one umbrella set up for formals in church

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by anna_aasen, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. I've read all kinds of posts on the subject and bought an umbrella set up almost a year ago - but still haven't used it- ha!! I have been taking church formals just using a tripod and on camera flash to this point - a 580ex with a 20D and am unhappy with the results (big surprise). I have a wedding this weekend and want to use the umbrella with a 420ex attached and use my 580ex on camera to trigger it. I have read that this works pretty well, but then when I go to set it up I'm flooded with questions: How far out to position the umbrella from flash? the flash looks off center to me, is it right? Where do I position the umbrella in relation to camera and group 1/2 way between both? How high should it be - I have the flash head at about 6 feet off ground and it is aimed a bit above center. ( I wanted to upload a photo of the setup - but I'm not seeing the option to do it) I was planning to use the 580 as fill - thinking about placing camera about 10 feet away - does that sound ok? I should have been practicing this long ago - but of course I procrastinated and here I am. I plan to shoot at ISO 400 at about f4. I've heard a lot of people have success with just on camera flash as well - but I sure haven't - the results are usually "muddy" for lack of a better word. In the past I have used 1/30th quite often as my shutter speed with a tripod but even then I feel like images are ghosting to an extent - for formals it seems like this speed should be fine - it's not like they are dancing up there - hoping this additional light will help freeze them better and create a nicer modeled image. I won't be able to get to the church to practice and practicing in an apartment with reflective white walls isn't exactly replicating the scene. Any suggestions out there? Should I even attempt the umbrella without practicing more - I guess I have to try sometime, but... don't get me wrong I have used it at home with the kids so I am somewhat familiar with it - but am pretty nervous about breaking it out for the main event. Thanks so much! Anna
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  2. My preference is to use two shoe-mount flashes on two stands with two white shoot-thru umbrellas, set up about like you have shown, but with the umbrella pointed toward the subjects. I place them on either side of me, with the distance depending on how I want the lighting to angle, and whether they are casting shadows from the front pews, etc. I trigger them with wireless triggers (Alienbees are good). I like the shoot-thru umbrellas because when you zoom the flash head wide, it blasts the inside of the umbrella with light, making it essentially a large softbox. What you have will work, but that's just my take on it.

    Alternately, you could use your setup with the stand-mounted strobe as the main light and your on-camera strobe dialed down for fill.

    However, your best course of action would be to go to the venue ahead of time with a friend or two as stand-in subjects and experiment with adjustments and setup BEFORE you get in the heat of the moment.

    Also, don't try to blast away all the natural lighting of the venue with your lighting. Drag your shutter and use the increased ISO to bring in the ambient illumination. Using amber gels, like a 1/4 CTO placed over the flash lens will warm up the color temp of the flash to match the church tungsten lighting. This will keep the background from looking so "amber".
     
  3. First, if you're the "official" paid wedding photog, my advice is NEVER bank on experimental equipment or techniques. If time and the venue permit, you could shoot some the way you're comfortable and then some with your new untested setup. That way, you'll have something to give the bride and groom even if your experiment comes to a bad end.<p>The pic you posted looks about right, but I do suggest you use the more powerful 580 in the umbrella and the 420 on camera. I also think your "muddy" results are probably underexposure. Have you got a light meter? Are you comfortable using multiple speedlights with Canon's e-ttl system? Do you check the histogram periodically? You mentioned shooting at 1/30th. Shutter speed will have an effect on how much ambient light mixes into the image, but flash exposure is determined by aperture alone.<p>To start I'd set the flash+umbrella so it's an arm's length higher than the highest row in your group. Umbrellas are very forgiving and between the umbrella's spread and the on-camera fill-flash you'll have a starting point. <p>Good luck. Post some pics when you've had a chance to try it out.<p>
    --<br>
    Henry Posner
     
  4. Thanks for the responses. well I am limited to the one umbrella and I need the 580 on camera to trigger the 420 because I
    don't have a cord. Alternatively - I could use the umbrella as a shoot through instead - it converts - do you think this would
    be a better choice and why? thanks!
     
