Metering Manual Flash

Started Jul 28, 2014 | Discussions thread
geru Contributing Member • Posts: 637
Re: Metering Manual Flash

Sailor Blue wrote:

geru wrote:

Ellis Vener wrote:

"Studio strobes have modeling lights that show you the lighting before you press the shutter button.

Hot-shoe flash units don't have modeling lights - you guess at where to put the lights, take a test shot, chimp, adjust the lights, shoot, chimp, adjust, shoot, chimp, etc. Then you chase after the subject, who as gotten disgusted with your amateur hour antics, begging them to come back.

Actually some flash units do have a modeling light, my Metz 48AF-1 is one of them.

True, and so does my Nissin Di866 Pro but using is a great way to run your batteries down in a hurry. You also have to change the mode of the flash back to Manual after using the modeling light, which is a pain to do. This is why few people use the modeling light function in their hot-shoe flash units.

I don't see an immediate need for using a modeling light. That may change as I go through the learning experience of using off camera flash.

You are far better off buying a single good quality studio strobe than a hot-shoe flash if you are only interested in portraiture. Here is what I would recommend. Add a cheap sheet of white foam core board for a reflector and you are set to go."

That may be good advise for some but there are those of us that don't have the space nor the budget for stands, modifyers, strobe, and battery packs.

I have a flash and I just purchased a second one with two sets of triggers, convertible 40" umbrella, 2 light stands, metal flash bracket, and a 5 in1 reflector for less than $180.00, including the shipping and tax. Who knows what my experience with off camera lighting will bring but I do know that I wasn't willing to spend 4 or 5 times my initial investment when I don't know where I'm going with this experience.

This brought a huge smile to my face. First you say that you don't have the space or budget for stands, modifiers, strobe, and battery pack then go on to say you have stands and modifiers, only changing the studio strobe and power pack for a hot-shoe flash.

If portability is your most important need then I agree that using hot-shoe flash units is perfectly acceptable as long as you understand the limitations.

If you are working in a studio or need more power than a hot-shoe flash can provide (equivalent to about 60Ws when used with a diffuser) then you should be using a studio strobe. You can get a very nice kit with a good stand, umbrella adapter, 40" umbrella, and a 5-stop 300Ws studio strobe with a digital readout for $220. Add that sheet of cheap white foam core board and you are off and running.

Adorama Flashpoint 600DG Monolight Kit w/One 300ws Monolight with Stand and Umbrella FP600DGKT

That is excellent and smart real world advice. If AC power is an issue there are various high capacity battery plus DC to AC converters.

As I stated I bought everything I need to allow me to setup a 2 light system for less than $200. I realize the disadvantages of the system maybe someday when I learn how to light I'll move from small flash to strobes but for now I'm more than happy with my purchase. Portability is very important to me my family is spread over 3 states and carrying this system is much easier than strobes.

A flash meter is a valuable tool for learning the craft of photographic lighting.

I lucked into a Sekonic L-308S for less than $150.00 then 3 weeks later fell into a deal on a 478D for nearly the same price. They've been invaluable using a single flash I expect they will be even more so when my purchase arrives Thursday. I plan on testing the whole getup out Saturday on my granddaughter and a couple of her friends. They're as excited as I am about the shoot. 😁

Congratulations, the L-308 is a great light/flash meter. A flash meter makes setting up strobes/flash units quick and easy so that you get the desired lighting ratio and correct exposure.

Outdoors a flash meter makes it incredibly simply to add flash to the ambient lighting. I love the look when I add about 30% flash (bare flash) to the ambient lighting. You get sharp shadows from the flash but the ambient light fills them in to give a nice look to the images.

I never considered a light meter until I fell into the Sekonic L 308S now I use it quite frequently.

I always disliked using the cameras monitor.  I suppose I'll be using it more now that I'll eventually be trying to setup a 2 light system.

Here are some great tutorials on using your new meter.

Sekonic - Joe Brady - Control the Light and Improve Your Photography: Part 1 — Portraiture Using Available Light

Sekonic - Joe Brady - Control the Light and Improve Your Photography: Part 2 — Better Environmental Portraiture

Sekonic - Joe Brady - Blending Flash & Ambient Light for Beautiful Outdoor Portraits

Sekonic - Joe Brady - Control the Light and Improve Your Photography: Part 3 — Studio Portrait Lighting

Sekonic - Frank Dispensa - Classical Posing and Portrait Lighting

Don't forget that you can use your meter outdoors for incident light readings. It will only work in shutter priority but it is easy to mentally run the shutter speeds and apertures up and down to let you set your camera to the desired aperture.

I in fact got interested in flash after watching a Joe Brady video. I was one of those who didn't use flash because I was an ambient light shooter. Actually it was as he states I didn't know how to use it and didn't like the results I was getting. I've watched the first 3 you've listed at least 3 times each and suspect I'll be watching them a few times more.

My equipment arrived Thursday last but as of yet I have not had a chance to use it. There is just to much going on right now.

I have set it all up and fired the flash several times just to make sure all works. I've even determined the flash power and distance to get F8 ( just like Joe, Lol.). I also metered the flash from my start point of 1/4 power down to 1/32 power and was actually surprised that with each change in power the meter displayed exactly one stop difference in aperture. Now if i can only put all this wonderful knowledge to use.

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Living and loving it in Pattaya, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

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