The Art of the Manual Flash

Started Jun 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
mbloof Senior Member • Posts: 1,376
Re: All/Pure Manual Flash is workable for an event

The technique of bringing the ambient room light up via manual strobes seems to be fairly common. I've been to a few receptions where the hired shooter was doing this.

Then of course we still have the issue of lighting the subjects. There seems to be three different methods all of which have advantages and pitfalls. All are somewhat dependent on how your lighting your subject(s) (your providing one or two extra lights) and if your in a static or dynamic situation. I define a 'static situation' as one where I'll get my light meter out and 'dynamic' as leaving the light meter in my pocket.

For the purely manual folks, I suppose that if your using a prime lens and have your portable flash(es) preset that if you maintain the same subject framing and distance to your portable light stand or assistant holding a 'light on a stick' then you'll have fairly constant exposures.

Granted that if your using a zoom lens and/or different framing and subject distances you'll have to ether have a good eye+head for figuring distance and calculating different power level(s) and 'chimp' the resulting shot and then fire/chimp 2 or more shots to get it right.  Some shooters may use subject-light distance to adjust flash exposure, some might use ISO/Aperture and others might adjust their flash power levels.

All chest pounding aside, all three methods are functional and have their advantages and draw backs and require 'chimping' the shots.

iTTL/eTTL2 shooters do pretty much the same thing but instead 'ride' their FEC knob up/down.

Big deal.

I gauge each method on three measures: 1. How often is the 1st exposure correct, 2. how quickly can I fix it if its not correct and 3. how much work does it leave me in post.

I suppose for shooters that take more than a few hundred images at a event the amount of post processing (or not) needed may be of primary importance. I'm generally not 'snap happy' and come away with ~1IPM (image per minute of shooting/coverage) so after culling the pure 'duds' I'm working with < a few hundred images and always hand tweak each and every one in LR.

The canon eTTL2 system is fairly well explained in more than a few places on the web. Surely if I'm going for something 'creative' anything 'automatic' may not even be considered but in dynamic situations I've found that eTTL2 gets me 'close enough'. I don't know about the rest of you but even in 'static situations' I've yet to create an image where I did not play with the levels even a little bit in post.

-- hide signature --

(insert brag sheet here)
A sampling of my images are in my DPR gallery
Technologist @ Large
- Mark0

 mbloof's gear list:mbloof's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS 400D Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II +9 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
(unknown member)
(unknown member)
(unknown member)
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow