Photo Peas Classroom -- Shooting Outdoors with Strobes

Two Peas is Closing
Click here to visit our final product sale. Click here to visit our FAQ page regarding the closing of Two Peas.

Posted 1/25/2010 by hampton32 in General Photography
1 2 >
 

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/25/2010 11:06:17 PM
Last week's lessons were so fabulous, weren't they? I feel like it's a very hard act to follow. {{gulp!}} But here goes!

A lot of you may be familiar with using studio lights indoors, but how many of you have used them outside?

"Why would I do that?" you may ask. Well, one answer is that with strobes, you can shoot any time of day and not worry about that harsh midday sun creating raccoon eyes on your subject because your strobe light can overpower the sun and fill in those shadows. Unless you were using multiple off-camera flashes all at once, you could not achieve the same power as one strobe. (Note: One powerful strobe of around 800 watts per second. Not just any strobe will overpower the sun.)

Doesn't that sound enticing? People frequently praise "available light photography" but guess what? These lights are available to you too, right there in your bag, as my idol Joe Mc Nally would say. You just need to power them up! Artificial light can provide some freedom and also expand your repertoire as a photographer.

Strobe lighting outdoors also creates a distinctive, bold look where the subject pops against the background, something you have frequently seen in magazines but perhaps didn't realize it was lit that way. This is a lesson on how you can use a basic strobe setup (one Alien Bee strobe light and a battery pack) to achieve that look and never worry about the time of day you are shooting.

As a caveat, let me state at the outset that of course, there are many ways of doing this. This is how I was taught and this is what works for me. Many people do it differently, I'm sure, but what really matters is the end result. People can feel free to chime in and share their methods.

So, let's pretend I am taking you along on my shoot. Today, we are trying to get a good shot for a Valentine's Day card that my daughter can hand out to her classmates. The concept is an ethereal, Cupid-like angel, set against a beautiful landscape.

THE LOOK:

My daughter will be wearing a simple, pale pink, ballerina-style dress from Chasing Fireflies, a J Crew headband and Capezio ballerina slippers.



Potential props are a large, 36" red, heart-shaped, latex balloon from BulkBalloons.com (and filled with helium before the shoot), angel wings from eBay (seller = fashionwings4u), and 2 different kinds of hearts from Michaels.



THE EQUIPMENT:

1. One strobe light (Alien Bee 800) and battery pack (Alien Bee Vagabond) Link to Alien Bees
2. Light stand
3. Optional: light modifiers, such as a beauty dish, soft box, grids
4. Something to fire your light in conjunction with your camera: a sync cord or a transmitter

I use Pocket Wizards; you need two, one plugged into your light and one sitting on the hotshoe of your camera. Alien Bee sells transmitters that are cheaper than Pocket Wizards. You can find cheap ones on eBay too. Pocket Wizards are the industry standard and 100% reliable.

The battery pack is heavy (18.6 pounds!) but allows you to power the strobe anywhere you want. (That's why I bring my husband!)

THE LOCATION: a beautiful park with a lake, a day before a big storm.



Here is the setup on location:


(The Vagabond pack is in the orange and black case, props are on the bench.)

PLACEMENT OF LIGHT AND SUBJECT:

Of course, there are a myriad of options and it is a good thing with which to experiment. For this shoot, I positioned my subject in front of the water in an area where the landscape behind her looked nice. Imagining she is at 12:00 on a clock, I placed the bare strobe light at 5:00, approximately 6 feet away. It was also higher than my subject, tilted downwards in the direction of her face.



I wanted the light to hit her face dead-on, and fill it up so that there were no shadows. If I wanted shadows, I obviously would have placed it in a different spot.

I powered the battery pack on, turned the light on and set it at half power, and made sure the Pocket Wizards were set to the same frequency (channel 1).

Camera settings:

ISO AND SHOOTING MODE: With strobe lights, your ISO should always be set to a low number -- either 100 or 200. Since it was fairly cloudy and the sky was getting darker by the minute, I set my ISO at 200. When using strobes, my camera is always set to manual mode.

SHUTTER SPEED: I set my camera's shutter to the highest speed with which it syncs with a flash (200). The burst of flash from the strobe must occur when the shutter is fully open. If the flash burst occurs when the shutter is still opening or closing then the shutter itself may prevent the entire image from being fully exposed. Different cameras have different shutter designs and some are faster than others. Generally, the more expensive the camera, the higher that shutter speed will be. You can find out your camera model's sync speed by checking your camera manual or researching it online.

APERTURE: It is my personal opinion that light meters are not necessary and a waste of money. I do own one but never use it. In choosing an f stop, I make an educated guess, take a test shot, and adjust accordingly. Here's the key: you need to choose an aperture that if you metered the landscape normally, without the strobe, it would be too dark by at least one stop. Why? This adds to the drama and contrast by making your subject stand out even more. They do this all the time with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. It looks like they shot in the evening when they shot at midday. I didn't want this particular shot to look like nighttime, however, because that didn't fit my overall concept. I simply wanted the sky to seem a little more intense.

Take a test shot. Is it too blown out? Decrease the power of the strobe. You may want to move it farther back, or move your subject. Choose a higher f stop number so that your aperture is narrower and lets in less light.

