6th October 2013, 05:19 PM
C&C Always welcome.
Is it perhaps better to always use flash when shooting portraits?
6th October 2013, 05:22 PM
Good photo. I usually prefer fill in flash when shooting outdoor portraits.
6th October 2013, 05:31 PM
The best thing to do is avoid the harsh light by shooting in a shaded area. Fill flash works, but is not the most elegant solution.
A scrim between the sunlight and your subject and a reflector for fill light look good, but pretty well mean you need an assistant for the shoot.
6th October 2013, 06:43 PM
Natural light is nice but this image looks a bit under-exposed - an extra 2/3 of a stop improves it for me.
7th October 2013, 09:08 AM
Thank you for the comments.
Bruce, I think I must try using more flash.
Manfred, a reflector will be a very good solution especially to avoid those harsh shadows. Bouncing flash from a reflector works very well indoor and outdoor.
Philip, that is the reason I ask if fill flash would not have been better. Perhaps it is time for me to think in terms of using more appropriate techniques doing these kind of portraits.
7th October 2013, 10:59 AM
Andre, this is the image with an additional 2/3 stop exposure, added in ACR:
As I am here on CiC to learn more, allow me to ask you (and/or others) if you think that using fill-in flash would have been better than giving a bit more exposure at the time of image capture? Assuming that you don't want to change the image in PP, the background would probably have remained darker with fill-in, but also more contrasty - do you think that would have been more distracting than the lighter, less contrasty background shown here? Also, do you think fill-in (unless you mean to use off-camera fill-in flash) would lighten the shadows on the figure more than the addition of exposure does and, if so, would that reduce the sculpturing effect of those shadows more?
7th October 2013, 06:27 PM
I quite agree. The problem that I have with fill flash is that unless a light modifier is used, it is still very much a small light source with all of the potential issues that this creates. That being said, it's often the only practical approach when shooting by one self and is certainly better than not using one.
Originally Posted by AB26
7th October 2013, 07:00 PM
Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver
I hope you don't mind me jumping in, especially as I have little experience shooting with flash.
However, the little I do have is with on camera flash used as a fill and I suggest that out doors (where there's no background for the small source to cast a nasty shadow upon) and with an appropriate amount of negative FEC (so that it doesn't overpower the background), it can sometimes be a solution - and one that doesn't require the photographer to be an octopus or have an assistant (e.g. for holding a reflector).
7th October 2013, 08:45 PM
Originally Posted by Dave Humphries
Dave - I quite agree with what you have written. I was merely suggesting that fill flash needs to be part of the outdoor portrait photographer's toolkit, but it is not the only solution and one has to understand what it can and cannot do.
That being said, one does have to understand that there are tradeoffs using fill flash, for instance I don't particularly like the tiny catchlights that can result. You really do have to watch the lighting ratio to ensure that the fill light does not become the main light. On the flip side, I've shot in situations where I simply couldn't get enough light output to counteract some very intenense ambient lighting conditions.
Fill flash is a tool, but it is not a "universal" solution and one has to understand the limitations of the tool. There was a period in my photography were I was shooting fill flash for most of my outdoor people shots and existing light for much of the indoor ones. Looking back at my work, I learned from those mistakes.
7th October 2013, 10:33 PM
You'd be astonished by how far a shoe flash, a $30 1-2m TTL cord, and a pack of gels will get you. This is something of an ideal case, since I wanted a relatively harsh, punchy light and deep shadows, but just moving your flash a single arm span away gives you remarkable control over your shot's mood and look. If you're really lucky, your built-in flash can trigger the remote in TTL mode.
Originally Posted by AB26
An interesting subject helps, too.
7th October 2013, 11:09 PM
Andre, Lovely young lady and a very nice image! Although the image is a bit underexposed, I don't think that a global increase in brightness will solve the inherent problems. The shadows around the two eyes are uneven and her left eye (image right) is a bit darker than her right eye (image left).
I would expect that this might be compensated using Photoshop or by using NIK Viveza and its control points. Another slight problem with many images shot without a light source from near the camera is lack of any catchlights in the eyes.
I enjoy using a hotshoe flash on a Stroboframe Camera Flip Bracket ( www.dembflashproducts.com ) for portraits - both indoors and outdoors. I have the flash pointed up in the bounce mode and modified with a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro (DFD). When shooting indoors, the bounce is off the ceiling with additional light directed into the face by the FlipIt portion of the DFD. Indoors, I have the FlipIt almost straight up.
When shooting outdoors or in an area in which there is no surface off which to bounce, I still have the flash pointed straight up but, in this case, I have the FlipIt angled about 45 degrees forward which directs the major portion of the light forward. However, it is a LOT softer than using direct flash
Since, I am usually rather close to the subject when shooting portraits, flash power is of no consequence.
I am going to experiment with using a larger reflector on the FlipIt. I will first experiment by taping a piece of foamboard on to the FlipIt reflector using gaffer's tape. If that results in any significant improvement, I will purchase the larger Mega FlipIt card...
It is entirely possible to use the DFD with the flash attached to the camera's hotshoe. In this case, I use the flash with the long side of the flash tube at right angles to the width of the camera. That way when I switch to a vertical composition, I only need to make one quick adjustment to the flash...
OTOH: When I use a Stroboframe Camera-Flip Bracket, I need no adjustment to the flash when switching between horizontal and vertical composition. The advantage of using a camera or Stroboframe mounted flash is that you are quite able to maneuver around. It is really a versatile rig...
I have no connection with Joe Demb but, he is using a selection of my images on his website. See: Smugmug gallery by Escondido photographer Richard Crowe.
Last edited by rpcrowe; 7th October 2013 at 11:17 PM.
8th October 2013, 01:09 AM
On fill flash I always use a diffuser. Usually the Lightsphere. It works pretty well for use on-camera.
I always like catch lights in my subject's eyes.
9th October 2013, 12:51 PM
Thank you for all the positive comments, it is much appreciated.
Some very good suggestions I am taking note of and will apply with my next attempt.