  5. Consider using the off-camera flash as key with no modifier and point the 580 backwards into an umbrella for soft fill.

    Use your RGB histograms to see if your exposure is strong enough. Even with a meter you may need to adjust exposure.

    f4 might have too shallow a depth of field depending on the distance. Find a depth of field calculator on line and check your numbers.

    Is your camera fairly quiet at ISO 800?

    Consider shooting groups in RAW.
     
  6. Interesting concept. So then, I'm trying to visualize this. Would I leave the 580 attached to camera with head toward
    back at around a 45 and place the umbrella behind the camera and just stand to the side using a shutter cord - then
    where do you recommend placing the key light in relation to camera and group? thanks, I like the idea although this will
    require more light stands- but if it is more effective I'm open to it. I'm always nervous about moving past ISO 400, at
    least on formals. I don't like the amount of noise I get a this level, and even though I can put it through noise reducers -
    it creates a lot of extra work that I'd just assume avoid if possible. I shoot everything in RAW except some reception
    shots. I am constantly underexposing everything. I always have to up my FEC with the 580 and the 20D on it's own
    underexposes everything too. Granted I am working in AV and P a lot of the time. I know I need to get over into Manual
    and for group formals I do, but when it comes to moving with the flow of the wedding day, I find if I stay in manual - I
    don't check my settings enough, and end up ruining lots of shots before I realize it - but that's a whole other issue isn't
    it?! ;-)
     
  7. 1. You might want to tilt the flash head downward a bit. The 580EX has this capability, if only slight. Then, experiment with umbrella to flash distances and manual zoom positions. I think the 580EX, when used with the Canon wireless system, defaults to 35mm, which might work well. Take the whole thing into a dark room and watch when you open fire the flash. Look to fill the entire inside of the umbrella without wasting light. You might want to experiment with using the stand adapter upside down, so the umbrella hole isn't part of the tilting piece. You might be able to tilt the whole flash toward the umbrella, bringing the flash reflector closer to center.

    The thing about placing the umbrella far from the flash is you aren't contributing to stability this way. You'd need to make sure the stand legs are fairly wide.

    2. My stand flash placment for formals is to put the flash/umbrella about 15 degrees to my right, about 12 feet (and sometimes more) back from the group. It should be as high as your stand probably goes. My stands are 8 feet, so I put them up as high as possible. If the group is standing on steps and you aren't, it could go higher. The umbrella itself should be tilted down slightly. All of this is to place the shadows down and behind the group. I aim the umbrella just past the middle of the group (so just past the bride going toward the left). This is to feather the light across the width of the group. The fill light, on the camera, is not sensitive to how far away it is from the group, other than to expose correctly. I often use the flash direct, since it isn't forming the major shadow and light patterns as fill.

    3. I agree with Henry--you are probably underexposing, which results in muddy images, with ghosting, since the correct amount of flash is necessary in shutter drag, to help freeze subject and hand holding motion. 1/30th is fine. I have shot 1/30th with no tripod and not gotten ghosting or muddy images. Again, be sure your exposure is correct.

    4. f4 is probably fine for DOF on a crop sensor camera like the 20D, at 35mm and wider focal lengths (non crop sensor), but still place your focus point carefully.

    5. IMHO, you should practice in a situation which is similar. First, it helps a great deal to actually go through the motions of set up. Second, you won't have any surprises when you go to do the actual thing. Third, the Canon wireless system has been known to have a few issues re range and reliability of firing. I'd turn the red windows toward each other. Also, issues with exposure--make sure you understand and test if you are relying on ETTL and the ratios. Know what to do if things don't go as planned. If you can't get to the specific church, use some other place that is similar--big, etc.

    6. Have a back up plan if when you are actually doing it, things don't go well.
     
  8. Also--you can try the umbrella as shoot through. It might not waste as much light, but it can hot spot, although that might not be a bad thing for formals, particularly if you pose your groups in slight U shapes. I would think it would be even more important to fill the umbrella fully.

