C&C appreciated - Basics balancing ambient and flash...

Started Apr 7, 2013 | Photos thread
bravozulu
Contributing MemberPosts: 883Gear list
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Re: And then there's this . . .
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 10, 2013

i do a lot of product photography. And usually bounce the flash (on a flash bracket). But a lot of times I use an off-camera flash in a softbox. This is usually in my dining room, and so if I want fill light and it is daytime, the open window and sunlight match the WB color of the flash.

If it is night and want fill, I set a large white piece of cardboard in a chair opposite the flash. Then,  to eliminate off-color light from the room lights overhead, I just increase the shutter speed and and stop down the lens. This eliminates stray ambient light.

There is a reason that professional photo studios typically have matte black walls and ceiling. My wife worked at Warner Brothers studios for years. You have to kill unwanted, stray light sources.

To tell the truth, when I use two off-camera speedlights in softboxes, I can't really tell the difference between having a single light and a cardboard reflector on the opposite side. I sometimes go to the extreme of using my 35 year-old Minolta flash meter to set lighting ratios between multiple flashes. But it doesn't improve much over the simple cardboard reflector.

Move the reflector back so it is twice the distance from subject as the main light, and bingo. You have a pleasant 4:1 lighting ratio. Perfect for portraiture. The meter is mainly for my ego. Lookout, Ansel Adams, here I come!  

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