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12-31-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
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Two questions in one.

When you guys use fill flash on a subject, do you normally set the exposure compensation on the camera to expose -1 EV in order to get a better exposure? If not, what do you have yours set to or do you just meter normally and use fill flash? Thanks.

Is it possible to make a light meter read the on-camera flash? If so how do I do so? From my experience using a $400 Sekonic light meter at school, I only know that it can read off-camera flash with studio strobes and ambient lighting from the sun. However I don't know whether it can read on-camera flash or not. Don't have a light meter on me since school's closed until next semester. Thanks.

12-31-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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Hey Dave, what are you trying to do? As far as I know, exposure compensation is only used to compensate for an expected discrepancies from using an auto setting with a flash.
That is to say, if you always use your flashes on auto, and you know it consistently under/over expose , you would use exposure compensation to set it to your liking.

So to answer your question : I dont use exposure compensation - unless I am in a wedding - and my flash on auto exposure consistently over or under expose.

I meter or eyeball my exposure till i get it the way I want it.

For your second question - as far as I know, you should be able to read any kind of flash with your sekonic...flash meter. However, if you are using on camera flash - there is almost no reason to do so, as you can't set the power to a manual setting. As soon as you accidentally swing the camera a few inch to the left or right, the flash power may go up and down depending on your metering mode.
12-31-2012, 08:59 PM   #3
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Hi Darknezz, thanks. I was trying to make it so the background slightly underexpose to make the subject pop more with fill flash.

Also thanks for the other reply on the light meter also. I know to always set the light meter on the spot where the flash is directly hitting to find the exposure. I find that a lot of my photographs have a lot of hotspots and dark shadows on the subject. So I was wondering if I could set the lightmeter on the subject directly where the hotspot is going to be such as where the sun is hitting. Then meter my camera out that way. I know the flash will cover a wide array of the subject because it's going to have a diffuser on it. So was hoping to find out if what I have said and attempt to do it so that the exposure is better on the subject to the point where minimal pp'ing is needed to bring out the best of the image, meaning no shadows too dark so that data won't able to be recovered, and no highlights too bright where data won't be able to be recovered.

Will the sun overpower and become the dominant reading over the flash with the light meter? Then the flash will still cover the shadowed area of the face? If not then will the opposite happen where the flash overpowers the sun and become the dominant reading Then the face will evenly be lit regardless of the sun? Thanks.

One last thing, sorry for all the questions. I acquired my AF540FGZ months ago but never truly used it or needed it until now, and now I am having troubles. I'm a huge flash gun newbie. Also I am planning to buy a light meter within the next couple months. Now to the question; What's the best metering to use for these situations? I am guessing it's the Multi/Matrix metering being better over center-weighted?

Last edited by LeDave; 12-31-2012 at 09:07 PM.
12-31-2012, 11:57 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Hi Dave,

Ponosby link gave a really good explanation on some of the questions you have here. Take a look.
Also, I will try and answer as well.

First: Lots of hotspots and dark shadows on the subject.
Answer: The first question I have for you is whether the hotspots and dark shadows is necessary for what you envisioned in your picture.
If not, then I would do my best to remove the difference before I take the shot.
How do I do this? I bring one of these : http://www.camerastuff.co.za/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/650x65...r_5-in-1_3.jpg and an assistant to hold it.
If you intend to create a dramatic picture - with light and dark areas, then the correct way is to meter the ratio of light you want on each areas, make sure that the lights on each areas do not spill to the next area, and use flags. These really are for studio shots, and you will spend some time figuring out your lights before the shoot. Light is additive, and if you dont flag your lights, or use snoots, or barndoors, you wont get the effect you want.

