Problem with Wedding Photograph Fill-Flash

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by todd frederick, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. This is a digital wedding question: Yesterday I photographed an outdoor wedding at Stern Grove in San Francisco. In San Francisco, heavy high dark fog is common. This required fill-flash to avoid the "raccoon eye" effect. I photographed the wedding with FILM and TTL fill-flash, which is very reliable. I also did some "side shooting" with one of my digital cameras: Olympus E-10 and FL-40 flash in TTL mode. Most photos with this camera were fine, but a large number of them were extremely flash over-exposed. Even the Olympus camera manual warns about the problem of over or underexposure due to the dominance of one strong density in the image: pure black or pure white. All of the over-exposed photos were of the gentlemen in black tuxedos. I am confident that my FILM images will be fine, since my Nikon TTL system seems to accommodate to all situations, but the digital are unpredictable. The attached photo with the digital and flash fill is horrid. Is this a problem with all digital fill-flash systems, or just mine? My digital friend, who was with me, photographing in digital, knowing what he is doing!, suggested reducing my digital flash output to -2. Other digital fill photos at this event, with dominate neutral tones, came out fine. Any thoughts? Any suggestions? This was a digital practice for me. Thank you.
    007yAc-17549584.JPG
     
  2. Added Informationa:

    On another forum: DPReview, "Olympus SLR Talk" forum (www.DPReview.com), one person suggested that I should treat digital as I would chromes (not negatives) and reduce in-camera exposure for greater image density. From there I have info to work with in post-processing.

    Does that make sense? SEE:

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1022&message=8379182
     
  3. Digital exposure isn't any different than with a film camera. It just doesn't have the latitude
    of film, so you have to be careful with overexposure. In this case the whole image is
    overexposed... which leads to this question:

    ... what kind of meter pattern were you using in the Olympus? If it is spot or center
    weighted then the dark Tuxes would command the TTL meter to expose to make the black
    dominated area a neutral value thus overexposing the whole scene. If you shot a black
    wall it'd be grey. If you shot a white wall it'd be grey.

    If the Olympus doesn't have matrix TTL metering, or if it doesn't work well, then for dark
    pictures you'll have to compensate the flash to the - (I'm not sure about -2, that seems a
    bit much for the shot you showed here).

    BTW, weren't you alerted to the overexposure on the LCD?

    Also, if you shot RAW files, that level of overexposure can be corrected to some degree, as
    long as the highlights weren't blown.
     
  4. Marc, Olympus has what it calls ESP which is similar to Matrix metering. It was on ESP. ""BTW, weren't you alerted to the overexposure on the LCD?"" Marc, I did not see this, or even know about this, on the LCD. I have much to learn about this camera. I know my camera is "vintage"....3 years old! (^0^)...but I think it has great portential. I just need to learn it's quirks. I shot in Jpeg high resolution. Attached is another sample from the same spot with the same settings.
    007yGm-17552884.jpg
     
  5. Your fill flash problem has nothing to do with digital, and has to do with the flash exposure system of the camera. All camera “auto” systems are deterministic and follow some set of rather basic built in rules. (You can test this by putting the camera on a tripod and take several identical pictures in a row with things set to auto. If all the pictures are the same then it is working, if they are different, it is broken.) To be able to effectively use the TTL fill flash, you will have to learn its behavior. You may discover that small changes in the scene make big differences in the exposure that are difficult to compensate for. If that is the case then the system is just more trouble than it is worth, and you may get more predictable results using a simple, external Auto mode flash, or plain manual fill flash.
     
  6. Todd,

    When shooting in TTL at weddings I always use the FEC. When shooting
    the groom (black tux) I set a 2/3 stop under and when shooting the bride I dial in a 2/3 over. I've had to go as far as 1 1/3 stop over (bride) and 1 stop under (groom). When they are standing together I've found that the brides dress is a little more dominant to the TTL and normally dial in a 1/3 stop over. Hope this helps.
     
  7. The high brightness range of your subjects,fooled your TTL.In the future do your "digital practice" a week before an event.BTW,It is your film's lowered contrast that will smooth out the speed bumps,not your Nikon TTL flash system.Digital is very high contrast by comparison.
     