Is the first shot too dark? Then do the opposite of above -- choose a lower f stop number to allow more light into the camera. Move the light closer to the subject and/or increase the strobe power.

The display on the back of your camera will not give you an entirely accurate picture, so check the histogram too. (If you don't know how to read a histogram, please review Anne/painted moon's excellent lesson from last week regarding getting a correct image straight out of the camera -- "SOOC". I was so happy she included that information because now I don't have to!)

Every time I am shooting, but especially outdoors, I am using a Peak 4x Loupe It magnifies your LCD screen and allows you to see the image even when the sun is very bright. (If you buy one, be sure to put gaffer's tape on the bottom so that you don't scratch your LCD screen.)

TEST SHOT #1 (SOOC):



Too dark, and it doesn't appear as if the strobe is having any effect. I moved the strobe a little closer to my subject, increased strobe power by half a stop, but then actually stopped down my camera to f/14 because I wanted the sky to look more dramatic.

TEST SHOT #2 (SOOC):



Now we can see the strobe is having an effect, but the sky is not dramatic enough. I stopped down to f/16.

TEST SHOT #3 (edited):



Close, but not quite there.

TEST SHOT #4:



Here is one close-up SOOC, sliders at zero, so you can see how we're doing. I don't know what that shadow is in her hair on the right side of her head. It could have been caused by my husband. But I can see we're close.

Just for fun, here is the same shot with 5 textures (Florabella Textures Set II) applied:



SHOT #5:



At this point, I increased strobe power so it was at least 3/4 power (almost the max) and I stopped down to f/18. I was really happy with this one because was getting the look I wanted to achieve.

SHOT #6:



I love how graceful she looks here.

SHOT #7:



This is the one we will be using on the front of the card. I like it because she looks so hopeful.

Just for fun, here is the pic that will be on the back of the card (you may have seen it already in another thread):


(No strobe used. Settings: ISO 200, SS 1/1600, f/14)

Here are some images from other shoots where I used a strobe outdoors:


This was on Venice Beach with one bare strobe. I love how the sun provided some backlighting for me.


One bare strobe.


This was a strobe in a medium softbox. (There is a better pic of this girl on my web site. Not sure why I chose this one!)


Again, one strobe in a medium softbox. This is an example of using this lighting just past sunset.


One bare strobe. I took this shot yesterday at Disney Hall, in the afternoon -- not at night, though I made it look like that using these techniques. I still have many to edit but wanted to get a very recent shot up so you could see.

I hope this was easy to follow. If you have tried using strobes outdoors, PLEASE share some shots with us. I think it's incredibly helpful.

If you want to try using strobes outdoors this week and get some feedback, you can rent this setup for not a lot of money. Give it a whirl!

Thanks for your time.


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

tifftiff2
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 283,357
November 2006
Posts: 2,300
Layouts: 6
Loc: Idaho, USA

Posted: 1/25/2010 11:24:49 PM
Great tutorial Carolyn! I was still on the fence about getting an alien bee, now I want one more than ever!!!


~Tiffany


5D Mark II
50mm 1.2L | 100mm 2.8 | 135mm 2.0L
AB800 | Pocketwizard Plus | LumoPro LP160 | iMac | CS5

Lanaia
BucketHead

PeaNut 417,111
March 2009
Posts: 733
Layouts: 2
Loc: NYC

Posted: 1/25/2010 11:26:40 PM
Carolyn - what a GREAT lesson!!! For the first time I really get it how to begin setting up the lights - eventhough I don't own any yet.

Do you mind if I ask one question?? I actually just asked that on ILP -

Unless you were using multiple off-camera flashes all at once, you could not achieve the same power as one strobe.
Are flashes really that much less powerful??? There's so much hype nowadays about OCF that it seems like a better choice than strobes.

How much more powerfull - or how many people at what distance can you "light" with a Bee 800 comparing to a flash ( with Nikon I know that Sb600 is closely to the price of a bee)

thank you for your time to prepare this wonderful lesson for us


------------------------------------
NIKON D700

Nikon 35mm 2.0 lens
Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens
Nikon 85mm 1.8 lens

AB 800 and giant Softbox

{I'm calibrated - YEY}

{WEB}{BLOG}
{FACEBOOK fan me}

Stacey Anna
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 90,606
June 2003
Posts: 2,506
Layouts: 115

Posted: 1/25/2010 11:30:35 PM
Thank you Carolyn!!



myliesmom
PeaFixture

PeaNut 246,670
February 2006
Posts: 3,958
Layouts: 19
Loc: Idaho

Posted: 1/25/2010 11:41:22 PM
Great lesson Carolyn! I don't have any lights, but really enjoyed reading this and getting an idea for how it is done. Your pictures are great, and seriously ... just how cute is your DD? Adorable outfit!!

I don't think often about using light (as in fill flash) outside, but think I should study up on it.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


~Steph~

Nikon D90 | Nikon 85 mm f/1.8 | Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 | Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 | Tokina 12-24mm f/4 | Tamron 90 mm f/2.8 macro | SB-600 | PSE7 | JoTote!

