Whats the best way to minimize back ground shadows

DncolemanDncoleman Posts: 8Member
edited February 2013 in D90/D7x00
I'm trying to minimize and preferably illiminate background shadows. Will moving the flash from on top of the camera and using a side mount help? I have an sb700
Speedlight and nikon d7000.
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Comments

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Need some more info please. 1)What is your distant to your subject? What is the setting like...ie indoor or out door shot?
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Shoot flash into an umbrella mounted 2 feet over the camera...brings a soft shadow down behind the subject and gives subject a "glamour light"
    Msmoto, mod
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,098Member
    edited February 2013
    Great tip @Msmoto. Any tips for use when you have two flashes, and use the built in as a commander? I often run into this, but don't use flash that way often. I normally just use flash as a fill light. BTW I have one light stand w/umbrella, but one flash has to run as is.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • DncolemanDncoleman Posts: 8Member
    Golf007, i set up a 2 light strobe kit umbrella and box with sb700 flash. Usually within 6ft i guestimated the distance. Is there a definite distance i should set it up. The shots were indoors
  • DncolemanDncoleman Posts: 8Member
    Shoot flash into an umbrella mounted 2 feet over the camera...brings a soft shadow down behind the subject and gives subject a "glamour light"
    Msmoto, Should i set the umbrella straight behind the camera, basically behind but above me
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @Dncoleman: msmoto gave a great recommendation/procedure.

    Now what are your photographing? Is it a person, an object? What is the size of the object? What lens are you using in taking the shot (this will help determine the DOF and f-stop)? If possible can you post a shot you have taken so we can see the setup, thus be able to give you better direction on the best solution. Thx.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • DncolemanDncoleman Posts: 8Member
    My complete set up is 2 light strobe kit, and sb700 speedlight. The first setting i had the umbrella beside me leveled with the camera and the box strobe parallel to the subject. My speed light was on top of the camera. I was getting a shadow always to the right of the subject.
  • DncolemanDncoleman Posts: 8Member
    edited February 2013
    Golf007,
    I'm photographing people head shots and head and torso. Mostly sitting in a chair or on a stool. I also used a white sheet with a black sheet behind it as my back drop
    Post edited by Dncoleman on
  • DncolemanDncoleman Posts: 8Member
    I apologize for the separate posts. This is my first interaction in any forum. I'm using a nikkor 18-200 3.5-5.6 lens
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Thanks for the info. Now what angle are the shadows showing up in your portrait shot? Have you properly metered the strobe's for the proper power output for the background? What are those setting? What f-stop are you taking the shots at?

    Have a look at these images by our member Rifqi and tell us if this is what you are trying to accomplish when looking at his sets of photo's.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rifqidahlgren/

    Pick one or a few photo's that comes close to what you are trying to do.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • DncolemanDncoleman Posts: 8Member
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rifqidahlgren/8215071088/in/photostream
    Like these. Pretty much most of those. However with the selected pic the shadow would be on the wall in the back ground behind her right ear. Basically giving the hair and neckline in the shadow
  • DncolemanDncoleman Posts: 8Member
    Should i get a third light ia a backlight? Or will the 2 lights plus the speedlight suffice with proper positioning?
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @Dncoleman I think you have the right amount of gear. Did you happen to read the setup that Rifqi stated regarding the photo you picked:

    "LP160 in umbrella from camera left. LP160 with small softbox from behind and camera right. YN560 on white bed sheet for background. There's also a silver reflector just out of frame in the lower right corner to provide some fill."
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited February 2013
    Two lights plus speedlights is fine. You can actually do this with just one light. Having too many lights if they're not necessary just creates confusion.

    With two lights try:
    - Set the main light (umbrella) close as possible to the subject. Start at a 45 angle, light higher than the subject
    - Use a reflector to fill in shadows on the subject (just use a big white cardboard if you don't have one)
    - Use the 2nd light (or speedlight) positioned behind the subject to light the background

    With just one light try:
    - Increase the distance between the subject and the background, so the shadows fall to side or to the ground instead of on the background
    - Setup the main light higher than the subject as before, but you'll likely need to increase the light-to-subject distance
    - This may be counter-intuitive: the further away the main light is from the subject, the lighter the background will appear -- due to "inverse square law". So try different light-to-subject and subject-to-background distances.



    Post edited by Ade on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    all you really need is your nikon flash and a reflector. Don't point the flash directly at the subject just point the flash at a reflector (the larger the reflector the softer the effect) somewhere behind your left or right shoulder..
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • ElvisheferElvishefer Posts: 329Member
    I think you will get the best results from moving your subject away from the sheet you have hanging behind them.

    It's easy to underestimate the space typically available in a studio environment when setting something up for a strobist shoot in your home or w/e.

    The further away your subject is from your backdrop, the lower your light source can be relative to your subject (to a point).

    If your problem still isn't solved, bouncing, diffusing the light, moving the light extremely close to the subject can help as outlined in other posts above.
    D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 200mm f/4 Micro, 105mm f/2.8 VRII Micro, 35mm f/1.8, 2xSB900, 1xSB910, R1C1, RRS Support...

    ... And no time to use them.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited February 2013
    To reduce shadows you need to soften the light
    The bigger the light source and the closer it is to the subject, the softer the light
    The closer the light source is to the camera the less shadow
    the simple way to soften a flash, is to bounce it off ( or through) an umbrella, the bigger the better
    http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-westcott-220cm-7ft-parabolic-umbrella-speedlite-kit-silver-black/p1531379

    I was taught
    one soft "modeling light" at ~30 degrees
    one soft "fill light" close to the camera
    then if you like, add a back light and may be high light
    ( this is may be old fashioned these days, I was taught a long time ago )

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    The "on camera, built in" flash can be covered with a small white translucent piece which I though came with some of these in the old days. This will then trigger the main unit and not be much of an influence. As sevencrossing has stated, bigger is softer.

