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Photography QnA: Photographic Field Techniques

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Category: All About Photography : Photographic Field Techniques

Ready to learn about field technique for large object photography? How about for small object photography? This Q & A covers it all. Or if you are interested in private instruction, check out Kerry Drager's Field Techniques: Light and Composition online photography course.

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Photography Question 
Donna Dunbar
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Donna
Donna's Gallery

member since: 5/6/2003
  71 .  Flash Unit - A Breakdown?
This past Saturday I shot a wedding with a brand new flash unit - Nikon SB-600. Everything worked great until about half way through the wedding, when all of a sudden the unit only went off about half the time. I changed batteries and still only about half the shots fired. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Oh, by the way, I use a Nikon d-70s.

8/22/2007 7:23:22 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Newer speedlights often have thermal protection circuits to protect the flash tube from heat damage when it is fired too many times in too short a time. I think that's what you ran into. You can try shooting at higher ISO, which requires a lower level of flash output, or a higher capacity unit like the SB-800. But for a wedding with constant flash for an extended period I think you're simply going to have to invest in a 2nd speedlight and regularly alternate between them to keep them from overheating.

8/22/2007 7:51:56 AM

  Thanks for your comment, and I think you're right. When the unit cooled down, it went right back to normal. And when the batteries were removed, they could have burned your hands they were so hot. Good thing is, I still got some fantastic images.

8/22/2007 8:50:24 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Donna,
Even the SB800 acts like that when the batteries are low. Also the connection to the hot shoe can become loose and cause the unit to fire randomly between shots. I had to send mine back to Nikon -- fortunately, it was under warranty since it was under a year.

9/2/2007 5:30:59 AM

  Hi Bruce , thanks for you comment. I did have very fresh batteries in my camera and I think it was more that it had been used so much and the unit was overheated as Jon had commented. The unit works fine now. the next time I do a wedding I will have more than one flash unit and more than one digital camera.

Thanks Donna

9/2/2007 6:31:45 AM

Christy Freeberg
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/2/2005
  just out of curiosity, can you post a photo with & without yous speedlight? I have the same camera, without out the extra flash and have had no issues while shooting weddings.(without the extra flash unit)
Do you take other equipment with you? reflectors or strobes??
Thanks!

9/2/2007 6:49:14 AM

  When I shoot a wedding, which I have done 3 now I use a removeable flash unit for one the camera's own flash range isn't great for really big churches. I don't take my studio strobes but I did find a really nice item at B&H photo,video which fits over my flash unit giving me a nice look of a studio shot or I should say it's like having a softbox on top of your camera.
Camera flash in my opinion is too harsh and throws many shadows. The look I got with my flash unit and diffuser lets just say the results were awesome.

9/2/2007 9:45:17 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  While is is somewhat trendy to photograph weddings with available light using expensive fast lenses, most of us earning a living in photography still use flash. Properly used, flash can give nice results for hard to light areas and photographing groups. An adapter and a bracket so you can raise the flash and keep it over the lens is a must for minimizing shadows. The diffuser also is a great tool and helps with this. I would not advise using the camera's pop up flash to photograph a wedding. It might be OK for a few shots in an emergency but not recommended for professional results. Many pros use extra flash units with radio slaves to approximate studio lighting at weddings but the trend now is to travel a little lighter. While I only do a handful of weddings each year now, compared to my first year in business when we photographed 48, but I have been photographing weddings for more than 30 years and have done probably close to 600 over the years (I have lost count). Keep shooting and have fun.

9/3/2007 5:57:41 AM

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Photography Question 
Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  72 .  Metering Off the Sky: Why?
Why meter off the sky, then re-compose on a ground-based subject? Thank you.

