Fong's Lightsphere with flash bracket or without?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by mark_jacoby___raleigh__nc, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. OK I've read that a flash bracket is not needed when using the
    Lightsphere II but what I can not determine is should I avoid using
    the bracket?

    I admit I'm adicted to my flash bracket. It's got a darn convenient
    handle and helps me hold the camera steady.

    I guess if I wan't so cheap and lazy I'd pay the $48 and test it but
    thought I'd ask here first. Thanks
  2. I don't use a flash bracket with a Lightsphere. The shadows are minimal, however you may still want to use one just because you are used to it. It will reduce the already minimal shadows so much more.
  3. In certain situations, the LS still throws the subject's shadow on to the back wall. Most of the time, the shadow is reduced enough not to attract unwanted distraction in the image. If you look for it, it's there.
    I like my Newton bracket and keep it on the camera despite having the LS.

  4. The LS II when shooting it direct in certain situations that need it, gives subjects the red
    eye. Using the bracket obviously does not. You always have to bounce the LS to avoid
    this, however it's impossible to always bounce it when you're out doors say at the beach
    shooting a group shot where flash is needed. When I have the LS pointing up with the
    dome on it, it doesn't work well, so I have to do direct flash, and sometimes you get red
  5. Ask yourself if you're ever going to be in a situation where you have to use direct flash and shoot vertical, like outside where you need as much flash power as you can get. You could use the LS most of the time, but for those few instances, will you care if the flash is not oriented above the lens axis? If the answer is yes, then continue with the bracket. If the answer is no, then go without. On a bracket, the only thing about the LS is that it becomes "tall", and this could be a problem with hot spots with wide angles or with low ceilings.
  6. I have used my lightsphere with my bracket for this reason. The lightsphere is not very good at long distances. So, I would mount the lightsphere on with the bracket, ready to take the lightsphere off at a moments notice to shoot those longer distances. But I have to admit, I like it less bulky without the bracket.
  7. Kari, do you do much distance shooting with a flash? I always assumed that you just needed to get within 25' of anything you planned to use flash on. At that distance my experience has been good with the LSPJ.
    Yours not?
  8. This brings up a point. Is the shadow issue for which the bracket is mostly used be function of the height of the photographer. At my 6'2" the pro I've worked with keeps saying get the camera lower.

    Figure that my 550 flash head is almost 7' up when the camera is at my eye. I am pointing down most of the time.
  9. Cheap and lazy at $48? You should see the price we have to pay here in the UK! Search 'Lightsphere' on the Bay...
  10. David, I'm not too good at judging distances. But, I don't like to shoot with my light sphere more than say 15 feet? (I know. Don't chew me out. As a photographer I shoud KNOW my distances.) I feel my images are under exposed if I am further than that. There are a lot of variables in this though. The ceeling hight makes a big difference. Also, what ISO and F stop make a difference. I suppose that with a higher ISO and wider f stop, you could shoot at a longer distance. I typically like to shoot at 400 ISO and F4-4.8 with a shutter speed at about 1/90. I have tried higher ISO and wider f stops, but then I think it has a tendancy to overexpose when shooting closer. You are really ok up to 25 feet? What are your settings? I am going to a Gary Fong seminar Feb 9 in Chicago. I hope to pick up some good tips there. I also just bought a second digital camera. Before my backup was film, and I didn't want to use it unless I had to. Now, with two digital, I load one with a bracket and flash, and one with a lightsphee, flash, and no bracket. So, I am covered either way.
  11. Where is the Gary Fong Semminar at Kari?
  12. Here is the link to his seminar.
  13. The Chicago seminar is being held at the Marriott Ohare on Higgens Rd.
  14. Thanks, thats close to home.
  15. Larry, I think the pro was trying to say that when you are doing classic portraiture/glamour portraits that are full length or 3/4 views, (also tends to be true for the altar/formal shots) then you want to get the lens at about waist high to give you a nice perspective (consider all the older classic shots using a TLR or Hasselblad with the waist-viewer)But, in this case you are using studio lighting which is raised to about a 45 degree angle...when your lighting with a flash, this tends to limit the heigth you can obtain. With a bracket, it will always be a compromise with flash height -vs- lens height. (I also still have an old Siegelite flash bracket that is adjustable and will give me an extra 12-20 inches of heigth). When doing the head & shoulder shots and most of the candids, I think a higher vantage point will generally help...which explains the milk crate that I sometimes stand on at the backdrop or why I lift the camera up above my head shooting down at the dancefloor. Most of the time I wish I had the heighth....just rememeber not to get stuck up there :)
  16. Actually I think the rule of thumb as to camera height is that the camera should be at or close to waist level if shooting a full length shot. 3/4, at about torso/chest level, 1/2 length, at chest level, head and shoulders at eye level unless you are deliberately playing with perspective.

    In my opinion, it's much better to be too tall than too short, like I am. I carry a small stepladder around with me a lot, which is very important when I'm using my Hasselblad (45 degree prism) and my subjects are tall. If you're tall, you can always bend down a little. Larry, just as an example, I've been on cruise boat weddings where the ceilings were about 7 feet tall. You wouldn't have been able to use a bracket with the LS then.
  17. Okay good discussion/lessons here.

    The center of lens to center of (550EX) flash distance on my lil'rebel XT is 6-1/2".

    If I raise the camera to eye level and am shooting downward most of the time will this lessen the need for a bracket? (now I am seeing why the sphere is so popular because it is a like a grenade of light)
  18. A tall shooter is going to cast more shadow as he can get up over his subjects. A bracket increases that. So it seems a bracket is NOT and getting the camera lower is.
  19. "If I raise the camera to eye level and am shooting downward most of the time will this lessen the need for a bracket?"

    No. The distance that matters is the one between the camera lens and the flash. The relationship between camera height and subject affects the perspective of the image (in this case, the pleasing rendition of a human), regardless of lighting or shadows. The relationship between camera lens and flash affects the placement of shadows behind the subject, among other things. What are you trying to determine? Whether you need a bracket or not, given how tall you are? If so, your height is not a factor.
  20. Okay, I understand now
  21. Nadine, I think you've managed to agree with me in disagreeable way...what is waist level -vs- torso level will be different for someone who is 5'5" as opposed to 6'2". The point of the full length or 3/4 length portrait is to drop the lens down to waist level as opposed to shooting it at eye level, especially if you are 6"5" tall. But all of this factors in studio lights that are likely 7-9 feet tall. If your light is flash on a camera or on a bracket then you are typically better off gaining height.
  22. David--when I talk about waist level, chest level, etc., I mean the subject's waist, chest, etc, not the photographer's. Sorry, didn't make that clear. I'm also referring to these points in reference to the "ideal" perspective of the human figure--to avoid distortion. You'll notice that each point is about halfway between the bottom and top parts of the subject.
  23. Eye level, chest level, waiste level, as long as no one hits below the belt. So where Dave uses the milk crate to stand on I would use it to kneel on.

    I suspect that this will eventually be discussed in 2nd Shooter 101.
  24. I am happily not too tall (Like Larry) or too short (like Nadine) but stuck in the middle at 5'10".

    Thanks for the advice & discussion. I'll order the Lightshpere and add to Gary Fong's fortune. I wish his seminar was coming closer to here.

    Thanks All.

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