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  #1  
Old 29th July 2015
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Help with fill flash please?

If anyone can assist me please with their knowledge on using fill flash effectively I would be very grateful.

I am the only photographer at a wedding this Saturday but the weather has not been very good recently and I might have to resort to using my flashgun...which I am not particularly knowledgeable about. I have read the manual twice, worked out what I need to do and practiced shots at different exposures but my query is on using the exposure compensation.

I will be using the FL50r with the EM-5 and possibly the EM-1. It will be on camera with a small soft box to soften the effect. I am using FP TTL auto with ambient light settings on the camera however the images seem a little too 'flashy' rather than just softening shadows and adding catchlights. I have tried decreasing the compensation on the flashgun by up to three stops at varying increments but it doesn't seem to make any difference to the resulting image. I tried dropping the exposure compensation on the camera by up to one stop but that just very slightly under-exposed the background. What am I doing wrong or is it not possible to use flash compensation when working in FP TTL auto? I don't want to use manual settings as this is only the second or third time I have used the flashgun and I am not confident about using it.

I am not a people photographer, I generally take landscape or nature so thinking on my feet quickly, with the right settings for the different venues is going to be hard enough...I don't want to start trying out something that I have not done before other than possibly having to use flash. I just need the fill flash to look like it is filling in shadows and not leave me with an image that looks like I have used flash, albeit outdoors. Perhaps this would always be the way a portrait would look like but I don't have the experience to be sure.

Your knowledge and advice on this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you
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Old 29th July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Hi Anne, you are way out of my knowledge range so hope someone experienced in this comes along soon. All I can offer is good luck with the wedding I'm afraid.
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Old 29th July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Try Manual Mode. Start with flash on 1/16 power and shutter at 1/60, F5.6, (this is from what my dad taught me back in the film days). Take a shot, see how it is. Being in Manual mode you can adjust shutter and aperture. Remember shutter controls the amount of ambient light, F stop controls the amount of flash.

Check this out: http://cazillo.com/video-playlists/1...otography.html

I am like you, hardly ever need flash, and when I do it comes out to flashy because I let the camera do it, and use dad's rule, that doesn't work to good in the digital age. But the last time that is what I did and I close down the aperture till it looked alright. The other way is to guesstimate how over flashed the image is and back down the power on the flash.
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  #4  
Old 29th July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Ideally, get the gun off the camera. I know this is often not practical, which is why we have holders to get the gun off to the side and further above the lens axis. An assistant to hold the flash on a monopoll is the best solution. If it's not windy a lighting stand can be used.

Shoot in A mode to get the DoF you want and with the flash fl‑lm2 on the camera, you can adjust the power of the main gun using RC flash. If you can keep the shutter speed below the top sync speed then use regular flash rather than FP, as the gun will recycle quicker.

Personally I mostly do it all manually. Starting with the FL-50R gun on 1/64th power. With the flash delivering a constant light, I vary the illumination from it by moving it closer/further from the subject.

I truly wish you well, as I hate doing weddings and avoid if at all possible.

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Old 29th July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post
I tried dropping the exposure compensation on the camera by up to one stop but that just very slightly under-exposed the background.
Hi there Anne!

When you say you adjusted the exposure compensation do you mean the overall compensation or the flash compensation (there is a separate flash compensation icon on the super control panel).

If you have only tried to adjust the overall exposure compensation it might be worthwhile trying to adjust the flash compensation down while leaving the overall exposure compensation at normal.

I hope this helps - I'm no expert at this and only found out about the flash compensation when playing about with the camera.

Cheers,

Ralph.
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Old 29th July 2015
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Lightbulb Re: Help with fill flash please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post
<snip> I have tried decreasing the compensation on the flashgun by up to three stops at varying increments but it doesn't seem to make any difference to the resulting image.<snip>
Make sure the flash compensation is not linked to the exposure compensation.
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  #7  
Old 30th July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Thank you everyone for your comments, I appreciate your advice.

I know I should use manual settings on the flasgun as I am in control but this is not going to be possible. As I said, I don't want to start using settings that I have never worked with before and risk ruining all the photos. I will have enough to think about remembering to change the camera settings when going from the low light in the church to outside etc. I don't know my flashgun well enough to get out of trouble if I have set it incorrectly. Likewise I can't get it off the camera as I don't have anyone to hold it forme.

I hope the weather is good enough to not need the flash but this is just in case. I want to use it only as fill in so my understanding is that (other than using manual) FP TTL auto is the way to go. I just set my exposure as per normal on the camera, the flash will work with those settings and create the fill in effect. It is doing that, it just seems a little too much. I have used the flash exposure compensation on the flashgun and dialled down to up to three stops but it didn't seem to do much. I assumed that this was the same technique as using the exposure compensation on the camera which I regularly do when shooting landscapes etc.

Ralph, I used the compensation dial on the flashgun but this didn't seem to affect the out come and this was what I was after advice on, can I expect to do this when using the FPP TTL setting? I also tried the normal compensation button on the camera but that gave the wrong effect as it under exposed the whole image which was not what I wanted to do. I didn't try using the flash compensation from the super panel so I will have a look at that and see if that makes a difference.

Graham, I don't understand what you mean by making sure the flash compensation is not linked to the exposure compensation (how I link it or don't link it?). I assumed they were not linked, I just tried both to see if the would give me the effect that I was after. Adjusting exposure compensation (on the camera)was not the way to go judging by my test shots.