Second :
Will the sun overpower and become the dominant reading over the flash with the light meter? Then the flash will still cover the shadowed area of the face? If not then will the opposite happen where the flash overpowers the sun and become the dominant reading Then the face will evenly be lit regardless of the sun?
Answer: If you are using sekonic light meter, the ratio of ambient and flash power is shown as a percentage on your meter. Here is a picture : http://english.sekonic.co.jp/files/pages/meter_l_358/358_img.gif

Now, let me elaborate a little. If your issue is that part of the face is spotted by shadows - then your solution is to move the subject, rotate the subject elsewhere, or as i said, put a diffuser to remove the shadowed area. Light is additive, so if you flash both highlighted and shadowed area of a face, you will likely overexpose the highlight area.

Third : best metering mode :
Answer: Personally, I always use the mode closest to a flash meter, that is center weighted. That makes sure my subject is lighted properly. I always shoot manual - so, for shots like these 2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
1. I point the camera at the faces,
2. and set my shutter speed and aperture such that it looks like I am going to underexpose the center (my subject) slightly.
3. Later, in PP, I increase overall brightness, and taddaaaa,,,I get these backlighted scenes shot.

However, I can easily achieve the same shot with a overall scene metering mode, given the exact same scene of lots of lights coming from the window. How?
1. Point the camera at the faces. It will automatically sense that the overall scene is bright...and automatically underexpose my subjects.
2. Later, in PP, I increase overall brightness, and taddaaaa,,,I get these backlighted scenes shot.

But i need to stress, if the scene is different, the result would be different with overall scene metering mode. If you are not certain how these metering mode works, i suggest to stick with center weight - because it will give you the most predictable result.

About your 540, ...you can make it as easy or as complicated as you want. Here is an easy way to use it :
- Put it on, set it to auto, and fire away. If its too hot, or too dark, then use flash compensation value on the flash. It takes one second to do.

Here is another easy way to use it :
- Set it to manual, set it to 1/1 power. Shoot. if its too bright, set it to 1/2 power. shoot. And continue until you find a good value. In reality - you seldom need a meter. Just tell your clients that you are testing your lights. You can run all the power settings in a few seconds.


A complicated way to use it is obviously to set it off camera, meter everything, and then set the power. I only do this in studio shots when I have nothing to do while waiting for the models to get ready. I seldom bring a flash meter anywhere else.









QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
Hi Darknezz, thanks. I was trying to make it so the background slightly underexpose to make the subject pop more with fill flash.

Also thanks for the other reply on the light meter also. I know to always set the light meter on the spot where the flash is directly hitting to find the exposure. I find that a lot of my photographs have a lot of hotspots and dark shadows on the subject. So I was wondering if I could set the lightmeter on the subject directly where the hotspot is going to be such as where the sun is hitting. Then meter my camera out that way. I know the flash will cover a wide array of the subject because it's going to have a diffuser on it. So was hoping to find out if what I have said and attempt to do it so that the exposure is better on the subject to the point where minimal pp'ing is needed to bring out the best of the image, meaning no shadows too dark so that data won't able to be recovered, and no highlights too bright where data won't be able to be recovered.

Will the sun overpower and become the dominant reading over the flash with the light meter? Then the flash will still cover the shadowed area of the face? If not then will the opposite happen where the flash overpowers the sun and become the dominant reading Then the face will evenly be lit regardless of the sun? Thanks.

One last thing, sorry for all the questions. I acquired my AF540FGZ months ago but never truly used it or needed it until now, and now I am having troubles. I'm a huge flash gun newbie. Also I am planning to buy a light meter within the next couple months. Now to the question; What's the best metering to use for these situations? I am guessing it's the Multi/Matrix metering being better over center-weighted?


