As part of the light stand frenzy that’s been going on here, I thought I’d introduce you to another way of placing a flash on location in a cheap and fast way. I learned this hack from David hobby at strobist and been grateful ever since. The idea is quite simple. It is similar to the one displayed in the Spatula article (gotta love this word – spatula…), only instead of using a spatula, I am using clamps. And hey! It was from the same trip to the hardware store. [Read more…]
I finally got my slave flash from eBay. This is extra cool, because unlit now I had to choose between two alternatives – none was giving me the flexibility that I needed for my studio shots. (If you are in to optical, here is a cool slave that you can build @ home)
Studio Slave Flash Option #1 was to use my Nikon SB-800 speedlight set on Slave mode, utilizing Nikon’s CLS (Creative Light System). The benefits of this mode were exact flash output (Those guys at Nikon really knows what they are doing). The down side here was that I could only use one flash at a time and that I had an annoying “shutter lag” until the camera and the flash did their negotiation thingy. Now that was sad, because I often needed more then one speedlight, and did not enjoy the lag at all.
So Studio Slave Flash Option #2 came into play, which was setting all my flashes with sync cord. That was nice – I could hook up 2 or flashes and had no lag at all. The trouble here was that sync cord is A – expensive and B tends to get in your way. For awhile I use option #2.5 – One speedlight with sync cord and the other on optical flash (I set the Nikon SB-28 on sync cord, and used the built in “stupid slave” capabilities of the SB800).
I was not satisfied. So I got on eBay and got me a radio slave flash. The model I got is called RF604 and has 4 channels. Shipping was fast and I was satisfied. I also ordered an extra receiver, to attach to my second flash. [Read more…]
This guest post was written by Leann Wrightsman, a photo DIY-er extraordinaire. This snoot making article has one of the best effort to result ratio. You usually use a snoot when you want only a small part of a scenario lighten, while keeping the rest of the scenario light free see the picture at the end of this article.
In this article Leann Wrightsman will show you how to make a “Snoot” for your speedlight flash with easy to find items you may even have around the house! [Read more…]
One of the challenging lighting setups that I have encountered deals with setting up a lighting environment in small spaces. Spaces like working dens, children rooms and offices. Those places are sometimes dark and not well lit. The solution for this problem is simple – use flashes. One or two hot shoe flashes can easily give you the light you need. For creativity sake, you would like to take those flashes off camera like one of my favorite sites suggests. So where will you place those flashes? Obviously, you can not use a lighting stand – there is hardly any place for you, let alone your big lighting stands.
So what would you have in abundance in a working den? Let’s see…. If you’ve ever been in a lawyer office, you can’t escape the answer – they have books. Shelves and shelves of books. Do they actually read them? I don’t know. Can you, as a photographer use them? Heck yes!
In the following article, I will show you how to create a simple, fast to build, cool looking lighting stand from a plaster spatula and some books.
The first thing you will need is a plaster spatula, those come in really cheap. You can get a metal one or a plastic on, and there is no need to buy the high end spatulas, just buy the crummiest, cheapest, made in Taiwan most suitable spatula you can find.
This guest post was made by Rolf Randby, the same person who wrote the Hot Shoe Adapter article. In fact, This slave trigger was the “trigger” (pan intended) for building the hot shoe adapter in the first place.
There are some Gazillion optical slaves out there. We even one optical slave unit published on this site. So what is so special about this circuitry? Rolf used a PIC (Programmable Interrupt Controller) to give this unit some very nice features: 1. No setup 2. It will work with a red eye setting in your camera. Yep, those annoying red-eye pre-flashes will not trigger the flash, it will “magically know” when the main slash if fired and activate the unit. 3. It will work with all point and shoot cameras.
Those three nice features accomplished with PIC hex code written by Evan Dudzik, from a algorithm by Rolf, make this unit an optimal optical slave unit for P&S cameras. It is the reason I call it the “Very Cool Optical Slave Unit”. Rolf, for some reason, insists on the boring name “STF 1”. I’ll stick with my name – “Very Cool Optical Slave Unit” or VeCOSU :). [Read more…]
Step right up, young man, my lady. Come photographers – You are about to see some card magic that will leave you amazed. This very special card magic was thought to me by the Harry Potter himself ancient wizards of Tibet, passed on from generation to generation (from when flash photography was invented). You may say it is a slight of hands, an illusions of the eye, distraction of the mind. But I tell you NO, my friends this is true magic. It is called “The ACE of Bounce”.
Now, does anyone in the audience has a card deck, any card deck will do. Yes sir, step right up. Please tell me where did you by this deck? At your usual K-mart, I see. is there anything special about this very regular Bicycle deck of card? No you say, well let us see. [Read more…]
Rosco – http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/07/finally-reliable-sources-for-small-gels.html
So, it turns out that there are some great DIY going on and that people will stop at nothing to get their perfect shot. Be it making a kid laugh or getting the perfect light for your street shot, you guys show me again and again that there is nothing that beats some good ‘ol imagination and handymanism (handy-man-ism).