8/18/2007 1:37:07 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Metering off a deep blue sky (with the sun at your back) will have an exposure value similar to that off a gray card. In-camera meters measure reflected light so even if the foreground subjects are in "perfect light", the exposure values may be different (... like if a black dog and a gray cat were frolicking in a patch of white flowers). Metering the sky in this case will expose the scene correctly ... as long as you keep the sun behind you.
Bob

8/18/2007 2:24:55 AM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Bernard,

For most of the history of photography, exposure determination was trial and error. In the 1930’s, the electric light meter was just being marketed. At about the same time, Kodak research labs in Rochester (Messrs. Jones and Condit) concluded that the majority of scenes integrated to middle gray. Stated another way; if you examined a typical scene by optically scrambling the light, the tones and shades commingle to battleship gray. This was found to be about equal to a surface that reflected 18% of the ambient light. Kodak products were marketed in yellow boxes. One Kodak recommendation, as an aid to exposure determination, was to measure a Kodak yellow box placed in the scene with an electric meter. Setting a camera as indicated by the meter most often resulted in a near perfect exposure. This was OK for black & white work. The yellow box technique evolved to a gray card or placard advocated in 1941 by the famous nature photographer Ansel Adams and his cohort Fred Archer. Soon serious photographers were carrying gray cards and new fangled electronic light meters. Carrying a gray card can be a pain. Photographers are always looking for gray card substitutes to be found in nature. One can use blue sky or tree bark or parking meters and the like. Most agree, an actual gray card is best.
Meter makers have solved the problem. Some meters are of the incident type; they measure the light by pointing the meter back at the camera from the subject’s position. The result is exactly the same as a measurement off a gray card by reflected light. Modern cameras now incorporate chip logic into their metering circuit. These camera systems are so good that most of the time the camera with its logic and mode setting exceeds the accuracy of a hand-held meter, especially true if the user is not properly acquainted with metering techniques.
Alan Marcus (beware often dispenses marginal technical advice)
ammarcus@earthlink.net

8/18/2007 8:25:52 AM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  Alan and Bob' I understand perfectly what you are saying, your answers have created another question, please bare with me. With the advancements achived in the chip and circuitry of the internal light meter of the D80, is it necessary to purchase an external light meter and gray card? again please bare with me. thank you.

8/18/2007 12:08:44 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  I've never felt the need for an external light meter for outdoor work except when I'm using flash (...with which I'm not real comfortable).
I do carry a small gray card in my pack for tricky lighting situations with slide films since the margin for error is so narrow.

More often than not though, you'll be OK seeking out mid-tones in the same light and metering there.
You can check the results as you go (...a definate plus with digital) and make minor adjustments if necessary.

Green grass, fall foliage and bright red objects are a few more to add to Alan's list that meter accurately.
The aforementioned deep blue sky works well for winter snowscapes, at high altitudes, or wherever the atmosphere is clean and free of haze.
Another trick for accurately metering snow and ice scenics in winter is to wear a bright red hat or scarf.
You can toss the piece of clothing into the scene to get your meter reading and as long as the rest of the scene is in the same light, the exposure will be correct.

Bob

8/18/2007 3:26:25 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi again Barnard,

First I am a firm believer that every serious photographer should have a quality light meter in the gadget bag. To me, the exposure meter is about the equivalent of a compass on a deep water sailing ship. The ideal meter would read both reflected light and incident light. The ideal meter would allow spot reading. The ideal meter would also serve to read light emanating from electronic flash. This gadget bag should also contain a gray card.

That being said: I would suggest that currently the vast majority of outdoor shots are exposed via the logic of the in-camera meter and its associated chip logic. I feel strongly that this method is likely all that is needed especially true when one can promptly see results on the digital camera’s LCD screen.

The light meter evolved around film technology. It stated as a light thermometer that loosely tied temperature to exposure. Next, actual film or paper was exposed to sunlight. The materials naturally blackened with exposure, no chemicals needed. Timing the blackening action allowed calculating exposure settings. Tables describing lighting conditions vs. camera setting deserve mention. The first meters were solar sells, no batteries needed. Next solid state and chip logic, we know no limits. Much of my career revolved around design of light meters used in color printing and more sophisticated instruments known as densitometers used to measure the blackening of films and papers, employed as quality control tools used to control film making and developing and printing. Now retired age 70.

Alan Marcus (dispensed questionable techno babble)
ammarcus@earthlink.net

8/18/2007 5:34:20 PM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  Alan, Bob thanks, my next purchase will be a Nikon flash, a light meter, and gray card, my Dad knows nothing about photography, and the only way I got him to agree to dish out the funds for this equipment is for him to read these answers.