01-01-2013, 12:13 AM   #5
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Thanks guys. Guess I will stick with shooting in cloudy days or in shadowed areas since shooting in the sun with flash and makes the hotspots even brighter combined, was hoping it doesn't do that. What a bummer =( But also thanks for showing me the Sekonic Light meter is able to read both ambient and flash together and show an output of both. Never knew these things were that advanced, makes me wish I would've bought one yesterday instead of a battery grip, but oh well a couple months more and I'll eventually get one.
01-01-2013, 12:38 AM   #6
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Ponosby Britt, can you show me the link for the mount you use to attach flash to tripod? Also what size softbox do you use, small is just too subjective in terms to me. I have a super tiny softbox use as diffuser but it doesn't do anything to help since it's so small.
01-01-2013, 12:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
Thanks guys. Guess I will stick with shooting in cloudy days or in shadowed areas since shooting in the sun with flash and makes the hotspots even brighter combined, was hoping it doesn't do that. What a bummer =( But also thanks for showing me the Sekonic Light meter is able to read both ambient and flash together and show an output of both. Never knew these things were that advanced, makes me wish I would've bought one yesterday instead of a battery grip, but oh well a couple months more and I'll eventually get one.


Hi Dave,
I think the takeaway is to stay away from taking shots where the shadows are spotty. (unless thats the actual intended effect). That means, as long as the light and shadow areas are controlled - you shouldnt be afraid of taking shots in daylights. But, you are correct - when the shadows are spotty (nose shadow, hat shadow, sunglasses shadow, leaves shadows), then you are sometimes better off moving the subjects...especially if the shadows are deep.

Just to emphasize on why I only use the sekonic meter in studio : Unless you are prepared to correct your scene for the result of the meter, you will generally find it not very helpful.
What i mean is :

- In studio shots like this : EPS 2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
I use a flash meter - where i meter 4 lights (main, kicker, hair, background). When one light is not the ratio i wanted, i can flag it, make it weaker, stronger, etc.

- in outdoor shot like this : _36_005_07_12 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
where i only have the sun and likely 1 flash, and I have no flags, no diffuser, no umbrella, no stand, etc...I really dont bring a meter. Because all the meter will make me do is wish I have all those. Its unlikely i will be able to put several more flashes, or add more assistants, or put more stands...so i usually play by ear.

I just want you to understand the limitation of the sekonic meter usage. It is a more accurate meter than what you have in your camera - so...all it will do is tell you more accurately what your camera was trying to tell you. If you wont be able to do anything about it because of : time of day, location, shape/size of subject, lack of additional lights, lack of flags, etc, then a more accurate reading wont really help .

Cheers
01-01-2013, 08:04 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
When you guys use fill flash on a subject, do you normally set the exposure compensation on the camera to expose -1 EV in order to get a better exposure? If not, what do you have yours set to or do you just meter normally and use fill flash?
I set the camera to expose normally and set flash compensation to -1 or -2Ev.

01-02-2013, 12:27 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ponosby Britt Quote
I use this one. Actually, I have two. Morris Soft Box - 15x18" 690665 B&H Photo Video

The photo is deceiving. Really good deal. Read the reviews and "What's In The Box." It comes with a GREAT flash bracket and and a really sturdy speed ring. The speed ring has bolts for mounting a mono light but throw those away, you'll never use them and they add weight. I use either the Morris softbox that come with it or very often, a medium Photoflex so its flexible. Its a real speed ring, much sturdier and more flexible than the $150 Lastolite and others. Its has a standard 5/8" mount for mounting on a light stand plus the reversible spigot that comes with it (1/4 20 a female spigot one end, 3/8 16 on the other). You could thread it on a tripod but I use a tripod quick release plate. I can carry this rig around all over park settings for portraits. You can also detach the speed ring and softbox for shooting bare flash

I trigger it with a Cowboy Studio PT-04 Trigger. I have a bag of them, cheap and relaible. Us the same trigger for my monolights. Softbox and a trigger set will run you about 90 bucks.

And D4rknezz is right, you do not need a flash meter unless you're in studio with mono lights and such, only time I use mine. I do however, carry an ambient meter, a little DigiSix, as I don't use my camera meters. I'm an odd duck.
Will the CowboyStudio receivers pop with a Sekonic Lightmeter with a built-in PocketWizard trigger?
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