Assignment #37: Fill Flash

NikolaiNikolai Darth SLRRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
edited August 12, 2007 in Assignments
Still water can be fun, but it is what it is - still water. It does not require model release, it doesn't go anywhere - easy target!
Let's something more technical - let's use a fill flash.

As you know, fill flash is used to add some light to a front subject which otherwise would be too dark. Typical scenarios: contr-a-jour (shooting against the light); shooting in the twilight; shooting the nightscape with people in front of it. There are others, of course.

As a rule, when using fill flash you expose for the background and then add some flash to expose the foreground subjects. Full manual mode on both camera and flash unit is highly recommended.

Each entry should contain TWO images of the identical subject, taken within the same ambient lighting conditions. One without the flash (control shot), one with the flash (target shot).
EDIT: For the education purposes please provide pertinent exposure settings: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, flash unit model used, flash power level, distance to object (ballpark at least)
Multiple entries are fine, as always, but one pair per entry, please. :deal
Also, try to make your multiple entries really different, otherwise there is no challenge.

The point is to do it right. As you will see, it's very easy to overdo or underdo it. Prepare to spend some time experimenting. Once you learn how to do it it will become rather simple habit.

As usual: fresh pictures, moderate post-processing.
For the rest of the basic rules and index please check out this sticky.

Let's flash some fill! :-) :wink
"May the f/stop be with you!"
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Comments

  • StanStan Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,077 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    Busy, busy, busy. The still water was a great success with more participants than any previous assignments and you found time to reply to each entry. And you are shooting for SF1. Good luck with that.
    Fill flash should be fun too.

    Stan
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    Stan wrote:
    Busy, busy, busy. The still water was a great success with more participants than any previous assignments and you found time to reply to each entry. And you are shooting for SF1. Good luck with that.
    Fill flash should be fun too.

    Stan

    Well, sometimes guys bend over backwards to get the shot (e.g. in Straight Up:-), acknowledging their entries and efforst is the least I can do.
    And yes, I may need that luck in SF1, mwink.gif all my rivals are so frigging good :hide

    Thanks! thumb.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • pyroPrints.compyroPrints.com photohunter Registered Users Posts: 1,383 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    if you're shooting a nightscape with some people, I recomend trying slow sync flash

    here is some info on it I recently found: http://digital-photography-school.com/blog/slow-sync-flash/

    I'm itching to mess around with some of those techniques. Now if only i had that FL-50 =/, but i guess the popup flash will have to do.
    pyroPrints.com (my little t-shirt shop)
    pyroPrints.com/5819572 The Photo Section
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,168 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    I think Nikolai wants something like what I have done and posted in this thread.

    Here in Digital Grin, fill flash has been object of quite a few threads I had the privilege to participate, learning a lot from them.

    This is one superb link to valuable information about this matter.

    I hope to be able to post some shots. thumb.gif
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • StanStan Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,077 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    Hi Nik,

    I went out tonight to see what I could find, and shot some trees.

    156262762-M.jpg

    I shot the second with the flash to the right of the tree. I don't like the orange sky, but that is light polution
    156261961-M.jpg

    Stan
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    Stan,
    Stan wrote:
    Hi Nik,
    I went out tonight to see what I could find, and shot some trees.
    I shot the second with the flash to the right of the tree. I don't like the orange sky, but that is light polution
    Stan
    Well, that works! Nice entry!thumb.gif

    Question: did you control the flash remotely?

    Also: I modified the requirements a bit, can you please provide some exposure settings (please see the lead post)? Thanks!
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • StanStan Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,077 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    Thanks Nik, no, nothing so technical. I used my old Oly T32, lay on the ground and fired it up into the tree :D.

    Stan
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    Stan wrote:
    Thanks Nik, no, nothing so technical. I used my old Oly T32, lay on the ground and fired it up into the tree :D.

    Stan

    Hmm, then how come it's not centered?
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • StanStan Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,077 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    Camera on timer and 30 second exposure gave me enough time to move round to side with the flash and push the test button to fire the flash.

    Stan
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2007
    Stan wrote:
    Camera on timer and 30 second exposure gave me enough time to move round to side with the flash and push the test button to fire the flash.

    Stan

    I got it. It was "painting with light" :-)deal.gif
    That's technically a subject for another WA, but what the heck... mwink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • dlscott56dlscott56 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,293 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Stan wrote:
    Busy, busy, busy. The still water was a great success with more participants than any previous assignments and you found time to reply to each entry. And you are shooting for SF1. Good luck with that.