8/20/2007 12:30:16 AM

Rom A.G.

member since: 2/16/2005
  I am a bit confused by the replies. I guess the point of metering off the blue sky is to make sure it stayes blue in the photo, not grey or washed out.
Thus, you have to set EV+1 as shutter speed will be 1/1000th on a bright day, point camera at sky, then re-compose on subject.
I tried this trick on Bow bridge in central park. With the sun behind me, the bridge is too bright;however, metering off it makes the boats too dark. Problem solves using EV+1.

8/20/2007 6:13:29 PM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  Rom , I'll add to that logic, be advised my addition is probably questionable tecno babble. seeing that the camara tries to render everything a neutral gray, if metered off the blue sky, woundn't the camara try to render the blue sky as neutral gray.

8/20/2007 8:07:14 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Rom,
Exposure in this instance is the allotment of light energy delivered to the film or digital chip. Gross over or under exposure results in a spoiled picture. Somewhere in-between is a span that will yield an acceptable picture. This span dictates how tones will reproduce. As an example human skin can be reproduced too dark or to light. A skilled photographer can measure scene brightness with a light meter and adjust the camera setting to obtain a suitable skin tone. Such adjustments and setting are not limited solely to a skin tone. A skilled photographer can apply exposure control and exercise control over the rendering of memory colors (tones) such as snow, or sand, or water, or sky, or the like.

Logic would tell you that the center tone we call middle gray should be replicated by a surface with a 50% reflection. However, the human eye brain tends see in tone steps that are not equal. As a result an object with an 18% reflectance appears to us as middle gray. See the works of Albert H. Munsell.

As to exposure theory: If a scene in nature is exposed so that an 18% is rendered correctly, all other tones will be rendered correctly by law (law of reciprocity (Hurter & Driffield). This is true if the tones do not exceed the range of the film or chip (dynamic range). Now the
light meter is calibrated to properly render a gray card with a surface reflection of 18%.

Colored objects like oranges or sky or lemons, are identified first by hue (red, yellow, green, purple-blue and red-purple). Then by value or scale of reflectance i.e. dark, medium, light etc.

Now in this instance we are trying to render the sky correct as well as most all other tones. We know that if we had a gray card and a correctly calibrated meter we could measure the gray card, set our camera as indicated and voila a correct exposure results. In lieu of a gray card we hunt for a substitute. We can choose blue sky, not because it is blue but because its value (intensity) is about at the middle of the scale thus it can serve as a suitable substitute.

Alan Marcus (often dispenses questionable techno-babble)
ammarcus@earthlink.net

8/20/2007 11:18:56 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
 
 
  Puff...Puff
Puff...Puff
Arches NP, Utah

Nikkor 180 mm, Provia 100...@4:00 pm

 
 
"I am a bit confused by the replies. I guess the point of metering off the blue sky is to make sure it stayes blue in the photo, not grey or washed out."

A deep blue sky WILL stay blue and whites will stay white...not blown out.
In the attached example, the scene was metered off the sky without the clouds in the frame. When I re-composed, I noticed that the red rock monolith metered exactly the same with the sun behind me.
(Keep in mind though that metering a LIGHT blue sky will result in under-exposure of the entire scene.)

"...seeing that the camera tries to render everything a neutral gray, if metered off the blue sky, woundn't the camera try to render the blue sky as neutral gray?"

Yes,...and it will with black and white film.

Bob

8/20/2007 11:47:02 PM

Rich Collins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/24/2005
  "I am a bit confused by the replies. I guess the point of metering off the blue sky is to make sure it stayes blue in the photo, not grey or washed out."

A deep blue sky WILL stay blue and whites will stay white...not blown out.

And...."...seeing that the camera tries to render everything a neutral gray, if metered off the blue sky, woundn't the camera try to render the blue sky as neutral gray?"

Yes,...and it will with black and white film.

This is a good thing, the intent, yes?

8/21/2007 6:49:33 AM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  Hi, Do you guys have time for another part to this. You say to meter off the sky, then recompose, but what if the sky is pale bluish grey, not blue? I know to put on a polarizer, somtimes that helps, but is there a rule of tumb in this instance?

I am guessing to just find something mid grey,(18%) or the red scarf, or green grass or my hand, then recompose? But is it ok NOT to do this in manual, just get a reading then recompose if I am in AP, or another mode?
Thanks

8/21/2007 7:43:32 AM

Marianne Fortin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/23/2006
  Bernard, you might wish to read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. This is one of the most popular books on the subject and answers your question very well.