Steph, the midnight crafter

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/25/2010 11:58:27 PM
Yay, Tiffany! So happy to hear it!

Lanaia: Excellent question. My understanding is that flash power can be expressed in watt seconds "ws". A typical flash has between 50 and 100 ws, whereas the Alien Bee 800 has 800 ws. Once or twice, I've seen demonstrations where guys rigged a group of small flashes together to overpower the midday sun. They used 4 or 5. So a strobe is much more powerful. There are still a lot of "pros" to off-camera flash -- it's so portable and easy that I still prefer it for sunset shooting.

Stacey Anna: you're very welcome. It was fun to do!

Steph: Many thanks! I do love shopping for outfits for her!


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

Gal220
PeaNut

PeaNut 438,582
September 2009
Posts: 355
Layouts: 1
Loc: Fraser Valley, BC

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:08:56 AM
Wow, I love these, thank you for teaching us!! A quick question regarding Alien Bee's, I hear so much about these, are these better than any other strobe? What's the cost like? I tried looking it up but it looked like all the listings were parts of the alien bee and not the whole strobe setup...


~*Amanda*~

Blog
Facebook
Twitter

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:29:29 AM
Amanda, strobes that pros use from top of the line brands like Profoto cost thousands. On the other hand, you can spend very little money and buy a cheapo set up from Asia on eBay. Alien Bees are a middle of the road option -- reasonably priced strobes that have a great reputation for quality and durability.

The Alien Bee lights are here: AB strobes

I would recommend getting at least the AB 800 because of the amount of power.

Light stands are here: AB stands . You need to get a heavy duty one if you intend to put a softbox on your strobe (otherwise get a light one).

And as I mentioned, you can purchase their transmitters, or buy Pocket Wizards. You need a special cord to hook your transmitter up to your light (call Alien Bee and ask.) The least attractive alternative is to use the sync cord that comes with your strobe light.

If you want to work outdoors, you buy the battery pack. If not, plug your light into a wall socket.

HTH!


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

Skipper*J
PeaFixture

PeaNut 263,040
May 2006
Posts: 3,877
Layouts: 46
Loc: Bellingham, Washington

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:41:12 AM
Carolyn!! AHHH, I'm so glad you shared all this. I've worked with some outdoor lighting, but not with any knowledge, and not under the circumstance I would have wanted. (I used a softbox with a speed light as the strobe), and I've used video lights before.... but only at weddings. I have been dreaming of learning how to use outdoor strobes in my shooting. I'm considering my first alien bees purchase, and this tutorial has sealed that deal for me.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I do have a couple questions.

How long does your battery pack last, and do you have approx. weight? And, could you see doing this alone (w/o DH) or is it pretty necessary to have an assistant while using lighting on location.

Also, when I shoot I find myself walking a lot, and moving from location to location to location. With using strobes while outdoors, would you recommend choosing a location ahead of time, and planning to stay in a general area for that shooting session? I'm just curious to how the shoots run as I have virtually no experience here!! HA

Thanks for your great tutorial and photos... Really helpful!!

Cheers,
jewels



hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:50:56 AM
Oh, Jewels, that makes me so happy! Yay!

I used the battery pack for an entire day once and never lost the charge, so I don't know when it runs out. It's that good! But it is extremely heavy: 19 pounds. It has a strap so you can carry it on your shoulder, but it would be tough to carry your camera bag, light + light stand, and battery pack all by yourself.

For that Venice Beach shoot, I actually carried that pack up and down the beach for hours. What a work out! The woman I was with could only carry the lightstand because she had an injury.

One friend of mine uses a metal, foldable, luggage cart with wheels to carry the pack around, so that might work. You could stack several things on it.

I just realized this is turning out to be an enabling thread. Uh oh.


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

lbfritts
Can you hear me now???

PeaNut 26,273
December 2001
Posts: 7,824
Layouts: 180
Loc: North Carolina

Posted: 1/26/2010 5:14:56 AM
Wow, thanks so much for the lesson. Now I need to go back and re-read it!



Molly C
PhotograPea Enabler

PeaNut 49,752
September 2002
Posts: 15,942
Layouts: 86
Loc: Virginia, where my heart has always been

Posted: 1/26/2010 5:24:51 AM
Man, I really want to do this someday. I think maybe by next year Annie will be more cooperative. I can just imagine schlepping all that stuff out now and her standing still for 1.5 frames. Five seems like a more likely age than 4 for meaningful participation.


I used the battery pack for an entire day once and never lost the charge, so I don't know when it runs out. It's that good! But it is extremely heavy: 19 pounds. It has a strap so you can carry it on your shoulder, but it would be tough to carry your camera bag, light + light stand, and battery pack all by yourself.


Hmmm. . . .I guess this is where my skills of carrying a purse, and two 32+ pound kids (and possibly a grocery bag or two) around at one time comes in handy!

Thank you for your fabulous lesson. I you!


Molly

Nikon D700
Nikon lenses & flash, AB400 and softbox

KerryP
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 343,224
October 2007
Posts: 5,920
Layouts: 115
Loc: Sometimes GA, sometimes NC, Wyoming whenever possible!

Posted: 1/26/2010 6:07:34 AM
Awesome!