    Steve--I don't see the benefit of soft fill, since if you truly have a ratio going, the key light is what creates the dominant shadows. You are still going to have hard shadows. What would be better is shutter drag, so the ambient contributes to the fill--the overall lighting is less harsh.
     
  9. How true Mr Posner.

    Put the umbrella center 8` high over the camera where you will position it for the largest group. Establish the exposure for that and you can move the camera at will and the exposure will remain the same. Do not stand so you block the light.

    Umbrella light falls off toward the edges so be sure you have enough coverage.

    Go back and read Posner again. A paid job is not the place to experiment and people will not stand for you doing it while on assignment.
     
  10. Nadine-
    As always your insight is astounding and you share it so openly! Thanks for all the time you put into these forums and
    your thoughtful responses. I have read a lot of posts that have helped me a lot here - especially on flash photography.
    I'm about to ask a question I don't want to be asking on here - such a duh! question I'm sure. But here we go.... So as I
    understand it shutter speed effects the ambient background light - I get that. When I am taking some of these photos
    and I see that I am getting muddy results, typically I look to my flash and use the dial on my 580 to increase the flash
    output. Obviously, I don't want to widen the aperture past f4 due to depth of field issues - so I dial it up to +3 on the
    flash (if I have to.) Still, am getting these results (not all the time mind you - but occasionally). Now if I change my
    shutter speed to 1/60th I can usually get better flash results but obviously a darker background which I don't want. My
    theory is the flash is making up for the faster shutter speed - is this right? Or why is the flash working how I want it at
    1/60th but not 1/30th. What am I missing here - how do I get both - my theory is the umbrella is the answer adding more
    light and even better, off center to add some modeling. Am I correct? Still seems like I should be able to get solid
    results with on camera flash though, even if it is flat lighting. I seem to be missing a piece to the puzzle - can you point
    me in the right direction here? I just bought Mastering flash photography by Susan Mccartney based on a post I
    recently read. - still... I'm missing something to the fundamentals I think. At this rate, I'm worried I'm a lost cause!!!
     
  11. Nadine, if I'm correct, you're referring to my statement of having the 580 on a stand as the key light and the other flash on the camera shoe as fill? If so, this is a Strobist technique I picked up, which I only suggested as something she could work with using her existing setup. The camera-mounted strobe would provide on-axis fill, in the event she doesn't have another stand/umbrella at this time to experiment with (by moving the second flash off-camera and triggering wirelessly).

    What makes the dominant light with a two-strobe setup is how you set the power on the strobes, or how you set the ratio of output. Again, as you've stated, I'd have the key light on the stand, and I'd use the second strobe as fill, which she can adjust as needed. And, if the ambient is bright enough, she may not even need it at all, depending on how she manages the shutter. I agree with you that she should use the ambient as much as possible for fill.

    The whole idea is to create a nice modeling effect on your subjects with the lighting, so your dominant light isn't coming from the camera axis, which I think we all agree with.

    Again, there is no substitute for experimenting in this venue ahead of time, as Posner (and others) have suggested.
     
  12. How true Mr Moravec.

    Luckily, I have always been very honest with my clients about my skills and experience (or lack there of) I am not an
    award winning photographer by any means but I still provide a service to my clients that they seem to appreciate even
    more then I would have them. I will be practicing a couple hours before the ceremony in the church - but I would
    rather have that experience now - but alas, I don't. I will experiment and if it looks like it going to work - great! If not,
    then it won't. So far, even using my standard approach everyone has been happy with their finished results. I'm the one who is
    hardest on myself and am struggling to better myself as a photographer. It's a character flaw or virtue really; when you
    get to the point where you just never feel like you are good enough and you are lucky enough to have people like you to
    reinforce that idea it is a real breaking point. You get to that point where you can either give up or keep going and realize
    that you are never as good as what you could be, but knowing that you can always get better, if you work towards it is a
    nice feeling. I have been battling with the idea of giving up for a while, but ironically because of your post I'm more
    determined then ever. Thank you!
     