8/21/2007 8:18:43 AM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Nancy,
Most advise surrounding the use of the light meter attempts to expand on the instructions provided. In general meters see the world with an angle of view equal to about 60°. This angle is selected because it matches the angle of view of a camera mounted with a normal lens (not wide angle not telephoto). When such a meter is pointed from the camera position, it reads and averages what it sees. This is OK for average scenes however the possibility is high that it will error if the scene is unusual. The idea of restricting the meter to read only a gray 18% reflective surface is sound. The premise is; the gray card receives the same light intensity as other objects and if the camera is sets to properly render the card, all other objects will fall correctly by law. The idea that a sky or other objects can be substituted for a gray card is also sound provided the photographer can choose fitting targets. Pale blue sky can have the same intensity and may work just as well as a rich blue sky. So too red scruffs or green grass can serve as gray card substitutes. The human hand generally reads one f/stop more reflective than a gray card. We are not choosing objects based on color, we are choosing based on intensity.
Now consider: As time marched on, the cameras received brains via chip logic and sophisticated light sensors. Additionally the camera is viewing the scene through a lens and the sensors are through-the-lens looking devices. Additionally, mode settings add logic by altering what portion of the scene will be metered and the weight to which the data will be applied. These are now considered to be spot measurements that play on a carefully selected grid pattern. You are well advised to take advantage of these marvelous innovations. Also keep in mind that camera makers stake their reputations on the superior abilities of their camera models. To this end they pack the camera with “pixie dust”. This is the new magic that will win every time over the not so suffocated user and his/her hand held meter.
Alan Marcus (spot on techno babble this time)
ammarcus@earthlink.net

8/21/2007 10:45:07 AM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  Hi Alan,
Thanks so much for the in depth answer. I really appreciate it! Ahh..pixie dust.. I thought it was pixel dust. :-)
Nancy

8/21/2007 5:24:10 PM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  marianne' speaking of books, one of the two photography books I received this year is Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson, I only made it up to page 85 so far, I'm going to skip ahead to page 114. and to think I put Alan through all that work. the other book is "the art of photography by Bambi cantrell (portraits), I can't remember if she stated why she shoots mostly in aperture priority. ALAN WHEN IS YOUR BOOK DUE OUT? I'll purchase it for sure.

8/21/2007 9:50:36 PM

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Photography Question 
Nancy Barnhart
Contact Nancy
Nancy's Gallery

member since: 8/7/2007
  73 .  Exposure Settings For Each Image?
Does the Nikon D200 save exposure settings? If so, how do you access them?

8/12/2007 7:07:34 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  The exposure settings for each image captured are embedded in the NEF (Nikon's RAW file) and JPEG files. It should be available to view in most editing programs, or with an EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) plug-in to IE and other browsers. Some editing programs may default to stripping the EXIF data when saving the image file for the Web or highly compressed JPEG, so you may need to adjust the settings to keep the info.

8/13/2007 5:25:31 AM

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Photography Question 
Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  74 .  Shooting a Silhouette
How do you shoot a silhouette portrait?

8/12/2007 9:55:20 AM

Michael A. Bielat
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/23/2007
  Expose for the background, like you are doing a landscape photo (it helps to have a light background for this, obviously). Then position the subjects in front of the landscape and shoot away. Make minor adjustments as needed from there.

8/12/2007 8:24:19 PM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Dee,
If you're using a studio set-up:
- Pose your subject in front of your backdrop.
- Make sure your backlight is at the lower back level between the backdrop and subject. It's beautiful using a colored gel for these.
- Turn off both main and fill lights.
- And expose.
I do hope this helps,
Debby

8/13/2007 5:32:50 AM

Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  Hi Debby,
Thank you for the information. I won't be using a studio, though. So can you help me out by telling me how to do it outside? Thanks again, Debby.
DEE

8/13/2007 7:40:42 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Shoot with sun behind your subject. No flash.

8/13/2007 7:58:05 AM

Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  AWESOME DEBBY,,, TY so very much,,, I love all your photos.

8/13/2007 8:16:39 AM

Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  OOPS,,, Hey Debby one more thing if I may,, Do I shoot in auto mode or landscape mode??