Kerry
1 DH, 1 DD, 1 DSIL, 1 DS and 1 Beagle
Nikon D7000 | 18-270mm VR | 70-300mm VRII | 105mm VR micro

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. Will Rogers
Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for. Will Rogers

rhonda.clavell
PeaNut

PeaNut 441,156
October 2009
Posts: 232
Layouts: 7
Loc: Lake Jackson, TX

Posted: 1/26/2010 6:30:17 AM
Great tutorial and amazing pictures!





redsie05
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 270,684
July 2006
Posts: 2,953
Layouts: 27
Loc: Quebec

Posted: 1/26/2010 7:11:51 AM
Saving to read later - great information!! Thanks Carolyn!


Celine

Canon 60D

my blog

Lanaia
BucketHead

PeaNut 417,111
March 2009
Posts: 733
Layouts: 2
Loc: NYC

Posted: 1/26/2010 7:17:16 AM

But it is extremely heavy: 19 pounds


Are our little boogers any lighter??? My toddler is 30 lbs and I can only wish he came with a strap



------------------------------------
NIKON D700

Nikon 35mm 2.0 lens
Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens
Nikon 85mm 1.8 lens

AB 800 and giant Softbox

{I'm calibrated - YEY}

{WEB}{BLOG}
{FACEBOOK fan me}

thevalerie
picture perfect

PeaNut 42,646
July 2002
Posts: 19,396
Layouts: 491
Loc: Upstate NY

Posted: 1/26/2010 7:23:33 AM
Great. Now I want a strobe.

(Thanks for the awesome lesson!)



1scrappycat
PeaAddict

PeaNut 329,611
July 2007
Posts: 1,161
Layouts: 65
Loc: Illinois

Posted: 1/26/2010 7:58:19 AM
Hi Carolyn!
Wow, another amazing class, thank you so much! I've been debating on purchasing AB's or OCF for some time now. I love your examples and your DD is stunningly beautiful...and such a cooperative little model! I really appreciate how you've explained everything step-by-step. This has helped me a ton


Cathy


rachag03
WHOOPea!!!

PeaNut 254,107
March 2006
Posts: 29,049
Layouts: 29
Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/26/2010 8:17:52 AM
I agree, this makes me want an AB even more now! I'd really love to give this a try someday, it's a beautiful look.

Thanks so much for the lesson!



flute4peace

PeaNut 329,425
July 2007
Posts: 13,974
Layouts: 45
Loc: tornado alley

Posted: 1/26/2010 8:27:52 AM
Is it ok if I make a couple of additions/observations? I don't want to distract from the fabulous lesson, of course (and I have much less experience with this than Carolyn does), but I have a couple of things that I've experienced to share.


your strobe light can overpower the sun and fill in those shadows. Unless you were using multiple off-camera flashes all at once, you could not achieve the same power as one strobe.
This depends on the power of the strobe (and of the flashes, actually). After taking Kirk Voclain's senior class last summer and learning how to strobe outdoors, I ran out and bought a couple of lights with battery packs (they would have been the equivalent of the AB400s, most likely). I became instantly frustrated that it wasn't working the way he showed us, and did some experimenting. It turned out my Sigma flashes were able to put out considerably more power than the strobes - about 2 stops worth IIRC. Not equal to the AB800, probably, but clearly more than the lights I had. So...just a word of caution to those who may be considering trying this. I ended up returning those strobes.

Also, even though you know I'm a die-hard meter user, metering outdoors can be tricky. Using one here might eliminate several of the test shots, but (as always) if you do use a meter you'll still need to evaluate and make adjustments.

Voclain also used a loupe-type thing on his LCD screen and it was very helpful.

One last thing I learned from Voclain, the sun is typically f16, so if you want to overpower the sun that's a good number to keep in mind for a starting point (we were at mid-day with the sun pretty much overhead). Of course, as in this case, there were clouds and that can make a difference in the aperture you need.

This was a great tutorial, Carolyn!! I really love what you do with outdoor strobes, and I'm way jealous that you get the opportunities to do it a lot!

ETA with a question:

Here's the key: you need to choose an aperture that if you metered the landscape normally, without the strobe, it would be too dark by at least one stop. I also usually decrease my EV by at least one.
Can you elaborate on the EV a little bit, please? You shoot Nikon, right? IIRC, Nikons allow you to adjust the exposure compensation (EV?) even in manual mode, is this what you're doing? So are you effectively shooting 2 stops dark for the background? Also, I assume when you say metering the landscape without the strobe you're referring to an ambient meter pointed at the background.


Nikki

Jenny Williams
Will I ever get to Buckethead?!

PeaNut 21,124
September 2001
Posts: 405
Layouts: 4
Loc: Northwest Florida

Posted: 1/26/2010 8:28:53 AM
Great lesson. I am not ready to tackle this just yet but will be printing it out for future reference. Thank you so much for sharing this! You photos and daughter are beautiful!!

tlsykes
PeaNut

PeaNut 411,095
February 2009
Posts: 435
Layouts: 2
Loc: middle tn

Posted: 1/26/2010 8:46:51 AM
This may be a stupid question, but what do the pocketwizards do exactly? I have 2 ABs and shoot some indoors (still in the practice mode), and my Nikon triggers them wirelessly.

