Category: Power Camera

We Need More Power

Besides having exposure variance from shot to shot, one of the things that I/E-TTL mode does for you is hide what power the flash is going off at. In a run and gun shoot, this is fine. You want average exposures cheap photo booth hire melbourne all the time from scene to scene and the flash power should adjust for this. And as long as nothing is 1 to 2 stops over or under exposed you can fix it in post. Oh wait, your still shooting in JPEG, never mind, make that 1/3 to 2/3 stops. This is about the time you start blaming that stupid expensive camera because it doesn’t take any better of a picture than your point and shoot. Well first and foremost, an expensive camera does not make a good photo. Contrary to what common people and camera stores think. An expensive camera only allows you the educated photographer to make creative decisions.

Let’s say you’re at an outdoor family event, it’s a beautiful sunny day with a couple puffy white clouds in the sky. It’s end of the summer around 3 o’clock so the sun is in a pretty nice position. You’re up at bat to take some family groups shots. Since you’ve bought all this expensive equipment you should be able to get nice pictures, right? You’re sporting a 50mm prime to get that super cool background blur. And boy does it look nice on a sunny day like today. Because you’re shooting a group of four with the 50mm on a cropped sensor body, you need to step back quite a bit. Snap off a few test shots and you realize that some of their faces are in shadow. You don’t want to change the background, because you like it. And you can’t move the sun, so you put on a dedicated flash figuring that will bring up the shadows. Take another shot, your flash makes a weird couple of beeps and the photo almost looks worse than before.

The problem here is in TTL mode, you don’t know why your flash isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Let’s start off with exposure. In this situation I would guess somewhere around f/8, 1/200th at ISO100. But you’re shooting wide open on that 50mm prime, so we would be at something like f/1.4, 1/6400th at ISO100. Notice what the problem is yet? Remember the tail end of the last post, going over your max sync speed costs you 2 extra stops of flash power.

Doing the math here, to lift the shadows from 15 feet your flash would need to be on full power at f/8. Already being at full power you can’t expect the flash to give any more. Instead shooting at f/1.4, 1/6400th you’d be more than 2 stops underexposed. But had you been shooting in manual mode, you would have already known that and would have had to adjust for it. The first thing I would do, is get your subjects in shade. Not only will they be cooler, but you also have a much better chance of exposing them properly.

I wish I could go on and explain it better, but until you try it for yourself and understand the settings you won’t completely get it. Shooting outdoors with your lens wide open requires two things, either no flash or a lot of flash power. Shoot natural light and try for a nice composition in the shade or with the sun hitting your subject in a flattering way. If you insist on using flash, you’ll need more of them and have to get them off the camera (which they should be already) and get them in close. I’ve shot photo’s like this before but I needed 4 flashes to do it with them 10 feet from the subjects.

If you’re wondering why someone might do this. Think independent exposure. If I can light my subject a stop or two brighter than the background, they almost pop out of the image. And that’s what you want. Emphasis on the subject, not the background. Like this.

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