8/13/2007 8:22:08 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Your always welcome!
I hope to see a gallery soon that includes those silhouettes,
Thank you for viewing my gallery as well,
Debby

8/13/2007 8:22:41 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  landscape mode will work fine if you don't exactly center.
shoot with the sun behind!in some cases a very good point.
good luck dee.

8/13/2007 9:14:26 PM

Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  Thanks to ALL of you and your help, I was at a memorial yesterday and did exactly what you all told me to do, and it works great. TY TY TY so much you guys. This is why I love this internet site. :)

8/14/2007 7:31:36 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Dee,
I am sorry I had to run yesterday.
I am so glad you got your shot, I am sure we look forward to seeing it posted.
Just remember Auto settings will allow your camera to attempt to compensate for the lack of light.
Manual setting will allow you to take the shot with out any interferance.
So you'll get that very dark subject against the lit horizon.
Can't wait to see it,
Debby

8/14/2007 10:55:38 AM

Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  Debby,

Thats ok I understand. I did set it on landscape which I think made a big difference. It's nothing really special I just got the jashua trees and a cross that was built and a motorcycle. but TY so much for your help

8/14/2007 11:50:51 AM

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Photography Question 
Angela Azzinnaro
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/1/2007
  75 .  Posing a Large Group
I need tips on posing a large family group of 22 people (12 of whom are children). It will be outdoors at a park at 5pm. Any advice/tips would be greatly appreciated!

7/24/2007 2:00:13 PM

Angela Azzinnaro
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/1/2007
  Also I wondering what the best type of lens to use for this group shot. Thanks.

7/24/2007 6:26:25 PM

  Hello Angela,
I would use my wide-angle lens, and you will need to use more Depth of Field to get everyone in focus (like f/16), and you will need to use a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blurring as the adults can be as restless as the kids when it comes to getting a group to stand still and pose. I would try around 1/125s shutter speed. You may need to adjust your ISO to get a good combination of DOF and shutter speed.
Then you want to consider the background. I would try to position them in front of a tall stand of bushes or trees for a darker background and, if possible, have some space between the background and the group - unless there is a scenic background you want behind them.
Now you will have to try to get this to work with the lighting you have available. I would definitely consider getting a couple of reflectors and/or make sure you have sufficient fill flash capability with a shoe mount flash. (I don't know if the built-in camera flash would suffice). With reflectors, you can avoid having to position the group facing the sun (if it is a sunny day) and use them to reflect softer lighting back on the group. This will also prevent them from squinting their eyes and lesson darker shadows. You need to see where the shadows are and position the people in the group so that someone isn't blacked out or half of their face is dark. I think this may be the toughest thing with a large group - keeping everyone evenly lit. And don't forget the tripod.
Well Angela, that's my .02 cents - good luck and, hopefully, more BPers will respond with their experiences.

7/25/2007 3:27:58 AM

Angela Azzinnaro
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/1/2007
  Thank you Carlton for all of the information!!!

7/25/2007 9:54:56 AM

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Photography Question 
Jennifer N. Flaherty
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/7/2006
  76 .  How to Eliminate Shadows in Portraits
How do I get rid of shadows behind my subjects in my photos?? Please help! Thank you!!!

7/22/2007 6:17:02 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  When you use flash, it will throw a shadow behind your subject. If they are standing close to a backdrop or a wall, the shadow will be very easy to see in your image. If you move them farther out from the backdrop or wall, the shadow won't be as visible.
If you're using a flash attachment, and not the built-in flash, then another method is to raise the flash up higher by using a flash bracket. This changes the angle between your flash and your subject, so the shadow will be thrown down behind your subject, instead of straight back to the wall.
Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com

7/22/2007 7:20:09 PM

Michael A. Bielat
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/23/2007
  I am very familiar with both Nikon and Canon's creative lighting systems. If you have one of these camera manufacturer's cameras, then you are in luck for what I am going to say. Essentially, you will want 2 speedlights - such as Nikon's SB-800 or Canons 580EX (ver. I or II). You set one flash on the camera and bounce the light off a wall or ceiling and use the white card up to reflect some of that light back to the subject's eyes and face. The second light will be set to "slave" mode (read the manual on how to set them up in the flash's menu) and it will be placed somewhere behind the subject to hit the wall essentially.
When the main flash goes off, the slave will read that and trigger at the exact same time so everything is evenly lit...
If one is stronger or weaker, set the flash's EV to give more or less power depending on the situation and weather or not your photos are too dark or too light still.