  8. If you are using an external flash...try the stofen omni-bounce for eaternal fill flash. It seems to work well with most film cameras without going through the process of under and over exposing each exposure. I have also found it to work well on my Canon G3 with a 550 EX flash. I'm not yet the digital master....so it works well as a quick fix in outside fill flash until I master the digital world. On inside photos, the omni bounce success varies depending on the available light. More available light seems to work better.
     
  9. If you are using an external flash...try the stofen omni-bounce for external fill flash. It seems to work well with most film cameras without going through the process of under and over exposing each exposure. I have also found it to work well on my Canon G3 with a 550 EX flash. I'm not yet the digital master....so it works well as a quick fix in outside fill flash until I master the digital world. On inside photos, the omni bounce success varies depending on the available light. More available light seems to work better.
     
  10. I never have a problem, I use manual mode.
     
  11. In this case, I think metering off the grass would have solved the problem. Grass is actually a fairly decent subsitute for a grey card in many cases.

    Nikon's with matrix metering have great TTL Flash metering (actually great metering in general), so it may just be that you have been spoiled.

    I commend you for using a three year old digital camera. Marc's non-rabid digital boosterism almost has me convinced. If I could make the switch by bottom feeding in the used market I would be more likely to take the leap. I'd be interested to know how things go as you get to know your camera better.
     
  12. Thanks for many good ideas. I'm going to make a copy of this thread when it ends and try some of the suggestions.

    I got a very good deal on this camera (E-10) from a friend, and it's giving me a chance to get a bit more practice with a bigger digital (physical size) and external flash before I put any more big money into digital.

    Timber...when you say manual mode you mean both flash and camera I assume. With a digital camera in manual mode how are you metering? Are you using a hand meter? How are you adjusting the fill output?

    I photographed 99% of the wedding with film, but the wedding gave me a chance to play with the digital.

    I do have some truly beautiful fun photos of the kids at the Easter Egg hunt and Bar-B-Que with the digital and flash...most of that was neutral. It was only the photos with the black tux's and the bride's dress that seem to have caused problems, over and under.

    A friend suggested I use RAW since there is more latitude for post capture adjustment. I was using JPEG. I really don't want to spend hours adjusting 300 photos!

    This is all very new to me and i appreciate your patience and ideas. I'm just not sure how much serious (that is: paid) photography I want to do with digital. I'm just not that good at the technical elements involved.
     
  13. Todd, just go with the flow. It'll come to you as you learn that particular camera better.
    The results wouldn't have been all that different with that system of metering if you were
    shooting slide film.

    When outdoors it really isn't necessary to use manual everything. AV set on camera with
    TTL flash works fine, if you learn the metering system of any particular camera. Jeff is
    right, I often meter the grass and set the camera to AE Lock and then reframe. Once you
    do that it isn't necessary to do it again until the lighting changes. I do that with the Leica's
    all the time.

    Steve, many digital cameras have the ability to be set on a lower contrast setting. Some
    wiz-bang features on these cameras are actually useful.
     
  14. Is the E10 a fixed lens camera? Your flash problems are fixable,
    but judging from your example pics, the lack of selective focus is
    an even bigger problem.
     
