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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Choosing the Right Camera Flashes

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Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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Flash Bracket: Directional and Fill-in Lighting


I'm looking for a flash-camera bracket that can be used to create directional as well as fill-in lighting, such as something that could be placed on the side of the camera.
The brackets I used some 35 years ago were side brackets, but I'm having trouble locating one now. Does it make a difference whether or not one shoots film or digital to how the lighting is created?


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1/28/2005 4:26:53 PM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Digital or film are just two different medium to store images. I also have used a side bracket a long time ago. I found that there are always shadow on the background behind the subject. Now I switched to the Stroboframe Camera Flip, and the shadow problem is solved. There are different brands of flash bracket. But I found the Stroboframe is the most economical.
Stroboframe:
http://www.tiffen.com/Header_page_Stroboframe.htm
Newton:
http://www.newtoncamerabrackets.com/newton.html


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1/29/2005 12:31:54 AM

 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  Thanks, Andy.

However, I'm curious. When I use studio lights and I have my fill-in to the right/left of the camera, but about 2-3 feet away (with the height about 6-7 feet, or as high as 3 other moonlights which are on stands) I have no problem with the shadow, which drops below my selected focus and cropping area.

Also, when I have created directional lighting outside (during the time when the ambient light has no direction - heavy overcast), there is no shadow because I'm generally not near a building and the shadow on the ground is irrelevant. Plus, even in open shade to cast catch-lights in my subject's eyes, and the flash is set at 1-2 stops less than the camera, there is no problem. (Now, I'm speaking of past experience using myriad manual TLRs and SLRs, and a variety on non-e-TTL flash units. But, that shouldn't matter.)

Why then, is there a problem when the flash is on a bracket? Is it due to the height of the bracket and flash in relation to the camera?
Thanks.
Bunny


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1/29/2005 5:10:37 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  I think you just answered your question. With the side bracket, you can see the shadow outlining your subject on the opposite side of your flash. If you use the bracket that put the flash above your camera, the shadow will be lower and right behind the subject (if you are not pointing your camera upward, of course).


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1/29/2005 1:17:20 PM

 
Lorraine Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/10/2004
  Hi, Andy. Would you be able to use the Stroboframe Camera Flip on a tripod? If so, do you need some kind of a plate/receiver to do this? And is this tripod sturdy? I was reading a comment about a guy's camera foot being broken because of this bracket.

Thanks.
-Ena-


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2/2/2005 9:05:48 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  On the base of the Stroboframe Camera Flip, there is a tripod socket. You can just mount your bracket on a tripod like the camera. I have a quick release system on my tripod and I attach a quick release plate to the base of the bracket. As long as you have a sturdy tripod and the head can support the total weight of the bracket, camera and flash, it should be OK. I also use the bracket, without the flash attached, for macro photography and many other applications that I need to change orientation from horizontal to vertical or vice versa often. I can just rotate the camera instead of rotating the tripod head. Of course this is only apply to short lenses. If you have a long lens that comes with a tripod collar, don't use the bracket. Hope this helps.


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2/2/2005 12:51:27 PM

 
Lorraine Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/10/2004
  Andy, thanks, especially on the hint regarding not using the bracket on lenses with tripod collars (I do have one of those!). Yes, I did see a little video of the bracket attached to a camera and I like that you have to rotate only the camera instead of the whole thing. I have a new tripod coming--a Bogen 3001N with a 3126 micro fluid head. I should get it today. I have to see if it comes with a quick release system.

Thanks again for the information.
-Ena-


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2/2/2005 1:03:09 PM

 
Robert N. Valine
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/3/2003
  There's one other thing that I would like to suggest that may help with the shadows and that is a soft box attachment. This attaches to your on camera flash with velcro. I use a Lumiquest Softbox attachment in combination with a Stroboframe Flash Bracket for Weddings. Since I started using the Softbox I have no problem with shadows at all.


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2/3/2005 7:42:29 AM

 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  Rob,
Doesn't a soft box diffuse the light, and therefore the shadow? It would not eliminate the shadow if the shadow falls in the wrong place, it would just diffuse it like a cloud on a sunny day.

Also, and correct me if I'm wrong. But, doesn't a soft box have to be a certain distance away to work. The term circle of confusion has popped into my head in that light is focused the closer it is to the source and to diffuse the light, the soft box must be further away from the light source, which is not possible with an attachment which goes over the flash head. http://www.northnet.org/jimbullard/CoC.htm

I may be explaining this wrong.


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2/3/2005 11:12:43 AM

 
Robert N. Valine
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/3/2003
  Yes Susan, A soft box does diffuse the light. It also softens shadows.Therefore making them less of a concern for photographers to have to worry about.There are small soft boxes that are designed to attach to your on camera flash and they work wonders.Wedding photographers already have enough on their minds without having to be overly concerned with shadows.I shoot weddings in all kinds of conditions.These attachments can save the day. I use several types. I currently have 4 different types.I have the Lumiquest Pro Max Soft Box,Lumiquest Pro max 80/20 bouncer,Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce and a home made Bouncer that a friend gave me.There are many types of light modifiers.Some bounce light off the ceiling. I like the soft box because it can be used in just about any type of situation.I also like the Stofen Omni-Bounce.Some guys like to make their own.I know guys that use anything from coffee filters attached with rubber bands to Shower curtains cut up in pieces.Anything that goes between your flash and the subject will change or modify the light.It does'nt have to be a specific distance from the flash to work.Soft Boxes are also very useful for studio photography and are widely used by professional photographers.Also,They come in many shapes and sizes.It's fun to experiment with different attachments.Give it a try and have fun with it.See which one works best for you.


