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Presentation Photography


Willpower 8 488 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2018 9:28PM
Hi everyone. I'd like to pick your collective brains for some advice. My Photographic Club ran an exhibition recently in a local shopping centre which involved a public vote for best image. The author of the winning image would win a voucher from the centre management and the member of the public who wrote the winning voting slip, would also get a voucher and a framed copy image of his choice.
I have been asked to take covering photos of the presentations. I'm OK with this but would like to see if any of you who had done similar had any specific advice. I have a variety of lenses that I can use, but the lighting is my main worry. It will be daytime in a good light area, but am undecided if I should use a flash in fill. I cannot use static lights because it is a high traffic area.
Any advice please ?
Thank you

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Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
26 Apr 2018 9:55PM
What is it about the light that makes you think you may need fill? Is it directional or harsh? Chances are if you are not sure, then you most likely don't need it. Pop over to the location and try a few test exposures...
Willpower 8 488 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2018 10:08PM
The light is directly from above, which means the faces will consequently be in shadow. So I'm thinking I will need some form of direct light on their faces. I'd have to clear an exploratory test with security,
Jestertheclown 10 7.9k 252 England
26 Apr 2018 10:34PM
I use fill flash all the time and I'd almost certainly want to use it in the circumstances that you describe.

Alternatively, you might try a reflector or two but dependent upon the types of shots you're taking, that might not be practical.

As Phil says, test shots should sort it out for you.
Willpower 8 488 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2018 10:42PM
Thanks Jester. I've got a Speedlight 580EXll which will do the job. But would you think mounted on the camera, or off camera on a cable would be better ? I could get an assistant to help me if required.
Jestertheclown 10 7.9k 252 England
26 Apr 2018 11:07PM
That might depend upon how much time you have to set up and take each shot and how creative you want to be.
Using the flash mounted on your camera will be easier and more convenient particularly if your assistant is your mate from down the pub who doesn't quite understand how directional light works!
It might also be a better idea if you've only got a short time to capture each shot.
Alternatively, using off camera flash with an assistant who's done it before should give you more pleasing results; ie. shadows can be made less severe and can be cast in a direction of your choosing. Also, a decent assistant can assist with directing the subjects.
It sounds as if you need to treat this as if it was a small wedding group and adjust the direction and power etc. of your flash accordingly.
Getting some test shots, preferably at about the same time of day and in similar lighting conditions will help but on the day, you'll just have to think on your feet.
Willpower 8 488 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2018 11:26PM
Much appreciated information. I steer clear of Wedding Photography like the plague, but am OK with this sort of thing. My assistant would be another photog from the club (minus camera) so we could probably make a decent job of it. Thanks for your help.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2053 United Kingdom
27 Apr 2018 7:46AM
I photograph this sort of event regularly, indoors and out, and always use fill flash. You cannot choose your time of day, generally you cannot choose your angle because other people are organizing things. Just that bit of extra light will bring faces to life as well as avoiding shadows.
Apart from that - fast shutter speed, I aim for no slower than 1/160 second, because people rarely stand still...
Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
27 Apr 2018 8:40AM

Quote:The light is directly from above, which means the faces will consequently be in shadow. So I'm thinking I will need some form of direct light on their faces. I'd have to clear an exploratory test with security,


Under those lighting conditions then some fill will be desirable. On camera will be fine as the best position for fill is as close to the camera axis as you can.
Remember that the ambient light sets your exposure and your fill should be a good one to two stops lower... if your ambient exposure is say 1/60th @ f5.6 then you need your flash exposure to be at f4, f3.5 or better dependant on your tests. Easiest way is probably to set your camera to manual exposure, meter for the ambient, then with the flash on ETTL dial is minus one to two stops flash exposure comp.
You may find it useful to add a modifier, really depends on how far from your subject you are, but not one of those stofen types, the best option is something like a Rogue flashbender, even so it will still be quite a small source.
I would urge you to have a word with security and carry out a couple of tests...

HTH
Willpower 8 488 United Kingdom
27 Apr 2018 1:19PM
Thank you both for your wisdom. The need for exposure compensation virtually follows my preconceptions. My flash sync speed is 1/250th so sharpness should not be a problem. I was just a bit concerned over the faces being in shadow as there was no horizontal light source. I acknowledge that fill in flash is the way forward and really appreciate everyone's help.
I will be visiting the location beforehand after clearing it with security.

Thank you
Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
27 Apr 2018 1:36PM

Quote: My flash sync speed is 1/250th

*Up to 1/250, you can use any speed up to that (higher if you use High Speed Synch)

It is important that the flash does not become the main source. Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO control the Ambient exposure which should be your main source, the flash exposure is controlled by aperture (and to an extent ISO).
Use either Manual Exposure or Aperture priority to establish your Ambient exposure, which could be say, 1/60th @ f5.6, you need the flash to expose something like 1 to 2 stops less i.e. minus 1 to 2 stops FEC using ETTL.
When testing the flash should not cast any shadow, its sole purpose is to fill the shadow areas without intruding...
Willpower 8 488 United Kingdom
27 Apr 2018 4:26PM
Thanks I always use manual and understand the exposure triangle and exposure compensation.
Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
27 Apr 2018 4:32PM

Quote:Thanks I always use manual and understand the exposure triangle and exposure compensation.

Trouble is one never knows the depth of anothers knowledge on forums like this, good luck with the event and enjoy...
29 Apr 2018 7:36PM
OK, if you have an assistant, set to manual. Underexpose the background by one stop. Get your assistant to hold a decent sized Lastolite reflector at 45 degrees above your camera and bounce the light off that, posssibly pop a Stofen or similar on the flash. Underexposing the background kills bright highlights on the hair, odd colour casts go darker, the foreground is lit by corrected light, you have less risk of reflections off glasses, and no worries about dark eye sockets.


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