Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

Started Apr 24, 2007 | Discussions
RJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

Greetings everyone,
I would like to improve my indoor flash portraits.

My walk-around set-up is as follows:
Canon 20D
Tamron 28-75 2.8
580EX Speedlight/ I have an omnibounce for this flash

What settings/techniques produce the most consistent and pleasing results for folks on this forum? I've experimented with many of the ideas on this forum, but I'm curious as to what you folks actually do in your amateur and pro work.

Thanks in advance.

-- hide signature --

Rob

Kent Johnson Veteran Member • Posts: 5,354
Re: Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

Get an off camera cord (or have one made) so that you can bounce the flash off of an umbrella or a wall. This will be the biggest leap you can make. Ditch the omni...
-Kent

OP RJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Re: Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

Thanks very much Kent. This is definitely something I plan on trying.

Any suggestions for getting best on-camera indoor flash results (i.e. without taking the flash off camera)? I'm looking for tried and true strategies/techniques when I want to bang out a quick informal portrait. I should have noted in my original post that I do have a Sekonic meter as well.

-- hide signature --

Rob

Kent Johnson wrote:

Get an off camera cord (or have one made) so that you can bounce
the flash off of an umbrella or a wall. This will be the biggest
leap you can make. Ditch the omni...
-Kent

Kent Johnson Veteran Member • Posts: 5,354
Quick and dirty

Well, if you've got a white ceiling handy (a white wall is better) you can usually bounce off of that at full power and get about f/5.6 at ISO 100 at say 60mm focal length. Slap a 3x5 card on the back of the flash to send some of that light into the eyes sockets and retinas and you are pretty much there.

The main problems with this shotgun approach are twofold. The first is color casts from the surroundings. The second is that not all celings are created equal and as soon as you crouch down and increase that distance you'll have to recalibrate a bit.
-Kent

pmhflightmedic Regular Member • Posts: 362
Re: Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

You hear many mixed opinions, but I use a Lightsphere II for portraits like you have described and am happy with the results.
--
Richard

Canon 20D
Canon 1DmkIII (pre-ordered)
Canon 550EX
Canon 50/1.4
Canon 85/1.8
Canon 70-200/2.8L IS
Tamron 28-75/2.8
Tokina 12-24/4

rjl2gal3 Regular Member • Posts: 298
Re: Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

Let me suggest that you review this link and make one of these items that you can connect to your flash to improve your photos with amazing results thanks to Chuck Gardner.

http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/

OP RJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Re: Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

Thanks very much for the link.

Have you made one of these diffusers? Any examples to share?

-- hide signature --

Rob

rjl2gal3 wrote:

Let me suggest that you review this link and make one of these
items that you can connect to your flash to improve your photos
with amazing results thanks to Chuck Gardner.

http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/

OP RJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Thanks Richard

Richard,
Any before/after examples to share?

-- hide signature --

Rob

pmhflightmedic wrote:

You hear many mixed opinions, but I use a Lightsphere II for
portraits like you have described and am happy with the results.
--
Richard

Canon 20D
Canon 1DmkIII (pre-ordered)
Canon 550EX
Canon 50/1.4
Canon 85/1.8
Canon 70-200/2.8L IS
Tamron 28-75/2.8
Tokina 12-24/4

OP RJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Re: Quick and dirty

Kent,
Would the white card that is attached to the 580EX do the job in this scenario?

-- hide signature --

Rob

Kent Johnson wrote:

Well, if you've got a white ceiling handy (a white wall is better)
you can usually bounce off of that at full power and get about
f/5.6 at ISO 100 at say 60mm focal length. Slap a 3x5 card on the
back of the flash to send some of that light into the eyes sockets
and retinas and you are pretty much there.
The main problems with this shotgun approach are twofold. The first
is color casts from the surroundings. The second is that not all
celings are created equal and as soon as you crouch down and
increase that distance you'll have to recalibrate a bit.
-Kent

Kent Johnson Veteran Member • Posts: 5,354
Re: Quick and dirty

Hi Rob,

I'd say so. In fact, that is exactly what it's there for. Give it a try and post the result.
-Kent

Ken Dougherty Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/

Here is a link to answer some of your questions about bounce cards.

Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 26,625
Re: Indoor Portrait w/ On Camera Flash

RJR wrote:

Greetings everyone,
I would like to improve my indoor flash portraits.

My walk-around set-up is as follows:
Canon 20D
Tamron 28-75 2.8
580EX Speedlight/ I have an omnibounce for this flash

What settings/techniques produce the most consistent and pleasing
results for folks on this forum? I've experimented with many of
the ideas on this forum, but I'm curious as to what you folks
actually do in your amateur and pro work.

