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tinkabella627
05-08-2011, 08:08 AM
Does anyone have any books or website suggestions for tips with flash photography? I got a new flash for my birthday and really would like to learn how to use it and actually know why what I am doing is working. I don't want to just experiment (even though I am experimenting already) because I won't remember or really understand what is working or why it is working.
TIA

JoeDif
05-08-2011, 08:34 AM
These are 2 of the best sites regarding flash photography:

1) Strobist (http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/)

2)Neil vanNiekerk Tangents (http://neilvn.com/tangents/)

As far as books, check out Joe McNally, Neil van Niekerk and Syl Arenas

Shutterbug
05-08-2011, 09:34 AM
I got Neil Van Niekerk's book "On-Camera Flash"
It helped me with a good starting point. Though I'm better I still have a long way to go to consistent good results from flash.

tinkabella627
05-08-2011, 09:38 AM
I got Neil Van Niekerk's book "On-Camera Flash"
It helped me with a good starting point. Though I'm better I still have a long way to go to consistent good results from flash.

When I search this the only one I am finding is for digital wedding and portrait photography... is this the one you are talking about?

JoeDif
05-08-2011, 10:15 AM
When I search this the only one I am finding is for digital wedding and portrait photography... is this the one you are talking about?


Most likely. Neil does a lot of wedding photography but flash is flash . All of the principles in the book relate to many type of situations where you will be using a flash on your camera. He also has a second book for off camera flash and lighting

Shutterbug
05-08-2011, 10:20 AM
When I search this the only one I am finding is for digital wedding and portrait photography... is this the one you are talking about?

Right, thats the one:

On Camera Flash
Techniques for Digital and Portrait Photogrpahy

tinkabella627
05-08-2011, 10:42 AM
Thanks... I am kinda terrified of this thing LOL I wanted it because everyone tells me it will be good to have so that I can learn to take better portraits of our baby on the way. I would rather learn to do it myself than pay someone lots and lots to take pictures (because I am slightly camera obsessed and will take a ton of her... hopefully we get a handful each time that are good enough to frame). I was just learning in the past few months to shoot out of auto mode and now that I put this flash on I can't figure out how to shoot on manual with the flash... so it's back to auto for now.

Revan
05-08-2011, 11:45 AM
How about Speedliter's Handbook by Syl Arena, he is a guest on the Photofocus podcast sometimes and is excellent.

handicap18
05-08-2011, 01:11 PM
Thanks... I am kinda terrified of this thing LOL I wanted it because everyone tells me it will be good to have so that I can learn to take better portraits of our baby on the way. I would rather learn to do it myself than pay someone lots and lots to take pictures (because I am slightly camera obsessed and will take a ton of her... hopefully we get a handful each time that are good enough to frame). I was just learning in the past few months to shoot out of auto mode and now that I put this flash on I can't figure out how to shoot on manual with the flash... so it's back to auto for now.

I have never taking our kids to a portrait studio for their pictures. Though I have bought the school pictures, but mostly because it has the class picture in it.

I switched to a dSLR back in Jan of '06 with the Nikon D50. A few months later I bought the SB-600. My first purchase after the flash was a diffuser. I tried a few but ended up with a Gary Fong Lightsphere II Inverted Dome diffuser. Shortly after getting all that I got the Nikon 50mm f/1.8. That lens combined with the flash/diffuser became my portrait lens for quite a few years.

This my first "official" portrait of the kids, Dec '06:
http://www.kylegendron.com/The-Kids/The-Kids-Together/i-MMDJbnt/0/L/dsc_4212_8x10-L.jpg

I haven't looked back since. I eventually upgraded to the Nikon D300 and then found the wonders of the Nikon Creative Lighting System. I now have 2 SB-600's and a SB-900. A diffuser for all of them and also some 24"x24" portable softboxes. Each year I do a portrait shoot for our local Down syndrome group.