    Stan
    Definitely a gigantic thank you is in order for you Nik. I really enjoy participating in this part of the forum and appreciate all your comments and the time you put into it. As somewhat of a beginner I can't tell you how much these assignments have inspired me to learn different shooting techniques, explore different ways of shooting a subject, dig deeper into what my camera will do, and even learn more about what can be done to a photo in post processing.

    Thanks for doing it! clap.gifclapclap.gif

    Also, love your current SF1 entry, nicely done.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Dave,
    dlscott56 wrote:
    Definitely a gigantic thank you is in order for you Nik. I really enjoy participating in this part of the forum and appreciate all your comments and the time you put into it. As somewhat of a beginner I can't tell you how much these assignments have inspired me to learn different shooting techniques, explore different ways of shooting a subject, dig deeper into what my camera will do, and even learn more about what can be done to a photo in post processing.

    Thanks for doing it! clap.gifclapclap.gif

    Also, love your current SF1 entry, nicely done.

    You're most welcome! I appreciate your kind words! And, trust me, I'm having a lot of fun with this, too:-)
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • StanStan Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,077 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    I got it. It was "painting with light" :-)deal.gif
    That's technically a subject for another WA, but what the heck... mwink.gif

    So this doesn't count either... I still had fun making it though

    Here is the natural
    156262381-L.jpg

    This is with the 580 on board which does count
    156262594-L.jpg

    But these are with a 7,500,000 candle power torch (what ever that means)
    156429050-L.jpg

    and this was when I turned round and looked behind me.
    156428712-M.jpg

    They were all shot with my 24-105. I left my 10-22 at home but I wished I had it with me.

    I will try again, if it ever stops raining. And use flash on board only or remote (but I don't have one)

    Cheers
    Stan

    PS using a torch on a large ares is like using a brush in photoshop :)
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Stan,
    Stan wrote:
    So this doesn't count either... I still had fun making it though
    Here is the natural
    This is with the 580 on board which does count
    Nice entries! thumb.gif
    I guess now it's time to switch to daylight, no? mwink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • StanStan Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,077 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    Nice entries! thumb.gif
    I guess now it's time to switch to daylight, no? mwink.gif

    Work-a-holic, photo-holic, something's gotta give. I got the inspiration from Andy's SMUGMUG rock The wife thought I was in the pub, but that holic is not relevant since I was atleast 400 yards from the nearest pub and it was shut.

    Cheers
    Stan
  • ChrisJChrisJ Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,159 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Please excuse the crudity of this model...
    Not a stunning entry, but it illustrates the concept...
    156448879-O.jpg
    I was alone with the boy at the zoo, so this was only with a P&S. Canon PowerShot A710IS.
    Without Flash - f/4, 1/600
    With Flash - f/4.5, 1/500, "Normal" Flash power
    Camera was about 4-5 feet from subject. The ISO is not in the EXIF... darn P&S.
    Chris
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Chris,
    ChrisJ wrote:
    Not a stunning entry, but it illustrates the concept...
    I was alone with the boy at the zoo, so this was only with a P&S. Canon PowerShot A710IS.
    Without Flash - f/4, 1/600
    With Flash - f/4.5, 1/500, "Normal" Flash power
    Camera was about 4-5 feet from subject. The ISO is not in the EXIF... darn P&S.

    Exactly what I was asking for! Good entry by all means! thumb.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • BradfordBennBradfordBenn Constantly Amazed Registered Users Posts: 2,506 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    You are making me read the owner's manual to understand the flash options on my camera....
    -=Bradford

    Pictures | Website | Blog | Twitter | Contact
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Brad,
    You are making me read the owner's manual to understand the flash options on my camera....
    Hey, man, that's the whole idea :-) deal.giflol3.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • JnicholsJnichols Time to reconnect. Registered Users Posts: 223 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2007
    Fill Flash for Easter Pics
    I hope I have all of my info correct... Here's the first picture taken without flash. The location of the shot was beside my mom's house - the flowers in the background had beautiful natural light, while my daughter sat in the shade cast by the house.

