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Improve Flash

Hi Recently shot a Association meeting earlier in the week.
I normally use bounce flash as a default ,  Which works well for group  and grip and grin shots..
Example 1

But some times I have to shoot at the back of the room , in this case I had a OCF using SB-910 controlled by a Pocket wizard TTL  , but Im still not a fan of the Harsh Shadow , any tips on how to improve 

In my third example I had to do some table shots but I could only shoot from the end of the table, I noticed some time the light didn't reach so I was wondering if it was the power of the flash or the Angle.
It was shot a 3200 Iso 1/160 and FEC at +0.7 D3S w 24-70mm and 910 Flash


Thanks for any tips 

Lou Recine
Matrix Photography


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited August 2015

    My take:

    Image 1: Not a problem

    Image 2: Problem here is the direction of light, a) he's 'broad lit' light coming from camera right, ergo a much more noticeable shadow on subject's left; b) merely swing flash head to come from camera left to give better light in face, and eliminate that contrasting shadow.

    Note: Sorry, I see you used OFC, so you are dictated by 'where' you place OCF, I would still leave it on camera personally so you can quickly change orientation of flash head when he swings about.

    Now even if there's still a slight shadow from him, it's better the shadow is 'behind' him, not in front as it is now and he's looking into his own shadow to speak of.

    Image 3: Problem here is the +0.7 ev on flash, nowhere near enough power mate, that's all, crank it up buddy, crank it up; still not enough? Remember you are using a Nikon, so you could also use the camera's normal Compensation of +2-3 which adds to the flash power yet again.

    Caveat: Camera compensation for extra flash power only works on Nikon, and only if your camera is in Full Manual Mode, and if working TTL on flash.


  • Hi Trev 
    As usual Thanks for the insights….

    Matrix Photography and design...
  • Hi Trev 
    Ok you got me thinking about a couple of things….

    You said :
     " Remember you are using a Nikon, so you could also use the camera's normal Compensation of +2-3 which adds to the flash power yet again."

    So here is my first question ,In this kind  if your shooting situation using  your Nikon  in Manual can you use the body  compensation instead of the Flash's compensation. Only because I some times find the flash compensation buttons kinda finicky to work with .

    Secondly Im also tying to figure out is when is better to adjust  the Flash  FEC instead of  cameras  ISO and  visa-versa 

    Matrix Photography and design...

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Hi Lou,

    Yep. With Nikon in full manual mode, if you use the actual Camera's Compensation of say +1 e/v, it will not affect the basic exposure of your camera's settings, ie, ambient; but, it will *add* extra light to your flash, so if you've maxed out the + e/v on the flash but then change camera compensation to + it increases the light output. Very helpful in some situations.

    Now, the thing to remember of course is if you are shooting then in a priority mode or full auto, that compensation will that be added (or subtracted) from the base exposure; plus, and I only got caught personally myself the other day with this, is even if you are still in full manual, but wanted to quickly get to a 'near ambient exposure' by looking through viewfinder and then rotating the shutter or aperture wheel until the meter needle either shows zero or a bit under and take a shot, it will have also allowed for that compensation you put in by measuring with compensation added.

    Example: Only the other day, I forgot I had added compensation of +1.5 (full manual mode) the night before as I had a really difficult shot and on the flash already at full +/ev that extra kick on the body gave me the desired effect.

    But, the next day outside in a shaded area I wanted 'near ambient' for a baseline with 1 to 2 thirds stop under, so I adjusted quickly while looking through view finder watching the meter's needle until just under (according to the meter) and took a test shot, and wondered what was going on as the subject was over-exposed blowing some whites, then a quick check, yep I needed to zero out the compensation for the meter to work properly.

    Regarding ISO/FEC, up to you, if you cannot get enough light, obviously you have to do something and if Aperture is not an option as say in already maxed out or you don't want to open too wide, then obviously ISO is needed. That simple really.


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    edited August 2015
    "Secondly Im also tying to figure out is when is better to adjust  the Flash  FEC instead of  cameras  ISO and  visa-versa "

    You have to understand that FEC affects flash exposure. 

    ISO might affect the flash exposure (depending on whether you are using TTL flash or manual flash), but a change in ISO will definitely affect the ambient exposure.

    With TTL flash, the bump in ISO would effectively be transparent - the camera will follow the change in your ISO setting, and adjust the TTL flash exposure accordingly. The change in ISO will give you increased range on your flash, but won't lift your flash exposure per se. 

    With Manual flash, the change in ISO will affect your flash exposure ... BUT ... your ambient will be affected in tandem. 

    So make very sure you differentiate how a change in ISO differently affects your flash than FEC adjustment. 
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    (The top photo looks over-exposed.)
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