For me it was a slow process, but I've learned a lot of the past 5 years and really enjoy using my flash. Don't try and learn everything at once. Trial and error with a digital system is great. The more I learned the more I moved on and the more equipment I ended up getting. Have fun.

wenrob
05-08-2011, 09:35 PM
You've gotten great replies all things I would have suggested. I would also suggest a book specific to your flash system it helped me out immensely with the SB600 and I will still refer to it.
As to shooting in manual with a flash it's a different ball game then natural light. First thing you need to do is put the flash/camera in rear sync so you can choose your settings instead of the camera doing it for you. (the camera will choose 1/60 SS in front sync) You want your camera to expose for the background and your flash to expose your subject. You will actually be free to ignore your meter for the most part and determine your SS for how much of the background you want exposed. There are many, many techniques to get the results you're after.
My biggest tip would be to get a diffuser or bounce card and never point the flash directly at your subject. Good luck and remember to show us what you do. The photographers here are the nicest around and always willing to help.

disneyboy2003
05-09-2011, 12:43 AM
Yes, having your first external flash can be intimidating at first. I'll admit that it took me a long long time before I finally got comfortable using an external flash properly & understanding how to use my flash well.

Here are some tips that I wish someone would have told me a lot sooner. I had to piece together a lot of flash information from many many different sources, books, Web sites, etc before it finally "clicked" for me.

When you use a flash, you are making TWO different exposures in your photo: (1) the foreground flash exposure, and (2) the background (ambient) exposure. Your flash will provide light to your foreground subject. You use your camera's settings to make the background exposure.

For example, you'd use your flash if your background is bright enough for your camera, but your foreground subject is a little dark. Like if it's bright & sunny outside, but your foreground subject is in the shade. (this particular situation is called "fill flash".)

Here's what I do. I set my camera on "M" (manual), and I manually set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO for the background--just like I'd normally do without the flash. I might even take a test picture, just to make sure the background looks ok. (you can also do this on the other camera modes, like Av, Tv (or S), or P, but I find that "M" gives me the most control & consistency).

Then I re-take the picture using my external flash. The flash is probably already set to "TTL" mode. TTL is the flash's "Auto" mode, and it actually works pretty well. For the most part, you can leave your flash in this TTL mode. Using TTL, the flash will automatically determine the correct amount of power to light your foreground subject.


You can also control the amount of power that the flash puts out. If you review your flash photo, and the foreground subject looks overexposed, you can turn down the flash power. Your flash should have a "Flash Exposure Compensation" (FEC) dial, where you can dial up/down the flash power. So if the flash is too bright, try dialing the FEC down to -1. If there's not enough flash, try dialing up the FEC to +1. Trial & error.


The other thing about flash is to try not to point the flash directly at your subject. The light is flat, harsh, and unflattering. It produces very harsh shadows.

To soften the shadows, try using a diffuser. Or better yet, point the flash head to the ceiling, a nearby wall, or behind you. When you do this "bounce flash" technique, you are spreading the light over a larger area, which diffuses the light, which produces softer, gentler shadows. ***ahhhh, soft shadows*** :lovestruc

The key statement in this is "the larger the light source, the softer the shadows." The light from your flash head comes from a small light source. That's why the shadows are harsh. However, if you "bounce" the flash off the ceiling or wall, it enlarges the light source, making shadows soft. That's also why studio photographers put their flashes (or strobes) behind umbrellas or softboxes. It enlarges the light source, producing softer shadows for their portraits.


Anyway, this is flash in a nutshell. I wish someone would have told me this when I first bought my flash, and it would have saved me a year's worth of head-scratching. Sorry for my long-winded post. Hope this helps.

pgowder
05-09-2011, 08:50 AM
Take a look at Kelby Training too. They have some great classes on Off Camera Flash.

http://www.kelbytraining.com/

And I just finished watching this DVD set and it was the best tutorials I've seen so far on lighting with multiple flashes.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2011/01/introducing-strobist-lighting-in-layers.html

tinkabella627
05-09-2011, 06:10 PM
whew thanks for all of that info... I am still just learning the basics of the camera but I figured I will never learn if I don't just get it and start trying. I did figure out real quick to not point the flash right at the subject so I got one thing figured out... lots more to go LOL

We have just been playing with it in auto for now just to see what it is doing and we got this picture of our dog yesterday that I thought was cute...

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a61/sprklineyez143/DSC_6350.jpg