  15. MANUAL MODE FLASH AND DISTANCES by...Timber...
    <p>
    Manual mode is very easy to keep accurate at weddings. You can always be within 1/2 f
    stop, and likely 1/3rd f stop all the time if you use manual mode. You would then
    underexpose digital media 1/3 f stop to place you in the 'zone'.
    <p>
    In order to get this accuracy, you need alittle experience and some understanding of what
    framing happens at weddings, and in most photojournalism of people: 1/2 body shots,
    full length shots, an horizontal group shots of 5-6 people. These correspond to 3 f stop
    settings. Easy.
    <p>
    But if you like to fool around with telephoto and wide angle, you will be testing yourself
    more. I suggest you simply stick to a slight wide angle which is a 35mm lens on a 35mm
    camera. Use your feet to 'sneaker tele" in. Simple. You will find that these distances are
    about 6 feet, 11 feet, and about 16 feet or 'so' for the last one. So how do you detect
    distances? Easy, you just realize that for a 1/2 body shot of any normal sized person, you
    will always be 5-6 feet away from them. Whether they are 5' high or 6' feet will make a
    small difference of about 1/10th-1/4 f stop. So what. This is within our required 1/2 f
    stop range.
    <p>
    Every time you do a 1/2 body shot, you are going to use the approximate airspace around
    the person. If you deviate alittle due to some artistic reason, you can simply add/subtract
    1/3rd f stop. But these deviations do not occur very often.
    <p>
    It is just an understanding that you come to know when you have taken about 300,000
    event pictures as I have. You can say
    that every picture is different. But go back and look at your framing and distances of
    these 3 types of pictures: 5-6 feet; 11 feet; about 16 feet. Part of the reason for this is
    that it simply takes so much distance to 'fit' a 5-6 foot person vertically; and it takes a
    simiilar amount of horizontal distance to fit 4 or 6 people.
    <p>
    Yes, I know, you want to feel like an artist, and not a scientist. But you do repeat yourself. Take a picture of 1 person
    standing, then take a picture of 2 people standing and notice that the distance is the
    same. Then notice when you take a picture of 4 or 5 people standing, you need to make a
    horizontal frame to fit them. Whether it is 4 or 5 people, you are at the same distance.
    <p>
    Yes, yes, I know it can't be the same because one group of people may be 5'11' high and
    another 5'4'' high. So, what does that mean in your taking distance: nothing of
    importance. The difference is about 1/4th f stop maximum.
    <p>
    After a while, you can change lenses and play with wide angle/telephoto. But you will still
    think in those three distances. And you will know 'where' your f stops have to be. It is a
    matter of experience. It is like shifting a 4 speed transmission. You never see the 'h'
    pattern, but it is there.
    <p>
    Because I use Norman 200b, it is a simple matter to simply flick a switch from one f stop
    to another with my thumb. I never have to look at my flash or my camera. Why? Because
    I use the same f stop nearly for 96% of all my photos: f8. I could use f11 for all of them if
    I wanted, or f16: Because I have the flash power available. So which photos are those 4%
    remainder? Large Group photos of an odd size, and perhaps a distant 'other' shot.
    <p>
    So, all night, I am simply flicking a switch from one f stop to another. I am using 2 f stop
    changes, that is 2 positions on my switch nearly all night, perhaps for 85% of my photos
    are just those 2 f stops. That is like having a 2 speed transmission.
    <p>
    I took time to analyze weddings not from a simply artistic point of view, but from the
    'frequent distances' point of view. Given years of playing around as artist, I analyzed what
    I had created as far as a style and interest, and then I noticed that these distances keep
    coming up.
    <p>
    If I 'forget' my distances, I can
    simply look at a full length person standing near my picture to get a 'reading' for distance.
    <p>
    If I convert to normal lens, then I add 1/2 f stop to these 3 distances.
    <p>
    You see, the very best TTL auto mode would really know what the distances are that the
    focus is set at. Maybe some cameras do this now. I dunno. There was a Nikon lens the
    45mm GN (guide number) that used distances to regulate f stop. Perfect!
    <p>
    In order to discover this, you need to look at your past photos. You will notice that when
    2 people interact, you photograph them 1/2 body shot horizontal. Well, this is the same
    as a vertical 1/2 body shot of a single person, as far as distance is concerned.
    <p>
    There are a number of other coincidences in framing of people. When you learn them, you
    realized that there are 3 principal distances to learn.
    <p>
    Remember, that I can 'adjust' for adding additional room around the people. I simply add
    a 1/2 f stop variation for showing alittle more bush in the background. Therefore, I have a
    basic distance, then I can add 1/2 f stop for adjustment. All the time, I am within 1/3rd f
    stop.
    <p>

    If you own a flash meter, you can discover these repeating patterns, too.
     
  16. "Yes, I know, you want to feel like an artist, and not a scientist."

    Timber...I do so much appreciate the time you took to explain your flash methods at length. This is something I must print, and keep, and practice. I thank you deeply.

    Regarding your quoted comment above: ("Yes, I know, you want to feel like an artist, and not a scientist"). That is not totally true. I do want to know the science behind all of this, and I do have much of that knowledge already, but, at a wedding, (which is a human dynamic event and not a science test), the last thing I want to do is fiddle with my equipment. I must work fast, without having to do calculations or even think about such. I must be into the event more than the mechanics. This is a practical consideration. In my mind, wedding photography involves more emotional involvement than mechanical competence. I hope you will appreciate that perspective.
     
  17. Timber,

    Please forgive me. My comments above sounded harsh and abrupt. I do so appreciate the information you provided and I will read it and incorporate it into my photography.

