Help with Ambiant Light at Reception

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by lindamccague, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Maybe someone can help me figure this out. My 2nd seems to have quite a bit of trouble with her flash. She's wondering if something is wrong with the flash. I've been trying to help her troubleshoot and it came out before the last wedding that the batteries aren't usually changed until the flash won't fire. I was planning to use her flash and see what results I would get, but when I heard she just doesn't changed the batteries I thought the problem would be solved and I didn't take her flash.
    When I downloaded the pictures I was very surprised to see the dark images compared to mine. Especially as we used almost the same settings for the images. We also recently went to Neil van Niekerk's flash workshop and it was great.
    I showed her these images and asked her if she had dialed the flash up or down at all during the day / night. She says she did not have it dialed down for these indoor shots. I was wondering if she had forgot and left it dialed down after doing some fill flash outside earlier.
    If you have any insight I'd love to hear it as I'm pretty confused. It seems to me as these settings are almost the same there should be more ambiant light in her photos. Both these images are SOOC. We also both use Canon 580EX II.
  2. Are you SURE the flash fired? I only see ambient light. It doesn't look like it went off at all.
    Does she get new batteries out for the start of the reception? I learned the hard way to install a new set of batteries at the start of the day, the ceremony, and the reception, whether I think they are low or not. They will otherwise run out at the wrong moment.
  3. Obviously, the first one is underexposed. It could be that the flash didn't recyle before being fired (you have Quick Flash engaged). Seems like the light is coming to the couple's right--not enough flash power for the bounce needed? Although that seems unlikely with the ISO and aperture used, but possible if the place was extra big and there were only dark surfaces.
    Also minus comp as you observed. Have her check both the camera and flash comp settings.
    Finally, there is a bigger expanse of white in the first picture than the second, and with ETTL's penchant for underexposure, the shut down could be from that. Or there was something reflective behind the couple in the first picture. Reflective objects or flash back causes pretty big underexposure with evaluative ETTL--doesn't look like it though. It might have been that bright bit of light coming through the door.
  4. What is the EV on the flash? O + or -? zero, plus or minus
  5. She might want to go with manual on the flash (rather than ttl) at 1/2 to 3/4 power so it doesn't drain the flash right away...
    and change her setting to 1/60 - was she bouncing flash? if so she might want to try angled with a bounce cap-
  6. Linda,
    If the flash actually fired on that first picture, I’ll eat my lens hood.
    Batteries are cheap. Rechargeable batteries are dirt cheap. There’s absolutely no excuse for not doing as Theresa does. The excuses given usually generally distill to some combination of laziness, forgetfulness, and false thriftiness (aka bad economic calculations).
  7. I don't think its just the flash not recycling as ALL her reception photos are like this. Here's another example. This time ISO 1600 f4 1/160 I shot again at ISO 2000 f3.2 1/160.
    Is there any way to tell from the EXIF data what the flash EV was? I can't find it and would love to see it.
  8. We went to the Planet Neil workshop and he uses TTL and quite often camera sync speed and I saw this works. Also my shots are taken with almost the same settings and there is much more light. I assume we were both bouncing and she was also using Neil's "black foamie" as was I.
    EXIF data shows that the flash did indeed fire.
    Rosina DiBello , Oct 02, 2009; 12:37 p.m.
    She might want to go with manual on the flash (rather than ttl) at 1/2 to 3/4 power so it doesn't drain the flash right away...
    and change her setting to 1/60 - was she bouncing flash? if so she might want to try angled with a bounce cap-
  9. EXIF data shows that the flash did indeed fire.
    But did you see the flash firing? A faulty flash unit my tell the camera it's firing even when it's not.
  10. Another example. I wasn't watching her flash as I was photographing.I thought we had fixed her problem with the batteries. I' m going to have to get my hands on her flash before the next wedding or let her use my spare.
  11. LOL! I'm going to have to find out if in fact the flash is ACTUALLY firing or not. I'll get her to bring it over. I'd just like to test it under the same conditions as a wedding. I'll also use it for a bit at the next one and see.
    Ben Goren [​IMG][​IMG], Oct 02, 2009; 12:38 p.m.
    If the flash actually fired on that first picture, I’ll eat my lens hood.
  12. I use off camera flashes.
  13. I do too.
  14. Here's an obvious thing to check--was the black foamie properly positioned?
    Also, do check the flash comp. Sometimes if you have negative comp set on the camera, and zero on the flash, the negative comp on the camera kicks in.
  15. If you look at the file in DPP, you can see the flash comp set.
  16. Hi Nadine,
    Will check with her about the foamie. I saw two pics where light fall off looked really strange. I showed these to her too and she said that she was trying something and saw that it didn't work and that obviously those are toss aways. I think the flash with foamie impoperly positioned would have caused this light fall off, and again still very dark.
    Thank you. Will have to install DPP. I haven't used it. I use Lightroom & Photoshop.
  17. It is just too coincidental that an improperly placed black shield would definitely cause lack of light in the image. The light wasn't getting to the bounce surface.
  18. Nadine, are you saying that you think the black fomie was blocking the light in ALL the pics or just in this one that shows the funky light fall off?
  19. I'm saying the black foamie was blocking the light in all the pics. Of course, I don't know what she was doing with placement of the foamie... What direct light shows up in your latest example looks underexposed as well.
  20. Thanks for the thoughts everyone.
  21. It looks like the flash fired only sometimes and then only at low power. It must be fixable with fresh batteries (every time you go out) and the correct settings. Both camera and flash unit are top of the line. Flash today is a snap to get right with all the auto TTL capability.
  22. Was there a cord between the flash and the camera? As Mike said, the exif data tells you that the camera sent the signal to the pin, that's all.
    Don't ask how I know this, but by the looks of the images, it didn't.
    Take her and the camera, flash in a dark room and try it. Then switch your flash with hers.
    Then send her over to get some aklines. I coulnd't imagine what would have happened if she had to give those photos to a bride and all because she might not have changed batteries. Make her put a fresh set in and have a spare in her pocket.
  23. Your last image looks a bit like a shutter issue. Notice how the right side of the image is dark but the left side is lit up a bit.