    I recently bounced one Elinchrom 400 ws strobe into a white panel about five by seven feet, and this was immediately to camera left. The light hit the bounce screen about three feet above eye-level of the subject. On the camera right, directly in line with the subject, a four foot silver reflector.

    The result: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fantinesfotos/8492526961/in/photostream/

    In reality, one must decide on what the effect is one wants in the final image. Then light accordingly. And, a photo course on lighting at a technical school or workshop is most likely the way to learn this.
    Msmoto, mod
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    +1 on Ade - exactly what I would do.
    Ideas to try:
    Main flash - place front off 45deg from center and 2 ft above pointing down. Shoot through umbrella/brolly/box. Place flash only an arms length (2-4ft) away from subject. 2nd flash behind or off to the side of subject to blast out the background. That will get rid of shadows.

    @Dncoleman - Sounds like 1. you are over powering everything (start at 1/16th then move up if needed) and 2. Your flashes are too far away. The Further you are from your subject the harder the light is, and more shadows will appear. Take the flash off your camera for sure. It's never the most pleasing light.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    @Dncoleman can you post an example of your "shadow" pictures?
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Rifqi most likely used an umbrella, to the left, above camera about two feet, a second small bounced light on the right for the slight fill, this being behind he subject about two feet and two feet to the right, and a third light on the background.

    Actually, my guess was close..he describes the lighting on Flickr.
    Msmoto, mod
  • Benji2505Benji2505 Posts: 517Member
    you can also move the talent forward, e.g. away from the background.
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    edited February 2013
    `My best answer to the original question is......the best lighting "expert" in the world can not hope to "explain lighting" in a paragraph, ( or even in a page, or even in a whole chapter; ) there's just toooooo much to explain, and too much to understand.

    My best advice is.......you need to study a really good, up to date book by a real expert, on the subject; one of the best I have ever read , ( and I constantly refer to it all the time ), is "Lighting for Digital Photography", by Syl Arena He answers your question very nicely in the first chapter.

    Many people think photography is about taking pictures of subjects with cameras; obviously, that's a big part of it, but if you have no light, you will have no pictures; so photography is ALL about light; and light is just like anything else......it has many characteristics; before you can even think about how you're going to make a picture, you need to have a basic understanding of the fundamental characteristics of light; !. it's direction, 2. it's intensity, 3. it's color, 4. It's contrast, 5. and it's hardness
    It's really as simple as walking across a room; it may be 20, 30, or even 100 steps to the other side of the room, but you will always have to start with the first one. Taking pictures is the same way.

    I really like Syl Arena's book, mainly because I like Syl Arena ! He's a great guy; he's very easy to understand, and he's as good a teacher for a beginner as he is for a working pro; as far as people on NRF is concerned, Syl only has one minor drawback; he's a Canon shooter; he uses Canon camera bodies, and Canon speed lights; that hasn't been a "biggie" for me though, as I already have another by a fellow who is very Nikon specific; his book is great too, but I have learned enough from both of them, that I wouldn't want to be without either one; Let's face it;........you still have to understand light, regardless of what brand of camera you use.

    His explanations of basic lighting gear needed, and his advice about brand names, etc is well worth five times what I have in the book.
    Post edited by Gitzo on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,200Moderator
    @Gitzo: "as far as people on NRF is concerned, Syl only has one minor drawback; he's a Canon shooter; he uses Canon camera bodies, and Canon speed lights"

    I think you need to complete your recommendation with how much of what is written in Syl Arena's book is specific to Canon equipment? Otherwise people with CLS just turn off.
    Always learning.
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    @spraynpray

    We're talking about two different things at the same time here; the "OP" was asking about "how to do something"; (concerning lighting for portraits) It really doesn't make ANY difference WHAT brand of camera you use to take a picture, they are ALL quite capable of doing an excellent job, as I'm sure you will agree; what DOES make a LOT of difference in the pictures that one takes though, is how skillfully you light your subject. I have read many books about lighting, and about every other aspect of photography. 90% of the people who write books know "what" they're talking about; many of them are excellent photographers; but not everyone is an excellent teacher; I happen to think Syl Arena IS an excellent teacher; I didn't buy his book to see what kind of camera he recommends one uses; I bought it because I thought I might find out things that I hadn't already found in other books on the same subject; I was very pleased that I DID just that. I seriously doubt that anyone interested in lighting, who reads Syl Arena's book, will be the slightest bit disappointed because he mentions that he uses Canon bodies and speed lights;

    Now....for anyone who uses Nikon cameras, and needs detailed information relative to Nikon's SB-600, 700, 800, 900, and SB 910......Mike Hagen's excellent book, "Nikon Creative Lighting" does exactly that; but if the overall desire was learning more about lighting technique, I would STILL buy (and study diligently) Syl Arena's book.

    Quite frankly, when you get right down to it, when it comes to lighting, as I'm sure most already know, using speed lights is not always the best way to go; people who are interested in video are more interested in continuous lighting; ( which neither Nikon OR Canon makes the equipment for ). Again, it's ALL in the book!
    People who do mostly studio work mostly use strobes and various other "less than portable" equipment.
    A few people (who may be "getting on" in years) may be experiencing a bit of difficulty looking through the view finders of today's D-SLRs, and even seeing the LCDs in bright light; ( or maybe I'm the only one ) I have been seeking a good solution to that problem ever since I stopped shooting film; Syl Arena even had a solution for that in his book ! ( BTW.....in case anyone is wondering........I have NO connection what ever with Syl Arena; I merely think many people can profit from his knowledge.
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