    Thank you again so much. Todd
     
  18. I don't think you are being 'abrupt'. The way it really feels when I photograph is
    comparable to a race car driver. I simply react with a flash setting button punch like a race
    car driver shifts a gear coming in at a certain speed range. I simply notice that I am in
    that similar distance and I respond. It is as automatic to me as reach for a telephone
    when you hear it ring. It is a matter of programming yourself.

    In the beginning, just use one focal length, such as a slight wide angle. Later, maybe a
    year later, you can mix up focal lengths. Don't let your focal lengths be a substitute for
    'walking up'. Rather, do the walking: "Tele-sneaker". Be sure you always stay more than
    4 1/2 feet away from your subjects to avoid distortion, too.

    It all sounds very manual and simple; but you must practice. You will become completely
    programmed for distances with just a few thousand exposures.

    And of course, the great flash to use is a Norman 200b. Why? Because it has those rocker
    switches on the top that you can easily hit with your thumb as you change power. You do
    not have to dump the capacitors, pop the flash, to move to a higher or lower setting,
    either. And you never have to look at your flash pack.
     
  19. Timber's flash instructions won't work with fill flash, because those guidelines are only true when the flash is providing almost all the light. When you do fill flash most of the light is ambient and the flash is 1-2 stops below ambient. To do fill, you have to start with an ambient light reading, and then add light from the flash so that the difference in exposure between the "average" ambient and shadow exposure is less. To do this in manual, and not run trial and error science fair experiments, you need a flash meter. It's much easier to do fill flash with a flash that at least has an Auto mode: you just set the aperture on the flash 1-2 stops larger than what the lens is set to.
     
  20. I have to agree with Bruce.. Looking at the two shots, I would venture to say that even the group shot has too much flash but because you were further back -- it didn't blow out. I don't know your particular camera but it looks like it isn't handling the situation properly. I do believe that dialing down your flash would help. I'd suggest experimenting with subjects in different lighting outdoors and write notes about your flash settings. I suspect that in the shot of the two men - the metering for the f stop and flash was very center weighted and tried to render the black suits to 18% grey. This might explain the overexposure. <p> I also don't agree with Timber on shooting at F8 or above outdoors. Perhaps he was talking about indoor shooting? I prefer to get the people into open shade and shooting at F4 F5.6 or so to blur out backgrounds and isolate the subject.
     
  21. I just wrote a long response and wanted to post a photo, but when i clicked on submit I could not get the confirmation page. It came up "Done" with nothing on it. I'm trying to post this fast.
    007z9j-17576284.JPG
     
  22. Ok, I was able to post my short comment. I lost my loner comments.

    I'll make it short.

    I used Timber's method many years ago with a Norman 200b and a Hasselblad, but for indoors only.

    Outdoor fill has always been a problem for me in manual modes.

    It was a blessing to start using TTL balanced fill flash systems. i do tend to use too much flash output, and need to reduce it.

    My problem with 135 digital photos was with about 5 images of the "men-in-black."

    With film equipment, I rarely have any problem with overexposed TTL fill.

    The little girl above was taken at the same place under the same light with the same digital camera and fill settings. She is a touch over-exposed but not blown-out. I will practice reducting the flash output at home with targets from white through black.
     
  23. Todd -- I shot with a manual camera and flash for 10 years... 99% of all group shots/couple shots were done outdoors. I found I had to adjust when I switched to the Canon 1V - I was so used to manual ;-) <p>I know manually it was easy for me... I had to shoot at 60th all the time because that was the sync speed. I usually shot in the shade at F4 or F5.6. I turn off the flash and measure the correct exposure by metering the grass) Then I turn the flash back on and my flash was usually then set to 2.8. <p> Now - I shoot at F4 or F5.6 and dial down my flash by a stop. If I'm close to the subject I'll even dial down to 1 1/2 stops. After all I'm correctly exposed and the shot would be fine without the flash - but perhaps a bit dull.. All I need is a tiny pop. It looks so much more natural. Even the little girl to me is overflashed. I agree with you about Timber's assessment - That is in no way for outdoor shooting... He must have misunderstood.
     
