BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
joy e. GLENN

ok, what went wrong

what went wrong? what is with the ghosting? I used lightbox as main fill, opteka flash off camera but connected to camera, and accent light....

To love this question, log in above
8/1/2006 1:33:46 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  did she move her arm any? what shutter speed did you shoot at? looks like it was kinda slow and her arm moved.. also, did you use a tripod? if not, try upping the shutter speed and using a tripod. Thats all I can think of..

To love this comment, log in above
8/1/2006 4:02:53 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Joy,

This is not a case of shutter speed or subject movement. Look again! What you think is a ghost image is just a SHADOW. Sorry to report the young lady is not haunted.

The flash on the camera was used and it is acting as the main light source. Your camera design like almost all cameras has a flash mounted quite close but not exactly on axis with the taking lens (a ring light is one example of an on-axis source). The shadow cast by the on-camera flash appears to ring the subject due to its position.

Ambient light is present and quite bright. The ambient light is acting as a fill. The ambient light and the on-camera flash are different colors.

For portraiture you might consider a set of slave units carefully positioned.

After you have pondered how this condition was created and accept that the on-camera flash is responsible, then you can begin to work on a proper portrait lighting technique. We can help.

Best regards,

Alan Marcus

To love this comment, log in above
8/1/2006 7:30:00 AM

Alan N. Marcus   My previous answer was based more on my examination of the sample you supplied and I didnít pay close attention to your question. My diagnosis remains the same but with a clarification.

The problem is:
The main light source (not on-camera flash) is mounted close to the camera. Generally this position is reserved for the location of the fill. While nothing is normal in human behavior, generally this spot is reserved for a subordinate light source set one Ė two or three stops dimmer than the main. If set equal in brilliance to the main the ratio is 2:1 and flat. If set one stop dimmer than the main, the ration is 3:1 and ideal for portraiture. If set two stops dimmer than the main, ratio is 5:1 and somewhat jazzier with more contrast. If set three stops dimmer ration is 9:1 and very contrasty and theatrical.

Main should be high and off to the side to simulate a high sun (light from above). Fill is always subordinate and set near camera lens to fill shadows from the cameraís position. Even some professionals make this mistake by of placing the fill too far from the camera.

The ghost shadow is caused by the main set in the fill position. Main set too low is how Hollywood creates a horror flick. Always light with main set high.

Alan Marcus

To love this comment, log in above
8/1/2006 8:55:23 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  I vote too-slow shutter and subject movement. Shadow would not be the same colors as her arm and clothes.

To love this comment, log in above
8/1/2006 11:02:20 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hi Joy. As I said yesterday, I think, and without seeing the shot you were talking about, raise your shutter speed, check to make sure all your strobe lights are firing simultaneously and when you shoot, assuming your strobes have some sort of modeling light, kill the ambient room lighting . This isn't shadow, it's ghosting these things that Jon, Craig and I mentioned should solve the problem.

To love this comment, log in above
8/1/2006 11:49:08 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Joy again,

Well thatís what I get for glancing and not studying. My learned colleagues are correct and I was wrong. Sorry I rushed to a conclusion, regretful I added to your confusion.
The problem is indeed too slow a shutter speed causing a double image.

Alan Marcus

To love this comment, log in above
8/1/2006 1:59:44 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.