  13. How are you using the 580EX--ETTL evaluative or averaging? What camera mode? What, exactly, do you mean by muddy? I am thinking you mean you are getting ghosting, and backgrounds look grayish and also, you might be getting noise. Most likely scenario for this is underexposure of flash, and possibly, not enough margin (at least 2 stops) between camera EV and ambient EV.

    Not sure you have a single problem from what you describe, but several. First, if you are dialing the flash up around +3, something is not right. The 580EX and 20D does generally require a permanent + setting, but if you are dialing it up that high and not getting more light, you are using an EV that the flash isn't capable of reaching.

    The other phenomenon you are seeing probably has to do with the shutter drag margin, as I described above. When you change your shutter speed to 1/60th, you 'make' the ambient more underexposed in relation to the camera/flash EV, so the flash duration freezes subject motion and hand holding shake.

    More light isn't necessarily better. Correct exposure with the light you have is better. Controlling shutter drag/ambient light in relation to flash exposure is better. You CAN get solid results with on camera flash, dragging the shutter.
     
  14. Steve C.--sorry, I wasn't referring to anything you said. I was referring to Steve Hovland's suggestion to use a direct key light while using an umbrella-ed fill light.
     
  15. Anna--I looked around for an older thread about dragging the shutter, and found the following. Might help you.

    http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00KP1k

    Most of the time people talk about it for shooting reception dancing, etc., but it applies to formals, too.
     
  16. Well, I have the camera set to evaluative in most cases - I let the flash just operate at ETTL and adjust the dial when I
    need. It just never seems to put out the power like say my 420ex - with that I'm not even sure how to change settings on
    it and don't use it often - but have it as a back up and for the umbrella as a slave. But whenever I have used it it puts
    out a lot more light - maybe I should just start using it - just don't like the fact that I don't have a lot of control over it's
    output. Well, maybe I could control it I just have never attempted it - love having the dial feature on the 580ex and it
    should have more power then the 420 anyway, right?, not to mention recycle time. You think there could be a problem
    with the 580ex? I'm sure it's user error, but...

    I've read a lot about the the two stop margin. But it kind of confuses me. When you say 2 stops margin between camera
    EV and ambient EV can you give me an example in numbers. Obviously it's a sliding scale but say I need to shoot at f4
    then what would correlate to two stops difference? Thanks so much!
     
  17. Thanks for your help everyone - and for the link.
     
  18. Understood, Nadine. Multiple Steve's is confusing to me too!

    Anna, don't concentrate so much on remembering actual f-stop numbers, just remember (always) that the aperture setting you choose has a direct effect on how bright the flash appears. Shutter speed does not affect flash.

    Rather than using any automatic settings here, or relying on the camera's meter readings (they'll change depending on whether you meter on a black suit, a person's face, or a white dress), I'd switch to manual, and adjust as needed to get the best output. Once you have this dialed in, your photos will be consistent from shot to shot, and you'll have little to no editing or post production to worry about. Again, experiment beforehand.
     
  19. I don't have a 420EX but I know that each camera model/flash model combination tends to produce a different reaction. I have an old 380EX, which, on the 20D, doesn't really require much plus compensation, while the 580EX on a 20D requires +2/3 stop as a 'normal' setting. You should be able to control the 580EX with compensations. Try using averaging flash mode (custom function 14) and see if it makes more sense to you. Evaluative flash mode has automatic fill flash reduction, which can be good, or frustrating, depending upon what you want. Read photonotes.org/eosflash for more info. As for controlling the 420EX, I have found that controlling flash comp from the camera is pretty easy. Look it up in the manual. You only have 2 stops either way, though, while with the flash comp dial, you have 3 stops. I don't think it is a problem with the 580EX. Here's something I wrote a bit ago.

    http://www.photo.net/wedding-photography-forum/00HOSA

    OK, so if you want to use f4 @ 1/30th, and you want shutter drag that places your ambient 2 stops underexposed in relation to the above, your reading of the ambient should be f4 @ 1/8th or lower (at the same ISO). If the ambient is less than 2 stops, you open the door to the possibility of motion blur or hand holding shake. Or, if your flash is underexposed to begin with (in other words, not outputting enough light for f4), you are again at less than 2 stops difference, with the same possibility.
     