  24. MANUAL MODE FLASH, Part 2 ...Timber...

    USING WHITE TAPE

    Of course manual mode is great for outdoors pictures. Both of you failed to go one step
    further, an additional technique that is used for flash fill outdoors: I will detail it:

    Firstly, Mary was limited to a 1/60th flash sync: sounds like she was using a Mamiya 645
    with a focal plane shutter. OK, the first requirement of outdoors flash is that you need to
    be using only, only leaf shutter lenses. As a result, you will have a 1/350th, or 1/500th or
    possibly a 1/000th (Rollei 6008i has this with PCS lenses) flash sync speed. This is the
    first requirement. Mary says she didn't have it, so she can't do it, she won't have success
    with flash fill under the multi-various conditions of a wedding outdoors.

    If you are using a 35mm camera, a 1/125th flash sync is of little help. Only until you get
    to 1/250th flash sync with a strong flash at 200ws can you do this successful flash fill for
    a full length shot of a person at a wedding, and maybe a small group. Yes, maybe with 1/
    125th, but i don't want to put anyone's hopes up.

    But if you have a 1/500th flash sync, as with a Rollei or Hasselblad (by the way, compur
    shutters on Hasselblads only sync to 1/350th according to a repairman here in San
    Francisco, they are 'hopfully marked' on the lens barrel) you have more latitude with
    outdoors flash fill. You can fill larger groups.

    OK, now this is out of the way, now we explain how we go further.

    The lens barrel has alittle space to place a white strip of tape on it. This space is about 1/
    2" wide band around the lens: we are going to use it.

    If you would use an incident meter in the middle of the night on dark asphalt, you could
    meter your flash for a true: f5.6, f8, f11, f16. You would focus your lens at the point
    that a perfect f8 distance appears. Then you mark your tape with an "8" for "f8". You do
    this for f5.6 and put a "5" on this place. You can be very exact and place a "tic mark" on
    the precise spot that the focus place is at and then place the "5" or "8" or "11" or "16" at
    that tic mark. Easy. Now, when you focus, you can read off exact f stop settings for your
    flash as you focus. In fact, you can read off a 1/2 f stop, or you can figure out a 1/3rd f
    stop difference. You simply focus, read your f stop, and set your f stop, then shoot.

    Now, I realize that some of you have various ideas as to what your flash fill will look like.
    Some like the fill to be muted and others like a full blast of light. At this decision point,
    you can make a new mark or adjust your tape or have 2 marks or 2 colors or whatever
    symbols you want to let yourself know exactly where you are in flash fill or "proper
    exposure".

    The reality is, you will want to overexpose your film at least 1/2 f stop just to insure that
    you are not ever underexposed. So, you must take this into account. Perhaps you take a
    picture before the unit recycles completely, too. Perhaps they have really dark clothing in
    a dark room. Whatever the reasons, you should be alittle overexposed on color negative
    film for these reasons. Don't risk the wedding on under exposure! There is no need to
    take this risk!

    So, given this variable and the variables of what "flash fill look" you like, you can mark
    your tape. You can do a basic test at night; then you can do a test under the
    conditions of a garden with the sun at the back of the subject.

    You can even get so precise so that if your camera doesn't "set" in 1/3rd f stops that you
    simply back up alittle with your feet maybe 1/2 foot to reduce the power output a 1/10 f
    stop on the person's face! I mean, you really have control here. Of course, the newer
    cameras allow 1/2 and 1/3rd f stop settings. So, these are great lenses to be using as
    long as they have leaf shutters.

    So, why use black asphalt at night? Well, the ground will reflect light and make your meter
    reading off about 1/3rd f stop if you're are standing on white concrete. Use only an
    incident meter, not a reflected meter. Point it directly at the flash head when taking a
    reading.

    What is really neat about this system is that you won't be needing to use an incident meter
    hardly at all during the wedding. This saves time. And you don't need an assistant to be
    holding an incident meter! When you do a group picture, you will know that you need an
    f4.8 and you won't be underexposing those important group shot: the ones with all those
    black Tuxedos.

    You will be calibrating for each separate lens you own.

    Now, with my Norman 200b, I simply change power settings with my thumb. I don't
    change f stops hardly ever. But if I did something like add an additional power pack, I
    would not have to change my white tape settings. Why? I simply would change the f stop
    setting on my lens from f8 to f11 when I add the additional pack. So, I can go either way:
    change the f stops on my camera or change the power settings on the flash to
    accommodate a 2nd power pack. And yes, I do use 2 packs, especially at group photo
    time. I may use a 200ws pack which is modified to give me 320ws and a 400ws pack
    modified to give me about 620ws for a total of 1,040ws output from a camera bracket
    mounted 2 flash system held in my hands! I can go from 50ws to 1,040ws, in other
    words. No depth of field problems with 6x7 or 6x9!
     