    If the flash is firing, as indicated from Mike Dixon, I'd have your shutter checked. Be sure to send in the flash unit in as well as the camera for a service check.

    Can you post some images of your outside work, if there were some? I'm interested in seeing if the flash fired outside, if you used a fill flash. The reason for asking is to perhaps figure out if your rear curtain sync is messed up, or if the shutter is firing late or early when using the flash. This would be a timing issue. I've seen this happen with earlier Canon models, but never with the later models as yours is.
  24. You haven't mentioned the focal length used. Because she might be using a longer one than yours and that could greatly affect the flash's power.
  25. I had a similar problem one day. The flash was firing but the pictures were so under exposed if the flash did not fire. I
    cleaned the contacts and tightened the flash on the camera. That solved the problem. My guess is that the flash need to
    be tight at the hot shoe and contacts need to be clean. I have not had this problem recently. Sandy
  26. If you focus to black or white clothes will afect the light
  27. I had a problem just like this this past weekend. I was using it like normal, and my shots were turning out very dark. (580EX with external battery pack) I asked the photographer I was working for and he said the flash must have a problem after playing with it himself. He's a top photographer so I'm sure he was right. Maybe your flash has a problem as well. "These stoney river steak ads are annoying"
  28. Linda, can you describe your exact flash setup? Exposure differences aside, it looks like all your shots are with off-camera lighting (including bounced light), while your 2nd's photos look like they only used on-camera flash.Look at all the dark backgrounds as opposed to the subjects.
    Look at the last one. Unlike your shots, it looks like a single, hard light source, on the camera, which is being held sideways. Something underneath the flash (the shield - or a 500mm f/2.8 lens!!) is blocking the light. It is certainly not bounced and there is no off-camera flash. Describing your complete setup might help everyone to pinpoint what went wrong :).
    Silly question, didn't she take any test shots before shooting, or at least review her shots in the process to see that something is not right?
  29. Hi Tasos,
    Thanks for the feedback. I was not using off camera flash at this wedding. I was only bouncing my flash (The jumping lady shot above was not from this wedding.
    This is exactly why I am confused. It seems we used almost the same setup and settings, but my shots are so much better lit! She also does not have a 500mm f2.8! LOL
    The setup on both our flashes that night looked like the image below.
    As Nadine mentioned she may have had hers on wrong (backwards?) and was blocking all the light somehow?? I was blocking any light from going directly forward and bouncing behind and up over my shoulder.
    I'm not sure why this issue wasn't mentioned to me that night. I will be checking connections on her flash, testing it and trying to get to the bottom of this!
    I'm now wondering if she was bouncing it straight up (instead of up and behind her) sometimes and if light was being blocked from going forwards by the foamie... if that would have caused this. I've seen her flash straight up outside (when there is no bounce surface) in a situation where fill should be used.
    But then as Nadine also mentioned the half lit shot is even underexposed on the side that did have flash... maybe all of this together and possibly having the flash dialed down is the issue?
  30. For focal length we were both using the 24-70 2.8 L. She has shots from 24mm-70mm and inbetween (as did I) that are all dark.
  31. Well, my €0.02, assuming no equipment malfunction:
    Backgrounds, shadows and WB (not an absolute indicator but it fits here) - Light did not bounce, definately not in the last shot, unless there was a big mirror there!
    Exposure - TTL got confused because of the shield, or manual setting was wrong

