Getting A "Terry Richardson" Look With My D3000. Help!

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by will_a, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Hi all. I'm an NYC-based musician who's started playing around with photography. To say I'm a newbie is putting it mildly. But I’ve had some good results shooting individuals (mainly indie musicians) with my D3000 and the built-in flash. Very simple…black or white backdrop in the (very small) living room of my apartment.
    To my surprise, I’ve landed a paying gig…doing press shots for a female singer. And I want to up the ante a bit…and get a stronger flash. The look I’m going for is the Terry Richardson indie fashion thing. And yes, it’s getting a bit outdated at this point…but with the right accessories and model and attitude (and the simple fact that I have no space and am only shooting one person at a time)…it’s still one that can produce arresting images.
    SO…my question to all you good people is this. What should I get to help improve the lighting? Again, I’m going for a fairly stark look…and I don’t mind at all if shadows show. It’s kind of the opposite of the softbox vibe. I’ve seen conflicting info on other forums. One poster recommended Arri hotlights…while another swears to a dedicated flash with E-TTL cord (mind you, I barely know what these things mean).
    But for this specific task, what should I get? I don’t mind spending a bit of money…but I do need something fairly compact. And idiot-proof!
    Thank you! Will
  2. For starters you could get the SB-400 Speedlight which says "put it on switch it on,use it". No cords because the connects are made through the hot shoe. That would let you do many of the photos I saw on the TR website. Flash photography this way was about the easiest form of photography when all you had to do was estimate the distance 'Flash to subject' and set the aperture accordingly ...* these days it is simpler with the camera working that out for you. *Light falls off in power according to the inverse square rule, hence the dark backgrounds in many of the shots, particularly the park ones.
    There is one snag you must not use a shutter speed faster than 'sync speed' This is the fastest time when the first blind has uncovered the sensor but the second blind has not started to cover it. You camera manual will give you this infor but I'd guess, since I don't have a Nikon DSLR, it to be either 1/160 or maybe 1/200 second shutter speed. If you try faster shutter speed you will only expose part of the frame as the second blind has started to cover before first blind reaches the far side of sensor.
    Some appeared to have the flash off to one side which presumably would need some wireless synchronisation system along with the camera flash provuding limited fill light to avoid shadows too dark to be acceptable ... this takes a bit of experimentation to get it right ... but again easy enough.
    Some of the shots suggested to me that the flash was a little away, not far, from the camera so here you would need a sync cord from flash to hot shoe of camera and this gives you the opportunity to place the shadows to left or right or below subject on the background. You can get stands which permit the flash to be anywhere in an arc around the camera ... the ones I used way back provided a supporting grip for the rig with a hinge to let one change the camera from vertical 'portrait' mode to horizontal 'landscape' mode. I don't have any modern flash gear so I cannot give specific advice as I rarely use flash these days and the on-board flash suffices for my needs. I am also assuming that the DSLR has a focal plane shutter as my SLRs did ... my face will be red if it doesn't :)
    Go for it :)
  3. Thank you so much for this detailed response. VERY generous of you. And very appreciated! Cheers, Will
  4. for fashion photography, even indie/hipster fashion photography on a minimal budget, i would NOT use an sb-400. it's a good little travel flash, but the sb-600 is only $125 more an can do a LOT more. the sb-400 can only bounce in horizontal orientation, for one thing, so forget vertical portraits. and if you want to dial down the power to 1/2 or 1/64, you have to do that in-camera through menu-hunting. also the 400 doesnt have TTL-BL mode and cannot be used with CLS remotely (not that that matters with a D3000, but if you ever upgrade to a camera which has remote commander function, you won't be able to use this feature with a 400). also, using the 400 off-camera with a sync cord is more difficult because of its small dimensions. you have to cradle it in your fingers tightly, whereas its easier to position a boxier, bulkier flash like the 600--not saying it can't be done, but if you're going to use a sync cord and attempt to be professional, you might as well pop for the bigger and better flash. for more tips, check out
  5. Thanks to both of you for these replies! I've found a "barely used" SB 800 for $330 in NYC. Thoughts on that one? Will
  6. It´s a good one, I agree that the sb600 or bigger is a good choose because It can do more things and give you a better chance to experiment with different light at other sessions. It can be trigged wireless of camera from some of Nikon's cameras.
  7. sb-800 is even better than the 600, albeit much bigger and somewhat more complicated. a big plus with that is you can use it as a remote commander, so down the line you can add extra speedlights, say 2 or 3 600s, and use the 800 to fire them remotely, even without that feature in the camera body. the one thing about the 800 is its a little outsize for a d3000.
  8. If you try faster shutter speed you will only expose part of the frame as the second blind has started to cover before first blind reaches the far side of sensor.
    that's incorrect, JC. i don't know why you are giving advice on Nikon bodies and flashes, since apparently you dont own any. but Nikon DSLR cameras have FP value which allows you to use a higher sync speed than 1/200. the tradeoff is the flash output is reduced. so what this means is that your flash will fire at higher shutter speeds but will have less power and range. not a problem if you're shooting at close distances like 4m or less.
  9. Thank you Eric for putting me right. I don't have a Nikon DSLR and assumed wrongly they were like a normal focal plane shutter and the pulsing was done by the flash ... good to know though my Nikon syncs at all speeds.. But tahnks ....
  10. It seems in actual fact my general knowledge did not put me wrong and it is the flash that makes the difference and is the exception to the 'rule' although the Nikon like my Canon has a mode to take advantage of the flash's capability so quite apart from your rudeness Eric you too are incorrect like I was in not telling the full story.

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