Thursday, October 6, 2011

Flash Photography - Trial and Errors - Jamie Solorio Photography of Redding, CA

Tonight I practiced my flash over at Visual Rhythms located at 1072 Lake Blvd Unit C Redding, CA, which was taught by the very talented and beautiful Destiny.  I am fortunate enough to practice a skill that I have yet to develop and in trade get some free belly dancing classes!  THANK YOU Destiny! :) Watching these girls was amazing, really I wanted to put down my camera, grab some yoga pants and try to move the way they did!  Thank you Destiny (pictured above) and Jan Boehle owner/instructor at Visual Rhythms for letting me experience your dance studio.  Also, thank you Jan for the free Zumba class!

To get more information with regard to this Fitness Studio or Zumba classes please contact Jan at 530.410.3983 or  To contact Destiny for Belly Dancing information please click HERE to view her Facebook page.

I did learn that with out flash, this shoot would of been impossible and I was glad to be able to play with the light a bit.  More images to come soon!

To see some of my Natural Light Photography please visit my site Jamie Solorio Photography of Redding, CA.


To begin, I just started to read up on flash photography last night and a little please do not consider this information to be 100% correct.  I keep this blog as a diary of my trials, errors, and all my notes to reference from time to time.

I am currently using the Nikon D7000 with my friend's SB-800.

I watched THIS video from Youtube to familiarize myself with how in the heck to operate the SB-800 to begin with.  This video was very informative and easy to follow.  Now, thanks to the Youtube video, I understand how to use the SU-4, which is pretty neat and fun.  I sort of grasped the whole REMOTE function of the SB-800 from the video.   However, I think I am still too much of a rookie at this point to use several lights, not to mention...I don't have any!  But I am still a little confused on MANUAL Flash and TTL Flash.  So, this is where I am now...gathering information trying to understand this SB-800 Nikon Flash.

The first place that I went to check out for a good explanation of external flash was Neilvan Neikerk.  This is a quick break down that I am just jotting down for my sake.

  • Shoot Manual mode in camera and expose for ambient light using Matrix/Evaluative Metering Modes.
  • Have my flash set to TTL Mode and either bounce light off ceilings/walls/behind me/reflective surfaces/etc
  • I can change the exposure of my ambient light in the background by either changing my shutter speed, aperture, and/or ISO.  Flash in TTL Mode will compensate for this an properly expose my subject.  As far as I am understanding, Manual Flash you can only control ambient light using shutter speed, ie.dragging the shutter speed.
  • I need to keep my Shutter Speed between 10 and 250th of a second to not get some sort of black bands on my image
  • Use the Flash Exposure Compensation to dial in the flash even more
  • The ambient light is brighter in the background than the subject, so you meter for the background ambient light and the subject would normally be underexposed.  To correct this underexposure the flash fires giving you both background and foreground correct exposure.
  • The ambient light and subject are in the same low light situation, what to far as I can tell, underexpose 1.5 to 2 stops for ambient light, this allows the ambient light to be there but not overtake your picture.  Then your flash in TTL mode will fire off at your subject that is also underexposed and compensate for the subject being under exposed.  While the ambient light of the background is exposed properly for the low light situation by having been underexposed by 1.5 to 2 stops for more light to be allowed in.
  • Put subject in the most shadowy spot?
  • Do not use the ceiling directly between myself and subject, try to bounce behind me or on a wall, it can cause unflattering light under the eyes and uneven light distribution.
  • Bouncing light directly behind you will give more flat one dimensional light
  • Bouncing light to the side will give more of a dynamic look to your subject
  • When using TTL Mode, you do not have to use full power when bouncing light
  • note to self: re-read bouncing light and visit all links available
  • note to self: figure out why TTL-BL isn't working
  • Taking pictures outdoors with bright background and needing fill flash on subject use TTL-BL, and use the Flash Exposure compensation to adjust the amount of light hitting subject.  With the SB-800, need to start with -1.3 or -1.7 exposure compensation or so.
  • Taking pictures in the shade outdoors and need to match the exposure of subject in shade to bright background, will need more flash.  Start at Zero for Exposure Compensation.
  • Shooting dimly lit indoors where I know my flash is going to be my mail light source: Starting points:  ISO 800, wide apertures, and slow shutter speed around 1/40th of a second.  TTL Flash Mode will be used with an Exposure Compensation of +0.3
  • Shooting Bright Light Outside Guidelines: Lowest ISO, change flash sync speed to highest available for camera, set aperture to where I want it (I read f11, but I do not like to shoot that small of aperture)  I am going to have to test this one myself and see what happens.
  • A cameras maximum sync speed is the the fastest shutter speed you can use your camera's "standard" flash at.  My camera allows a "High Speed Sync Speed" which will allow my highest shutter speed to be 1/320th of a second.  Though I have to go into the menu of my camera to turn it on.
  • Shooting for Overcast days starting points: ISO 100 to 200, 1/250th, f10.  Again, I am not a fan of middle of the road aperture, so I would have to figure out something else some how....PRACTICE!

MORE TO COME AS I LEARN MORE...tonight I am going to try this out!

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