    156505467-M.jpg

    ISO 250; f/4.0;(set at aperture priority). No flash. I found that I needed fill flash but did not bring my SB-800. I had to use the flash on the camera. Here's the resulting picture:

    141008644-M.jpg


    ISO 250; f/4.0; shutter speed 1/160; flash used; EV -1/3 and I used a diffuser. In this photo I stood approximately three feet away from her. Actually I was laying in the grass. I thought the photo turned out much better with fill flash.
  • BradfordBennBradfordBenn Constantly Amazed Registered Users Posts: 2,506 Major grins
    edited May 27, 2007
    I read the destructions and voila
    Well I read the descructions for my camera and got a few interesting results. The subject is my Newfoundland Chloe. The goal was not to get great shots but to see the technique that Nik is talking about. Previously I have found the the flash really can change the level of detail seen in her fur.

    Here is the first shot basically in "P Auto Mode"
    156520676-L.jpg

    Here it is with the Flash changed, I think to be on the closing edge (2nd Curtain) if I remember right... I need to write the order down so I know what I like
    156520813-L.jpg

    Then I messed around with "Compensate for Flash Adjustment" feature and came up with a way over flashed photo...
    156522116-L.jpg

    You can find all 12 I shot at this link, no touch ups done just converted from RAW to JPEG.
    -=Bradford

    Pictures | Website | Blog | Twitter | Contact
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 27, 2007
    Jnichols wrote:
    I hope I have all of my info correct... Here's the first picture taken without flash. The location of the shot was beside my mom's house - the flowers in the background had beautiful natural light, while my daughter sat in the shade cast by the house.

    ISO 250; f/4.0;(set at aperture priority). No flash. I found that I needed fill flash but did not bring my SB-800. I had to use the flash on the camera. Here's the resulting picture:

    ISO 250; f/4.0; shutter speed 1/160; flash used; EV -1/3 and I used a diffuser. In this photo I stood approximately three feet away from her. Actually I was laying in the grass. I thought the photo turned out much better with fill flash.

    Jen,
    thank you for the entry!
    I would say that didn't need that much of a flash. Also, imho, diffusers do not help much outdoors. With your situation (shade) you probably needed like 1/32 of the flash power, 1/16 top.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 27, 2007
    Well I read the descructions for my camera and got a few interesting results. The subject is my Newfoundland Chloe. The goal was not to get great shots but to see the technique that Nik is talking about. Previously I have found the the flash really can change the level of detail seen in her fur.

    Here is the first shot basically in "P Auto Mode"


    Here it is with the Flash changed, I think to be on the closing edge (2nd Curtain) if I remember right... I need to write the order down so I know what I like


    Then I messed around with "Compensate for Flash Adjustment" feature and came up with a way over flashed photo...


    You can find all 12 I shot at this link, no touch ups done just converted from RAW to JPEG.

    Brad,

    while I appreciate your efforts and learning process, this is not what fill flash is used for. Fill flash is used to highlight the foreground, while exposing for the backfround, be it an object been lit by the sun in front of the camera or a nightscape. Your shot is just low light, it's not backlit or anything.
    HTH
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • JnicholsJnichols Time to reconnect. Registered Users Posts: 223 Major grins
    edited May 27, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    Jen,
    thank you for the entry!
    I would say that didn't need that much of a flash. Also, imho, diffusers do not help much outdoors. With your situation (shade) you probably needed like 1/32 of the flash power, 1/16 top.

    You know - that's interesting. I just used the diffuser without trying to see if there was any change in the photo. I've used my lightsphere before outdoors and I like the effect but I didn't with this one. I also used my onboard flash - so I didn't realize I could change the flash power. I'll need to check on that. Oh and I just realized... I didn't use a diffuser because I used my onboard flash and not my SB800. On to more trials!!! and more reading! clap.gif
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 27, 2007
    Jnichols wrote:
    You know - that's interesting. I just used the diffuser without trying to see if there was any change in the photo.
    You're not alone. Many, many people buy this idea and use the diffuser (and other accessories) when it's not actually needed. Yet if you spend 30 minutes and actually check the difference - you'll be amazed how much of it is a pure hype...ne_nau.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • Northern MonkeyNorthern Monkey Big grins Registered Users Posts: 25 Big grins
    edited May 27, 2007
    I'm getting better with this flash malarky. Spent about an hour today, and took about 30 pictures trying to reduce the power of my canon 430, and bounce it. Keep overexposing tho. I'll try again tomorrow, might be a bit sunnier, so more scope for use of Fill in.
  • dlscott56dlscott56 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,293 Major grins
    edited May 28, 2007
    Here's a couple of tries :
    157054694-S.jpg157054477-S.jpg

    157054757-S.jpg157054375-S.jpg
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 28, 2007
    Dave,
    dlscott56 wrote:
    Here's a couple of tries :
    Thank you for the entries!