I need to adjust the power setting on the flashgun whilst still using the auto settings. As I am not in manual I can't dial the power down, however much the same as using compensation on the camera, I assumed I was doing that on the flashgun by using it's compensation setting, however it didn't seem to have the desired effect. That was what I was hoping someone would be able to advise me on (is it possible to do?). However I will try out the super panel setting, I did activate it in the menu settings before I started practicing....well that is what I think I activated on the camera menu! It's not the most straightforward menu
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Old 30th July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
Ideally, get the gun off the camera. I know this is often not practical, which is why we have holders to get the gun off to the side and further above the lens axis. An assistant to hold the flash on a monopoll is the best solution. If it's not windy a lighting stand can be used.

Shoot in A mode to get the DoF you want and with the flash fl‑lm2 on the camera, you can adjust the power of the main gun using RC flash. If you can keep the shutter speed below the top sync speed then use regular flash rather than FP, as the gun will recycle quicker.

Personally I mostly do it all manually. Starting with the FL-50R gun on 1/64th power. With the flash delivering a constant light, I vary the illumination from it by moving it closer/further from the subject.

I truly wish you well, as I hate doing weddings and avoid if at all possible.

This was what I was trying to avoid Graham. I have used it in RC mode before for static work but like landscape I had all the time in the world to play around with the settings and not worry if it didn't work first time. I don't have this luxury on Saturday and reading your above post sends me into panic mode as it way above my skill level at the moment with regards to using a flashgun.

I am also mindful of the fact that I broke my wrist 9 weeks ago so it is going to be a very long 12 hours as I will be using the 50-200 on the EM-1 and 12-40 on the EM-5 (plus flash) and it's still uncomfortable supporting the weight for long periods. Add into the equation that I don't shoot weddings at all so I will have to think about my settings in an unfamiliar situation (unlike landscape where I know roughly what I am going to set when I see the location). Plus the brides house is an hour away, the church 1/2 from her and the reception 1/2 hour from the church....I am struggling to cover it all on my own so I need the flashgun to just 'work' in auto for me, rather than something I have to constantly check to see if is set up correctly and giving the right result. The overly 'flashy' look is preferable to getting it wrong!
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Old 30th July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

I appreciate your nervousness. I hate doing this sort of stuff, it's very hard to practice until all of a sudden you are in at the deep end!

If it's any consolation, your expectations of the photos will be far higher than the bride & groom's. You might think "Oh dear, there's too much flash on there and look at that awful shadow" but they will think "Oh what a lovely photo of us". Digital also lets you take loads, and check as you go if there is a pause in proceedings, so at least to a limited extent you can try stuff out.

Best of luck!

John
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  #10  
Old 30th July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post
Graham, I don't understand what you mean by making sure the flash compensation is not linked to the exposure compensation (how I link it or don't link it?).
In the "gear" menu "F" there is a "Custom" setting that Links/de-links the adjustment of flash and exposure.

Set to off and you can adjust the flash output independently to the ambient exposure. This works with the FL-50R set to AUTO.

I've just put the FL-50R on the E-M1 and it works perfectly as I have described and as I think you would want.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post
I am struggling to cover it all on my own so I need the flashgun to just 'work' in auto for me, rather than something I have to constantly check to see if is set up correctly and giving the right result. The overly 'flashy' look is preferable to getting it wrong!
As you will be using "It on camera with a small soft box", this is a good start. Direct, on camera flash, always looks "flashy".

Tilting the head of gun up is an option to "feather" the flash (using the side parts of the emitted light, but you reduce the lighting a lot. Rotating the head of the gun 30 to the left can be far more effective, especially if you can then bounce the flash of a card/wall/etc..

Bounce diffusers such as this can be very effective. The FL-50R comes with a tiny one, that you could add some white card too.

The following shots show the different effects:

Ambient window light


Ambient with Full On Camera Flash (no diffuser)


Ambient with -3 On Camera Flash (no diffuser)


Ambient with Full On Camera Flash (with Soft Box)


Ambient with -3 On Camera Flash (with Soft Box)


If you can get a subject to test on, I'm sure you will quickly get the setting you want.

I believe if you set the FL-50R to TTL AUTO the flash compensation is overridden by the TTL and you don't get the control you want.
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  #11  
Old 31st July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Graham, thank you so much. I set the custom flash setting to 'on' thinking that would let me make adjustments....I have now put it to off. May be that will make the difference I need. To be fair, I put the test shots on my laptop and they looked a lot better than on the back of the camera. I think I will be able to get away with the flash. Thanks also for all your test shots; it really helps to see the different effects. Using the soft box definitely makes the images more acceptable.

Unfortunately the weather forecast has gone from sunny/cloudy to constant rain It is such a shame; their wedding is a country themed wedding with outside decorations, straw bales, bunting etc; it will be ruined. And I was at my limit with the photos in the church, the ISO was up to 5200? the aperture wide open and the shutter speed around 200 with the 50-200 (handheld). That was at the rehearsal when the weather was ok but not bright.It's not looking good for tomorrow as the church is dark even on a fairly bright day Hey ho....it will be an experience!
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Old 31st July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

I do hope it goes well.

Please post a few images, once you have recovered from the ordeal.

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Old 31st July 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Best of luck Anne - I hope everything works out OK for you and the happy couple.
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Old 1st August 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Yes best of luck from me too. Will have my fingers crossed for you that the weather is kind.
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Old 1st August 2015
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Re: Help with fill flash please?

Best of luck remember to put film in the camera............
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