  20. Ok so if I'm understanding this right - whatever the meter reading is - my shutterspeed should be two stops faster. Ok -
    this makes sense - thus the reason AV mode is always a fill flash mode. I always very confused about what exactly the
    two stop rule implied - but this makes perfect sense and is so easy. I think I was over thinking it. I'm still working around
    my lighting issues with the 580ex but from all I read I just have to deal with it and stay on top of the dial - I have been doing
    this - just doesn't seem like you should have to. thanks for all the help - EVERYONE - this clears up a lot of issues for
    me.
     
  21. It is a rule of thumb only. Don't get too wrapped up in exact numbers off a meter. Plus the 2 stops doesn't just cut off when it reaches the border into 3 stops (or whatever)--it is gradual and dependent upon what kind of movement the subject is doing. Standing for formals isn't exactly full of fast motion.
     
  22. Funny, I have been doing some test shots and finding it has nothing to do with my lighting (at least not in my test shots
    tonight). My camera isn't focusing properly. For lack of a better area to practice, I have been shooting down a hallway into
    an opening. Despite, carefully focusing on the eyes, my 20D keeps front focusing on the hall wall - great. Did I say earlier
    how motivated I was to press on and become a better photographer? I think I take it back! I'm very frustrated and quite
    frankly nervous. Makes me want to go out and buy a 50D - that would be nice. I'm sure I won't have this problem in the
    church - knock on wood. But seriously, if I zoom in - it is fine but as soon as I hit a wider focal length I lose the focus -
    hence the wall in my way. So strange though - it isn't even near the focus point (center) I'm using. The forces are really
    testing my photography faith today. I'm sure tomorrow will be better. thanks
     
  23. The 20D has flaky focusing. One of the symptoms is exactly what you describe. When zooming to the wider focal lengths, the 20D will mostly back focus--front focus if it is a Tamron. Do some research. Lots of past threads. Or e-mail me directly and I'll talk about it further.
     
  24. In addition to the already many meaningful comments you've received, I can't help but to suggest, based on your original posted photo of flash & umbrella, removing the umbrella, reinstall it in opposite direction (180-degree,) and re-aim flash accordingly. The mounting bracket has a slight sloping umbrella stem mounting that is not symetrical on both direction (based on your photo, flash pointed too far upward.) In readjusting your umbrella & flash, you will have better aim of flash into center of umbrella and can better evenly distribute flash illumination off the umbrella.
     
  25. you need the 580 to trigger the 420, won't work the other way, I prefer two flashes both 550, slightly to right
    of me, shooting through the umbrella, but I use an STE-2 to trigger the flashes., normally use one other flash
    more to the center,set low, pointing up so as to smooth the shadows further, usually a 420 but some times a 580
    with the flash stepped down.

    you could try this with a gary fong flash attachment with your 580 set on your camera as the master to trigger
    the 420, but if not gary fong some other diffuser, I prefer it over the others brands that I have but what ever
    you have that will diffuse the flash. The center on your camera will help place light on the group and the 420 to
    the right should provide nice lighting, it could be the left.
     
  26. A long time ago, I did use an umbrella like what you show as the set up with cord on a stand set my 550EX to my right and a reflector to the left of the group, it worked fine. But I would not go that route again unless I had to.
     
  27. www.strobist.blogspot.com/
     
  28. Nadine Ohara wrote:
    Also--you can try the umbrella as shoot through. It might not waste as much light, but it can hot spot, although that might not be a bad thing for formals, particularly if you pose your groups in slight U shapes. I would think it would be even more important to fill the umbrella fully.
    Nadine, wouldn't using the umbrella as a shoot-through waste MORE light, since some of the light will be reflected from the umbrella and go away from the subject?
    larsbc
     
  29. Anytime you run into front focusing/back focusing issues, remember you can always switch the lens to manual focus and estimate the distance yourself, and set the lens accordingly using the numbers on it. That's what they put them on the lens for. And wider apertures will give you narrower depth of field to work with.