Thank you so much for putting this together... I really appreciate it. Your tutorial is awesome! it!!


*Terri*

NIKON d300s
70-200mm/2.8VR
50mm/1.4
24-70mm/2.8
SB-600
2 Alienbee 800s
CS4 on the computer

TREZmom
Lost and Found in Pea-land

PeaNut 138,098
March 2004
Posts: 6,558
Layouts: 2
Loc: NC but wishing I was somewhere else

Posted: 1/26/2010 8:49:34 AM
Amazing tutorial Carolyn. I've often thought: "only in my wildest dreams could I hope to take these kinds of pictures". But when you laid it out for us, it made me feel hopeful that with the right equipment (and experience), it may actually be possible.

I love your work and your dd is beautiful. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this.

craftyluv
Prayers: You need 'em? I've got 'em <3

PeaNut 365,669
March 2008
Posts: 12,737
Layouts: 81
Loc: St. Louis, MO

Posted: 1/26/2010 8:58:00 AM
Though I don't see myself ever doing something like this, it was a very interesting and well done lesson. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and beautiful images.



Blessings, Rebecca





My gear:
Nikon D700-a dream come true
50mm 1.8
70-200mm (old AF film lens)
Nikon D40-
18-55mm
55-200mm VR
Promaster 7400EDF flash
Close up macro filter set

squaek
AncestralPea

PeaNut 216,945
July 2005
Posts: 4,067
Layouts: 97
Loc: Speeding on the NJTP.

Posted: 1/26/2010 8:59:35 AM
What a great tutorial! I've been kicking around the idea of buying some strobes for awhile now...nice to know I have this to refer to if I decide to do it. Thank you so much!


Shauna P.G.
Geologists rock!

My Stuff:
Sony a900, VG-C90AM Grip, HVL-F36AM Flash, HVL-RLAM Ring Light, 70-400G
Minolta AF 16/2.8 Fisheye, 20/2.8, 24-50/4, 28/2.8, 28-70/2.8G, 28-135/4-4.5, 50/1.4, 50/2.8 Macro, Lensbaby, 70-210/4 Beercan, 80-200/2.8G APO, 85/1.4G, 100/2.8 Macro, 100-400 APO, 135/2.8, 500/8 Reflex
CS5, Calibrated with Spyder3Pro

Body by Sony...heart by the Minds of Minolta.

Cricket1997
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,918
June 2003
Posts: 3,054
Layouts: 57
Loc: Manahawkin, NJ

Posted: 1/26/2010 9:16:41 AM
This lesson was great. I actually just bought my 430 ex speedlite and am now learning about fill flash and how to use a external flash. My question is about your silhouette picture and how you got that effect with the strobe. I love it! Is it possible to get that with a external flash? Here is one of my favorite pictures from my Vacation in Punta Cana this past May. I always look at it and wonder how the photographer got this effect.
This photo was taken during a photo session I booked at the resort taken during the golden hour.....
Photo by Lucas Marin



Canon 7d
Canon Rebel XT w/ Kit
Canon 50mm 1.4
Canon 85 1.8
Canon 70-200 4L IS
Tamron 28-75 2.8
Canon Speedlite 430ex
all in a Olive Green Jo Tote!
CS5 and PSE6 Mac


Wish List
Canon 60 2.8 macro
Canon 24-70 2.8
Canon 70-200 2.8
Canon 16-35 2.8


caropea
PeaNut

PeaNut 180,301
December 2004
Posts: 395
Layouts: 1
Loc: Montreal, QC

Posted: 1/26/2010 9:25:28 AM
Thanks so much for this lesson! Now I just need a battery pack, oh and 3 feet of snow to melt

luvtknpics
BucketHead

PeaNut 391,963
September 2008
Posts: 693
Layouts: 88
Loc: Kinder, Louisiana

Posted: 1/26/2010 9:29:39 AM
Great lesson! Wished I'da had it before Sunday! I took pics of my dd and only got a couple without the raccoon eyes!
Will definitely print out and study!

I have been trying to get my SB600 to flash off camera but can't seem to get it to work! I have done it before and now am having problems. If anyone could give me some pointers would appreciate it!

Will definitely be practicing this setup!
TFS


Melissa

Nikon D80, SB600, 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.4, 80-200 2.8, sigma 24-70mm
My blog Luvtknpics photography

paintedmoon
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 150,843
June 2004
Posts: 7,819
Layouts: 213
Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/26/2010 9:31:59 AM
Wowee, Carolyn - everything you do is top-notch!

Even as a die-hard natural light lover, this was a fascinating read, and the images are wonderful! I loved hearing how you had a vision for what you wanted and what it took to finesse the lighting until it was right. Thank you for showing all of the "not-quite-there-yet" test shots.

And oh my gosh, I wish we lived closer together - I want our girls to play together! They could commiserate about all the photos taken of them.....LOL. Your DD is SUCH a beauty, but in such an age-appropriate, natural way. Just lovely.

And Crewcuts is wonderful, yes? Well, bad for the wallet, great for photographs!

