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Photography Question 
Sherri Wiggins

How to Eliminate Shadows

Hi. I have a Nikon D70. I use a Jtl Versalight-D 300. When I am doing indoor location shoots, I continue most of the time to still have some shadowing behind the person(s). I have tried moving the light closer. What should I do to make this situation better? It is so frustrating to have a seemingly good picture except for this creature behind the subject. Someone help. Thank you.

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6/14/2005 2:38:54 PM

John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Hi. If you can hand-hold the flash, have someone (unless you have three hands or a holder) hold the flash above you and still directly in front of the subject, which will put the shadow directly behing the subject where you cant see it. If your flash is off-set even a little, you will get the side shadow. It's a tough problem sometimes, and the pros use multiple flashes for fill - which is the great (and expensive) way to go.

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6/14/2005 3:18:08 PM

Sherri Wiggins   Thanks John. That really helps a great deal. I look forward to trying that out.

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6/14/2005 7:47:12 PM

John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Thank you for the response, let me know if you have good luck

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6/14/2005 7:51:17 PM

Maria Melnyk   Why hand-hold the flash? Have your flash on a bracket above the lens. I don't shoot any other way, nor do other photographers I know.

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6/21/2005 12:38:49 PM

John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  "Hand holding the flash" was actually meant as an illustration for getting the flash directly ober the lens. I think she understood. Yeah buy all means buy a bracket if you can find one for your model that does the job. And real photographers have flash stands all over the place, not just in front of the subject

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6/21/2005 1:09:25 PM

cameron    hi sherri,
the first thing taht pops to my mind would be to move the subject away from the backdrop, this will significantly reduce your shadowing. the other option is setting up a second flash, either to the other side of your primary flash, or as a fill flash, behind the subject. be careful not to over expose the fill flash or it will look fake/obvious.
let me konw if this works out for you.

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6/25/2005 10:52:53 PM

Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Hello Sherri.
Shadows, Shadows, Shadows. Photographers sometimes spend hours creating them. At other times they spend hours eliminating them. It's always about light, and light creates shadows. If you enjoy photography as you seem to, I would suggest you visit your local yard sale, fleamarket, used equipment department, e-bay, whatever.
You need a light to play with. You can create shadows and eliminate shadows to your hearts content and perhaps create a masterpiece. Many professionals use only ONE light. Think about it, it's a step into the wonderful world of shadow and light "art".


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6/26/2005 3:33:00 PM

Maria Melnyk   Unless you're doing Hollywood Portraiture, it is best to eliminate shadows. The first time I read your question I had mistakenly assumed that you were using a flash directly on the camera. But all you need to do is have your light nice and high (so that you have to have to reach up to turn it on and off), and have your subjects about 3 feet in front of the backdrop. This is what I do and I don't have any shadows. Fill lights, by the way, might fill in shadows on your models, but won't eliminate them from the background.

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6/26/2005 6:57:47 PM

Ford    for only $40 you can get the GaryFong Lighsphere II. I haven't had a problem with shadows,shine or blowout since. Looks silly, but its what on the other side of the lens that counts

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6/26/2005 7:10:27 PM

Jerry Frazier   I'm not being funny, but have you tried not using flash?

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6/26/2005 10:57:07 PM

Maria Melnyk   Not using flash? For portraits? Do you mean use hotlights instead? You would need a color conversion filter (80A) unless you're doing black & white. Plus, it does get hot under those things. You still need to have your model a certain distance from the background to eliminate those shadows. Plus, your exposure time would be about a full second or even more, depending on aperture, film speed, etc.
Ford, the Lightsphere you mentioned, does that fit on a monolight? Or is it only for on-camera flash? If using a monolight you already have an umbrella or softbox in place anyway.
Sherri - what are you using with your JTL Versalight?

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6/27/2005 10:19:26 AM


BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  "Not using flash? For portraits?"

Yes. I do it all the time. In fact, I only use flash when I absolutely HAVE to. I hate flash lighting and there are very few that can do it really well. I'm not one of them.

Don't get me wrong. I'm pretty good with flash. But I can ALWAYS tell when flash was used. There are only a handful of people that I know who can undetecably use flash. But, if I can see it, I hate it.

If you have windows, use them. If you have doors, use them. If you can go outside, go outside. Do anything. Just learn to SEE the light.

Anyway, that's my input.

Sometimes the answer is more simple than it seems.

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6/27/2005 11:50:57 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Jerry! I'm glad to see you're still here. I have to agree with you. Available light does make the best portrait lighting, by far IMHO.

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6/27/2005 11:57:25 AM

Maria Melnyk   OK, everybody. Yes, I do agree that available light is the best portrait lighting by far. I was referring to backdrops used either in the studio or on location in dark banquet halls where there is no daylight.

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6/27/2005 5:50:58 PM

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