    Don't always trust the LCD to tell you if you're focused. It's a tiny little screen compared to how the images look on a real monitor. Either use the zoom in feature of your camera to check focus, or download your test shots to a laptop and check them on the scene.
     
  30. Ann,

    Nice Strobist set-up.

    But before you do anything else, you should know that your set-up should be flipped around.

    Note in the below photo that the knob on the flash clamp always faces you.

    That's why you flash is off center.

    Since you've got the Strobist set-up you should try David Hobby's Q and A.

    Here's are two that should answer your question in the Lighting 102 Archives.

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/06/lighting-102-unit-11-position-angle.html

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/06/lighting-102-12-position-distance.html

    Finally if you've got any additional question about the strobist set-up try go to the flickr strobist group

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/
     
  31. Richard - you're the MAN! That was exactly my problem! It's so crazy how the smallest change makes all the difference -
    just goes to show you it takes a village to raise a photographer! Thanks!
     
  32. Wilson - you too! Thanks!
     
  33. Richard--really good links to strobist articles. That's a good catch re the stand adapter. I didn't notice that myself--I have one of those but I use Norman stand adapters myself. They are more compact, with less 'stuff' sticking out.

    Larry--you might be right. To tell you the truth, I've never really experimented with shoot through much. Should do a test one day.

    Regarding light distance and umbrellas--I used to, and still do, sometimes, use the key light bare headed (no umbrella). Because of the distance needed between group and flash (for working distance and coverage), theoretically, an umbrella doesn't do a whole lot to contribute to soft light. However, when I can, I do use a large umbrella--46", and have thought I might get a 60" one. It makes a slight difference. Also, since I use Sunpak 120Js, the parabolic reflector is a bit nicer than shoemount reflectors when used direct.
     
  34. Good info in here. I'm looking at getting an umbrella setup and this helps. Thanks all.
     
  35. Nadine - I'm getting bored with all soft light. Think of the old Hollywood stuff done with fresnel lights. I'm reading an old book about master photographers and one picture uses a spot straight on plus the edge of another light for fill.
     
  36. Anna- Put the bounce umbrella on the same side as the hard key light if you want strong chiaroscuro. Your flash head may not turn past 90 degrees on both sides, but you could turn 90 either way and bounce off a flat reflector (zip disk or foam core) or umbrella.
     
  37. Lots of good information in this post. Being an amateur myself, I really enjoy reading about what some other photographers go through, as it sometimes makes me feel like I am somewhat on par with the rest of the world. Best way to learn is to make mistakes right? (not referring to this specific instance Ann)

    Just out of curiosity, how big are the groups you will be shooting? I am certain that many others will share their opinion on this...but if you groups are big enough....say 3 rows or more....I would be tempted to shoot at 5.6, or maybe even 8, depending on the size of the group.

    Opinions?
     
  38. I have a shoot on Monday of 45 people at an industrial plant.

    We will either use a scissors lift or a catwalk to get enough height.

    My main lights will be two 300 WS monolights with Rosco Light Tough Frost to take the hard edge off.

    I expect the people to be between 15 and 25 feet away so I'm thinking hard about depth of field required.

    I'll shoot RAW on a crop camera.
     
  39. William P.--DOF is dependent upon subject distance, focal length and f stop. In addition, a cropped sensor camera 'gives' about 1.3 stops more DOF. Download dofmaster from their website and play with the calculator. f4 on a cropped sensor camera may be fine if you are using the wider focal lengths. The focus point should be placed about 1/3 of the way into the depth of the group. f5.6 and f8 won't hurt anything, providing a margin of error.