    Inconsistent lighting - Maybe she was trying to correct between shots?
    Here is a wild theory: flash shield as in the photo you posted, flash head is set straight forward but tilted 90 degrees up, so the shield completely blocks direct light from the flash. Light is reflected from whatever is behind the photographer, including a mirror in the last photo and nothing within range in the second one! That doesn't completely account for the ceiling, but as i said it's a wild theory!
    It's fun trying to work this out, i hope you find it helpful as well.
    PS: take a few test shots with her and see how she does it!
  32. My assistant gets a lot of that using her 5D without a black foamy or anything. I think it's just because the flash hasn't recycled enough ... at least that's the first thing I would check.
  33. I have had this happen if the flash overheated after being flashed to often and to fast in a row. I only had this problem with the 580 EX II never with the 580 EX. Just keep a second flash handy to switch if this problem occurs. I have a tendency to take a lot of pictures one after the other and your second might do the same thing. These flashes can't do that you have to give them a little break :)
  34. On the first picture,focus is on white cloth.On the second picture,focus is on black and white cloth.
    (evaluative metering)
  35. I alluded to the overheating business with the 580EX II. If you have Quick Flash on, you can fire the camera when the flash is only partially recycled. The flash will either shut down or have recycling times of 8 seconds and longer.
  36. Hi: Please post if you discover the cause and find a solution to this problem. thanks. Sandy
  37. I've seen this issue with bad batteries... I would highly recommend good rechargeable batteries that will give you consistent output. Did she notice this at the reception? Was she on TTL or Manaul and maybe had her flash dialed down? Also in the cake shots it looks like you have different white balances on the cameras - you probably know this but you want to make sure that your cameras are set exactly alike... I have custom set up for my camera that I use for weddings because I like high saturation of color and so my cameras are set to produce that for weddings. anyway if you find this solution I would love to hear what it is... check her settings on her camera, I think you might find something there and settings on the flash too...
  38. You can tell if the flash batteries were exhausted by looking at the three or four images exposed before the posted images.
    For a given 'moment', I know that the first flash firing will be fine, then the second will be a little under if I haven't given the flash a fast enough recycle time. In Lightroom I can see this happening quite clearly from the sequence of images.
    If your second shooter sometimes bounces outside, which simply means that she's thinking about composition and not everything plus my flash, then maybe you should advise her NOT to use the foamie for your next wedding together.
    I've had situations when using strobes to light the room and using my on-board flash to trigger them (in optical mode when I don't have room for Pocket wizards on camera) - the strobes a triggered by the monitor pre-flashes from my SB-800. By the time the SB800 fires and my shutter opens the strobes have long since fired and extinguished.
    You really need to sit down with her and do side by side comparison of settings and then test shots. You can then swap flashes and isolate the problem. This is the only way to find out what's going on quickly ...
  39. Linda, my guess is that she is really not using the flash correctly. Either she doesn't know how to use the flash, or she have changed a few settings on the camera/flash, that she might not even know about. As your shots seem well lit, my advice is to first give her some lessons. Get into practice with her, and see how she's doing it.

    Now, from my experience with flash on wedding receptions (and I use Canon), my reading about these photos are:
    First one (couple dancing):
    - looks like the flash bounced off an on-flash bouncer, or the actual flash bouncer (that white piece of plastic), but it is underexposed; might have been due to flash compensation on the camera (flash exposure compensation), or to flash not fully recycling at the moment of the shot (as the flash does go off even if not fully recycled); also, it might have been due to exposure on the dress, what might underexposes the rest of the pic.
    - on yours, I clearly see the flash bouncing off the ceiling, but what you think is ambient light, for me it is actually the flash illuminating the whole scene.

    Second (couple standing in front of the table):
    - again, I clearly see your flash bounced off the ceiling, and off the left side of the pic (means: not straight up, but angled).
    - on hers, I could believe the flash went off because there's a bit of light on the flowers, on bottom left; again, looks like Flash Exposure Compensation really dialed down. But apart from the flowers, I would never say there was flash on this pic.

    Third (couple with cake):
    - seems to me like a classic exposure reading from the cake on the foreground, and the couple gets underexposed. For me, it really looks like flash light, so it did went off, but she is not bouncing it correctly (if she is ever bouncing);
    - on yours, again, I see it bouncing off the ceiling, and even illuminating the background; that's what bouncing off the ceiling does.

    Last (couple dancing, light form the left):
    - Ok, on this one she seems to have tried to bounce the flash off a surface somewhere on the left side on the pic. BUT, to me, it seems like there was light coming directly from the flash. My guess: she had the flash head 45º angled, what might have let light come direct from flash, instead of a bounce surface, but as it's angled, it just lit half the scene. That is a terrible mistake I see many people doing. They twist the flash head up in an angle that light from the flash can still hit the scene directly, but only part on the scene gets lit, and light does not bounce.
    Check all her settings (Flash Exposure Compensation, exposue mode). Check if she's paying attention to where the flash bounces. Ask her to be carefull with objects on the foreground, as they may fool the TTL reading. And, as a tip, I don't know if you do that, when bouncing off ceilings, put the flash zoom to 105mm, to concentrate the light.

Share This Page