7/22/2007 7:25:41 PM

Michael A. Bielat
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/23/2007
  Now here is my "without spending money" fix to the problem you have... Get a reflector or some reflective fabric (white) and have someone hold it off to the side so it will bounce your flash's light behind the subjects.
There are 5-in-1 reflectors that are portable and cheap. Otherwise, get 1 nice speedlight like the ones mentioned in my previous post and work on positioning the flash head to bounce the light off walls and ceilings for a more ambient look. It basically diffuses the strong flash light so that it gets rid of the white head look and makes the room just look more lit up than it really is.
This is something that can be corrected pretty much by getting into better gear. A great photographer can take a great pic with whatever, but the better bodies just make the good shots more frequent and allow photographers to open up their artistic side. If you have a simple point and shoot, then you are out of luck for eliminating this in every photo from now on even with the tips and tricks...

7/22/2007 7:31:47 PM

Jennifer N. Flaherty
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/7/2006
  thank all of ya'll so much for takin the time to get back to me on my question :D. really helpful hints. back up question... how about in photoshop? anytips for takin out shadows or makin them less visible. im tryin to learn all I can in Photoshop, so im very curious. thanks!!

7/23/2007 5:42:48 AM

Michael A. Bielat
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/23/2007
  As always, nothing can compare to the time saved by having a correctly exposed and eye appealing image as soon as it is sent to the memory card!

However, in times of need, Photoshop can most definitely help to reduce shadows.

I would research "dodging" and "burning". It basically lightens or darkens where you paint (you pick the brush size, opacity and how much you want what you paint to be +- exposed)

There are probably other canned filters and so forth but what I mentioned above is how it should probably be done for the best overall results without affecting the rest of the image. A steady mouse hand will be needed so you don't see any overlap!

7/24/2007 6:40:59 AM

Jennifer N. Flaherty
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/7/2006
  thanks once again Michael, youre great :D

7/24/2007 7:07:02 AM

  Just for the heck of it you may want to look at this article here at BetterPhoto: www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=129. Information about using one light to control the whole portrait.
Thanks, John Siskin

7/25/2007 6:43:32 PM

  It's very simple and not at all complicated: Prior to pressing the shutter of a camera with a built-in flash, have your subject move about 7 feet away from the wall or object behind them.

If the wall behind the subject is white, it will bounce the light back to the subject and lighten the shadow. But, the key is still to have the subject as far from the wall as possible.

With a flash outside of the camera, use the flash attached to an off-camera-sync-cord, such as the 'Off Camera Shoe Cord2' made by Canon. Hold the flash above the subject and ever so slightly to the side about 45 degrees. Or, bounce the light off a white ceiling to softly light the subject from above. Hence, no shadow.

I prefer not to spend my life in Photoshop correcting mistakes. It's far better to shoot correctly in the first place, in my opinion.

This image was taken with an in-camera flash, but noticed the shadow is light in density. http://tinyurl.com/2ygfqa
If I am able, I set the exposure compensation dial to -1/3 with my TTL flash. By "dialing the flash down" helps to avoid the "overflashed" in my images and the strong shadows in the background.

Hope this helps.
Bunny

7/28/2007 8:19:04 AM

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Photography Question 
Noreen Callahan
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2007
  77 .  Flash Unit Question
A couple of years ago, I saw a flash unit of some sort that, when placed opposite the digital camera being used, would go off at the same time as the flash on the digital, thus eliminating glare and reflection when photographing jewelry. It was under $50.00. I can't remember what it is called, nor can I locate one. Do you have any information on this?

7/20/2007 5:03:25 PM

William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2006
  Noreen, many speedlights have light sensors so that you can set them up remotely and when they sense another flash they will trigger. Alternatively, you can buy slave triggers that do the same thing. I can't think of a decent speedlight for $50.00 and am wondering if you saw an add for a slave trigger.
Bill

7/21/2007 1:53:42 PM

  Hi Noreen,
There are devices you can put into most strobes that will fire them when another unit goes off. These are called slave units. There are special units that will work with digital cameras that have an extra early flash to reduce red eye. Slave units, the trigger devices, are less than $50. You can find a very nice article in the current Photo Techniques about working with slave units.
The problem is that just randomly adding an additional light source is unlikely to solve more problems than it creates. You need to spend some time learning where to place lights and how to control them.
Thanks, John Siskin

