Speedlite and proper exposure? (2 for CC)

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sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106
Speedlite and proper exposure? (2 for CC)

I've been getting a bit frustrated lately with exposing properly using my speedlite. BTW Is it spelled speedlite or speedlight? I've always used speedlite since that's how the canon one is spellled. Anyway, I usually just set my ISO, Aperture and shutter speed (usually ss 1/60 or 1/80). There's no way I can use the meter to expose. It always says it's underexposed. Until I take the picture, then I adjust accordingly. It's kind of frustrating though. I never know what's "right". I have little to no natural light coming in my house because the layout to it is dumb and it's so dark here during winter anyway! So it will always say I'm underexposing. Then I go online and read about exposure and spot metering and to meter off my subject and go from there (but I'm guessing this is for natural light only right? and how in the world do you NOT overexpose the background when doing that? I can't imagine having to use the brush in ACR for every picture that has an overexposed background!) But if I do that with the speedlite I get a really overexposed picture or overexposed background. I'm going to be ordering a book on how to use the speedlite but for now I've just been reading stuff online. I only have the 430ex. I'm still learning about exposure and metering and all that stuff though. Sometimes shots look "ok" but I always have to adjust the exposure in ACR even though my settings are ok.

Ok this one I took last night. Settings are below. I increased my ISO thinking it would help but I get lots of noise and I used noiseware on this picture so it's not that big of a deal but I don't like to use noiseware all the time. This picture looks "ok" to me but I still feel like it could be brighter. Maybe it's just me though. But if I increase the exposure in ACR even more the background gets blown. Maybe I should have bounced the speedlite somewhere else? In this one it was pointed towards the wall on the right. I hope someone here knows what I'm talking about. If not then please CC the following picture! It's just a snap of my son. He was coloring and looked so cute and serious Smile I tried cropping the box of crayons out but it just looked weird to me. Can try it again though. And this speedlite issue of mine was frustrating me yesterday and I didn't bother posting my letter D photo. So here it is SOOC, resized, sharpened for web. Thanks!

ISO 1250, f/3.2, SS 1/80 (30mm 1.4 lens)

Mikael coloring Smile by loidaeg, on Flickr

the only dinosaur toy I had laying around Blum 3 according to ACR the white part of the bone is blown. ISO 800, f/6.3, SS (1/60)

D is for... by loidaeg, on Flickr

Jeffininer's picture
Joined: 11/07/07
Posts: 1796

No advice, but I'm watching to see if anyone else does.

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

Do my pictures look properly exposed to you though? Or underexposed?

moosie's picture
Joined: 03/28/05
Posts: 192

I'm on my phone :0)
Btw I always write speedlite.. I use canon

I was told the speedlite can't shoot slower than 1/200
I have no idea about that though or if that matters

But when I was shown an example no matter what shutter he set the camera to
It always use 1/200 or 1/250. ???

But I did learn a new trick when bouncing it
To use black foam from the craft store to make a flag so that your
Subject only gets bounced light and not any stray light

Joined: 04/23/06
Posts: 485

I think your pics look proper, but yes the bone is blown slightly.

I have an old old speedlight that someone gave me, and I've got no clue how to adjust my settings, so I'm hoping to learn something too! Wink

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Oh, I am getting so incredibly frustrated with my speedlite as well. I cannot for the life of me figure out the darn thing. Your photos look so much better than mine do. I have the 430exII. I don't know what in the world I'm doing wrong with it. They always come out very yellow looking and underexposed.

To me, your photos look properly exposed.

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

thanks everyone...

marcie... (now someone correct me if i'm wrong) but I believe anything around (1/60) to (1/80) or something like this is called dragging the shutter. Why wouldn't it be able to go under (1/200)? I mean the flash freezes motion? I've always done it this way with the speedlite. Boy I'll be kicking myself If I've been doing it wrong this whole time Sad I've seen others do the same though so now I'm confused. Hmm...And I've read about the black foam trick. I tried it once but I didn't like it. I might try it again. I like whatever I'm shooting to look as natural as possible.

now my question is....does a little blown part in the bone really matter much or is it something I should worry about? I mean, it's blown but it's such a small spot?

