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06-22-2008, 09:48 AM   #1
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I need help with settings in studio

I recently did some maternity shots of a friend of mine in my in home studio. I have a soft box and an umbrella (which actually belong to another friend of mine, she has nowhere to go with them, lucky me!). My on camera, 540 flash, fires the umbrella and soft box lights. I was shooting in shutter priority mode and my flash was set to P-TTL (which I'm not really sure what that means). I'm new at the studio thing and had a lot of trouble getting my flash to fire consistently. We had to keep waiting for it to re-charge. Also, even though there was plenty of light in the room (I turned lights to full pwer and on camera flash up to +1) I still had to set the ISO at 800 to get it to where the shutter speed wasn't unbelievably slow... and it was still slow anyway. I think the highest shutter speed I got was 1/15 sec! I thought I was shooting in Manual, but I was just browsing through my settings and noticed I was set in Shutter priority mode. I can't recall, but I'm guessing I did that bc manual or Aperature priority resulted in even slower shutter speeds.

I have a K10D (got in Nov.) and one thing I have noticed is that compared to Canon (had an XT Rebel before) the higher the iso the noiser and noiser the images get. 800 or 1000 in my opinion are really bad!

Please help me figure out what I did wrong. I would have loved to get more candid shot of her with a faster shutter speed and no waiting on the flash to re-charge. I just can't figure out what I did wrong. I really want to do some shot of my newborn neice soon, but I want to make sure that doesn't happen again first. Thank you for your help!!!!

06-22-2008, 10:27 AM   #2
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when using flash lighting, shutter speed simply determines the exposure of everything not hit by the flashes, you control their brightness with aperture. what shutter speeds were you at? you could have been shooting anywhere from 1/4 to 1/180th, and it should look the same.

next time you use a studio, set your camera to M, simply set your shutter speed to 1/100th or so, ISO 100, and control the flash power by aperture

oh, and for faster recycle times, use a lower power setting on the flashes
06-22-2008, 10:29 AM   #3
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what OniFactor said about shutter speed is correct. Some more info is needed. How far was the umbrella from the subject. What type of umbrella (Shoot through or reflective) What was the bulb type and wattage.

Same for the softbox.

What type of room lights?

It sounds as if you had more than enough light to work with to shoot ISO 100-200 in this setup. I've done the same with only a single flash and one reflector umbrella and shot at ISO 100 1/125th without any issues. Everything was controlled with aperture settings once the ISO and shutter speeds were set.

First off you may want to turn the flash to Auto. Second this is something that requires a lot of practice and I'd suggest you set up a test item and the lights. Do a lot of test shooting to get more comfortable with the setup.

The flash takes 6-7 seconds to recycle and that's normal. If you want to avoid that, Then get a set of radio triggers or PC cords and use strobes plugged into the wall.
06-22-2008, 10:30 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by OniFactor Quote
when using flash lighting, shutter speed simply determines the exposure of everything not hit by the flashes, you control their brightness with aperture. what shutter speeds were you at? you could have been shooting anywhere from 1/4 to 1/180th, and it should look the same.

next time you use a studio, set your camera to M, simply set your shutter speed to 1/100th or so, ISO 100, and control the flash power by aperture

oh, and for faster recycle times, use a lower power setting on the flashes
+1

plus ten characters to make this message long enough

06-22-2008, 10:43 AM   #5
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Thank you for your help. I'll try to do what was suggested. Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out. I"ll have to check on the wattage of the lights and if the umbrella was shoot through or reflective. I'm pretty sure it's reflective.

Tjanks so much again!
06-22-2008, 11:03 AM   #6
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you can practice techniques using your k10d and the 540. go check out Strobist and go through the lighting 101 section. it'll teach you a lot of good information
06-22-2008, 01:37 PM   #7
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More than likely, the pre-flash was firing the studio flash and the on-camera flash became the sole source of illumination (or almost) Since some studio lights have longer duration flash than on camera flash, the studio flash might have "intruded" in the beginning of the picture, making the picture unevenly lit. So, increasing shutter length allows room light to compensate for the uneven flash. I might be wrong, but it is worth looking into.
06-22-2008, 02:19 PM   #8
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If you have a studio flash, either shoot your on camera flash in manual, so it won't fire a preflash that could cause the studio strobes' optical trigger to fire the strobe prematurely.
Or invest in radio triggers to fire all flashes/strobes off camera at the same time.

A good flash light meter to tell you what aperture to set on the camera in M(anual) mode will quickly seem like a great investment.
With it you can check your strobes' ratio and quickly set the final exposure, which was already said, depends only on the aperture, shutter can be anywhere in the sync range of the camera, what does change with different shutter speeds is how much or how little of the ambience light you will pick up. If you don't want to invest in a Sekonic light meter, check out the Polaris SPD100.

To P-TTL: P-TTL is a intelligent flash mode, that fires a small preflash, the camera meters how much light reflects with that preflash, and then determines how much power it needs to shoot with, so you always get 2 flashes, so short after another, it's typically hard to notice.
This First metering flash can easily trigger your studio strobes if you trigger them optically.
IT's also what gives a lot of people lazy eye if they are sensitive and blink (I notice it less with P-TTL than with my previous camera's E-TTL, go Team Pentax!)

06-23-2008, 08:03 AM   #9
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Looks like a great site Onifactor. Thanks a lot!
06-23-2008, 08:06 AM   #10
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Thank Morfic and Flyer. Great advice. I'm anxious to use everyone's advice and see how it tuns out next time!
06-23-2008, 08:21 AM   #11
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One question... Should I not have my off camera 540 flash set to P-TTL when using studio lights? Since it fires a pre-flash and may be setting off the strobes before it takes like Morfic said and the only light source in the pic is then my camera flash??? If so what setting would I put the flash on?

Also, can anyone explain how I would use radios if I bought them? Would that just eliminate the need for a flash on camera?
06-23-2008, 08:42 AM   #12
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are you simply using the flash to control the studio's lights, or are you using it to contribute to your exposure? that will kind of decide what to set it on

also, for radio triggers, it would replace the on camera flash, if you were only using the on camera flash to trigger them. it sends an impulse wirelessly to a receiver telling the strobe to fire
06-23-2008, 06:04 PM   #13
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looking at a photo should tell you if all lights are firing (look at the shadows). If it's just the on-camera flash contributing to the exposure then that will be very obvious.

What excactly are your 'studio lights'? Optically triggered strobes? Do they have variable power settings? Fire off an exposure or two whilst looking at them (not thru the viewfinder) to make sure they are firing.
06-25-2008, 04:14 PM   #15
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next time, (since your camera will be in manual when shooting, right?) set your flash to 1/32nd power, and see how the shots come out
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