Speedlight and LED Panel both ... or suggest a fix?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
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DrestinBlack Forum Member • Posts: 57
Speedlight and LED Panel both ... or suggest a fix?

Well, I have the entertaining job of photographing entertainers. Please bear with me for the long description:

Indoors, on a stage, with non-stop varying lights of all colors and intensities, throw in some random lasers and even the occasional flood light and that's a challenge.

Oh, and the subjects tend to move around - going from full stop pose to whirling around in tight circles or going up and down 20 feet so higher shutter speed is most useful.

Oh, and in case you haven't already guessed, my subjects tend to show a lot more skin rather than clothing so getting the color right is valuable (or I spend way too much time fixing in post).

Surprisingly, I've been having great success shooting using a really simple setup (I can't use any external lights or gear and I have to move a lot, plus the environment is often one that is a little "risky" for an expensive FF camera): I use  Nikon D7200 with a Nikon Speedlight SB700.  The D7200 lets me dial in ISO as high as 8000 and still get clean enough shots (sometimes just a simple pass with Noiseware needed)

I turn the Speedlight off using the camera body, so that it still fires it's focusing lamp. That feature is fantastic. It aids in focusing incredibly! The accuracy of my focus is easily 99% - truly impressive, all considered.

However, the most common problem I have is that, because of my location, the subjects are very often backlit so I have all this amazing stuff going on in the background, general body is OK lit but faces tend to be too dark.

The other day, I threw a LED panel onto the camera instead. That solved the background light over powering the front and removed my shadow -- but I've lose the focus assistant light and the drop in accuracy (in this environment) is significant.

So - one idea, how about having the Speedlight in the hotshot and hanging the LED panel off the bottom of the camera to provide constant front lighting. It's working OK but as you'd imagine can sometimes given unnatural looks due to it's coming from below and I'm usually positioned at the subjects knee level or lower.
SO - first question: Is anyone aware of a way I can mount both on top of the camera. I'm thinking of one of those hot shoe mounts that gives you two shoes off your main one. The thing is, I need to have at least one of them retrain the hotshoe trigger and iTTL functionality.  The other can be cold.
OR - have I been ignoring my Speedlight because I don't know how to use it right? I'll welcome education. Do I just dial down the flash exp compensation until it stops looking like a deer-in-headlights spotlight and removing the background and cool lighting?

I don't think I can drop shutter speed much, I tend to need 80+ to freeze these gals in motion. Sure, a flash will freeze them but my results so far are harsh.
(SHORT version of all the above): I'm shooting in a strip club, what's your best suggestion for gear/settings? Thanks!

 DrestinBlack's gear list:DrestinBlack's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N2 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 Nikon D800E Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +7 more
Nikon D7200
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