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Thread: Help with Speedlight settings for a 580EX11

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    Help with Speedlight settings for a 580EX11

    Guys, Hopefully someone will be able to help me a bit.
    I have been asked to take some shots at a wedding on Saturday for a friend, now thats not a problem. My problem is I didn't own a speedlight at all so a friend of mine has lent me a 580EX11 and I have no idea what settings I should have it set on.
    Are there any AP members using on of these that could give me a few tips on the settings.
    It would be much appreciated.
    Thanks guys & gals
    Cheers Peter
    Canon 7D...Canon 40D...Canon 24-70L 2.8...Canon 70-200L 2.8...Canon 17-85...Canon 50mm...Speedlights....Tripods...Filters... Battery grips.... And heaps of other stuff


    There are always two people in every picture.. the photographer and the viewer.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Are you a mug with a flashgun? I know I am, so maybe this will help ..... It's my home-grown mug's guide to flash.


    Basics:
    • Set the camera for MANUAL exposure. The FLASH is going to figure out the correct exposure, not the camera.
    • Use a reasonably high ISO so that that you aren't asking the flash to work too hard. 400 is is a good starting point. Go to 200 if you seem to have plenty of light.
    • Use reasonably wide apertures for the same reason.
    • Keep the shuttter speed up: 1/200th I think is the max a 40D will use with flash under normal circumstances, that's a good value.
    • Make sure that the flash is set for ETTL - i.e., the most advanced and smartest version of the various auto-flash systems. The flash will figure out for itself how much light it needs to throw to give you a correct exposure.


    Try to avoid direct flash
    • point the flash up at the ceiling, over your shoulder at a wall, anywhere except straight at the subject. Depending on the room, the distance to the subject, the ambient lighting, and your ISO and aperture settings, you'd be surprised how much light you can throw on a subject by bouncing the flash off walls/ceiling/whatever. Usually more than enough. And the softer, more natural look it gives the pictures can't be replaced.
    • Where you can't (or don't want to) bounce the flash, use a diffuser. There is a slide-out diffuser built into the 580EX II - a translucent whitish rectangle of plastic. Use that.
    • Better, use the other rectangle, the plain white opaque one. Slide it out so that it is horizontal. Now, tilt the flash so that it points roughly straight up. Enough light will reflect off the white card to expose your scene. No ugly shadows. Works quite well. Can be used in combination with ceiling bounce.
    • Better still, use a diffuser. As I said, I'm a mug with flash, but I reckon you could do worse than visit this site: http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/ and learn a bit from this guy.


    The finer touches:
    • Always remember that you have TWO light sources now - ambient light and flash. With ordinary (non flash) photography, you normally set the camera to figure out the correct exposure (via aperture priority or shutter prioriity automatic exposure), and you adjust the overall brightness of the final image by adding or subtracting exposure compensation. But with flash photography, you have TWO DIFFERENT things to adjust.
    • If you want more or less flash, you adjust the flash exposure compensation (FEC) up or down. +ve FEC will make the foreground subject brighter for more punch. -ive FEC will make the foreground subject darker for a more natural look. Neither has much effect on the background (because the background is probably too far away from the flash gun to get much light from it).
    • If you want the backgound lighter, let more natural light in by opening up your aperture (or increasing ISO, or using a slower shutter speed). This WILL NOT ALTER your overall exposure because the flash gun will automatically reduce its output to maintain correct exposure of the main subject. If the background is too bright, stop down a bit (or increase shutter speed or lower the ISO). Again, the subject exposure remains the same because the flash takes care of that: only the background changes.
    • Those two rules again: to alter OVERALL exposure of your subject, use flash exposure compensation (FEC). To alter the foreground/background exposure balance, let more light into the camera with aperture or ISO or shutter speed.


    One last word: practice! Practice on your family, your cat, anything, but practice using te flash before atend do the wedding.
    Last edited by Tannin; 22-04-2009 at 9:15pm. Reason: brainfade!
    Tony

    ‘Let's eat Grandma.’ Commas save lives!

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Oh, one other thing. You can set most of the important flash settings on the camera, which is easier, especially if you are not familiar with the flash controls.

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    Thank you Tony for that information. That is a great help to me as well.

    Di
    ........................................

    Di

    Canon 50D, Canon 17-85, 50mm 1.8, Speedlite 580EX11
    "You have to make the most of the chances that come your way. "

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    Tannin.
    I cant thank you enough for the tips you have given me. I'm sure by Sat I will hopefully have a good idea what I am doing with it.
    Oh yea, the dog wont come near me anymore cause she has sore eyes, the cats jumped the fence,and the wife says that if I take another shot of her, she'll kill me Oh the joys of learning a new toy.

    Thanks again Tannin
    Last edited by bigbikes; 22-04-2009 at 9:19pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbikes View Post
    you said to set it on TTL-2, well when I press the mode button I am only able to find ETTL. Have I missed something???
    Yup. You have completely missed out on realising that Tannin is a vague old bugger at the best of times and that ETTL is what he was actually thinking of in the first place! I have now edited my post to fix that.

    Hmmmm ... easy enough to get a new dog; stray cats turn up all the time if you don't chase them away .... how do you feel about staying married?

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    Tony you had me worried for a minute. When I read your post the first time Im sure it said TTL2, but the after I replied to you and re read your post it said ETTL. I thought I was going a bit crazy to many late nights I think.
    But again thanks for the great tip.
    There much appreciated.

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    Am buying one of these with my KRudd money hopefully so very interested in your views Tony, thank you.
    Michael.

    Camera: Canon EOS 400D w/ Battery Grip (BG-E3)
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    Mate, the only thing I use my 580EX II for is bird photography, and that only when natural lighting is impossible. For that task, I never use a diffuser or bounce flash, but mostly use the opposite, a Better Beamer to concentrate the beam to get the reach I need to use high-speed flash at ~1/1000th of a second with a 500mm lens. To avoid the startled rabbit "flash look", I use an off-camera bracket mounted to my tipod head, which holds the flash up about 600mm above the camera and slightly of to one side. (And becase of parallax, makes aiming the damn thing at the same spot the lens is aiming at a perennial issue.)

    What we want to see here is someone who actually uses a flash for indoor people-events. I'm just spouting the theory.

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    Well if all goes well on Saturday I'll post a couple for you to see. Seems to be working fine from what advice you gave me, so I'll see what happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamalnic View Post
    Thank you Tony for that information. That is a great help to me as well.

    Di
    Ditto - looking to buy a flash soon and this will be invaluable.
    Odille

    “Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky”

    My Blog | Canon 1DsMkII | 60D | Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AF AT-X PRO | EF50mm f/1.8| Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM | Fujifilm X-T1 & X-M1 | Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XC 50-230mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS | tripods, flashes, filters etc ||

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