Beginner Flash/lighting help.

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#1
Hi All.

Just bought a water droplet/sound trigger, it should arrive in the next week or so.

ive never ever tried flash type work

and I'm going to need light, some type of flash ect, i have a Nikon sb600 (thinking of investing in a godox, something like this but ill do my homework.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Godox-V8...=item2ccacfdcf2:g:56AAAOSwCJxaRKBK:rk:20:pf:0 (maybe not this exact one but something in the ball park.)

Just looking for advice on anything else i should look for/need and also some starting tips/pointers to get me going?
 
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Steven
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#2
You're probably going to want 2-3 speedlights very close to the water drops, set at a very low power (i.e. 1/64), and in a very dark environment; I would start by adding just one. The V860II has optical slave mode which should be sufficient for syncing it with the triggered flash. The SB600 does not have optical slave nor a sync port. You'll probably need some kind of hotshoe connector to hook it to the trigger.
The V860II LiIon is a great flash, especially for the money.

But you probably should start with just the SB600 w/ some reflectors and go from there...
 
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scott199
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#3
If ended up buying the v860n as above, been looking for ages and putting it off, but bit the bullet and ordered it today.

Any other bits or advice ?
 
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#4
Keep your poweroutput as low as possible to reach the shortest possible flashduration.
 
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#5
If ended up buying the v860n as above, been looking for ages and putting it off, but bit the bullet and ordered it today.

Any other bits or advice ?
You're looking to use the speed of light to freeze the motion... I.e. you need the lights close so they can be at a low power and not on for very long at all... and you need a dark environment so that there is no light to contaminate the exposure. If you do not have enough light at a low power then you need to add more lights at the same low power, not more(longer) light from the one source.

There is a balancing act here... maybe 1/4 power would be fast enough, or maybe it would require minimum power (1/128). I think generally 1/16th is probably a good starting point.
 
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#6
I'm about to embark upon a similar venture....I'm building my own Arduino based drop controller however, but the techniques will be the same.

I've photographed a lot of manual water drops over the last year or so, and have found that it isn't strictly necessary to have a completely darkened room.
It is perhaps preferable to do so, but as I'm a clumsy oaf, I choose to set up a different way....with the light on!

If you set your camera at it's max sync speed (1/250th for Nikon D500), ISO at 100 and aperture of f8 or smaller, the ambient light in the room should be practically eliminated.
Even at lower powers, the flash should be plenty to overpower all the light in the room....providing you don't have dozens of lights on of course!
Certainly a single light is fine, and helps with finding your way around the room....and not spilling anything....and yes I know this from experience!:D
Plus, with manually timed shots, one really does need to see the splashes, which is the main reason why I do it this way for the present time at least.
(Maybe I'll try the dark room method when I'm automated, and there is less likelihood of spilling something!)

As flash duration is way, way shorter than your flash sync speed (at lower flash powers), you might as well use max sync speed, as it's the flash that freezes the motion, and the high(ish) shutter speed that's eliminating the ambient light. It's a matter of trial and error in timing your shots.

I'll be programming my Ardiuno controller to trigger the camera shutter (and thence the flashes via radio triggers), rather than the flash alone, and I should be able to compensate for any shutter lag....something you'll be able to do more easily than me I would think.

One thing I will be getting is a diffuser sheet - a sheet of frosted acrylic or similar (in fact I'm getting this tomorrow) and place one or two flashes behind it, pointing towards the splash....it gives a nice diffuse glow to your backgrounds, and I'll be adding gels for some nice coloured effects too.

Of course, these are just my own personal opinions and findings, I'm sure there's plenty of different opinions/techniques, all as valid as the next.
Best of luck, look forward to seeing your splash collisions....they're fascinating.:)
 
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#7
I'll be programming my Ardiuno controller to trigger the camera shutter (and thence the flashes via radio triggers), rather than the flash alone, and I should be able to compensate for any shutter lag....something you'll be able to do more easily than me I would think.
If it were me, I would set up using a light that could be turned off from that location and I would use the trigger to fire the flashes. That way there is only the requirement to sync/trigger one thing. In a dark environment the SS is irrelevant... simply set the camera to bulb and open the shutter before beginning the shot/sequence.
 
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#8
If it were me, I would set up using a light that could be turned off from that location and I would use the trigger to fire the flashes. That way there is only the requirement to sync/trigger one thing. In a dark environment the SS is irrelevant... simply set the camera to bulb and open the shutter before beginning the shot/sequence.
Fair enough Steven, each to their own. :)

With respect, however, in a room where daylight cannot be eliminated (such as mine) one therefore must shoot after dark, unless one has thick, blackout curtains or blinds etc....which I don't.
I prefer the flexibility of being able to shoot during the day as well.
 
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scott199
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#9
Flash turned up yesterday and Pluto trigger/drop valve today. (Not tried Pluto yet)

I’ve instantly found out I know diddly squat about flash photography, I know even less that I thought, which was nothing :)

I’m not going to sit here expecting you guys to teach me the basics, but do you have any good guides/online free reading or YouTube vids you could recommend ??
 
