In search of a repeatable snapshot setting

Discussion in 'Technical threads' started by Ade, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. With holidays coming I want to get plenty of snapshots of family and especially all the kids. So I'm searching for a repeatable snapshot setting with flashes for just popping up in the various living rooms I'll be visiting over the holidays.

    One thing I definitely need is the ability to shoot in any direction which makes the lighting setup difficult. But with young children running around I can't pin anyone down.

    So far I tend to use two flashes reflected off the ceiling - most places have white ceilings so they are the largest reflector in the room. This works quite well if the flashes are not too close to the subject.

    There is a downside. Sometimes the backgrounds are walls which end up brighter than the subject. I am trying to find a way around that by adding a little fill flash but I'm not getting reliable results. I can't use the pop up flash as the main lights are triggered by radio. I have tried my Lumiquest 80-20 but again not reliable as it requires I move a flash around for every change of direction and sometimes every shot.

    Good job I have all you guys to help me out!

    Adam don't you have a Gary Fong lightsphere? Could I put that in the corner of the room at about 4 feet high and just brighten everything at kiddy head height (and adult sitting height)?

    Could I aim for three corners with Tupperware tops? I only have three flashes and I'm not shelling out for three lightspheres.

    Does anybody have the rogue flashbenders? Would they work to move some of the light horizontally rather than just vertically?

    Anybody have any ideas?
  2. I've tried a few setups like that and had similar problems. Only time I had OK results was sectioning off a whole room, or part of a room, and then it was more "staged" and not really what I was going for. So I ended up back with the on camera flash. That is where I LOVE that LightSphere thing.. It is not creative light, or even that interesting light... but it is a lot of light. So when I am walking around the house trying to catch the kids or a bunch of people that thing lights up everything! I don't have to worry about bouncing off of the ceiling (ours are really high) or color casts from the paint on the wall. From there my go to setting is 1/60, f/8, and ISO 800... Seems to be pretty close for indoor stuff.

    I do have a flashbender as well.. I like it but I typically only use it when using a flash on a stand. Love being able to flag out light or make a snoot and use the grid attachments. Just fun to play with.

  3. I hate to say this, but if you're intent is transforming every living room you visit over the festive period into a studio, I hope you have a way patient family because mine would either pitch a fit at my (in their eyes) misjudged priorities, or just laugh me out of the house.
  4. :) I'll likely get a bit of both! I can usually get away with it for a short while though to get some snaps. Maybe a need a light globe hanging from the ceiling like David Hobby...


    And all this is before I tell the families that I have an idea for a Christmas portrait series they will all have to pose individually for!

    That's why I have to talk it through with you guys first, so I can get it right quickly and easily on the day :) I'll likely be practising the lighting setups this week as well so I know what works. It's tough being an enthusiastic amateur ;)
  5. You know, to balance things out I think I'm going to shoot Christmas on my Kodak Ektralite 400 110 film camera, using the cassette of Kodak film that was in it when I bought it for £2 back in the Summer. I'm sure the results will be comparable :)
  6. That could work :)

    I have a related question. I have been asked to go and shoot some candid shots in my youngest kids school as a favour. I will definitely have to use flash in 2 of the rooms, and I would like to stick them somewhere and forget about them.

    i have two flashes, one canon 430 and on old vivitar with no controls. I also have the cheapest wireless triggers money can buy. As you can see, I have invested a lot in my setup, and that it commensurate with my knowledge of shooting flash. Actually, that's not true, I know squat about shooting flash, it's the devils work.

    My vague plan is to position them in the corners of the room and point them at the ceiling.

  8. Sorry, that should have read HELP!!!
  9. Two flashes should be enough. Make sure they have fresh batteries, and the triggers.

    The simplest set up will be two off camera flashes set to cover most of the room to about f/8. This would allow f/5.6 in the darker areas. For an even spread I find it handy to put them at the edges of the room or in the corners. Tilt the heads slightly toward the middle of the room. Remember the light bounces like a pool shot so the angle of the head must be slight or you will simply bounce light over the subjects and into the far corners.

    If the kids are mostly facing in one direction (maybe the from of the class), set the lights in the front corners of the room aiming towards the centre. Angle so they hit the ceiling about 1/3 of the way down the room so the bounce back down catches the kids.

    Stick your kid in the centre of the room and take a shot. Check the light hits him nicely. Set the power of the lights so you can shoot at f/8 at your chosen ISO. Repeat the process with him in a corner of the room - adjust aperture for correct exposure.

    This way you should be set for most eventualities. If the kids (or you) move around a lot you will want the lights in opposite corners so there is always a light source approximately from “in front of” the subject. This will also give a nice rim light to subjects - at the cost of having to compose so as to hide the second light :)

    If all the above fails, use one light as described above and the other on camera. Bounce it off a wall or the ceiling.
    moroseduck likes this.
  10. And don't you have a Fuji XPro1? Wouldn't that be good for about 3200 ISO to shoot natural light? At least by the windows.
  11. I do indeed, and I'll shoot au naturel add much as i can, i just want to be prepared! Thank you for the very useful advice guys, i really need to learn how to use these things properly.
  12. I'm the same, try to get away with natural light only and then if all else fails set up one light on a softbox. But really need to get my head around lighting properly.
  13. Best modifier for a classroom will be a shoot through umbrella - soft light absolutely everywhere!
    Loses about a stop from the diffusion and the spread so only use it if you want to point a light directly at the kids - a small group shot maybe.
    Softbox is great - for one kid who can stand still in the right place long enough. I have lost loads of shots over the last few years by using a softbox :)
    Chris and Adam like this.
  14. How about a lower tech approach and do a Joe Mcnally and position a few flashes behind linen/bed sheets. It should make the entire thing a giant softbox. Not at all easy to set up - but for diffused light without softboxes - it could work
  15. @Chris good point! And then they could play ghosts afterwards :)
    Chris likes this.

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