  25. A question for Mary (sorry to take over the tread but it might help clarify things). Mary, I shoot with a 1V also and a 550EX. I understand that in outdoor conditions, this flash automatically dials down about 1.5 stops to balance with ambient light. So are you saying that you subtract an "additional" 1 to 1.5 stops over and above the reduction already applied by the "smart" flash? Or are you using a "dumb" flash that does not do this auto-reduction?

    Thanks.
     
  26. Let me say this to the readers: If you use this tried and true method, you will not be
    underexposing your flash any 1.5 f stops when you fill. Don't use this number posted
    above as any reference that you can mindlessly use in real practice with all flash units.
    This is something that only applies to his post, his refererence to a particular TTL flash.

    Standard flash ratios apply with my manual control methods. If you like a 2:1 or 1:1 flash
    fill, you can produce it. You can also produce a 1.5:1 if you like. You have the control to
    make any ratio you like. There is no guessing, only reading numbers when you focus.
     
  27. Adding as a footnote:

    This manual mode control does not put Minolta Flash Meters out of business! If you want
    to go an additional step to really perfect your flash fill, you would use your manual control
    steps of reading numbers off of a lens, and then take a reading to determine your % of
    ambient vs. flash fill. But you know, photojournalists cannot treat every picture as a
    portrait! Time is of the essence! The manual mode control system will bring you close,
    but you need to watch what the ambient light power is! So this is why a flash meter with
    1/10th f stop accuracy is very nice to have available! And it is nice to have the time to use
    it! (...here...here!)
     
  28. How about some post-work?
    007zFN-17578184.jpg
     
  29. When you overexpose digital, or slides, your shot is down the toilet. You've clipped the light end and lost your tonal gradation. Faces get blotchy blobs. You can't blow faces on wedding pictures. Post processing can't bring back what isn't there.
     
  30. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Who says there is absolutely no way to fix the problem? :)
    007zLO-17581084.jpg
     
  31. Shun...That is a really great Fix! How did you do it or is there a fee!? (^0^) You may have my first born!
     
  32. OK...I am attaching a wedding day portrait of the groom. This uses the same camera system and fill-flash (Olympus E-10 and FL-40 flash) with no minus flash compensation. I must say that I personally prefer a sharp, snappy photo to those old Vericolor mushy images we saw in the 1980's! Any thoughts on this image? Filtration needed?, reduction in flash output?, camera exposure?, etc. Remember, this is digital with very little latitude, taken in JPEG. I am open to all suggestions. I want to learn! I'm not sensitive to positive suggestions.
    007zNN-17581684.JPG
     
  33. As a clarification, for anyone who is still reading this, the photo above was taken by my frend Shun (who was a co-photographer on that day) with his Nikon D100 and flash combo at a -2 flash setting.

    I used my flash with no compensations! That seems to resolve the problem. Shun and I worked on this wedding together.

    I have concluded that for fill flash, the photographer must adjust the flash output down to -2 when using digital to produce a properly exposed image in outdoor ambient light on overcast days.

    Fortunately, digital allows us to review the results before the next exposure, which I did NOT do! My error totally.
     
  34. I seem to find that a -1/3 on the flash works well for most fill. I try not to complicate the issue by relearning all photography basics for each new body. I simply try a few ideas and lighting situations and settle on what seemed best. This is not a big deal with digital and really helps speed the learning curve on any new digi body.
     
  35. Correction...the photograph of the two men was taken by Shun. The solo photo of the groom was taken by me.
     
  36. "Who says there is absolutely no way to fix the problem? :)"

    Both the attempted fixes says so.

    Not even PS can fix this one folks. When a digital shot is so overexposed it's a lost cause.
    You can't restore what isn't there.
     
  37. "I have concluded that for fill flash, the photographer must adjust the flash output down to -2 when using digital to produce a properly exposed image in outdoor ambient light on overcast days."

