• Welcome to the Two Wheeled Texans community! Feel free to hang out and lurk as long as you like. However, we would like to encourage you to register so that you can join the community and use the numerous features on the site. After registering, don't forget to post up an introduction!

Speedlights - an ongoing experiment in their use...

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
I'm getting close to finally believing I can actually create a decent image with some effort. So tonight I decided to try working specifically on four lighting approaches to include:
1. A single light source for high dramatic value
2. A single light source with a reflector
3. A multiple light source option for even and separation light
4. The common thread across the shots was to create a black background

Here's the setup. Yes, a bit crowded, but you can see what I used and how I used it for the results below. Certainly 'do-able' within the confines of a room and easily knocked down/setup. I stood a light stand where I had the subject and focused on that. When that was done, I flipped my focus selector to "M" (manual) so it wouldn't try to hunt for a focal point as it already had it. The camera was set to a 10 second delay, shutter released and the subject stood just behind the light stand with the locked in focal point. Repeat.
i-62JhP6W-XL.jpg



Objective #1: A single light source for high dramatic value
One 20x20 soft box with a SB900, camera left up high
No reflector
1/200 to kill ambient at background which is mottled gray
Little touchup in LR to kill remaining background
HEAVY clarity, (like 100%)
Vibrance 10%
i-MKsLbWk-XL.jpg



Objective #2: A single light source with a reflector
One 20x20 soft box with a SB900, camera left up high
White reflector camera right VERY CLOSE to subjects face
1/200 to kill ambient at background which is mottled gray
Little touchup in LR to kill remaining background
Clarity 10%
Vibrance 10%
Bump 1/2 stop exposure in post
i-RNVB4GF-XL.jpg



Objective #3: A multiple light source option for even and separation light
One 20x20 soft box with a SB900, camera left up high
One gridded SB700 back right corner pointing at subjects face
One flagged SB700 back left corner pointing at subjects back for separation
Gold reflector camera right to subjects face
1/200 to kill ambient at background which is mottled gray
Little touchup in LR to kill remaining background
Clarity 10%
Vibrance 10%
Reduced “Yellows” about 10% to kill the gold color in subjects face/shirt
Bump 1/2 stop exposure in post
i-SNdhkPZ-XL.jpg



Overall, I'm pleased with the results. I was shooting 1/200th and I could have gone 1/250th to further kill the ambient light on the background. I also could adjust the lights a bit more to eliminate any overspill. I'm pretty happy and I bought the subject of the shooting dinner so he was pretty happy. :trust:

Hopefully this little example can help others in giving this a try.

Any thoughts, comments or observations are welcome!

.
 
Last edited:

kojack06

Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
Messages
2,093
Location
Temple, Texas
Re: Let's try what I've learned - again....

My favorite set-up is still a single light source(diffused or reflected) and perhaps a bounce board. We've been having great weather recently for outdoor portraits. The hazy bright cloud covers serves as a huge lightbox.
 
Joined
Dec 25, 2005
Messages
11,722
Location
somewhere between NC and TX
First Name
Gary
Re: Let's try what I've learned - again....

Very helpful, Scott, to see the setups matched up with the output. The next big step in my abilities will be to be able to raise the level of my control of the light to produce shots like this with expected/intended results.

Questions.
Why grid the 700 vs reducing its output via controls?
Given where the gridded 700 is, how did 2 lights end up reflected in your eyes in the last shot?
What do you mean by "flagged" and to what end?
 
Last edited:

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - again....

Very helpful, Scott, to see the setups matched up with the output. The next big step in my abilities will be to be able to raise the level of my control of the light to produce shots like this with expected/intended results.

Questions.
Why grid the 700 vs reducing its output via controls?
Given where the gridded 700 is, how did 2 lights end up reflected in your eyes in the last shot?
What do you mean by "flagged" and to what end?
The grid was used to very tightly direct/limit the light path. Think of a big coffee cup full of straws which the light must travel through. There is zero dispersion other than directly thru the straws so no spillover anywhere. It's all directed at what you point it at. In the third example above, note the subtle cheek light. That's the grid doing it's job - focused beam of light instead of every direction. And yes, the reduced power output was selected (I think 1/20th power) for effect.

