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Thread: Strobist Speedlite Setup & Shoot Workflow?

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    Strobist Speedlite Setup & Shoot Workflow?

    Hi all,

    I've basically learned to use my off-camera flashes the hard way: trial and error. I have a process for trying to set up for a shoot somewhat quickly and professionally, but it still takes quite a while, so I was wondering if there was a faster or better way to set up my Speedlites for correct manual exposure.

    Basically, I set up the hardware first: softboxes on brackets attached to lighting stands, and camera on tripod if I'm shooting with one. I set up the flashes last to conserve batteries in the flashes and tranceivers, and after turning everything on, I put my Speedlites at half-power (more or less, taking into account ambient light), set my exposure manually on camera, and take a test shot. I then adjust things around and take another test shot... etc. etc. until I'm happy with the exposure.

    This can take quite a while. Is there a better way to estimate things to speed up my setup? Would it help if I got a light meter to trigger the flashes and measure the exposure?

    All advice appreciated!
    Last edited by ElectricImages; 02-04-2011 at 9:05am.
    --=3 In Veritas Lux E=--
    Bodies: Canon EOS 5D Mk II, Canon EOS 550D
    Lenses: EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
    Strobist: 2 x Speedlite 580EXII, 4 x Yongnuo RF-603 Radio Tranceivers, Yongnuo ST-E2 IR Transmitter
    3 x Manfrotto Light Stands, 2 x Softboxes, 2 x Bounce Brollies
    Tripod: Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT, PH-50 Panhead

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Buy a lightmeter and trigger your flash or multiple flashes one at a time with your trigger ( the yongnuo RF-602 units work perfectly in my experience ) to balance your lighting around your desired aperture.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    This can take quite a while. Is there a better way to estimate things to speed up my setup? Would it help if I got a light meter to trigger the flashes and measure the exposure?
    Honestly, experience speeds up your set up everything takes practice and getting used to

    its hard to give you a direct work flow as everyone does things differently. For example, I dont turn things off to save power, I leave my flashes and triggers on, they go to sleep when inactive, and I wake them up again when I press the shutter button. No need to manually go up to them to turn the on-off switch.

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    I'm much the same as Jackie...... I'm pretty brutal with my equipment... if I bust something getting a great shot then so be it. Have you not tried ETTL??? I use it a lot unless my cam is getting fooled somehow. Much quicker than buggerising around with lightmeters and testing... i just use a speed light and hand held diffuser a lot.
    www.paulmacphotography.com

    If it wasn't for physics and law enforcement I'd be un-stoppable!


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    Thanks everyone for your responses.

    I do have an ETTL (IR-based, rather than radio) transmitter as well; but I think shooting manual is ultimately going to provide the most control, so it's what I'm trying to master. XD

    Well, I'll keep working on perfecting my set-ups, and I'll consider getting a light meter to trigger and measure the flashes if it keeps feeling a bit "hit and miss"!

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    would it be easier if you tested one light at a time, instead of all at 1/2 then adjust?

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    Quote Originally Posted by reaction View Post
    would it be easier if you tested one light at a time, instead of all at 1/2 then adjust?
    Hmmm... I don't think so, as some areas will have additive illumination (e.g. where both the key light and fill light strike the subject) so i would have to try to figure out how much to underexpose the first light by, to account for any additional lights...

    But I'll give it a try that way and see. Nothing beats trial and error... except experience! XD

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