I generally dislike the Omnibounce because it scatters light all over the place, and it can pick up color casts from the walls, etc. Also it can give side shadows if you are shooting in portrait mode unless you have a flash bracket to move the flash over the lens. The product I like is the Flip-it bounce card, where you send most to the ceiling for bounce but send a variable amount straight ahead for a directional light (I started out with a Flip-it junior, and recently bought a Flip-it Flash Diffuser Pro):
http://www.dembflashproducts.com/

 Michael Meissner's gear list:Michael Meissner's gear list
Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus E-5 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 Olympus 14-150 F4-5.6 II +20 more
Chuck Gardner Forum Pro • Posts: 10,381
DIY Diffuser Examples

There are examples at the link. http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/

Here are some others taken using the diffusers:

http://bossa.nova.org/slideshow102/ The first two are single flash the others dual flash.

http://bossa.nova.org/slideshow101/ Two and three flashes w. diffusers in some shots and mix of flash and ambient in others.

http://super.nova.org/MAG070128/ Some candid dual flash shots taken at a goodbye party in an dark room with high ceilings (the type of conditions where OmniBounce and Lightsphere don't work well).

CG

OP RJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Thanks Michael (NT)

Michael Meissner wrote:

RJR wrote:

Greetings everyone,
I would like to improve my indoor flash portraits.

My walk-around set-up is as follows:
Canon 20D
Tamron 28-75 2.8
580EX Speedlight/ I have an omnibounce for this flash

What settings/techniques produce the most consistent and pleasing
results for folks on this forum? I've experimented with many of
the ideas on this forum, but I'm curious as to what you folks
actually do in your amateur and pro work.

I generally dislike the Omnibounce because it scatters light all
over the place, and it can pick up color casts from the walls, etc.
Also it can give side shadows if you are shooting in portrait mode
unless you have a flash bracket to move the flash over the lens.
The product I like is the Flip-it bounce card, where you send most
to the ceiling for bounce but send a variable amount straight ahead
for a directional light (I started out with a Flip-it junior, and
recently bought a Flip-it Flash Diffuser Pro):
http://www.dembflashproducts.com/

Gary Jean Senior Member • Posts: 2,533
Sample

http://garyjean.zenfolio.com/p984622617/?photo=230325043

5D, 24-105, ISO 800, manual ambient mode (1/100 @ f/5.6), one 580EX bounced off 12' ceiling at about 70 degree angle with white card out, +1/3 flash EC, flash evaluative metered.

If you are limited to on camera flash, then find a way to bounce off something, even if it's just a big piece of white cardboard.

Personally, I don't find StoFens useful. Too small as a diffuser and it just eats a couple of stops of light.
--
Gary
http://garyjean.zenfolio.com/

Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 26,625
Re: Thanks Michael (NT)

RJR wrote:

Michael Meissner wrote:

RJR wrote:

Greetings everyone,
I would like to improve my indoor flash portraits.

My walk-around set-up is as follows:
Canon 20D
Tamron 28-75 2.8
580EX Speedlight/ I have an omnibounce for this flash

What settings/techniques produce the most consistent and pleasing
results for folks on this forum? I've experimented with many of
the ideas on this forum, but I'm curious as to what you folks
actually do in your amateur and pro work.

I generally dislike the Omnibounce because it scatters light all
over the place, and it can pick up color casts from the walls, etc.
Also it can give side shadows if you are shooting in portrait mode
unless you have a flash bracket to move the flash over the lens.
The product I like is the Flip-it bounce card, where you send most
to the ceiling for bounce but send a variable amount straight ahead
for a directional light (I started out with a Flip-it junior, and
recently bought a Flip-it Flash Diffuser Pro):
http://www.dembflashproducts.com/

I forgot to mention, I compiled this album in January 2006 to show the shadow characteristics of the various flash modifiers that I had on hand at the time:
http://www.the-meissners.org/2006-small-albums/2006-flashmod/index.html

 Michael Meissner's gear list:Michael Meissner's gear list
Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus E-5 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 Olympus 14-150 F4-5.6 II +20 more
OP RJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Thanks Gary (NT)

Gary Jean wrote:

http://garyjean.zenfolio.com/p984622617/?photo=230325043

5D, 24-105, ISO 800, manual ambient mode (1/100 @ f/5.6), one 580EX
bounced off 12' ceiling at about 70 degree angle with white card
out, +1/3 flash EC, flash evaluative metered.

If you are limited to on camera flash, then find a way to bounce
off something, even if it's just a big piece of white cardboard.

Personally, I don't find StoFens useful. Too small as a diffuser
and it just eats a couple of stops of light.
--
Gary
http://garyjean.zenfolio.com/

OP RJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,122
Re: Thanks Michael (NT)

Michael,
Thanks for sharing this info. Nice resource.

-- hide signature --

Rob

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