One catch light you see is the 20x20 softbox camera left and the other reflection is just that, reflected light from the reflector camera right.
Example from the other direction:
i-qpnbLWS-XL.jpg




Flagged is a term used to put any modifier on a light source that looks like a flag and therefore can direct and contain the light. Put a 3x5 index card on the top of a speedlight head with blue window paint tape and you don't allow light to go towards the sky. Put a card on the side and you limit it's travel to that side. Think barn doors on conventional studio lighting. I put a card on the top to limit bounce off the ceiling and one on the left side of the head to limit spillover to the background.
Example:
i-24pXn4d-XL.jpg

(that's actually an SB700 in the above pic)


What's also interesting to note is the way the two sides of the reflector work. One is a white surface (image #2 above) and that reflector is probably 14" from the subjects face with no reflection in the eye. But in image #3 above, the reflector side used was the gold with a much higher reflection property and it was probably 36" away from the subjects face. Farther away with an observable reflection with the gold vs closer and no reflection with the white.

What I'm experimenting with is YOU OWN the lighting when you go inside like this. Good, Bad or Ugly, it's all on the photographer and his use and control of light to set the stage for how they want the subject presented.


.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 27, 2010
Messages
327
Location
Elgin, Texas
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

cool experiment, beats sitting around waiting for the sun to shine again like I've been doing:giveup: I have been avoiding using artificial lighting because of the dreaded condition known as "fear of flash". Maybe 2015 will be the year I do some experimenting. Thanks for posting.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

cool experiment, beats sitting around waiting for the sun to shine again like I've been doing:giveup: I have been avoiding using artificial lighting because of the dreaded condition known as "fear of flash". Maybe 2015 will be the year I do some experimenting. Thanks for posting.
I think most of us 'fear' flash initially. I still do, but I'm getting better about it. I think it's just a question of trying. Trying to figure out HOW it works by looking at images from a light perspective. So in some respects, if you have no natural light, just how do you light your subject? That forces you to think about it. I'm more comfortable just after this little exercise, that's for sure.

I know there's a few other shutterbugs here that haven't chimed in on this. I'm guessing the fear is too high to even look!

Come on guys - you know who you are...... What 'cha think?


.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,493
Location
Houston, TX
First Name
Kory
Last Name
Burleson
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Nice experimenting there, Scott. You're well ahead of my flash skills. Most of the time I'm shooting little ones, there's no time for it and even if there was, they surely don't sit in one place. Now that my oldest is 4, I may try to get her to pose with me some this year.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Kory,
Start with a simple setup with say.... a window on one side and a big white foamcore board on the other and put junior in the middle. Or setup the umbrella with a low power setting on the non-window side as a fill. Just set it up and try it to see how it works. I promise, you'll feel better knowing if it works or not and if it doesn't, I bet you can quickly figure out what to change, ie: power, location etc.

It's actually kind of fun when you look at simply shaping light to illuminate the subject to present it in a way you want. You OWN the lighting this way. Even with the little ones. (and this coming from a guy without kids....)

.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,877
Location
Arlington, TX
First Name
Bill
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

I know there's a few other shutterbugs here that haven't chimed in on this. I'm guessing the fear is too high to even look!



Come on guys - you know who you are...... What 'cha think?





.
Hey now! I've been away from a computer for the past 3 days and will be for a few more. So my only means right now would be a phone with really slow data since I am on roaming, and the latest version of Tapatalk which I think is pretty terrible.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Hey now! I've been away from a computer for the past 3 days and will be for a few more. So my only means right now would be a phone with really slow data since I am on roaming, and the latest version of Tapatalk which I think is pretty terrible.
Yeah, yeah yeah..... been following your icy travels on FacePlant. lol
 

kojack06

Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
Messages
2,093
Location
Temple, Texas
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Flash isnt difficult and with digital cameras, no more expensive Polaroids to test lighting ratios, etc. No tedious film developing and test prints; you see your work instantly.
 

jhansen

Forum Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2005
Messages
6,536
Location
Spring Texas
First Name
Jeff
Last Name
Hansen
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Ok, I don't understand much past "flash" but of the three self portraits I like #1 the best. Nice work Scott.
 

M@!

Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
195
Location
Celina, TX
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Nice work, definitely like the single catch better. Double catch light in the eye always distracts me.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,877
Location
Arlington, TX
First Name
Bill
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Flash isnt difficult and with digital cameras, no more expensive Polaroids to test lighting ratios, etc. No tedious film developing and test prints; you see your work instantly.
Post up some of your work. We would love to see it.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Culling at the moment, but let's say I tried this type of shot on another unsuspecting person.... News at eleven as they say. :photo:


.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2005
Messages
4,642
Location
Saint Johns, FL
First Name
Duke
Last Name
Dixon
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Scott,

These three are well executed. I like the "drama" of #1.

The changes are subtle in #2 & #3, I like the softness of #2 of the two.

Culling at the moment, but let's say I tried this type of shot on another unsuspecting person.... News at eleven as they say. :photo:


.
As for your last post......

 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

As for your last post......
Still culling.... :giveup: Down to the last 92 to look at now. I think they will be much like the first one, but possibly a series of shots.

My 'keeper' ratio is low on this. I think that's norm when in "experiment" mode. lol....

.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Again, the focus was to create an edgy type sports image, sort of like a Joel Grimes sans using his background images. Single 20x20 softbox w/speedlight and white reflector. I wanted "Don't mess with me or my workout" kind of attitude which I think was achieved. Of course, a pretty lady always helps a shot.

#1
20150104_Studio_Gina_Workout-134-1-XL.jpg


#2
20150104_Studio_Gina_Workout-227-1-2-XL.jpg


#3
20150104_Studio_Gina_Workout-216-20-XL.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
1,796
Location
Hangin' out at the "bars"
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

I'm confused a little about the first set in this experiment.

When you bought the subject dinner, did you sit next to, or across from them?

Otherwise, it was quite interesting seeing what you did with the lighting to achieve the effects. Nice work.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

I'm confused a little about the first set in this experiment.

When you bought the subject dinner, did you sit next to, or across from them?

Otherwise, it was quite interesting seeing what you did with the lighting to achieve the effects. Nice work.
You caught that, eh? :clap:


.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

So I've been watching a bunch of BTS (Behind the scenes) tutorials on how to achieve good lighting using speedlights. Again, I decided to setup a three light test with a black background to see how it worked.

I used an SB700 in a 24"x36" gridded softbox as the key (primary) light camera right. Camera left was an SB700 with a grid for very directed fill. And camera left in the back was an SB900 for a hair/rim light to give me a bit of separation from the black backdrop. Camera was in Manual mode, and I was using Cactus5 receivers on each flash and as a trigger on the camera body. Shots were executed via Tethered Capture in Lightroom.

After two or three, this is where I wound up. Short of a better model, I'm thinking the lighting was pretty good for this in terms of quantity and quality/distribution.
i-Q6Tkx9J-XL.jpg


Taking it one step further, I decided on another shot concept and used pretty much the same setup but changed the background to the camo one I have. This was the result (with a much better looking model than the above shot).
i-mRrs8LB-XL.jpg


And a fun one comparing a vintage Korean War era PRC-6A and an 2015 version of the iPhone6 (again, the same three light setup)
i-wkNwFMJ-XL.jpg


Again, pretty pleased with a three light setup and understanding shaping and power requirements with the speedlights. I think the hardest part is just knowing how to pose people and that only comes with, well - posing people. So with that, I'm going to be hitting up my friends for some TFP work and see what I can come away with.

Speedlights are fun!



.
 
Last edited:

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
47,968
Location
Huntsville
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Friday
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

She's cuter than you, but don't sell your self short ;-)

The lighting looks really good.
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,425
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

She's cuter than you, but don't sell your self short ;-)

The lighting looks really good.
Thanks, Scott.
I'm really trying to learn what I can with these speedlights for indoor use. I've already got some concepts rolling around in my head for use of the speedlights outside too. On the flipside, I keep looking at AlienBees for something different, yet in the end there's so much more to learn with these little light sources that I need to get comfortable with these first.


.
 
Joined
Dec 25, 2005
Messages
11,722
Location
somewhere between NC and TX
First Name
Gary
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

All great. My biggest kudo - no flash glare on your glasses. That is most often my biggest battle in shooting with flash.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2003
Messages
782
Re: Let's try what I've learned - speedlights again....

Thought this was what you meant.

[ame="https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zOx8A-TzHoQ"]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zOx8A-TzHoQ[/ame]

[ame="https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wnkp2sT8zkg"]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wnkp2sT8zkg[/ame]

[ame="https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ph-qv4gYAE8"]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ph-qv4gYAE8[/ame]
 
Top