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Unread 04-23-2015, 10:20 PM   #1
Cloudsofsand
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How to do night cosplay pictures?

I am doing a night shoot outside and want to know how to do it since the lack of lighting. I have a canon rebel t1i, an external flash. I also have a soft box diffuser for the flash, an omnibounce. I also have a tripod.
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Unread 04-24-2015, 09:18 AM   #2
Ashurachan
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Where will you be shooting ? With a single flash shooting by night is only really feasible if you already have some light available, such as city lights. The ambient light will act as a complementary light source, while your flash lights your main subject.
Use the softbox you already have, or a larger white umbrella, to make the lighting softer and more even. Set your flash manually, so you don't overpower the weaker street lights.
Here's a shot I did by night with a single flash : http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2859175/
The flash is on the left, gelled orange to fit with the ambient light, and softened with an umbrella. In order to preserve ambient lights we set the power pretty low (1/32), as a result we had to use rather high ISO and a rather slow shutter speed, but with a still model it's not that much of a problem ^^
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Unread 04-24-2015, 12:26 PM   #3
Cloudsofsand
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Thank you so much! I am shooting in the woods I believe but I am thinking of buying a 2nd battery powered strobe light and use a silver reflector umbrella.
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Unread 04-24-2015, 12:59 PM   #4
nathancarter
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How comfortable are you with using the flash off-camera? You have a radio trigger or a long cable or some other way to trigger the off-camera flash?

A common method is to use the in-camera settings to expose for the background, and use the flash to expose the subject. Your flash isn't going to light up a distant background. Conceptually, treat it like two separate photos that you're taking at the same time.

An alternate method - and the one I usually go to - is to use camera settings to eliminate most/all ambient light, and use your flash(es) to light the subject. The benefits of this are that you don't have to look for "good" ambient light or streetlights; you don't have to worry about the color difference between the ambient lights and the flashes. The downside is that you might not get an interesting environmental portrait like the one Ash posted above.


If you can get your hands on that second flash, do so. It doesn't have to be an expensive one; my workhorse flashes are two $70 Yongnuo YN-560s. As long as you can adjust the power level and zoom, and have some way to trigger it, it's fine.

I prefer to NOT use ETTL for off-camera flash work. If you have the time to set up your flashes and do a few test shots, set the power manually. ETTL will adjust the flash power based on what the camera thinks it sees in the scene, which you usually DON'T want - especially for moody and dark nighttime environmental portraits.

If you have two flashes, a tried-n-true reliable setup for moody and dramatic face, bust, and 3/4 portraits is the following:
Put your first light (main light or key light) in an umbrella or softbox a little above and to the side of the camera axis, and put the second light (kicker light or rim light) directly opposite that light, either bare or with a modifier. The main light creates your portrait lighting, and the kicker light gives you a separation from the background and adds visual interest.

I shot this with two cheap Speedlights, main light was in an inexpensive reflective umbrella and kicker light was bare. For the second split-light shot, I moved the main light pretty far off to the side.

This was in a kinda-empty area of my hotel at Metrocon. The background was lit by spill from the main light. I didn't do any wide shots because the rest of the surroundings were pretty ugly, convention carpet and all.

http://misssinistercosplay.deviantar...aako-527057660
http://misssinistercosplay.deviantar...e-63-527370421
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Last edited by nathancarter : 04-24-2015 at 01:24 PM.
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Unread 04-24-2015, 06:49 PM   #5
Cloudsofsand
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Those look amazing!! I just bought a battery powered strobe on amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003TY76G0

So i have that and my external flash...should I get another for a 3 point light or just have a silver reflector on the one side?
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Unread 04-27-2015, 09:43 AM   #6
nathancarter
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Start with just one or two, add a third once you're comfortable with that.

Reflectors are OK if you have someone to assist. I find them difficult to use with strobes, especially Speedlights; with ambient they're great because you can see exactly what you're reflecting and where.

I've got a bunch more night shots in my Flickr, if you look in the DragonCon albums there are quite a few. I can't link directly to them from here.
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Unread 04-28-2016, 08:14 AM   #7
gordonspeaker
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Take the photos outside or inner room?
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