    Steve H.--Hard light is fine. I use my key lights unmodified sometimes. However, I was questioning the use of soft fill. Since the key light creates the main shadows, it seems a waste to me to soften the fill light. In fact, you don't normally see the fill light shadows, or at least, one usually tries for not seeing them. And, as I mentioned above, my Sunpaks have parabolic reflectors and these are not as 'pinched' looking as bare shoemount reflectors, although the difference is slight.
     
  40. Sorry I haven't read through all the posts so I'm probably repeating something someone else has already said but I have a few suggestions. I would recommend flipping the umbrella round and using it as a shoot-through since that gives a nice soft light. Second, for a fill light you can use a white wall. If you're taking your photos near somewhere with a white wall just have the group stand with the wall to one side and the umbrella to the other. Better yet, if there's a large window have them stand near the window and use that as a fill light. Unless its a very large group you should be able to move the umbrella close enough to shoot at iso 100-200 at f/6.3 or higher which will give you a crisper image. If you use a window for ambient you'll need to control your shutter speed to get enough light but otherwise I would set it quite high to get a crisper image. By the way I would highly recommend getting some cheap remote transmitters for the flash so you can take your 580 off the camera and have two flashes to work with. You also can use a tripod as a substitute for a second stand but you also need another umbrella and umbrella head.
     
  41. Nadine- the picture I was referencing is called "The Corset" by Horst for Vogue in 1936. You can find it by googling images. He used one hot light straight on the model, one feathered for fill, and one for the background.
     
  42. I agree with Sheer El-Showk about using the radio transmitter. You could then bounce the 580 into the umbrella to give
    nice off camera light. It would be nice to have the power of that flash. Adjust the power of the flash according to the
    histogram, and balance it to the f-stop. The other flash could be set up almost anywhere for the effect you want. It
    doesn't even have to be used with an umbrella.

    Focusing of the 20D.. yep I agree to carefully manual focus if you don't trust it on autofocus.

    Of course everything is set to manual .. lens(focus), aperture, shutter speed, flash, but don't fret, it's easier than it seems.

    My only question which I didn't see answered above is why ISO 400?
     
  43. Thomas, raising ISO for indoor shots in general is done to increase sensor sensitivity and capture more of the ambient lighting. Using longer shutter speeds does this too, but if you drag it too long, you can get blur, even with shots which are posed and static. So, combining higher ISO and longer shutter speeds of reasonable length helps us capture the ambient without relying solely on the strobes to light the scene, which tends to blow the ambience and mood of the room. I like to use just enough strobe to separate the subjects from an ambient-lit background. I use enough of higher ISO and shutter speed to capture that ambient light from the room. The only penalty for higher ISO is noise, but better camera bodies keep this to a minimum.
     
  44. need at least 2 f stop difference in background for dragging the shutter without risking blur, I have gone as low as shutter speed 8 hand held with no blur, but had a very dark background. the other thing you could practice is high speed flash which works for freezing movement but again there has be sufficient difference in f stops to be on the safe side.
     
  45. Nadine, thanks for the info. Interesting information on dofmaster.
     
  46. Nadine...ahh yes, see, this is why I am amateur :)

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    Will
     
  47. Respectfully, Steve H.--I can't see how softening the fill makes a difference. I have seen that Horst image before, and as you say, the fill is produced with the edge of a parabolic light, which isn't necessarily soft--maybe soft-er than the full, direct light. In any case, this is a fashion/movie photo, and we're talking about wedding formals (not of movie stars, either). In the image, the key light creates hard shadows, as it should. I don't particularly see the influence of softer fill.
     
  48. Nadine - I basically agree.
    Now, how have we all arrived at the notion that the edge of shadows has to be soft? Perhaps they need to be grey most of the time, but soft all of the time? :)
    Some of my initial concern was also to maximize the effect of her flashes. If she needs the 580 for commander then the weaker light is being further weakened by being used in the umbrella. It might be interesting to try hard key/soft fill with a 3:1 ratio.
    May be hard-edged shadows could be part of a new look. For adventurous brides, anyway?
     

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