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I need help solving something

Hi Everyone Im trying to solve a problem. Im bouncing my flash and using +0.3 fec as default . Im finding that the rest of the photo looks ok but the highlights like shirts and table cloths etc  are blown out.If lower the FEC  to bring back Highlight rest of the image looks too dark. Ive included a screen capture of my RAW processor to show you . What should I do.

Lou Recine
Matrix Photography and design



  • Hi, Lou -

    Not sure if I can help, but here are some questions that come to mind:

    Is it just with this photo and this situation, or all photos from this event?
    What are you bouncing off, how close is the surface, is it behind you?

    My only thought for a solution:
    Could you have shot at a wider aperture to lighten up the rest of the photo while pulling back on the flash power?

  • Hi Lou,

    The correct and truthful answer is the photo is over exposed. Now, I must explain and clarify a few things. First and foremost the image is perfectly fine. Just bring the highlights down and your done. Some photographers do this on purpose just to preserve shadow detail, so technically its not wrong. Second thing that comes to mind is that white balance affects the highlights too. I see you have it "as shot". Try playing with the white balance and see what the highlights do. Lastly, you say the rest of the image looks fine and it very well may. Are you viewing it on a calibrated monitor by chance? But in summary, when you shoot raw you have this leeway and its a good thing. I wouldn't sweat it. The image is fine:) 

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited August 2016

    Totally agree with Jay, that image is *perfect* mate, nothing wrong at all, precisely how I shoot as Jay said, slightly over-exposed, that image is so 'correct' for me does not matter, and as for bringing up the shadows, no sweat.

    I don't know how you edit, all in ACR or LR or photoshop but just drag back the Exposure until his face/shirt are how you like it first, then play with Darks/Shadows.

    You have almost 3 stops of leeway by shooting Raw also, it's far better to over-expose then under-expose because if under exposed and you bring back up the exposure, a lot of times the faces/shadows will be a bit 'muddy'. The other advantage also is the eye sockets will be cleaner even when you bring exposure back down.

    So to me that is a perfect shot.

    Re exposure and fixing in Raw sample, shot on Nikon, same as yours, I did for a test of an article. I deliberately over-exposed by + 3.0 e/v, then in Raw brought back exposure by -3.5 e/v to gain correct details of highlights, then edited in Photoshop to bring back shadow details with some contrast/sharpening.

    AS SHOT:




    So you see that 'bit' of over-exposure is absolutely nothing.


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Thought I may as add the 'interim' file I exported out of Raw as PSD before my final edits in Photoshop, as all I did in RAW was bring exposure down, took off contrast/sharpening and only worried about Exposure and WB.

  • Thanks every one, I re-processed the image and got a much better result. I wonder what effect the  BFT would have.

    Lou Recine 

  • Hi, Lou - not sure if the BFT would have any effect, unless you were not bouncing directly behind you. If the flash was facing a little forward, and you wer bouncing to the side off something, then maybe.

  • CanonJayCanonJay Member
    edited August 2016
    Hi Lou,

    I agree with Dave. It doesn't matter whether the black foamy thing was used or not. That is mostly used to direct the light from a particular area and help "shape" and increase the light quality falling on the subject. The blinking highlights are just the amount of light reaching the subject. So BFT or any other modifier would still yield the blinky's if the amount of light hits the subject that the camera sees as overexposure. (But as Trev stated, its common practice to do this to preserve shadow detail in the darks) *As full disclosure, I am not saying to go wild on the exposure and worry later. Thats not the case. I try to get everything perfect in camera, but on events sometimes you have one quick shot and see blinking highlights, no biggie. I know the limitation of my Raws and camera. 

    With that said, I figured I would see what I would do in your situation by analyzing the data and image you provided. I am assuming the light levels were low and that is why you chose ISO 1600 and a larger aperture. (I would too), I see you chose max flash sync speed. (I would have not). I would have chosen a slower shutter speed to allow more ambient light in and lighten the background a touch, but thats just my opinion. You let the flash do the work at 250 sec shutter,  and maximized your flash output. Nothing wrong with that other than thats the only light source now. (other than maybe a tad of natural light sneaking in from the larger aperture) Your flash accounts for what you see in the complete image from subject to background, but the background will go darker cause the light falloff from the one source. Dare I say the inverse square law is in effect. Anyway, thats just my input and going back to the image. Nothing wrong with it at all. Just dial down the highlights (recovery) and bring up some of the shadows (fill light)  and your good to go. 

    But before I go. I will mention that if you did use the black foamy thing and bounced off "say" the back wall, the light traveling to and behind the subject from that bounce (according to inverse square law), would have lighted the background a tad more or more evenly spread it at least. Ok my brain hurts now. Hopefully I still recalled the inverse square law correctly. LOL 

  • Hi - my two cents about max flash speed: when I am indoors shooting an event, I'm usually not above 1/125. That's the speed in my brief experience will capture most hand movements if I am photographing a speaker, or going for a candid. If I ask someone to pose, I might go down to 1/100 or lower, especially if it's dark. My two cents.

    Some homework for me: I'm only at max sync speed outdoors when I need some fill flash. When someone (like Jay) writes " ... and maximized your flash output" when talking about max sync speed, I have to go over this more.

  • Hi Dave,

    I know Neil has a max sync speed tutorial on here. Its a good read. I am certain he will explain in much better than I can ever. 

  • I have his "On Camera Flash" book open right now to that section.
  • Ok great! I just found it on the tangents.  It is called Tutorial - max flash sync back in 08. 
  • dbrunodbruno Member
    edited August 2016
    I got it, and I got what I'm looking for:

    So let’s state the same thing in a few different ways, and see how it makes sense:
    • At maximum sync speed I have my widest aperture (which is in fact
      what gives us the most range / effective power) from our flashguns …
      while still remaining in the non-HSS (ie, old school) way of dissipating
    • If I work at maximum sync speed, I have my widest aperture while
      remaining in the high-energy mode of dissipating flash, and hence my
      speedlight will recycle faster, and my battery pack work less hard.
    • I will have the most effective power from my speedlight at maximum sync speed, because my aperture is wider.
  • Correct. Work farther and not harder! Thats how I always remembered it. 
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