    As you can see for yourself, it works much better in your second example.

    The reason: that is a textbook case for the fill flash: bright b/g, f/g subject in the shade

    The first one is simply a dark scene with foliage pattern, it's hard to recover from it without blowing out parts of the image (which is exactly what happened) ne_nau.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • hawkeye978hawkeye978 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,218 Major grins
    edited May 28, 2007
    Graveyard at Night
    Nikolai,

    Let me know if I am going about this wrong but I don't usually prefer natural light and so I don't think I have fired the flash on the Sony H1 more than a half a dozen times in 18 months. Partially because I light natural light, and mostly because the flash is the equivalent of a tactical nuclear weapon.:D

    The flash is the one built into the camera and has three adjustments; +, Normal, and -. I stuck to '-' for these shots. What I was trying to do with these shots was expose for the sky and then fill in the gravestones with the flash. It was near sunset so the areas at the ground were pretty dark and exposing there would blow out the sky. Let me know if I am off base here.

    #1
    This is 1/80 sec at f/4 with a 10.9 mm focal length, no flash, ISO 64. Shot taken 17 May at 7:33 p.

    157127138-L.jpg

    and here is the shot with the flash.

    Settings basically the same. The settings are 1/80 sec at f/4 with a 10.9 mm focal length,
    flash at '-' setting, ISO 64. Shot taken 17 May at 7:33 p.

    157127546-L.jpg

    Shot #2

    Here the sky is a little better and I tried to fill from the side a little bit.

    Here the camera is shooting without flash, 1/320 sec with aperture of f/3.5 , 6mm focal length, and ISO 100.

    157127679-L.jpg

    and here is the flash shot.

    For this shot the flash is on, 1/320 sec with aperture of f/3.5 , 6mm focal length, and ISO 100.

    157127929-L.jpg

    Other than cropping, no post processing done on any of these pictures. Thanks for the critiques.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 28, 2007
    Tom,
    hawkeye978 wrote:
    Nikolai,

    Let me know if I am going about this wrong but I don't usually prefer natural light and so I don't think I have fired the flash on the Sony H1 more than a half a dozen times in 18 months. Partially because I light natural light, and mostly because the flash is the equivalent of a tactical nuclear weapon.:D

    The flash is the one built into the camera and has three adjustments; +, Normal, and -. I stuck to '-' for these shots. What I was trying to do with these shots was expose for the sky and then fill in the gravestones with the flash. It was near sunset so the areas at the ground were pretty dark and exposing there would blow out the sky. Let me know if I am off base here.

    #1
    This is 1/80 sec at f/4 with a 10.9 mm focal length, no flash, ISO 64. Shot taken 17 May at 7:33 p.



    and here is the shot with the flash.

    Settings basically the same. The settings are 1/80 sec at f/4 with a 10.9 mm focal length,
    flash at '-' setting, ISO 64. Shot taken 17 May at 7:33 p.



    Shot #2

    Here the sky is a little better and I tried to fill from the side a little bit.

    Here the camera is shooting without flash, 1/320 sec with aperture of f/3.5 , 6mm focal length, and ISO 100.



    and here is the flash shot.

    For this shot the flash is on, 1/320 sec with aperture of f/3.5 , 6mm focal length, and ISO 100.



    Other than cropping, no post processing done on any of these pictures. Thanks for the critiques.

    I think your first pair is right on the spot. You have birghter b/g which you want to be exposed properly and you have the all-important f/g subject (a thumbstone) that does not stand a chance unless you help it. Which you did. thumb.gif

    The second one fails to provide the correct settings. It's simply too dark overall to use the "fill flash" concept. At this point a longer exposure would be your tool of choice. Also, note that there is no primary target on the f/g. You're shooting down the alley, and flash is a poor instrument for this kind of scene, since its light falls off too quickly with distance (squared too quickly, to be precise:-).

    As a reminder: fill flash is not there to be noticeable. It is there to avoid the inadequacy of the linear "all-objects-are-created-equal" light recording capabilities of the camera as opposed to the target-oriented and real-time-adaptive human eye.

    HTH
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
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