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#10
Flash turned up yesterday and Pluto trigger/drop valve today. (Not tried Pluto yet)

I’ve instantly found out I know diddly squat about flash photography, I know even less that I thought, which was nothing :)

I’m not going to sit here expecting you guys to teach me the basics, but do you have any good guides/online free reading or YouTube vids you could recommend ??
Until recently, at this point there would be several recommendations for Syl Arens's excellent book, the Speedliter's Handbook. It's probably the best practical book on how to get the best from a bunch of speedlights that's ever been produced - comprehensive, clearly written and well illustrated, and takes you pretty much from A to Z. It's now out of print, and because this technology moves fast, it's out of date as far as the latest gear like Godox is concerned.

The author suffered a serious brain aneurysm a couple of years ago and has since retired his hectic workshops and writing career, so it may not be updated any time soon. But actually, that doesn't matter much at all. What's changed is that the technology has got a lot easier, cheaper and smarter, but flash guns still do the same job in exactly the same way, and the principles of lighting and the techniques and light modifiers we use have not changed at all. Used copies are still available on Amazon etc from around £20 :)
 
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#11
I'll have to go with Richards suggestion...
I haven't owned/read any of the books that are most often recommended... I did buy a Joe McNally book once, which I found to be pretty useless. I also don't know of any great online resources particular to high speed trap photography, but I imagine there must be at least one.
Sorry I can't be of any help...
 
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#12
Thank you for the recommendation, I’m not a massive book fan, but saying that I’ll go with your advice and Sw if I can find a used copy.

Seems to be two schools of thought when you tubers do flash tutorial and they seem to be.
This is how it turns on, this is power up/down put it to close and it will look bad, to far and it won’t work
Or
Really advanced multi flash tutorials.
 
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#13
Thank you for the recommendation, I’m not a massive book fan, but saying that I’ll go with your advice and Sw if I can find a used copy.

Seems to be two schools of thought when you tubers do flash tutorial and they seem to be.
This is how it turns on, this is power up/down put it to close and it will look bad, to far and it won’t work
Or
Really advanced multi flash tutorials.
Get stuck in :) A bit of knowledge of how light works and practise with flash will transform all aspects of your photography (y)

A few fundamentals that I wish I'd known from the start.
- The larger the light source, the softer the shadows. And size is relative to distance, so if you move a softbox back the shadows become harder and vice versa.
- Brightness reduces with distance more than you think. It broadly follows the Inverse Square Law that says double the distance means quarter the brightness. Eg, in a simple portrait against a white background, the background will come out grey.
- Light bounces off a surface at the same angle it strikes, like a snooker ball off the cushion. Handy to know when positioning reflectors, or avoiding reflections off glasses etc.

It's also worth remembering that there is only one sun and it casts one set of shadows. Using multiple light sources can create a mess of conflicting shadows unless handled carefully and usually less is more with lighting. So a good starting point is:
- One light per purpose. And often just one light is all you need for a portrait say, but with multiple lights each one should have a clear function. Eg, one light on the face, another for the background, perhaps a third 'accent' light to put a sheen on the hair, but the more lights you have the harder it becomes to stop them overlapping and conflicting with each other.
 
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scott199
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#14
Get stuck in :) A bit of knowledge of how light works and practise with flash will transform all aspects of your photography (y)

A few fundamentals that I wish I'd known from the start.
- The larger the light source, the softer the shadows. And size is relative to distance, so if you move a softbox back the shadows become harder and vice versa.
- Brightness reduces with distance more than you think. It broadly follows the Inverse Square Law that says double the distance means quarter the brightness. Eg, in a simple portrait against a white background, the background will come out grey.
- Light bounces off a surface at the same angle it strikes, like a snooker ball off the cushion. Handy to know when positioning reflectors, or avoiding reflections off glasses etc.

It's also worth remembering that there is only one sun and it casts one set of shadows. Using multiple light sources can create a mess of conflicting shadows unless handled carefully and usually less is more with lighting. So a good starting point is:
- One light per purpose. And often just one light is all you need for a portrait say, but with multiple lights each one should have a clear function. Eg, one light on the face, another for the background, perhaps a third 'accent' light to put a sheen on the hair, but the more lights you have the harder it becomes to stop them overlapping and conflicting with each other.
cheers, very happy with that, thank you.
 
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#15
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#17
Yes, though personally I'd sell the Nikon and replace with Godox.
I did think that and probably will one day, or maybe add another and keep the Nikon as a 3rd/back-up
 
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scott199
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#20
what kind of water droplet / sound trigger do you have ?
i would like to try this myself
Hi mate, went with a Pluto trigger and droplet valve, not tested yet, I’ll put something in here when I’ve tried it

If you want something Nikon specific have a look at this YouTube tutorial - actually made for Nikon - www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYyxwvj-RPs


It goes through the basics as well as how to work with and get the best out of the Nikon CLS
Thank you, quick look and it looks in-depth, I’ll watch it all in a bit
 
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