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Pim de Klerk:
Hi Hayo,

Just searching the easiest way out: ask you... ;-)

Well, I am unsatisfied with the results of my flashlight, especially for theatre-photography, and I am searching for some documentation to help me.
Can you perhaps recommend some literature, or a Website, or whatever that may help me?

Camera: Nikon D5000
Flashlight: Nissin Di622

groetjes aan Maartje,
Ben alweer zo lang van plan jullie weer eens te mailen, misschien komt het er ooit nog van...

Hayo Baan:
Hello Pim,

What is it you specifically want to know or have trouble with?
Can you show me an example (include details such as distance to subject, ceiling height and colour, etc.). This will help me answering your question.


PS In case it helps, you can download the PDF of the manual from the manufacturer's website.

Pim de Klerk:
Well, it is not really a specific Problem... It is just so that I want to work somewhat more creatively with my flash, but do not have sufficient knowledge... Handbooks and manuals explain which buttons to press, but not more. So I am looking for some specific literature that can help me further, especially on the topic of theatre photography...

The photos of the performance last week are here:
and here:

part of the "problem" will be that my flashlight is not really suitable for large halls...

Hayo Baan:
Hi Pim,

Ah, your images give me a lot of info already. Enough to at least give you some advice.

Some findings based on your images:

* First off, most images look way too dark — This could be because the camera is metering incorrectly (change metering method/spot and/or use exposure compensation). I don't think metering is your main issue though, it is more likely you are either using TTL-BL (though after glimpsing through the manual, I'm not sure your flash even has that mode) or that the flash simply is not powerful enough to light the subject properly (e.g., you are too far away).
* The subjects are not evenly lit — This is a natural phenomenon with flash; over twice the distance, only a quarter of the light remains. The only way to get more even light is to either use more flashes (each lighting only part of the subjects), or by lowering the relative distance of the subjects compared to the flash (i.e., moving your flash farther away, either literally or by shooting indirectly e.g., via a white ceiling). The problem with this latter solution, of course, is that the power of the flash is likely not going to be able to cover the greater distance (see first point…).
Most (if not all) stage photography is actually done without flash. So my advice would be to really not use flash during performances at all. Apart from the fact it is pretty hard to get proper lighting to begin with (certainly with only one flash), flash also kills the mood generated by the lighting on-stage. A mood you (generally) want to keep alive…

Sample of a situation where you don't want to kill the mood using flash:

f/2.8, 1/200", ISO200

Once you have decided not to use flash (on-stage), you are in for some new challenges though. To get good shots under low light conditions you need a combination of wide apertures and/or high ISOs. You'll want to use fast lenses – f/2.8 or faster are preferable – a good (and cheap) option is a 50mm f/1.8 lens, if you don't already own it.

Right, but even though you may not be using flash on-stage any longer, there is still a lot to learn about flash. After you have gotten the grips with the (technical) workings of your flash, this (mostly) comes down to experimenting (there is simply no recipe that works in every situation). A good starting point would, of course, be my own nikon flash workshop (shameless self-plug  ;D), but there are also lots of good books on flash photography as well, of course (though perhaps these are mostly biased towards studio flash photography). I don't have a particular title for you here, but I'm sure that looking through a book in e.g., a book store will give you a good idea if it is what you are looking for.

Hope this helps a bit,


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