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Thread: Drummer!

  1. #1

    Drummer!

    Hey gang - my first C&C post here. I've just started reading a bit about "fill flash" as a technique and decided to try it in my low-light music studio. This one is my drummer being a clown I think it turned out ok - but I'm wondering if I can tame the flash a little in the foreground (see the left-most side of the image where the hooks are). I'm using a Nikon D3100. Photo was taken at f3.5 with 1/13s shutter speed at 18mm, ISO 100. Exposure bias is -1.

    Drummer!

    I was in Shutter priority mode and was messing with the shutter speed to get a balance of ambient light (the orange light in the background) and flash so there wouldn't be shadows on his face. Does it look weird with the combination of orange light from the lamp and the blue light from the flash? Should I use an orange flash gel or something in this type of light on the flash to even it out?

    Looking for comments on lighting, clarity, and anything else you can think of. Thanks!
    Last edited by fullbirdmusic; 24th February 2013 at 05:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Drummer!

    Wes

    I'm not seeing your image in the post.If you haven't already done so, please do read the helpful guide that walks you through how to get your pictures into your messages. Click HERE to read the thread.

    If that doesn't help solve the problem, then please do come back and ask for further help.

  3. #3

    Re: Drummer!

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Wes

    I'm not seeing your image in the post.If you haven't already done so, please do read the helpful guide that walks you through how to get your pictures into your messages. Click HERE to read the thread.

    If that doesn't help solve the problem, then please do come back and ask for further help.
    Sorry about that - I was having a bit of trouble at first but I think I've got it. Can you see it now?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Drummer!

    Well done, Wes. That's it.

    As for the pic, teh thing that struck me was the background. I know it's not always possible to have control over all the 'bits' in a picture, but the background is very cluttered and sort-of getting in the way.

    As for the flash-related questions, I'll be as interested in you to read the comments of more experienced flash users.

  5. #5

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    Re: Drummer!

    Basic shooting settings look fine.

    My first thought was for a very slight crop from the top and left side to reduce the background distraction. Then I saw Donald had mentioned the same thing.

  6. #6

    Re: Drummer!

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Basic shooting settings look fine.

    My first thought was for a very slight crop from the top and left side to reduce the background distraction. Then I saw Donald had mentioned the same thing.
    Thanks for the tips guys. This is a crop of a larger pic but I'll do another one to see if that helps. Next time I'll get rid of the clutter

    I'm also looking for tips on how to cool the flash up front. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks for looking. I'll repost the new crop in a little bit.

  7. #7
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Drummer!

    Hi Wes!

    I’m not really sure what you are asking and I am not fluent in Nikonese, but I’ll try bouncing a couple of things off you!

    If you are looking to “cool” the flash meaning color temp you might try ctb gels.

    If you are looking to reduce the flash power you might try flash exposure compensation or use your flash in manual if it is a hot shoe flash. I have no idea if you have one or can use an on-board flash in manual. In manual you could adjust flash power and/or maybe your aperture. Maybe meter for the ambient, lower it a stop or so, and use the flash for the subject. You might also try getting your flash off-camera so you can better control the direction of the light.

    Sometimes I like to try a second curtain firing to get some motion blur. And I see you have a bit in your shot.

    This shot was fired with a color gel in my attempt to get a “stage lighting” effect and using a second curtain firing of the flash, which was on a bracket, and a slow shutter to try for some motion blur.

    Drummer!
    Last edited by Loose Canon; 25th February 2013 at 02:50 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Drummer!

    Wes, your flash settings look just fine. -1EV is a good start for adding fill in most cases, since it adds a good dollop of light without overpowering ambient light. In the shot you posted first, I would have used a lower ISO (since you were indoors, I'm assuming the shot's in the 800-1600 range) to darken the background and make the flash more dominant. Would it look like you used flash? Yes. But in this case, I think dramatic, higher-key lighting would be appropriate.

    My other, non-flash-related comment is that a slight change in framing could have cleaned up the image considerably. Shifting left would have put the drummer's head in front of a white background. Much cleaner than against the closet. A low-angle shot for that larger-than-life look might also be worth a try. Overall, good shot in tricky conditions.

  9. #9

    Re: Drummer!

