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Shooting in Full Manual Mode Using a Light Meter

Lesson 11 from: Working with Speedlights in the Studio

Mark Wallace

Shooting in Full Manual Mode Using a Light Meter

Lesson 11 from: Working with Speedlights in the Studio

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

11. Shooting in Full Manual Mode Using a Light Meter

After exploring the limitations of ETTL metering and Exposure Compensation, we switch to full manual mode on both the camera and the speedlights. Mark explains how to meter and control everything.

Lesson Info

Shooting in Full Manual Mode Using a Light Meter

we're now ready to start shooting in full manual mode using a light meter. So, full manual mode, meaning the cameras in full manual mode and are flashes are in full manual mode and then we're figuring out the exposure, not with T. T. L. Mode, but by using a light meter. And so we've learned a few things in past sessions, we've learned how to control the ambient light by setting our shutter speed and R. I. S. O. And our aperture to just underexposed, we don't see anything in the studio and we have learned about sync speed and about how our shutter can only go to a certain shutter speed and why that is now, what we're gonna do is we're gonna put all that stuff together and learn how a light meter works, how to meet our light and then how to control our flashes using proprietary controls, like a cannon system. And my preference using something like pocket wizards to do everything with my fingers instead of using the remote control. So let's start putting this together one step at a time. ...

