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  1. #1

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    how do you calculate fill flash?

    If you are shooting outdoors in bright overhead sunlight and you want to use fill flash to reduce facial shadows, especially under the chin, how do you calculate how much flash to use on a manual camera. i.e. a camera with no flash metering.

  2. #2
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    I would use an ISO rating of one to two stops higher for the flash than that used for the camera. The idea being to have the flash “under expose” the subject.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  3. #3

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    Meter the scene. Then set the auto mode on the flash one or two stops below that. So if the scene was say F/8 you'd set the flash to F/5.6. Or to whatever level of fill you'd want. Set the camera to whatever you metered the scene to be. F/8 in this case.

    You can also play with the film speed on the flash if the flash doesn't have enough control. So one stop of fill would mean telling the flash you're using a one stop faster film. But then you need to set the F/stop to what is on the camera.

  4. #4

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    Methinks some practice at this is required to find out what I want because at the moment I just don't know. I guess it depends on how deep the shadows are relative to the rest of the face. But I can see that giving two stops too little flash would change the shadows greatly but make maybe only a 1/3 or less of a stop difference to the higher values.

  5. #5
    wfe
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    I would suggest a bit of practice which is what I did the last time I needed fill flash outdoors. Someone once taught me that the flash will never be as bright as the sun so it's not as difficult as it may seem. I can't remember what settings I used but it all worked out very well.

    Cheers,
    Bill
    ~Bill
    "Real Art is a Thin Breath Exhaled Amidst a Struggle in the Mind"
    Fine Art and Portraits

  6. #6
    Les
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    For manual flash exposure - I prefer to leave the ISO at the correct value for the film and cut strobe power e.g. 1/2 1/4/1/8 1/16th power. Two stops under is equivalent to 1/4 power. Then you don't have to remember ISO or set the wrong value - just go back to full power on the strobe.
    Les

  7. #7
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    I have found with the flash I have, and a diffuser in place, it is pretty hard to over do it. Sometimes, on an overcast day or in shade, I will set the flash and exposure up, and let the background fall off. It cam make for an intersting effect when shooting people, especially on chrome. Sort of gives them their own glow.

  8. #8
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    Meter the scene. Then set the auto mode on the flash one or two stops below that. So if the scene was say F/8 you'd set the flash to F/5.6. Or to whatever level of fill you'd want. Set the camera to whatever you metered the scene to be. F/8 in this case.

    You can also play with the film speed on the flash if the flash doesn't have enough control. So one stop of fill would mean telling the flash you're using a one stop faster film. But then you need to set the F/stop to what is on the camera.
    When you say meter the scene, is this at a particlular shutter speed, like 1/125?

  9. #9
    OldBikerPete's Avatar
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    As others have said, two stops underexposed for the flash fill is a good place to start.
    Just don't overdo the flash, particularly if you have a dark or shaded background as the result can look a bit too 'artificial' for want of a better word.

  10. #10
    Jeffrey A. Steinberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    When you say meter the scene, is this at a particlular shutter speed, like 1/125?
    Well, yes and no. Take an incidence meter and hold at the subject facing the lens and meter it. Ones of the combinations will be 1/125 (or it could be)
    as well as other f stop/shutter compinations.

    I hope that answers your question.
    --Jeffrey

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    Jeffrey Steinberg, K2MIT
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    www.jsteinbergphoto.com (my avocation)
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