ETA: Just realized the dress is from Chasing Fireflies. That place is evil, too!

Thank you for such a great lesson!

Anne


JeannetteK
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 318,984
May 2007
Posts: 8,508
Layouts: 7
Loc: Terre Haute, Indiana {temporarily}

Posted: 1/26/2010 9:35:43 AM
I just skimmed but I know I have questions. I'll be back later have to get ready & head to work. Thanks!


Jeannette


Dewey06
Drink lots...PEA pale!

PeaNut 276,190
September 2006
Posts: 22,615
Layouts: 717
Loc: Colorado

Posted: 1/26/2010 9:52:39 AM
I have resisted lighting for far too long, especially for outdoors. But.... I totally see how it can help and boy, I'm thinking about how helpful it'll be for weddings (eventhough I knew it, I just resisted it ) So... I now have a real goal for 2010, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


Heather-Feather!

Canon5DMkII
24-70 2.8L
100 2.8L IS macro
135 2.0L
85 1.2L II
Fisheye 15mm
Tamron 70-200 2.8
Lensbaby Composer

CS4 on a calibrated Mac

My blog
Photography website
Woolywishes Etsy shop
[error_in_url=http://www.facebook.com/pages/Woolywishes/193307734022795[/url]

Molly C
PhotograPea Enabler

PeaNut 49,752
September 2002
Posts: 15,942
Layouts: 86
Loc: Virginia, where my heart has always been

Posted: 1/26/2010 10:11:04 AM
Okay, I have a couple of questions. One, do you always have to stop down so much when using strobes outside? I understand that you have to do that to limit the light, but then you get no DOF. Do you just have to accept that as a tradeoff?

Two, I know there will be an actual OCF lesson later, but since you do both I think you can answer. Other than the actual AB, is your gear the same for OCF and strobes? Since I already have a flash, it would obviously be less expensive to get started with this if I didn't have to purchase the AB, but just get a softbox, stands and PWs. Then if I did like it, I could add in the AB/battery pack later. Are the stands interchangeable? I know the PWs are, what about the softbox? Does that pretty much attach to anything?


Molly

Nikon D700
Nikon lenses & flash, AB400 and softbox

UtahMomX4
AncestralPea

PeaNut 39,805
June 2002
Posts: 4,325
Layouts: 37
Loc: Roy, Utah

Posted: 1/26/2010 11:04:14 AM
This is such a great lesson, Carolyn, and I LOVE your images! Thank you so much for putting this together and presenting such a great topic in such a great way!


~Jami

Life in Moments Photography Blog

Canon 40D!!!!!, Canon XT, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 50mm 1.8

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. - Audrey Hepburn

Chellshocked
I don't pea as much as I used to.

PeaNut 357,522
January 2008
Posts: 8,785
Layouts: 9
Loc: PA

Posted: 1/26/2010 11:35:53 AM
WEll I read through the whole thing but I am at work so of course I can't see the pictures but when I get home I will be reading through again. Thanks so much for the great lesson. I have been wanting to do more stuff like this, might just be the push I need.


In my next life I want to be a photographer..
Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 40D, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8 macro, 15mm 2.8 Fisheye, 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 IS 2.8L, 28-135mm IS 3.5 -5.6, Tamron 28-300 3.5-6.3 XR Di IF, My Blog POTD | The General Store | The General Store facebook fan page | My website | My Facebook Fan Page | Zobbie's Photo tips

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:17:01 PM
Wow, well I kinda thought I'd wake up to some responses. Your kind words really make my day! Thank you!

Molly:


Hmmm. . . .I guess this is where my skills of carrying a purse, and two 32+ pound kids (and possibly a grocery bag or two) around at one time comes in handy!

Too funny! We moms are certainly stronger than we look, right? I you too, thank you! In fact I have been re-reading your PS tutorials lately and trying to soak it all in. Looking forward to learning more from you in the future!

To answer your later questions, I do think you have to accept it as a trade-off because you're overcoming ambient light with artificial light. If you wanted DOF then you would just use natural light.

I do have two different setups for the ABs and the flashes. I use really lightweight stands for the flashes and heavier light stands for the ABs. If you wanted to, you could mount a flash on a heavier light stand, but part of what's great about OCF is portability. I can fit it all in a medium size bag. I don't think you could mount an AB softbox for use with a flash (if I'm wrong, someone please correct me), because the AB speedring system has you mounting the softbox on to the front of the strobe light. But you could use a shoot-through umbrella instead.

Nikki: THANK YOU! I had that info in my head but didn't express it -- you are absolutely correct, not just any strobe will overpower the sun. I am not a technical person but I believe you need 800 watt seconds of power (or close) and an AB 800 has that. I will clarify that above. Thank you for pointing that out.

You are also correct that f/16 would be a good starting point at midday, but here we were shooting past 4 pm and it was cloudy. I still ended up at f/18, so I probably should have started at f/16, as you said, but that's why I started where I did.

I'd rather take some test shots than get out the light meter, but I'm not the most patient person. At Disney Hall on Sunday, it took only one test shot and then I got the shot above, so it made me happy I could do it that quickly.

