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Thread: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

  1. #1

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    Andre Burger

    Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    Attempting single on camera flash portrait photography, I took this shot of my very patient model. I am fairly happy with it, however I am not sure if it is good enough.
    I would appreciate any C&C from anyone with any ideas for single flash portraiture (at night or in bad light).

    It was done with a 32mm lens as my model does not mind me moving right in.


    Single flash Portrait - any help please:

  2. #2
    Aforns's Avatar
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    Alfred Forns

    Re: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    It all depends on what your trying to do? My only objection to single flash is the harsh shadow behind the subject. Light wise you did well, does not look harsh and its even !!

    While processing would be good to see some slight detail in the dark areas. Very good work !!

  3. #3

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    Re: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    As Alfred says it all depends on what you want. You can do a lot manipulating one flash for more effects. More lights are not necessarily better but do present more options both technically and creatively.

  4. #4
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    If you really want to keep the flash on camera then try to bounce it off a wall or ceiling, you can also get some interest modifiers in the shape of lastolite easy box or a stofen (tupperware box sort of thing) try and get some more seperation between your subject and the background to avoid the shadows.

    you can also play with your shutterspeed to lighten and darken your background/ambient (be careful not to exceed max flash sync speed) but eventually youll decide that the results from on camera flash very limiting and even mounting said flash on a bracket fixed to the camera will help.

  5. #5
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    Direct, on camera flash is probably the least pleasing lighting you can get. I would agree with Alfred; the first thing I noticed was the harsh shadow right behind the doll's head.

    Marks's suggestion of bounce flash would certainly help soften the shadow, as would off camera flash with a light modifier to create more diffuse light. A light modifier with an off camera flash would be another way to go. I put together a really inexpensive kit with the cheapest light stand I could find, a bracket to hold the flash and a combination umbrella (so I can use it as either a shoot through or reflected light, is a quick and easy solution. I use my pop-up flash to trigger the slave unit. On-camera flash really acts very much like a point source of light.

    Another approach might be to move the doll off of the pillow, which would allow the shadow to drop off more gently.

  6. #6

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    Victor Nimitz

    Re: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    Hi,

    Maybe this link about flash, ( given by Inkista ) can offer some ideas. I found it very applicable.

    http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-pho...hy-techniques/

    HTH

  7. #7
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    I like to bounce my flash (either on the camera's hotshoe or on a Stroboframe camera flip bracket). A diffuser reflector like the Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro also helps the lighting.

    When shooting with the flash mounted on the hotshoe, I tend to use the flash with the long side of the tube at a right angle to the camera body. That way, when I switch to the portrait position, it is easy to just tilt the flash so that it maintains the proper bounce position...

    Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    Bouncing with a difuser reflector prevents harsh shadows behind the subject, even when the subject fairly is close to the background. However keeping the subject a distance from the background is also productive. Additionally shooting against a dark or black background can minimize or eliminate problems due to shadows from the flash...

    Single flash Portrait - any help please:
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 20th March 2013 at 10:09 PM.

  8. #8

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    Graham Heron

    Re: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    Hi Andre,
    Using flash on camera is challenging but doable and almost always involves bouncing flash off some surface or other. Flash cards and the like ONLY soften the shadows if the reflector is LARGE (feet not inches) unless the flash is being used in a small room with reflective surfaces (e.g. white walls/ceilings).
    Boucnng off ceiling may tend to darken the eye socket as the light is more likely to come down from above the subject (unless you are far enough away from subject that the angle allows the eyes to be illuminated). Walls allow for some depth in the image yet still have the eyes lit.
    Bouncing flash effectively makes it a light source remote from the camera, so if you can get the flash off camera to begin with, far more ooptions apply.
    Graham
    Off camera flash, no surfaces to bounce off. hence the shadows away from key light are much deeper. Natural light did soften them, but I enhanced contrast (BW conversion blended as softlight, opacity to suit).
    Single flash Portrait - any help please:

  9. #9

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    Andre Burger

    Re: Single flash Portrait - any help please:

    Thank you all, the help is much appreciated.

    Thank you for the kind words Alfred.
    Andrew I am trying to use only one flash, on camera. Using more lights/flash is easy.
    Mark I know about separating the background from the subject, in this case it was a bit difficult to apply. I will go back and reshoot with the separation. Thanks.
    Manfred the idea is to get it right with on-camera flash. When shooting portraits of the family there’s not always time to do a setup.
    Thanks for the link Victor.
    Aha, Richard, that is a great bit of information and advice. I am definitely going to do something with that information.
    Graham, I think Richard’s setup will work perfectly for the image you posted. I avoid any shadows cast by a nose on a face. In my opinion it makes a nose look bigger. Even the shadow behind the doll is unacceptable to me, in most cases.

    Thank you people, I will be a bit busy in my workshop using this information making some sort of deflector. Next portrait has to be better. (Single on camera flash, portrait.)

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