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2/3/2005 3:34:13 PM

 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  I have a some Chimera brand soft boxes for my White Lightnings, which I purchased several years ago to learn how to correctly light portraits using approximately 45 degree lighting.

It was an expensive lesson, as I prefer to shoot outside. However, now I know how to position my lights.

I don't recall the numbers to figure the diameter of flash box needed, but it seems to me that in order to diffuse the light, the flash box must be a certain distance away from the light source. Otherwise, you have a sharp point of raw light hitting your subject, which is hardly flattering.

With my White Lightnings, each soft box is about 15 inches from the source of light, so the soft box acts like window light, soft and gentle.

I don't understand how minature soft boxes, being as close to the source as they are, would diffuse to the same degree as my Chimera. I should think the light would have sharp, focused edges.

On the other hand, it seems I recall that parameters of human visual acuity when viewing an object depends on size, shape, edge contrast and viewing distance.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/archive/v03/20011228.htm



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2/4/2005 12:01:56 AM

 
Robert N. Valine
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/3/2003
  Yes Susan,Your studio soft boxes would certainly work better than an on camera soft box.I'm not talking about using an on camera flash for studio photography.I'm talking about using a flash bracket and soft box for shooting candids.I've also used them recently for close up flash photography of flowers and they work great!.My wedding customers pay me to get the job done and to get it done quickly.I use what works.If these products did'nt work,There would'nt be so many professionals using them.Companys also would'nt be making them for very long.The Sto-Fen Omni bounce is very popular with photojournalists. I see them being used on TV all the time.Soft boxes are popular with wedding photographers because they work and are very versatile.Of course,If I took a picture of someone from 2 feet away it would throw a shadow.I'm not in the habit of doing that.I'm trying to help with the elimination or softening of shadows.Flash Brackets will not eliminate shadows.They can only change the angle of the shadow.My main reason for using a flash bracket is to prevent red eye which is caused by the flash being to close to the camera.The bracket does help by keeping the flash above the camera.Therefore throwing the shadow down rather than to the side.But,It will not eliminate shadows completely.


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2/4/2005 7:10:09 AM

 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  Rob V. wrote: <>

Rob, I have never had red eye occur to any of my subjects in the 45 years I've done photography.

But, I had never had a camera with an internal flash until now, and the internal flash on my Elan 7E, I don't use on people or animals.

In the beginning (1960), I had TLRs, with an off-camera flash and both attached to a side bracket. During the ('80s), I began using SLR's and always attached the flash by sync cord, off the camera. The flash was held about a foot away and higher than the lens, directed at the subject. No red eye! I've always been taught to shoot on a tripod, which not only increases the sharpness of the photos, keeps the camera steadier, but gives me an extra hand to hold the flash.

But, the point is: NO RED EYE!

Granted, using a tripod is not as fluid moving around at a wedding, but one of my teachers (a pro portrait and commercial photographer) has done it. He and his assistant also had several slave units positioned through the room, so that the lighting of the bride and groom did not come from one flash alone. And, of course, close-ups of the couple always had at least 3 lights, 2 of which were slaved units on them.

Danny (my teacher) does use the Stroboframe Camera Flip on his tripod, but it has less to do with red eye, and more to do with having an extra hand and better coordination.

No one in any of his portraiture classes had problems with red eye, perhaps due to the placement of the off the camera flash.


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2/4/2005 8:47:43 AM

 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  Rob V. wrote: "My main reason for using a flash bracket is to prevent red eye which is caused by the flash being to close to the camera."

Rob, I have never had red eye occur to any of my subjects in the 45 years I've done photography.

But, I had never had a camera with an internal flash until now, and the internal flash on my Elan 7E, I don't use on people or animals.

In the beginning (1960), I had TLRs, with an off-camera flash and both attached to a side bracket. During the ('80s), I began using SLR's and always attached the flash by sync cord, off the camera. The flash was held about a foot away and higher than the lens, directed at the subject. No red eye! I've always been taught to shoot on a tripod, which not only increases the sharpness of the photos, keeps the camera steadier, but gives me an extra hand to hold the flash.

But, the point is: NO RED EYE!

Granted, using a tripod is not as fluid moving around at a wedding, but one of my teachers (a pro portrait and commercial photographer) has done it. He and his assistant also had several slave units positioned through the room, so that the lighting of the bride and groom did not come from one flash alone. And, of course, close-ups of the couple always had at least 3 lights, 2 of which were slaved units on them.

Danny (my teacher) does use the Stroboframe Camera Flip on his tripod, but it has less to do with red eye, and more to do with having an extra hand and better coordination.

No one in any of his portraiture classes had problems with red eye, perhaps due to the placement of the off the camera flash.


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2/4/2005 8:49:07 AM

 
Robert N. Valine
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/3/2003
  I have had red eye using the flash directly attached to the camera and I know of other people who have had it also.Since I started using a flash bracket I have never had it again.If you are hand holding your flash that is probably the reason that you hav'nt had it.If you attach your flash directly to the camera odds are you will get it at one time or another.There are many ways to shoot a wedding and my advice is to do what works for you and what you are comfortable with. I work alone and must move quickly.I can't be concerned about red eye or shadows.People who work with multiple flash set ups usually work with assistants.I have seen this done.But,it can be very cumbersome.Another thing is that I don't have the customers that are willing to pay for that.Assistants don't work for free.


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2/4/2005 1:26:59 PM

 
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