7/21/2007 6:58:05 PM

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Photography Question 
Ruth S. Ueland

member since: 2/19/2007
  78 .  How to Pose Wiggly Toddlers
I am going to be doing my first session with someone who I am not personal friends with. I am wondering if anyone has any tips and tricks for getting wiggly little toddlers to sit still for their portrait? Also what are some good ways to get kids you don't know to warm up for their photograph ... so they don't look horribly unnatural???
Thanks,
Ruth

7/14/2007 10:21:55 AM

Katie Parks
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/23/2006
  A ball. It's that simple, really. You have them sit and watch your magic show. You toss it up turn and it falls. It is funny every time. I also sing silly songs they might know and add their names (add funny animals to Mcdonald's farm). If they are a little bit too young for that, bubbles are silly. To keep them sitting still, you have to be their entertainment to stare at. I recommend some serious caffeine before you start! Good luck.

7/16/2007 11:41:11 AM

Shirley Fairley

member since: 3/18/2005
  Hi Ruth,
I have shot alot of young kids. If they are nervous start them off in their parents arms, then they relax and will be more fun.
Try to shoot in a park or somewhere where you can keep moving.
Ask the parents to bring some favorite toys to pull out when you've run out of tricks.
Get the parents to stand behind you and make their favorite goofy faces.
Shoot as much as you can because you will have alot of blurs and funny looks.
I'm sure not all of this is new but I hope it helps.
Shirley

7/17/2007 5:35:32 AM

Mary Lyn Wilson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/31/2004
 
 
  Sndney1
Sndney1
ISO 100
Shutter 1/125
Aperature 4.5
60mm
Nikon D1x
Studio
Shot in Raw

 
  Let me off
Let me off
ISO 100
Shutter 1/125
Aperature 4.5
60mm
Nikon D1x
Studio
Shot in Raw
 
  Oh maybe I'll get back on
Oh maybe I'll get back on
ISO 100
Shutter 1/125
Aperature 4.5
60mm
Nikon D1x
Studio
Shot in Raw
 
  okay take the picture
okay take the picture
ISO 100
Shutter 1/125
Aperature 4.5
60mm
Nikon D1x
Studio
Shot in Raw
 
  I'm done  (15 seconds)
I'm done (15 seconds)
ISO 100
Shutter 1/125
Aperature 4.5
60mm
Nikon D1x
Studio
Shot in Raw
 
 
First thing I try to do is have a consultation/meeting appt. so the child will get confortable with me and if you are doing it in a studio, the child is given a tour.
Before meeting the client make sure your lighting is right, and your camera is set. Anytime you spend doing that is taking away from you 20 minutes shoot time.
You need an assistant. Parents are good for that sometimes but they can also be a distraction and they sometimes lose patients quicker then an assistant would.
Depending on their age you can put them up on something where their feet can not touch the ground. Mom standing close and your assistant behind you keeping their attention. It does not last long.
Also a piece of duck tape or double sticky tape in the palm of there hand will keep fingers out of there mouth and their hands together.
Lastly, you need patience, luck and lots of love of what you are doing. They only last about 20 minutes so shoot fast.
Hope this helps

7/17/2007 6:26:52 AM

Ruth S. Ueland

member since: 2/19/2007
  Thanks for all your ideas everyone!
They look like they may prove to be very helpful in my session!
Ruth

7/17/2007 8:25:29 AM

Dennis H. Hernet

member since: 2/14/2006
  I stumbled across something when attempting a family self portait, which included a wiggly one-year-old ... the blinking light on the timer totally fascinated him. I got four straight super photos (would have had five but dad blinked) and had the shoot done in two minutes.. Like the entertainment, my grandson found the blinking light on the Canon Rebel most entertaining.

7/17/2007 12:49:12 PM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Ruth,
Please let me add there is a whole lot of these suggestions on the
Studio Photography Threads as well.
Here is part #1:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=17534

also, Blow just a few bubbles and act as if your eating them, this cracks them up!
as if using a posing table, I set a pooh bear there with them and tell pooh to sit still and have his picture taken as I walk away I turn and tap pooh head so he falls from the table.
Turning and skoolding pooh" bad bear now sit still and have your picture taken, sitting him on the edge again.
do this once or twice they are loving it!
How ever, you really need to be using a remote to expose the shot.
I do hope this helps,
Debby

7/17/2007 10:21:45 PM

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Photography Question 
Cassandra  Ann Smith

member since: 10/2/2006
  79 .  Flash Lag
There seems to be about 5-10 seconds between shots when I use my flash with my Canon XTI. Is it something I am doing or is there a way to use the flash faster?