    Todd - There is no universal rule, because each camera/flash system can be different. The flash systems of the Nikon film cameras, from the N90 on, are pretty similar, but the digital cameras do TTL flash differently. Nikon has also made a number of changes from model to model. I wouldn't begin to guess what works best for different brands and models of cameras.
     
  38. Since cameras, flashes, personal techniques and tastes are all so different, I'm afraid this thread could go on forever. ;-) <p>Just to respond to Timber..... I can't make head nor tails of your numbers and technique. I'm a trail and error shooter. Actually, like you, I have my way of shooting that works for me. The only difference is that you approach it scientifically and I do it by measuring/analyzing results and keep doing what works. There is no wrong answer here.. Just different approaches. <p>First of all, no - I was not shooting with a Mamiya.. I sold that camera because it didn't suit my purposes for weddings. I shot with a Canon F1N and a Sunpak for 10 years. I was very happy with my results and not only shot weddings but shot with the same camera for outdoor fashion shoots for publication, events, tourist shots for Vermont Travel Mags and Inns and food for brochures etc. Because Vermont didn't have many large indoor facilities - I shot outdoors constantly and found the method that worked - for me. There is no need to argue with my technique, Timber. Just recognize that your way works for you and may work for some others but doesn't work for "everyone" and is not "bible". Furthermore, my math challenged mind can not even begin to understand what you are talking about. Oh - and please - don't try to explain it because it won't work. <p> As to the question Scott asks about my particular technique with fill flash. Yes, it is the 550EX. Also I'm shooting with Reala 100. As I mentioned before - everyone should experiment and find what works best for them. Each camera/flash is different as well as taste. What I will explain is this... I do overexpose in the shade - usually with some filtered light coming through trees in the background. I go for that background whenever I can find it. I happen to like green/yellowish backgrounds. I think they are flattering to skin tones. So - I find I shoot so quickly that sometimes my flash does not go off. I look at the results and see that in "some" ways, my preference goes toward the no flash image which is perfectly exposed BUT it is a little dull and sometimes slightly green or blue. Then I look at the fill flash that the Canon 1V/550EX gives me and I "personally" (just my taste) think it is too much flash. To "me" it looks a tad artificial. That is when I decided to dial down the flash. I liked the results much better. <p>Why I like this forum so much is that we can take the help/advice we like and leave the rest... I'm always learning new things and never believe I have all the answers or THE right answer. Please always remember that this is what works for me and may not work for you. I've learned quite a bit in this past month and thank everyone for their time and contributions.
     
  39. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Folks, the "fix" I posted was meant to be a joke; I think the exposure of that image I posted was not bad. However, it is not a fix of Todd's original image, which unfortunately is of course beyond repair. That day I was helping Todd to shoot the wedding as a second camera. It was an overcast day and fill flash wasn't that necessary. I was using a Nikon D100 shooting all RAW format. I set my SB-80DX flash to -2 just to give a hint of flash. RAW also provides more room for post-processing/PhotoShop adjustments.

    If you look at them carefully, my image is slightly different from Todd's. In his image, you can see part of the left hand of the taller person. In my image, you cannot see the left hand at all. However, they are so similar that it fools some people, for a little while. :)
     
  40. I agree with Mary that this could go on forever, and it may be best to call it quits.

    Shun even fooled me with his photo. I did not look at his photo carefully and thought he found the miracle cure for overexposure.

    Also, in my opinion, there is not just one way to photograph weddings (unless you belong to PPA or are a Monte Zucker fan!). I like a bit more snap in my photos, Shun's are more subdued and smooth, I don't do anything like Marc's beautiful PJ photos, and on and on. That's OK. I have my fan club and get many referrals from happy customers.

    I too am math challenged, and the coming of automated systems was a true blessing to me.

    Shun and I both live in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and we've been doing a few weddings together. I want to learn digital technique from him, and he wants the chance to photograph some weddings to build a portfolio. We look like a firing squad, I fear!

    The one thing I have learned from this question and responses (and it is a very important lesson) is that TTL flash for film cameras is very different from digital.

    Over the weekend, which should be overcast, I am going to take my coat rack outside and put my tux coat and a straw hat (face) on it and practice with the digital TTL flash in as many ways as I can. I will then drape a white sheet over it (the bride) and do the same thing. I'm not sure how I'll put them together! How does that sound for a basic flash test?

    Thanks for all the suggestions and blessing to you. I did learn a lot from this. Todd
     

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