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01-28-2019, 01:03 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Cool, might try that, I worry however that 125 is too slow for fidgity kiddies (will be snapping Kindies lol).
But you've metered to get a black ambient, so the shot is actually at 1/1000 of a second or whatever, it's going to freeze action and be super sharp.

The shutter speed dial is irrelevant in the studio.





01-28-2019, 01:18 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
But you've metered to get a black ambient, so the shot is actually at 1/1000 of a second or whatever, it's going to freeze action and be super sharp.

The shutter speed dial is irrelevant in the studio.
Hang on a sec, you've lost me here (perhaps putting me onto something I don't understand ).

I'm using the X Mode of the K-1, from my understanding it differs from Manual mode in 2 ways;

1) The shutter speed is fixed and I cannot change it, it shows as 1/200 or whatever you pick in the menu item (see post above)
2) When in Live View mode it always shows a correctly exposed scene, regardless of settings. So if I turn off all my flashes and shoot with the settings 1/200, f2.2, ISO 200 I get a practically pure black shot (ie not that much natural light coming into my home at the time), yet the screen on the back shows things well exposed which is fantastic in terms of composition and framing (ie I can see what I'm doing).

It was my understanding that the shutter speed actually was 1/200, not 1/1000 or whatever. The example shot I supplied in the previous post has exif as 1/200, f2.2 and ISO 400 (so there is perhaps a teeny tiny little ambient light coming in).

Dropping down to 1/125 (in X mode, by making the menu item change at Custom Menu 1>7 Flash Sync Speed>3) is actually going to be the shutter speed the shot is taken at, no?
01-28-2019, 02:16 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Why are options 2 and 4 showing values in brackets as well? What's that all about

This is probably showing you the different options depending on how you have set your custom setting for EV steps, eg 1/2 or 1/3rd steps. I know a lot of people use 1/3rd, I have now switched to half steps for al flash work, as I find 1/3rds unnecessarily fiddly.


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
With your set up (like mine), how long do you shoot for without a hitch, a few minutes, a few hours?

I'm an amateur private photographer, its family and flowers mainly for me! So I'm shooting for periods of less than an hour generally, and at fairly low frequency (eg I've never had to worry about overheating). That said, I aim to always take a professional and thoroughly methodical approach to flash photography, regardless of the subject or scenario, as this is the path to consistency, reliability and full control over things, all of which really are needed for good flash photography.


There's nothing about your setup and scenario that exceeds the design limitations of your equipment .... the only obvious concern for your school shots would be overheating, and we've talked a lot about managing that risk already. So I do not see anything inherent about your conditions specifically that should cause equipment failure.


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
With your set up (like mine), do you have spares/backups of anything?

No, but I do not photograph anything that is critical or that important to justify it.


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
So you not think the idea of using cardboard/Styrofoam/reflector as a fill light from Key light, and a continuous source of lighting for the backdrop is not a good idea? This way I move to a one speedlight set up and have backups...

I will defer to others with more experience of this sort of thing ..... but my sense is that you will not get sufficient strength of output and reflection from such methods. Plus its more to learn about and start the experimenting all over again ......


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Focus wise I used LV and Face Detection, I shot about 20-30 shots of my two kids in that session, focus was absolutely spot on each time, it's not really stressing the focus mode if the kid is told where to stand or sit etc.

That's good to know, as its a technique I have thought about trying myself, as so often in dim rooms I find viewfinder focussing difficult.


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
It was my understanding that the shutter speed actually was 1/200, not 1/1000 or whatever

Clackers was referring to the time value of the actual flash burst, not the shutter speed .... it is the flash burst time value that will cause subjects to be "frozen", so effectively (when there is no ambient exposure being recorded) it is the flash burst time value that matters .... and these may well be measured in thousandths of seconds. Only once your shutter speed gets much slower (eg 1/8th, 1/4 sec) will camera shake potentially cause subject blur and override the freezing effect of the flash.

Last edited by mcgregni; 01-28-2019 at 02:29 PM.
01-28-2019, 03:26 PM - 1 Like   #49
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Even at 1/8s or 1/4s handheld it'll be sharp.

Even in Bulb Mode for 45 seconds it'll be sharp and frozen, as long as the ambient is dark.