I shoot Canon, so I can't speak to Nikon, but as you know with Canon, you can dial your EV up or down. If the subject is well lit by strobe, but your background doesn't have the intensity you want, then you should try dialing yout EV down to -1. And yes, I do mean that you meter ambient light against the background and stop down from there.

If you have some outdoor strobe shots, please share them with us! I would love to see them!

TREZmom:


Amazing tutorial Carolyn. I've often thought: "only in my wildest dreams could I hope to take these kinds of pictures". But when you laid it out for us, it made me feel hopeful that with the right equipment (and experience), it may actually be possible.



Gosh, that is such a nice thing to say. Almost makes me teary. Thank you.

Terri: Pocket Wizards allow for wireless communication between your camera and the strobe, as opposed to a sensor on your camera that will snap the shutter as soon as it sees the light flash. You may be shooting in situations where the light cannot "see" the camera, so that's when you'd want PWs.

Cricket: That photo is BEAUTIFUL!!! I love it! Your photographer didn't use his flash for that. Here is a recent thread about silhouettes and it has some good advice: Silhouette Thread

Melissa: are you using any transmitters or just the Nikon on-camera sensor to fire your flash? Sorry, but I am not a Nikon person so I'm not sure I can help.

Anne: Compliments from you make me giddy since I am such a fan. Thank you.


And oh my gosh, I wish we lived closer together - I want our girls to play together! They could commiserate about all the photos taken of them.....LOL.


I agree 100%! I will make that happen some day. I know they would be instant buddies. I have been thinking of you lately as I've been collecting some vintage clothing for future shoots with her. Oh yes, and I spend too much time drooling over dresses in Chasing Fireflies + all of the Crewcuts clothes!

Heather: I love just thinking about what you would do with this setup at a wedding! Wow! You would totally rock it!


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

flute4peace

PeaNut 329,425
July 2007
Posts: 13,974
Layouts: 45
Loc: tornado alley

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:29:23 PM

as you know with Canon, you can dial your EV up or down. If the subject is well lit by strobe, but your background doesn't have the intensity you want, then you should try dialing yout EV down to -1.
Ok swallowing my pride and asking how you do this. I always thought you couldn't with Canon, that being in manual it wouldn't affect it.

I do have one shot from Voclain's class, but I can't share it because it was shot in the class. I haven't tried strobing outdoors since then because the strobes I had weren't strong enough. I am going to figure out a way to do it someday, even if it has to be a 100 ft long extension cord . *goes off to call Photogenic to see if they make a Vagabond for them*

ETA:

I'd rather take some test shots than get out the light meter, but I'm not the most patient person.
And I use the meter because I'm too lazy to take test shots.


Nikki

Kim M.
"I am the holder of Virgin Superpowers. Really."

PeaNut 73,616
March 2003
Posts: 13,401
Layouts: 254
Loc: Living in Kim's Perfect World

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:35:08 PM
Great lesson, Carolyn! Absolutely your step-by-step (loved that show, just sayin') with photos to back it up! You know that I'm a huge fan of OCF and strobing. I also use an AB (1600) and a Vagabond (which is awesome for music while shooting, too! ). It really is a great solution and provides that extra "POP" when that's what you're going for!

On a side note...Anne, you're in TX, right? (Just trying to remember without going back to look. ) So, Phoenix is between LA and anywhere in TX. You both could just drive here, then I could shoot, too! C'mon you two! Give the poor little-girl-deprived shooter a photo op! You could load up the vehicles with everything imaginable! I have some great locations that I'll share! Just thinking out loud here!


Kim

farrahc
I PEA in my big girl panties! =p

PeaNut 32,394
March 2002
Posts: 7,390
Layouts: 40
Loc: Denver, CO

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:37:33 PM
Awesome job Carolyn! I have an AB on my list, but have been too intimidated by studio lights in general. I love you creative you can get outdoors. =)

I linked this last week, but thought it would fit in well here too...hope you don't mind: Article from Zach Arias


The Jobling Family blog
{hats, wraps, and more}
farrah jobling photography

Mk2|24-70L|50L|85L|135L|17-40L|100 macro|430ex|CS5

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:37:59 PM
Nikki:

I don't think we use the same model, so I'm not sure if I can advise you. Once I dial it down (using the larger wheel on the back), it shows up at the top of the LCD screen on the back of my camera --for example, "EV -1 1/3"-- when I push the "Info" button.

I do the same thing with OCF at sunset (if the landscape doesn't have the intensity I want) and my UCLA instructor showed me how to do it. Maybe check your manual?

Why wouldn't you be able to show a shot from your class?


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:45:33 PM

On a side note...Anne, you're in TX, right? (Just trying to remember without going back to look. ) So, Phoenix is between LA and anywhere in TX. You both could just drive here, then I could shoot, too! C'mon you two! Give the poor little-girl-deprived shooter a photo op! You could load up the vehicles with everything imaginable! I have some great locations that I'll share! Just thinking out loud here!


Kim: Brilliant idea! I'm up for it! Anne?

And Kim, why not post some of your beautiful shots to show us how it's done?

Farrah: I Zack Arias and I that article! Thank you! I read it when you first posted it but completely forgot to link to it here. It's perfect.


