting to 0 merely makes the ambient where you want it to go. If your flash is going to affect only the subject, then you're probably ok there, but if the flash is also going to affect your background, then yes, underexposing the ambient can be good. So might overexposing the ambient, depending on how you want the background to register. It's up to you. There's no single "this is the best" exposure setting or flash/ambient balance. It all depends.

    Whenever you take a photo with flash, you're combining two exposures in one: the ambient exposure, and whatever got lit by the flash. This is additive. Whatever the flash lights up will be lighter than what you'd get by ambient alone. And the flash's light has a specific fall-off pattern and reach (based on the power). The intensity of the light decreases with the distance by an inverse square law: I.e., if you get a certain level of light at a specific distance, doubling the distance gets you 1/4 of the light, and tripling the distance gets you 1/9 of the light.

    can I adjust the pop-up flash power?
    Yes for a specific value of "adjust". If you don't have a 7D, 1DMkIV, or 60D, then all you've got is FEC from the "built-in flash func. setting" menu. This is like EC, only it adjusts the flash's power level. EC and FEC are independent of each other on Canons (they interact on Nikons, iirc).

    I just feel the need to master the things on the camera before I go buying other stuff, kwim?
    I felt the exact same way. And when I did buy a speedlight, I wanted to master all the on-camera stuff and eTTL, before I went for off-camera, a step most people skip in their Strobist fever.
    Last edited by inkista; 08-30-2010 at 11:44 PM. Reason: typos
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

  8. #8
    BigVinnie's Avatar
    BigVinnie is offline dPS Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Lakebay WA
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Good points.

    I forgot to mention that I was shooting in Av mode. I think it was actually the first time I have ever used the built in flash.

    I found the pre-shot flashing extremely annoying which is why I only took one shot.

  9. #9
    inkista's Avatar
    inkista is offline Gear Geek Girl
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    San Diego CA, USA
    Posts
    11,162

    Default

    The eTTL preflash doesn't bug me that much (I'm normally shooting things, not people), but what ticks me off the most about the pop-up flash is that I'm stuck in eTTL, and I can't go to manual, yet I do not have high-speed synch. Worst of both worlds. [headshake].

    Another (bad) example of fill-flash--with the popup flash (I was just messing around):



    The tree was coming out a lot darker, it being in the shade (see the tree behind it? Like that). I just flicked the pop-up flash on, and shot.

    Using flash pushes the shadows lighter, and compresses the dynamic range--sort of doing the opposite of HDR.
    Last edited by inkista; 08-30-2010 at 11:51 PM.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

  10. #10
    neubauer6 is offline Freezing in WI!
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    La Crosse, WI
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Check out amazon.com and search for the Gary Fong Puffer. That is a small diffuser that should work with your pop-up flash. I have even held up a sheet of white computer paper if I am in a pinch.
    Brand New Flickr

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Log in

Log in