01-28-2019, 03:32 PM - 1 Like   #50
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Sure, although I was thinking that at those sort of time values it was likely that Bruce would in fact start to pull in quite a bit of the room lighting, so risking some ghosting.
01-28-2019, 04:41 PM - 1 Like   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
So here's what I am thinking I need to try out as a way to navigate these 'techy glitches'. Replace B Fill light with a large reflector. I hope I can take some of the main Key light from A and redirect onto either the backdrop or other side of the subjects face. This frees up a RF60x in case one dies. Replace C backdrop light with a continuous light source, something that I can still control in terms of power, temperature and diffusion. Perhaps the LED wand in a stripbox lying horizontally on the floor behind the subject/chair will do after all (amazon.com : YONGNUO YN360 II Pro LED Video Light with Adjustable Color Temperature 3200K-5500K : Camera & Photo?tag=pentaxforums-20&)It could be that the LED wand in a strip box will work better as the fill light and 1-2 reflectors to bounce light from the fill and Main keylight onto the backdrop... I'm not sure...So... what you all make of that idea/strategy?
I have been reading this post from time to time (sorry, I have not contributed until maybe today), and it reminds me so much of when I had my first real work. Not the same issues, but a lot of issues to handle with. It was the year 2011, I had a very humble equipment, K10D + K7 as main cameras, YN460II + SB26 for 'ambient light' and and extra sb-28. My flashes firing near 1/1 all the time, failing a lot because recicling time, went to sleep mode... well, I was successful but I suffered (and learned) a lot.

For me, is really strange your problems with the v6II triggers. I still have my Cactus triggers and use it from time to time (I'm a Godox convert). Sometimes I noticed that the trigger have an odd behaviour but it's after changing parameters related to the camera or flash system. I 'reboot' the trigger and then it works fine. I know it may sound a bit silly but did you checked/cleaned trigger/camera/flash contacts ? A week ago or so I got a kind of erratic behaviour with my metz flash, firing randomly, sometimes not firing or firing at full power... finally the problem was dirty contacts. Now it's working fine.

But let's suppose you have a problem with your v6ii 'B' receiver. Have you tried to 'simplify' in the way to put your flash in manual mode with the correct power setting, also your V6II with manual flash configured and check if you have the same issues ? When I check a trigger/receiver I use to fire about 50-100 times to see if it fails frecuently or not. About your 'C' RF60, have you tried to use it in optical slave mode ? does it fail too?. I'm thinking in a possible radio communication issue, maybe your main trigger had a weird problem... It's the same thing that I would try if I had the same situation and equipment. Just thinking at the same time I write...

About using a reflector for fill to save a flash. In my opinion is not a bad idea. I have a round reflector about 1m or so white/plated. The white side doesn't reflect a lot of ligth (I know that this depends on the distance to subjec, angle etc) but the plated side reflects enought ligth to use it as a fill device. It's not difficult to attach to a light stand, you can use this cheap clamp: Andoer Clip Clamp Holder Bracket for Oval Round: Amazon.co.uk: Camera & Photo. You can't adjust it with a dial but, once you put it on the correct place, you can forget. I use it from time to time and I'm happy with the results. Mine is walimex foldable reflector white/plated 107cm.

I see that you have a big umbrella (120cm) on 'A'. I my limited experience, if you put your umbrella closer to your subject you can get a less contrasty image with less need for fill. You are 'wrapping' your subject a bit more. I have a linkstar Octabox (Portable location kit - Linkstar foldable octabox and Phottix bracket review - Lighting Rumours) that I really love; when I just want to use one ligth to get a portrait I use it as the only ligth. It's not so different from your softbox.

I added a couple of samples.
#1 I used the Octabox as the only light. The backdrop is a simple wall. I'm sure that just adding a white/plated reflector can add a bit more of fill. If not, it's not so difficult to add it in LR (You can use a gradient on the right side of the pic with +20 for shadows and I think It can be ok).

#2 a similar setup, I added a kind of gradient of light to the backdrop (single flash with some diffuser), this ligth is also bounced and used as a hair light, also it gives a bit of fill. Two lights.
Samyang 85mm, f5,6 on both portraits.


Yes, they are some of my kids . Not sure if I'm a good photographer, but I'm a proud father .

Just some ideas... so many ways to do it. Enough for today, regards.
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01-28-2019, 06:18 PM - 1 Like   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
This is probably showing you the different options depending on how you have set your custom setting for EV steps, eg 1/2 or 1/3rd steps. I know a lot of people use 1/3rd, I have now switched to half steps for al flash work, as I find 1/3rds unnecessarily fiddly.
Good point, I might make that adjustment myself. You do that on the Cactus V6ii AND K-1 system correct?