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:47:16 PM
P.S. Kim, I never thought about using the Vagabond for the tunes until you mentioned that recently. Great idea!!


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

flute4peace

PeaNut 329,425
July 2007
Posts: 13,974
Layouts: 45
Loc: tornado alley

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:51:47 PM

I don't think we use the same model, so I'm not sure if I can advise you. Once I dial it down (using the larger wheel on the back), it shows up at the top of the LCD screen on the back of my camera (for example, "EV -1 1/3" when I push the "Info" button.

And you're shooting in Manual? Every Canon I've ever had, the exposure compensation only works in Aperture, Shutter or Program. I just checked my manuals and they confirm that. Now I'm both intrigued and confused . In my world, if shooting with a strobe and you want more ambient (brighter background), you would lower your shutter speed. When you get a chance, and if you don't mind, could you tell me what page it's on in your manual? I'd like to learn more about it, since Dad has a MkII.

The model releases at the school say that the students can't use the images they get there for commercial use or in their portfolios. I could probably get away with posting one here, but since my folks are board members I'd rather not take any chances of the wrong person seeing it, KWIM? It's nothing exciting, anyway - just a hunky senior in a tank top with shades on.


Nikki

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 12:54:38 PM
I'm at the office, but I can check mine later. All I can say is that's what I was taught, and I was in manual, and it does show up on my screen when I dial it down. Very confusing.


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

Kim M.
"I am the holder of Virgin Superpowers. Really."

PeaNut 73,616
March 2003
Posts: 13,401
Layouts: 254
Loc: Living in Kim's Perfect World

Posted: 1/26/2010 1:04:06 PM

P.S. Kim, I never thought about using the Vagabond for the tunes until you mentioned that recently. Great idea!!

I just plug in a surge protector to use it for whatever electricity I need (2nd light, music, fan...). Works great!


Kim: Brilliant idea! I'm up for it! Anne?


Ummmm, Anne?

Park and waterfalls and flowers and grass and railroad tracks here in my little corner of the world. Desert and stone gazebo up the road. Sedona is just over an hour away (afternoon and sunset) with a 2nd day downtown with grafiti and warehouses and such? We could do it! (Sorry for hijacking your lesson, Carolyn! Just trying to entice you and Anne! )



Kim

flute4peace

PeaNut 329,425
July 2007
Posts: 13,974
Layouts: 45
Loc: tornado alley

Posted: 1/26/2010 1:13:53 PM

All I can say is that's what I was taught, and I was in manual, and it does show up on my screen when I dial it down. Very confusing.
That's really interesting! Do you push any other button prior to turning the wheel? On my cameras, turning the wheel changes the aperture (the back wheel).


Nikki

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 1:23:05 PM
I tap the button in the front after making the manual settings, then dial the wheel, watching on the screen.

Maybe it does nothing? I feel bad if I am spreading misinformation. I can't recall if I tried to change the EV for this shoot or not -- I seem to recall seeing the "EV -1" on the screen -- I know I have done it for others.

Of course, I know, as you said above, that lowering shutter speed allows more ambient light. The purpose here is to darken the background.

This is my teacher's site: Scott Stulberg He is mostly self taught but has been a pro photog for over 30 years.


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

flute4peace

PeaNut 329,425
July 2007
Posts: 13,974
Layouts: 45
Loc: tornado alley

Posted: 1/26/2010 1:30:58 PM

I tap the button in the front after making the manual settings, then dial the wheel, watching on the screen.

I'm thinking it might be a new feature on the 5D MkII. The 7D doesn't do it (I just tried it, lol), but that is how you do it in Av mode so it would make sense that it's done the same way in M if the camera has that feature. Interesting.

If you wanted to darken the background, you would increase the shutter speed, which as you mentioned could be a problem with the sync, so that's not really an option. And the ISO is already low so that can't help you, either.

Sorry for the long-term hijack, lol.

FYI - I just called Photogenic, they're coming out with a power inverter here in the next few weeks. Price point is $700.


Nikki

hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 1:33:47 PM

If you wanted to darken the background, you would increase the shutter speed, which as you mentioned could be a problem with the sync, so that's not really an option. And the ISO is already low so that can't help you, either.



What I did was narrow the aperture, as you can see from the test shots to the final shot.


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac

mommy2katia&karyme
The {Pea}J's Girl

PeaNut 87,750
May 2003
Posts: 5,296
Layouts: 45

Posted: 1/26/2010 1:37:47 PM
Sorry, I don't understand anything you just posted. I'm more of a hands on learner. So I think in order for this to actually make sense to me, I'd need a one on one lesson. The last thing you want is for your students not to understand, right

Serisously though, I've got nothing but and admiration for you! But you already knew that. I love that you posted your trial and error shots because it shows that we have to have an idea of a starting point and then work our way from that.

Your work always blows me away! Thank you so much for being my friend and an inspiration to us all!


hampton32
PeaFixture

PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 1/26/2010 1:44:09 PM
Any time, Marisol! Let's do it!


~Carolyn

My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac
1 2 >
Show/Hide Icons . Show/Hide Signatures
Hide
{{ title }}
{{ icon }}
{{ body }}
{{ footer }}