The following two project diverse in almost everything – amount of technical knowledge, attitude and purpose. They are both the same in the sense that nothing is impossible when you want to get something the right way and willing/wanting to think out of the box. [Read more…]
Now, what exactly does it mean – better diffuse your flash? Well, when you use a flash attached to the hot shoe you basically have two choices, direct flash and bounced flash. Direct means that your flash is aimed directly at your subject, and bounced means that the flash is directed at a surface other then your subject (say a wall), and your subject gets the light that “bounces” off that surface.
What happens if you need both? This is why the guys at Stofen came up with the Omni-Bounce (or omnibounce). it is build in a way that throws some of the light upwards and some of the light sideways (well, so does a Nylon bag …). But if you need to go portable, a bag can hardly be a solution. The omnibounce is also very popular with party photographers. [Read more…]
As you probably can tell from the lighting articles on this site, I am not a great fan of on camera flash. The thing is that you don’t always have a choice. Sometimes you need to be both portable and have that extra few stops that a flash can produce. In that situation it is best to have a flash that can be attached to your hot-shoe mount. If you get really stuck, you can also use the pop-flash (AKA build in flash), but by doing this you are stepping to the realm of red-eyes, flat pictures and burnt people.
The best way to use an external flash is by triggering it by remote. (see the strobist for some great techniques on off camera flash use), but even if you get as creative as the strobster, sometimes you just have to have the flash on camera. For example: You are shooting a wedding and only have one or two flash units. Or is you are on the move along with your subject, and cant take the time to set up. So here are four simple ways to bounce your flash:
The way allot of photographers go is not to bounce at all. They place a stofen (A.K.A omni-bounce) on the flash, set the head to 45 degrees and shoot like there is no tomorrow. Now, the way the stofen works is it spreads dome of the light forward and bounce some of the light of the ceiling. so it only works if you have a nice, relatively low, white ceiling. This is considered a good solution by many photographer.
- when you bounce your flash, the light is coming to your subject in a diffused way. you will have less hot-spots (hot-spot is that shiny light at the tip of the subject’s nose that just cries for attention).
- Red eye will not be an issue since the light is coming far off the subject-to-lens axis.
- you will avoid those harsh shadows.
- Today’s modern DSLRs and flash units can calculate the light power you will need for the bounce, so you don’t have to make recurring measures to correct for the bounce.
Now I’m going to recycle some pics from the lightsphere article to demonstrate what happens when you use direct flash. when you use a bounce that “effect” is gone.
Why not bounce?
There are three main reasons why you would avoid bouncing your flash:
- Nothing to bounce from – if you are in an outdoor location, and there are no white walls, ceiling, canopy of people dressed in white
- Loss of light – you when you bounce your flash the light that your flash provides, need to travel further. remember that geometry class where the teacher says that the sum each two sides of the triangle is bigger then the third side? So light has to travel further. Also the bounce itself is taking some light. Even a completely white wall eats up a bit of light.
- smoke! smoke is the enemy of flash. if you are in a smoky area (or under the control of an 80’s smoke machines obsessed DJ), and you try to bounce you might end up with a big picture of white. That happens because the smoke reflects the light. If the light has to go through allot of smoke you will get a white wall.
OK, after we covered the PROs and CONs, here are some flash bouncing techniques you can use. You can use those even if you have no accessories. I am assuming, however, that you can tilt and swivel your flash – most flash units like Nikon’s SB-800, SB-28, or Canon’s 550EX or Vivitar’s 285 can both tilt and swivel.
Bounce 1 – off the ceiling
This is the most trivial bounce of them all. To do the ceiling-bounce, just tilt your flash to the ceiling (or at a ~75 degrees angle) and take the picture. The ceiling will act as a huge reflector, bouncing the light softly on your subject. If you are using TTL, eTTL, iTTL or heckTTL, the flash will take care of the output power to compensate for the loss of light. The con of this method is that you might get some shadows below the eyes, since all the light is coming from a high place, this is why you may want to consider the “reverse ceiling bounce”.
Bounce 2 – The reverse ceiling bounce
In this method you tilt your flash 45 degrees backwards, so you are actually flashing the wall and ceiling behind you. The ceiling and wall will give you great diffusion, with a “softbox” even bigger then the ceiling from “bounce 1”, and the light coming back from the wall will take care of eye shadows. The big tow minuses for this method is that you need a wall behind you and that you loose a ton of light, that just goes floating around the room. A personal TIP – take a quick peek behind you before shooting – just to make sure that aunt Jessi is not getting a load of flash in her new contacts.
Bounce 3 – The wall bounce (also known as the side bounce)
In this method, you swivel your flash 90 degrees sideways and bounce of the nearest wall. Again you get a wall-sized softbox. The nice thing about this method is that the light is directional – you will get great depth and character. Can’t find a wall? look to the other side, still can’t find a wall? try the person bounce.
See the bellow picture for a wall bounce (see other picture of my daughter in the children photography article)
Bounce 4 – bounce off a person
I got this one from Eric Vichich, and have been using it with great joy. This is good when you are out doors and you find someone who is waring white T-shirt. swivel the flash head to point to the person and shoot. It is best to use when there is still some day light, other wise the Ad-hock reflector person might get a full load of flash in his eye, and change from a friendly human reflector to a not so friendly red-eyed bull.
Well there you have it. happy bouncing. you can look at the lightsphere article for some bouncing diagrams.
Got some other neat flash techniques? share them on the comments.