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I'm an amateur private photographer, its family and flowers mainly for me! So I'm shooting for periods of less than an hour generally, and at fairly low frequency (eg I've never had to worry about overheating). That said, there's nothing about your setup and scenario that exceeds the design limitations of your equipment .... the only obvious concern for your school shots would be overheating, and we've talked a lot about managing that risk already. So I do not see anything inherent about your conditions specifically that should cause equipment failure.
Good to know. I've had a lot of longer sessions with my cactus gear that does seem to materialise in 'oddness' the longer the session goes on. I can't pin down why that might be, other than perhaps battery drain and lack of power making things not as 'stable' as they once were when fully charged?

I had a set up for example that was quite odd and could probably replicate this and record on video. For awhile I had a little 'station' set up for photographing my meals. Once my plate was full of grub I took it over to this dedicated table and set the plate down and had a camera (KP) already set up on tripod with a V6ii attached and a RF60x with its plastic foot set on the table where the plate was sat on but just directly aimed up at the ceiling. All the shots were ceiling bounced. Here's the thing... everytime I switched the RF60x on it would turn on and give the orange test light for a few moments and then it would go off, the battery indicator would suggest little power left. I would try and take the shot and the flash would not fire, however if I just turned the RF60x off and back on again it would fire. And I managed around 30 shots in this manner each time the exact same refusal to fire without a secondary power off and back on again. It didn't seem to matter if I changed the ordering of equipment turning on. I tried it everyway, from have the RF60x on first, then camera then v6ii, or camera first v6ii second and rf60x last, or whatever, it was simply that the RF60x on it's first start up (from a longish period of disuse) would have teh orange test light on for only a matter of seconds before going off (but unit still on), and it would not fire, until I powered it down and back up again, then the orange test light would remain on and I could take my shots. It's as if it was complaining that it really wanted new fresh batteries, however by powering off and back on again quickly it accepted defeat and proceeded to work fine (producing many fine shots).

Odd.

I just find Cactus erratic tbh, but I'm not ready to jump ship to Godox just yet.


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
No, but I do not photograph anything that is critical or that important to justify it.
Yeah I have done shoots like that before. Oddly I am more equipped for a low affair wedding and family shoots than a school shoot. My worry is that I have failure on the day and right now using all my speedlights concerns me slightly. If I can manage a similar look (or manipulate that look easily in LR) with few flashes that simply means my other flashes become backups (which is comforting).


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I will defer to others with more experience of this sort of thing ..... but my sense is that you will not get sufficient strength of output and reflection from such methods. Plus its more to learn about and start the experimenting all over again ......
I don't think adding a continuous light source or using a reflector necessarily complicates things, I would still run through the same principles of getting each thing working properly before moving onto the next etc. It's not like working with a completely new flash system or something. My fear is as you point out that a reflector is not gonna cut it as fill light in this instance.
I have ordered a 5 in 1 ($20), and I shall test with a continuous light I have lying around here, see if I can get close to that look without heavily investing just yet. Watch this space.


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
That's good to know, as its a technique I have thought about trying myself, as so often in dim rooms I find viewfinder focussing difficult.
It's a great mode for sure.


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Clackers was referring to the time value of the actual flash burst, not the shutter speed .... it is the flash burst time value that will cause subjects to be "frozen", so effectively (when there is no ambient exposure being recorded) it is the flash burst time value that matters .... and these may well be measured in thousandths of seconds. Only once your shutter speed gets much slower (eg 1/8th, 1/4 sec) will camera shake potentially cause subject blur and override the freezing effect of the flash.
Ah... yes, I follow now. So you can drop to 1/125 quite comfortably for this kinda thing because the flash will always burst far quicker. People do that slow shutter speed stuff then have the flash fire at the end to get that motion/light trail + frozen clean shot of the subject at the end huh, second curtain or something or other they call it? Good for dance floors etc.
01-28-2019, 08:28 PM - 1 Like   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
. People do that slow shutter speed stuff then have the flash fire at the end to get that motion/light trail + frozen clean shot of the subject at the end huh, second curtain or something or other they call it? Good for dance floors etc.
Yeah, that's the *opposite*.

You set the ambient to expose for the blur, then the flash gives prominence to the last part of the exposure.


Think instead of pictures of a golf ball being hit or a lightning strike. The shutter can be held open before and after they happen. Only the strobe going off or the lightning flash contribute to the exposure, and they're brief.

02-05-2019, 02:28 AM   #54
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My 5-in-1 reflector ($20) arrived today and so I set things up in a similar setting to what I had shown previously at this post here; School Photography Equipment List - Page 3 - PentaxForums.com
Instead of B being a fill light a silver reflector replaced it and was set in an obviously better position to catch the light from the key light A and throw back onto the other side of the subjects face.