7/12/2007 10:54:38 AM

A C
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/6/2004
  Wow, I don't have that problem with my Canon Rebel 300D ... unless the batteries are dying. I purchased a Duracell 15-minute battery charger and I replace my batteries OFTEN. I need to pick up a few more sets of rechargable batteries so I can shoot, shoot, shoot with only small breaks to change the batteries.

7/12/2007 11:06:52 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  If you're referring to the built-in flash, yes, that's normal and not there's nothing you can do to speed it up. If you're using an accessory flash in the hot shoe, stop using alkaline batteries and switch instead to NiMH rechargeables, or Lithium batteries. Alkalines gradually lose voltage over time, where the rechargeables remain level until exhausted. Alkalines also have greater internal resistance and so cannot provide as much current.

7/12/2007 11:55:28 AM

  Hi Cassandra,
Strobes make a lot of light and so they use a lot of energy. The strobe uses a capacitor to store up enough power to make the strobe work. There are a number of battery solutions that work well. In addition to those mentioned, you may be able to use a high-voltage battery pack, such as the Quantum Turbo. This will allow you to use the strobe at about 1 second intervals. Unfortunately, these units are expensive, but they do work very well. You might check the Quantum Web site to see if they have a power pack for your strobe: http://www.qtm.com/.
Thanks, John Siskin

7/12/2007 7:10:02 PM

Kristopher Hollingsworth
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/18/2007
  Another alternative to the Quantum Turbo that has worked very well for me is the Canon Compact Battery Pack CP-E3. If you're shooting with a Canon 580EX (1 or 2), 550EX, 540EZ, 430EZ, MT-24EX and MR-14EX flash unit.

They also have a new one out the CP-E4 that's about ten dollars more and a little more dust/water sealed and ruggadized to match the new Canon 580EX2.

The quantum solutions will run you around $450-600 from the prices I see on B&H. The Canon Battery Pack with a spare quick-load catridge, 16 NiMH batteries, and some rapid chargers will run you a little under $200. I'll usually shoot 600-1000 photos at an event swapping out the catridges about half-way through and have had no problems with this solution. You can also always extend the life of this solution by adding another catridge. The only downside is the Quantum will also power the flash unit itself, with the Canon Battery Pack, you have to also maintain four AA's in the flash body.

7/17/2007 7:31:04 AM

  The Quantum unit is more than twice as fast as the Canon product, but the cost is high. The cost and speed are related to the high voltage system in the Quantum.
Thanks, John Siskin

7/17/2007 3:18:59 PM

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Photography Question 
Cassandra  Ann Smith

member since: 10/2/2006
  80 .  Solutions for Flash
I am having some issues with not having a dedicated flash and trying to work with the one my Canon XTi has. I have tried adding on different materials to soften the flash, but I would like to reflect it in different directions. HELP! Does anyone have any solutions?

7/12/2007 10:52:16 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  The most you can do is diffuse the flash though paper or translucent plastic, DIY or this ready made product: LumiQuest Soft Screen. It it not worth trying to bounce flash with the built-in. it doesn't provide enough power.

7/12/2007 11:59:44 AM

Cassandra  Ann Smith

member since: 10/2/2006
  What is DIY? I am concerned because I am doing a home birth, and if it happens at night, I am not going to have much light. I don't want to disrupt the natural flow of things either.

7/12/2007 1:04:16 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  DIY = do it yourself. Your solution is to buy a flash with a swivel head, or use a high ISO and the room lights.

7/12/2007 2:59:38 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  I've used ISO 800 on the XTi with very good results. There is barely any noise compared to using high ISOs with the original Rebel or any point & shoot camera.

Chris Vedros

7/12/2007 5:08:45 PM

Cassandra  Ann Smith

member since: 10/2/2006
  Thank you for all the answers. They have been very helpful!

7/18/2007 10:50:59 PM

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