    Thanks for the comments, guys! Lex, that's an interesting comment about the angle of the shot. I hadn't thought of that. Next time I shoot one of him, I'll get that angle and see if it's better. ISO on this one is actually set at 100. I'd have liked the aperture to have been more open to get more bokeh, but it just didn't work out that way.

    Hi Terry - thanks for the comments - that pic of yours looks great in low light! I'm using the built-in flash on the D3100 and just discovered how to tame it back a little. I'm new at photography and know very little about using the camera, so I'm still learning. But the fill flash technique is something I'm very interested in. I like shooting in low light and my wife always complains the pics are too dark so, you know, by extension I gotta use the flash!
    What color was the lighting in the shot above and what color flash did you use? It looks great!

  10. #10

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    Re: Drummer!

    Your flash looks good, Wes. Maybe a little strong on his sweaty forehead but that is probably impossible to avoid without getting everything else too dark. I frequently get the same problem with insect shots.

    I suppose a real pro would have noticed the problem and applied a little make up to tone down the effect.

    Incidentally, and I have mentioned this many times previously, but when I first moved from an old fashioned fixed output flash to a modern ETTL 'auto thinking flash' I wasn't happy with the results.

    Eventually I started shooting with manual settings to suit the scene (but with some limitations) and allowing the auto flash output to find its own level. As mentioned above. And suddenly, I found I was in total control and the number of keepers drastically increased.

    But, some flash output compensation is usually helpful; and a bit of experimentation is required to fine tune this method.

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    Re: Drummer!

    Quote Originally Posted by fullbirdmusic View Post
    What color was the lighting in the shot above and what color flash did you use? It looks great!
    Thanks Wes.

    The shot I posted was taken in such abysmal light I couldnít get a decently lit shot for love nor money. The overhead light cans were multi-colored but their output was minimum. Even at ISO 1600 and the lens opened up to f/2.8. So I had to light it myself.

    If memory serves it was shot with a red gel on the hot shoe Speedlite (on a bracket).

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    Re: Drummer!

    Often an environmental portrait such as this is quite busy. However, the busy surroundings are actually part of the portrait. I would, however, suggest a bit of a crop off the top and off the left side of the image. That would reduce the busy look a bit!

  13. #13
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    Re: Drummer!

    Excellent suggestions. .... regarding the color, it is difficult not to have a cast unless you can make the one you want the primary.

  14. #14

    Re: Drummer!

    How's this crop? I agree the busy surroundings contribute positively to the shot.
    Not only that but it's my studio and don't feel like cleaning it up! lol

    Anyway, let me know what you guys think of this one.

    Drummer!

  15. #15

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    Re: Drummer!

    Yes that looks better. Only a slight crop but it helps to concentrate on the action instead of the background.

  16. #16
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    Re: Drummer!

    Looks good to me, too, Wes.

    If you have some editing software available, and it has dodge and burn tools, a little work with a burn brush could go a long ways in achieving what I think you are looking for.

    And I fully agree with Richard.

    Sometimes a busy background is not only unavoidable, but just a part of the shot. There are some things one can do on-site, in-camera, and in post to mitigate the ďbusy-nessĒ if one has the desire. But if itís there, itís there.

    Do you still take the shot?

    For me, always. Itís your studio and if itís busy, then itís busy.

    But the flip of this is that backgrounds are always, and I mean always, one of the most important things a photographer looks at in the viewfinder. So though you go ahead and pull the trigger, you already know what your BG is doing before you do. To be aware of this is the only way you can make the right decisions with it!

  17. #17

    Re: Drummer!

    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Canon View Post
    Looks good to me, too, Wes.

    If you have some editing software available, and it has dodge and burn tools, a little work with a burn brush could go a long ways in achieving what I think you are looking for.

    And I fully agree with Richard.

    Sometimes a busy background is not only unavoidable, but just a part of the shot. There are some things one can do on-site, in-camera, and in post to mitigate the “busy-ness” if one has the desire. But if it’s there, it’s there.

    Do you still take the shot?

    For me, always. It’s your studio and if it’s busy, then it’s busy.

    But the flip of this is that backgrounds are always, and I mean always, one of the most important things a photographer looks at in the viewfinder. So though you go ahead and pull the trigger, you already know what your BG is doing before you do. To be aware of this is the only way you can make the right decisions with it!
    Very good insight Terry! Something I'd never thought of. Being a novice and paying attention to those things now will really pay off in the long run. Thanks so much for the tips!

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