The Art of the Manual Flash

Started Jun 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
CraigBennett Contributing Member • Posts: 699
Re: The Art of the Manual Flash

BackInTheGame wrote:

How large are you talking, Craig? I am going to do a couple of weddings next year, and I am just now studying, gathering my equipment, and getting ready to practice. I know there will be some outdoor group shots, but I don't know how large the indoor areas will be. I do want to have a SB-700 on camera as Master with SB-900 and maybe a Yongnuo for remote.

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Hi Roy,

Been away for awhile, very busy with weddings and events. I typically use 2 SB-9xx as remotes in receptions. Seldom do I need to bring out additional lights. It all depends on the aperture, ISO, and flash power/coverage. I'm sure there is a "rule-of-thumb" but I just look at the room and know pretty much where I want the lights.

If you can visit the sites this year and try a couple of setups, that will get you comfortable with your setup. Or just turn your lights way down in your living room and set one remote up at very low power. Pick an aperture you like (say f/5.6) and practice getting a nice exposure for different objects. I find that I have been using fairly low flash power levels lately with my D800e, so I've been bumping up my shutter speed to 1/125 to stop ghosting while they are dancing.

Neil vN has some really good discussions on flash use on his website. He also has several good books on the subject of flash. I don't use his foamy thing, but I do use a Flashbender for my on camera flash. I encourage you (if you have not already) to look over his site. IIRC, he typically setups one or two lights at the stage area. I believe he shoots into umbrellas. For other shots at the reception, he relies on high ISO and indirect bounce flash. Great results.

You either like him or not.  He is an electrical engineer like me, so I guess we think similiar.

Someone here showed a very large event room that he shot with 4 remote speedlights. They were setup in a balcony area overlooking the hall. Looked real good to me. I believe he shot at ISO 3200 as well.

It use to be in the "old days" you really needed some flash power for receptions do to shooting ISO 400 film and/or digital. But now, with the cameras we have, I don't hesitate for a minute to shoot at 3200 and sometimes (though rarely) 6400 ISO.  LR pretty much cleans up the image and the little bit of noise there is adds to the ambience of the image.

Edit: On your weddings next year, when you do have remotes setup, try to shoot 90 degrees to them, that way they are not in your image.  I would concentrate on only lighting the dance area, which is usually small compared to the room.  Shooting higher ISO's will bring up the room fairly nice so it will not look like a cave.  What to get away with the look of flash, so that helps a lot as well.

I typically set my remotes at 1/16 to 1/32 power and then run my on camera flash in iTTL with my flashbender on.  Get great results and pretty consistent.  I still tweak each and every image in LR, but that only takes a few seconds.  I import the images into LR with all my standard settings applied automatically.


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