Here are the results below;



And a second shot with different background;



A quick recap (and assistance in comparison), this shot was the one from the other day before with all three lights working (and no reflector);



The first two new shots above with the reflector were (LR edit) 'synchronised' with the previous edit to assist with comparison, in no way does it actually reflect my intention of actual final shots.

I'm pretty happy with the reflector shots. As previously discussed the first shot with all three lights does have too strong a fill light, and the reflector actually does a pretty good job of finding something that strikes that balance better, especially in the latter shot with the bluey/pink backdrop.

This is great news, it means I have a spare flash and less chance of ruined shots due to misfires. What I did notice for example is that a few times the backdrop light just didn't fire and only the key light did, I think this was also happening when I had the three light set up but sometimes it was the fill light acting up. So basically the less lights firing = less chance of one of them not firing and a ruined shot.

What I did try and do is put a continuous light on the backdrop, just some Ikea thing I had lying around, I turned all the flashes off and test fired, absolutely nothing, the light was just not coming through on the shot at all. I surmised that if I wanted to see that light coming in on the backdrop then I would have to change my settings and thus bring in way too much ambient light (which I want to avoid). If I was to buy something like the LED Wand light, I think it probably could recreate the power output necessary (I was firing the Cactus RF60x at 1/16 power) but it would also equate to being a really bright and off putting light for everyone (including myself) to work around. So I just don't think I can escape a two speedlight set up for this kinda shot, I just need to try and minimise the misfires.

The flash power was actually different depending on the backdrop used. The key light stayed the same (1/16), but for the pinkish green backdrop (which is naturally quite a lot brighter in tone) I used 1/64 (and had more misfires!) and the darker toned blue and pink/brown backdrop I needed to up the power to 1/16.

I'm not sure why there was misfires for the backdrop light, it's power setting was either less than the key light or the same, and the key light seemed to always fire. Both RF60x's were in default modes with no menu tinkering (such as activating a 'Cooling mode' etc).

Perhaps I need to try a lower sync speed than 1/200 as clackers suggested...

Last edited by BruceBanner; 02-05-2019 at 02:44 AM.
02-05-2019, 02:15 PM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I'm not sure why there was misfires for the backdrop light, it's power setting was either less than the key light or the same, and the key light seemed to always fire. Both RF60x's were in default modes with no menu tinkering (such as activating a 'Cooling mode' etc).
Why not use your backdrop's RF60X in simple optical slave mode? Only you are going to use a flash that day, and as I understood you will set your main light with a fixed manual power, so a basic slave mode should work. You have a very strange issue that seems related to radio, maybe the optical mode could give you more reliability, while you are looking for a better solution. It's cheaper than a new LED panel.


BTW, your pics with the reflector looks fine to me.


Regards.
02-05-2019, 04:31 PM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by morenjavi Quote
Why not use your backdrop's RF60X in simple optical slave mode? Only you are going to use a flash that day, and as I understood you will set your main light with a fixed manual power, so a basic slave mode should work. You have a very strange issue that seems related to radio, maybe the optical mode could give you more reliability, while you are looking for a better solution. It's cheaper than a new LED panel.


BTW, your pics with the reflector looks fine to me.


Regards.
Hi morenjavi! Thanks for replying, I now realise I missed your previous post entirely?! Sorry about that!

About optical, I have tried that before and had some issues where it would misfire more often than this current misfire issue. It occurred more when trying to photography more than one subject in front of the backdrop. These shots were taken last year at our schools Halloween fundraiser. The set up is quite similar, white backdrop this time however with a flash firing onto it fitted with a gel to give different colours. At that time I was running with only one V6ii, a RF60x and a 360II, so I had no choice other than to put the 360II into optical slave mode.
What I discovered on the night was when more people wanted in the shot (siblings and families) they blocked the optical trigger from the key light, so that was a little disappointing. I imagine it won't be an issue for school photography and 1-2 children in front of the screen, but really I thought radio would be a more stable connection. I shall review all my settings.
02-07-2019, 06:56 AM   #57
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Great to see some good test results. I prefer the one where there is higher contrast across the face, ie more shadow on the right side. I'm surprised that you got so much light back from the reflector, so that's achieved what you wanted by removing one flash.

There's no apparent cause for your misfires, not that can be determined on a forum I fear. I'm afraid I think the only way you'll ever get any effective solution is to find an experienced person locally, someone who knows and works with radio flash systems a lot , and get him/her to overview your equipment, setting up process and total workflow, to get a view on whether it's something you keep doing wrong, or a case of faulty equipment. If you don't find this person then it's unlikely you'll ever be able to have full confidence in things.