I just joined clickinmoms and I hope to get some answers to this whole speedlite thing soon Smile

Joined: 07/30/06
Posts: 835

I'm on my iphone too but exposure looks ok to me. Of course, being on phone wouldn't give a confident answer.

I have no idea about speedlites I'm afraid

jamie81's picture
Joined: 11/10/07
Posts: 164

I have NO clue when it comes to speedlites. I have an ancient one from my parents old camera. haha, still trying to figure it out.

However, the pictures looked properly exposed to me. And for the bone being blown...it doesn't bother me at all, it's such a small part of the picture, ya know?

sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6175

Ok, I am sooooo following this thread! I think your photo looks properly exposed. I think it's perfect! As for the dinosaur photo- the blown bone does not bother me whatsoever.

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

the funny thing is...I've had my speedlite for two years now and I'm still getting to know the darn thing Lol I never really bothered. To ME the first one looks properly exposed. As for the second one, I think the white balance is slightly off. I've been doing a bit of reading and from what I've read you pretty much just have to take a few test shots and adjust your settings from there. I have enabled Highlight Alert on my camera and after I take a few test shots, I look at the lcd screen and if it's blinking I adjust (decrease flash or ISO or some adjustment) and then take another test shot. I am also learning to read my histogram. I've always had an idea of how it works just never bothered to really learn it completely.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

Marcie....it's faster than 1/200...not slower, and it depends on the camera/speedlight. My 580 exII 5D mark II combo can synch faster than 1/200...but my xti can't.

They look great to me. Careful dragging the shutter when there is almost enough light to shoot without flash. You could get motion blur. Dragging the shutter (freezing motion) works best when it's too dark to get a proper exposure without the flash. The purpose of dragging the shutter is to allow more ambient light to expose the background in a more pleasing way.

moosie's picture
Joined: 03/28/05
Posts: 192

Thanks for clarifying that Amber :0) duh!

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

Amber! Was hoping you'd reply. Thanks! Smile That makes sense. I'll be careful with it from now on!

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Thanks Amber!! Sometimes all this lighting stuff really confuses me.

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

They look good to me too. Here is an interesting discussion I was just reading on dragging the shutter (or "slow sync"):

http://forums.photographyreview.com/showthread.php?t=16017

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

But Amber, if I do shoot without flash I'd have to set my ISO to about 1600 (the highest mine goes unless you count H which is 3200) and then the lowest I usually have the shutter speed is about 1/125 or 1/150, and at f2.8 or so depending on the lens I'm using of course. If I'm using my 28-75mm 2.8 lens then I usually have it around 3.2. But with those settings right there I get tons of noise (and even then my meter says it's underexposed and my histogram says it too) and I really hate that. So, when I use my speedlite, do I go ahead and expose for the light that's already in the room (which is the settings above because the lighting in here is really really bad even with all my lights on sometimes those settings aren't even enough!) and then turn on my speedlite? How do you go about metering when using a speedlite? I keep reading about "expose for ambient and then turn on flash to fill in shadows" but does that only apply to well lit rooms or dark rooms as well? In a dark room I'd really have to use a low shutter speed or a wide open ap. or something in order to have my meter right in the middle. I don't even know if that's possible with my camera and lenses I currently own. I think that's the part that confuses me. For me, my house is pretty dark thats why I set it to 1/60 to 1/80 usually. Sometimes 1/100. I'll have to do some test shots one of these days.

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

Amy, thanks for that link. It just confused me even more Lol it did help a bit though but this whole thing is confusing me. I'll do some more googling Blum 3

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

I've always drag my SS when I am using my speedlite. Here is a website I found that gives a quick summary with the basic of speedlite: http://nikonspling.blogspot.com/

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

I'm being confusing. No, you don't actually properly expose for the room...I just mean that if you could properly expose at say 1600 ISO, then be careful.

Hope that makes more sense. If the room is dark, like a bar, or outside at night, or your house with the lights off, you can drag shutter a lot. The more well lit the room is, the less you can drag that shutter.

On second glance...your settings are fine Loida. That's not dragging too much with a pretty much still subject and a 30mm lens. If your background is getting blown, up the strength of your flash and lower your ISO. You bounced in a perfect spot.

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

thanks Amber! Always appreciate your input Smile That makes a lot more sense!