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Flashes in general

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  #1  
Old 04-14-2007, 08:31 PM
SchlinkyMalinky SchlinkyMalinky is offline
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Flashes in general

Ok so i have a healthy obbsession with photgraphy and want to start making my images better. At the moment for lighting purposes I'm using a couple of tall lamps, like you would find in any home shop/store.

Explain why this is a terrible idea (I know it must be) and the advantages of using flashes. They just seem so expensive i can't really justify the cost. Would my images improve greatly from getting a flash gun like a Speedlite 430EX for my canon 400d.

I'm doing solely portraiture and using the two said lamps I'm getting mediocre images that don't really pop.

Thanks for not being too harsh!!!

S
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2007, 12:57 AM
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Out_Of_Focus Out_Of_Focus is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

would love to see some of your portraits and if possible a pic of your set up
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:52 AM
coal coal is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

first of al, you can make great pictures using any kind of light but not all kinds of pictures can be made with just any light.

the problems you are most likely to encounter are that you have less control over your light spread and the hardness/softness, but thats the least of it.

a more serious problem is that you probably have some crazy whitebalance issues, most of your shots will have some serious color issue's to much red and almost no blue, and depending on the quality of your camera and software you probably get some noise issues as well.

another problem is that with the lamps thet you're using you probably have too little light intensity to makle some shots wich require a high sutterspeed and or a high aperture value.

a camera mounted flashgun is an improvement but beware you the nasty shadows it gives......

maybe this is something for you???
http://www.bowens.co.uk/catalog/prod...29d03a0a18446e
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:57 AM
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Photo678 Photo678 is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

the differences between store lamps and flashes are that the store lamps are tungsten bulbs, not properly balanced, and flashes are daylight color balanced....but as stated, you can adjust your white balance to account for it, unless you are shooting film....then filters and such come into play
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:23 AM
SchlinkyMalinky SchlinkyMalinky is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

Just dropped in to say thanks for the responses, I will post a pic or two later today when I get time. Coal, I think you hit the nail on the head with the light intensity issue, funnily enough I was looking at this,

http://www.photodeals.co.uk/home.php?cat=5

I know it's entry level but that's all I'm prepared to spend at the moment, my goal is to get good enough results together using friends then get a portfolio together and get some comissions, then I can start spending serious money!
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Old 04-15-2007, 11:30 AM
pellepiano pellepiano is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

Yes, you can find very cheap Flash equipment today. I too , use low priced "noname" flashes. It works fine in my little "studio" ( small livingroom ).
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:23 PM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

Great portraits can be made with cheap lights ~ tungsten, flash, whatever. Usually the issues are in understanding lighting and color balance. What often happens is a rush to the photo store to buy equipment, and then more equipment, and then enough experience is gained from trial and error that the household lamps work fine ;-) Of course some specific needs need good equipment, but general portraits can be made great with anything unless there is a specific look you are after. In other words, if you pose around the available lighting both in terms of angle of pose and light and works within the the logistics that the light source creates (tripod for slow shutter speeds, etc.) then you can make great photos. If you want a different look than your lighting gives then you will need to change the lighting by changing the equipment or changig the mix of available and artificial light.

Please, don't be shy, the only way anyone can comment on what you might want to work on is if you post photos.

Regards,
Roger
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Old 04-16-2007, 11:02 AM
SchlinkyMalinky SchlinkyMalinky is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

But I am shy!!!! Ok not that shy, thanks for the input roger. Here's what I'm talking about, I have a friend who's a female dj and she wanted some promo shots. I was very disappointed in how the actual shots came out. For example, notice the noise in the shadow of the nose for example and general lack of sharpness. Bearing in mind this is from a canon eos400d 10MP. This is probably due to the fact I think I (probably) cranked the ISO to 1600 for the sake of shutter speed. I'm using the nearly full auto mode "P" where shutter speed takes priority.

http://www.upload3r.com/serve/160407/1176738954.jpg

I'm using two standard lamps one with a 50 the other with a 100 watt bulb, I know I should've used a reflector to pull the left side up a bit to prevent those deep shadows but those are the least of my worries!
I've got all the time in the world to get this right so any advice is welcomed

As a quick post script, this is what I've done with the image so far........

http://img102.imagevenue.com/img.php..._122_820lo.jpg
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2007, 11:56 AM
pellepiano pellepiano is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

The lack of real crisp sharpness is probably due to the use of the low shutterspeed ( 1/50 at 33 mm ). Thats i little too long time to ensure your hands dont shake the camera.

You really need some better lights, because you have a good camera and use it in a way where it performs the worst.
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  #10  
Old 04-16-2007, 01:41 PM
SchlinkyMalinky SchlinkyMalinky is offline
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Re: Flashes in general

PelleP yup, that's exactly what I figured so thanks for comfirming that, I'm using a tripod btw. So Im right in thinking a flash like the one in the link I posted....

http://www.photodeals.co.uk/home.php?cat=5 (1st one)

.....will help me achieve what I want to, eg. sharper, more dynamic pictures?

I think I'll probably go with the one above.

So with flashes is it the case that you simply plug the lead from the flash into your camera? What other steps are involved? Will I need to learn about light meters? or can I do it by eye? (I know very little about light meters, I know you hold in the place of the subject take a reading and then do 'something' with that reading!!
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