Good luck going forwards to the shoot!
02-07-2019, 07:49 AM   #58
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Regarding those misfires of your background flash, I'd assume you're triggering that flash by radio signal. If it's the radio signal that's at fault, if you switch the flash to optical triggering, you likely eliminate the misfiring. Since you're shooting chest-up images, you can place the flash practically anywhere in direct line with the key light and get reliable flashes. Simply aim the flash body (where the optical receiver is located) toward the key light, while aiming the flash head itself toward the background.

You could do a similar optical trigger set-up for a fill light. I only mention this because you may find that you're constantly moving the reflector around, trying to match it's location to the various students (tall, short, in-between, girls, boys).
02-07-2019, 12:52 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Great to see some good test results. I prefer the one where there is higher contrast across the face, ie more shadow on the right side. I'm surprised that you got so much light back from the reflector, so that's achieved what you wanted by removing one flash.

There's no apparent cause for your misfires, not that can be determined on a forum I fear. I'm afraid I think the only way you'll ever get any effective solution is to find an experienced person locally, someone who knows and works with radio flash systems a lot , and get him/her to overview your equipment, setting up process and total workflow, to get a view on whether it's something you keep doing wrong, or a case of faulty equipment. If you don't find this person then it's unlikely you'll ever be able to have full confidence in things.

Good luck going forwards to the shoot!
QuoteOriginally posted by West Penn Quote
Regarding those misfires of your background flash, I'd assume you're triggering that flash by radio signal. If it's the radio signal that's at fault, if you switch the flash to optical triggering, you likely eliminate the misfiring. Since you're shooting chest-up images, you can place the flash practically anywhere in direct line with the key light and get reliable flashes. Simply aim the flash body (where the optical receiver is located) toward the key light, while aiming the flash head itself toward the background.

You could do a similar optical trigger set-up for a fill light. I only mention this because you may find that you're constantly moving the reflector around, trying to match it's location to the various students (tall, short, in-between, girls, boys).
Thanks for the feedback fellas.

I've identified a new issue, something I haven't quite factored in properly. The background flash is also acting as a ceiling bounce (the way I have currently been using and setting it up). Mine is sitting in it's little plastic shoe thing on the floor behind the subject pointing almost vertically up, magmodsphere on (tried with grid and without grid, more on this later), it would definitely be hitting the ceiling and generating quite a lot of light from the shot (which may contribute to a kinda 'flat' lighting look).
I shall me moving from venue to venue (hopefully... if I get work lol) and the ceiling height will vary (school gym halls etc), so I need to work away from using the four walls and ceiling as much as possible (if the aim is to map out a light positioning, distances, power and camera settings thus to replicate quickly or at least a good ballpark figure to start the shoot with).
So the next step shall be me relocating the backdrop light, up off the floor and directly at the screen, or even perhaps sandwich the subject to generate some possible hair/rim lighting and assist with subject isolation. It might be by doing this some light can be redirected back to the screen, possibly by a second reflector...

The maggrid is very useful, controls the spill of light, works nicely with the sphere (which some think is an oxymoron but actually is not), but what I have found is that when the children vary in height (kindy to year 6's) I would need a lot of lighting readjustment to get where the controlled sphere of light falls onto the backdrop. So I gave up on the grid and stuck with just the sphere which controls the spill of light some more but not as focused as with the grid.

I saw these absolutely gorgeous shots the other say from someone who does school photography;

School smiles: Getting authentic expressions in school portraits

I adore these shots, they are right up my alley with the shallow DoF etc. However... I'm not really sure I would call these 'school shots'. They are too tightly cropped, the kids aren't even in uniform, you can see no emblem or crest of the school on the shirt etc etc. To me they are just really nice 'kid modelling' shots. However it has made me think about my other backdrops, I shall pull out my all grey one and see if that is actually pushing a better vibe, as well as rendering the shot more modern.

Watch this space.

Oh and West Penn, I wrote above about the optical slave thing, I've been there and tried that but also had a fair amount of misfires that route as well. I think I shall try updating all firmwares (which should factory reset everything) and see if that assists, make sure radio is set to short range and all that stuff.
02-07-2019, 02:30 PM   #60
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Yes, I saw your earlier comments about having misfires using optical triggering, but the whole idea behind using optical triggering is to ensure that the trigger light and the optical slave are in direct line of sight. If folks are blocking the light, simply move the slave. In your upcoming school shoot, you're shooting one student or occasionally two. Put the slave on the same side of the student as the key light and it likely will fire every time.
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