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Unread 08-01-2013, 06:49 PM   #1
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Convention Fill Flash

Hi I'm trying to find a solution to achive fill flash, but the pictures come out with hot spots and are very harsh. There is no where to bounce the flash, anyone have a recommendation for a diffuser of softbox sb-400.

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Unread 08-02-2013, 03:25 AM   #2
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A bounce card is a huge improvement over bare flash, and you can make it yourself ^^
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Unread 08-02-2013, 08:23 AM   #3
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In instances where there's nowhere to bounce:
Expose for about 1/2 to 1 stop under the ambient. Make sure your shutter speed stays adequate for people - I'd suggest a minimum of 1/80 to 1/100. If you're having trouble keeping your shutter speed up, don't be afraid to increase your ISO. Sensor noise is almost always preferable to motion blur.

If you have ETTL metering, set it to FEC for proper exposure or perhaps +1/3 stop over proper exposure; if you don't have ETTL then you're going to have to do some trial-and-error with the first few subjects to get your flash power dialed in, then make sure you stay the same distance from your subjects for all future shots.

Warning: If your aperture is wide and your ISO is increased, direct flash may be too powerful even on the lowest power setting. In this case, point the flash away (or up or whatever) and use a bounce card to direct a small amount of light to the subject.

A flash bracket, to get the flash farther away from the lens axis, will help a lot. This will also allow you to keep the flash on top even when shooting in portrait mode.

Remember that you can bounce off more than just a white ceiling. A cream-colored wall, an assistant holding a reflector or a piece of white foamcore, or even a big fat guy in a white shirt.

On diffusers:
If there's nowhere to bounce, the plastic snap-on "diffuser" cups such as the Sto-Fen Omnibouce will do nothing. No, scratch that, they will eat your batteries faster. Those diffusers "work" by scattering your flash all over the place and hoping there's something for the light to bounce off of, back onto your subject. If there's nowhere to bounce, all the scattered light is wasted, and you still only have a hard, small direct light source between your flash and the subject - except now there,s a crummy piece of plastic in the way.

On bounce cards:
The bounce card devices such as the Rogue Flashbender have the potential to work, because they make the effective light source larger. If you're somewhat close to the subject, this can make a noticeable but not huge difference. I hate the name "Flashbender" because you can't actually bend light; you can block it or redirect it but you can't bend it.
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Last edited by nathancarter : 08-02-2013 at 08:32 AM.
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Unread 08-02-2013, 10:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses.

I've also heard about the stofen being pointless without anywhere to bounce. I often see people utilizing it though in a huge hall though!!

I tried the bounce card, but still is pretty harsh.
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Unread 08-04-2013, 03:24 AM   #5
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Best trick I've heard is, if you're good with a craft knife, grab a sheet or two of white FunFoam from walmart and cut together a sort of diffuser-reflector cup, as shown here. Haven't had a chance to use one "in the wild" yet, but it seems to work pretty well when I've messed with it.

Main benefit is that it's directional, so you don't lose half your flash power like you would by just sticking a diffuser dome on the end of a speedlite.
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Unread 08-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #6
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Idk about the sb-400, but 4173bd9cec works great for me. Still not perfect, but its nice when I don't have anyone to help me with my off camera setup.
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Unread 08-07-2013, 05:38 PM   #7
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To expand on my post above, this is what I was talking about, and from the chances I've had to use it, it works fantaaaastic.
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Unread 08-08-2013, 10:23 AM   #8
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When you mix ambient and flash, don't forget to use gels or something like that to match your flash color temperature to the ambient color temperature. A lot of people seem to miss this.
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Unread 08-08-2013, 06:35 PM   #9
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So i have been doing some massive research on photography forums and such and just a couple things I have found adapted to the convention environment.
- Like many people have mentioned above a surface to bounce (card or adapter) will help soften the light.
- Stofen appearently helps if you tilt the flash head to 45.
- Many people have stated this, just lower the flash power. If you are trying to achieve fill flash try to get as much ambident as you can (making the shot look natrual).
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Unread 09-17-2013, 09:21 AM   #10
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depending on what sort of money you have, I love my gary fong stuff. These are my two babies: ,

Although I rarely use the last one.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 08:18 PM   #11
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In a large room with ridiculously high ceilings I typically shoot at 1/160 with an iso of 400 and my pop up flash dialed down 1/3 EV. This of course is with an f2.8 lens. This seems to work fine. You can use an external flash with a bounce card as well.
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