So right now what I have is I have my camera set to full manual mode at ISO 100 To hundreds of the shutters shutter speeds to hundreds of a second at F8. And so my flash is turned on but my transmitter is turned off. In other words, the flash is not gonna fire. In fact, I'm gonna turn, take this off the camera all together, it's just the camera, I'm gonna take a picture and when we look at this picture, it's going to come in to lightroom there it is. You can see it is just totally nothing, it's just black. So what I'm going to do now is I'm gonna take my transmitter and I'm going to put this on my camera. So my transmitter right now is set to t t l. It doesn't matter. The point is now I have a flash I take a picture, we look at that picture, it's gonna come in here. Here it is bam. Oh now we can see Theresa just fine. The difference between these two things is that one had a flash turn on and one did not. And what that means is the only thing our camera sees right now is the light from the flash. It doesn't see anything else. Now here's something that is sort of interesting and may be difficult to understand that the first but try to wrap your mind around this. So remember our flash fires when the curtain is totally open than the flash fires. So what we saw before was that the curtain is totally open when we're in normal sync speed, not high speed sync but normal sync speed, which means that the shutter is open for the entire time the flash turns on and turns off. And what that means is that our shutter does not matter to our flash at all because to the flash, the shutter doesn't even exist. It's all the way open when the flash turns on and turns off, so it's not impacting our flash exposure in any way, shape, form or fashion, it's like it's been removed from the camera. The shutter does not matter to our flash exposure because the shutter is all the way out of the way when the light comes through as opposed to ambient light. The shutter lets in the light for a certain duration of time. But for flash it doesn't to flash only fires. When the shutter is completely open, flash turns on the flash turns off and then the shutter closes so the shutter it just does not matter. So when we're metering light with a light meter, what we're really concerned with is what is the camera's aperture and what is the cameras esso? Because the flash does have to travel through the aperture opening if it's wide or closed. So the S. O. And the aperture will affect how much light comes in from our flash. So now that we know that let's start talking about a light meter. So I'm gonna take this light meter, we're gonna go over here to the super close up zone and I'm gonna put this on here, you can see a few things on this light meter. Now, all light meters have essentially the same kind of controls, You tell it what the shutter speed is, You tell it what the I. S. O. Value is, You set those two things shutter and I. S. O. And the flash is going to tell you what the aperture value is. So let's review that. So if I have a flash that's really powerful. Okay and uh I meet her that light. The meter sees how much light is coming. It's going to tell me for a proper exposure. You need to set your camera's aperture to F. 11 or F 4.5 or F 2.8. It's going to see how much light is coming from the flash and tell me what the proper value is for a proper exposure. And so you can do one of two things with a light meter. You can either just meet or the light and whatever the meter tells you set your camera to that and shoot away. That's probably not the best way to do it. Or what you can do is determined in your brain what aperture value you want to be shooting at. So I might say I would like to shoot Teresa at F 10 so I would meet her, The flash would fire and then I would look and the meter would say it's F 4.5, that means oh I need to increase the power of my flash. I turn the flash up meter again and maybe it says F eight. Ah I need a little bit more and I would just keep turning the flash up or down until the value matched what I want based on my artistic mental ability. So what I wanna do is shallow depth of field. I want to 80.8, Lots of depth of field, everything. And focus maybe F 10, F 16, whatever. So I get to determine what the flash is doing and I'll just meet her and say, is this bright? Is it not? And so I can set that appropriately. It's sort of like setting the temperature of the water in your bath. So if you want it really hot, you turn that on your like, is this hot enough? No u turn it up. Okay. And you're adjusting that until it's the temperature that you want. Not just turning it on and hopping in the bath and taking whatever temperature you get, it's probably not a good thing, you get burned. So, we don't want to do that. All right, so, we're gonna do this, we're going to set this camera, set this flash in full manual mode and then we're gonna meet her this light. So, first let me show you some stuff on the light meter itself. So, we have this really close, I want to show you some different modes of this light meter. And so, when we go in here, we have this little button up here and different meters have different ways to get to the different modes, but psychotic meters, which are probably the industry standard have similar modes. So, you look at this, this guy has tons of modes. So let me just show you the ones that count for what we're doing. So all the ones with the little lightning bolt, that means flash. So we have normal flash. And what this does is when you push this button over here, the meter waits for a flash to fire. When a flash does fire, it gives you the result of that meter reading. So we'll be using that to begin with. We have this mode here, which is multi hoops, go back over, we've got this here, which is multi metering mode. We've got this little see there. That's a metering mode that you can plug in a cable to connect to your your flash. What we're gonna be using is this guy down here with this little radio on there. And what that does is it allows us to trigger our pocket wizards from this flash from this meter itself. So we'll be using either this first one where we meet her, wait for a flash to fire, it tells us the result or when we use our pocket wizards will be using this mode where we can actually use these different channels. So you can see here this channel 20 and these different zones and so we can actually go into these settings. Go down here. Radio channel and so I can tell this to be on channel 20 I can tell it to turn on or off different zones. So you have a lot more control with the pocket wizard and this than you would with just using the canon or the go docks or Sony or whatever, but the choices you up to you and also so iconic has different modules for different flash systems and so you might be able to find a little module that controls your radio triggers for goX or for Ellen chrome or whatever. They have modules for that. So it's the choice is yours. So we're gonna be using first this mode right here, which is allowing us to trigger the flash. The flash fires this meter tells us the result. So let's do that. The other thing I'm gonna do is let me show you how I'm controlling the flashes themselves. So let me put this guy on the super close up zone so you can see this as well. Okay, so I have to do this around like that blue, blue, blue, can we focus there? Yeah. Okay, awesome. All right, so let's see if I can squeeze in here and see exactly what's going on. So now this cannon, it's very proprietary notice, I have my groups that we used before. And what I can do is I can go in here and I can set the group mode. So I've got this group and then I can go in there and change that either up or down using flash exposure compensation, but I can also change the mode see if I can see what that is. I can't see it is so close. Um Let me go back here and okay there we go mode. So Group A. Mode. So T. T. L. Manual and then these other modes that I said we wouldn't use. So to put group A. In manual mode we would just hit that group B. We could put it in manual mode. And then on the manual mode you see we have a scale from a quarter power to full power. So if I want to change the power of group A. I can go in here to group and then I can sort of flips and go into this power from group A. Plus or minus. Then I can take that up or down. So that's how we're going to control this flash. Full power, half power, quarter power. And so I'll be meeting the light and then if it needs to go down I'll take it down. It needs to go up I'll take it up. But I can do that with this control right there. So it's the same thing as controlling on the back of the flash. It's just a remote control on the camera itself. Okay now it seems really complicated. Let's put this into practice and actually show you how this works because once you do this a couple times it cannot really be any simpler. It's really fun. It's consistent. You don't have to worry about what the camera sees and you can control things very very specifically So what I'm gonna do here is I have group A and I'm going to change my group a power. I'm gonna change that group A power to full power. So I'm at full blast and then what I'm gonna do, so I'm gonna take this little thing and I'll do it back to the close up here. So this has a little button right here when I push that button to flash fires and so what I can do is I can put my meter up and tell it to take a meter reading. And then I'll push this button the flash of fire and it will tell me what the result is. So that's how that's working. Okay, I'm gonna go back over here, I'm going to tell my meter take a reading. So it's waiting for me right now. So I will put this underneath Teresa's chin, I will take that reading and that tells me that my meter reading is F nine, which is a little bit too hot. So I'll go in here and I will change that power. So when the teens that power down just a little bit, so group A and the meter reading, take that down just a little bit to about half power. Okay, now let's take a reading again and we're doing that Now it says seven So we can do that back and forth until I get it exactly where I want it. So I'm gonna take that up just a bit. I wanted to get this to F8, that's where I want this to be now, that says F. eight. Okay, so now that I've metered that I can take my camera, I can set it F and now let's take a photo and this should be all metered correctly. Everything is set correctly there, it is, so Teresa is metered correctly And so let me review, let me just go back through the steps here. So all I did is set my flash in manual mode and I have a remote control. I said in my brain I want this to meet her at F8. Then I set my flash to full power meter and my meter said, oh that's F 10 or whatever it was. So I knew that's too much light. So I changed my light so it lowered the power of that, I meet it again until it got to seven. Oh that's not enough power and I cranked it up a little bit so I kept moving the power up and down until they get it to eight. But now that it's F eight, I can shoot all day long and it's always gonna be at F eight no matter what I want. The other thing that's really cool is if I wanted to have a little skim of light here and I wanted it to be, maybe just a little touch of light, I know that I don't want it to be as bright as my key light. I don't want to be F eight, maybe I wanted to be 4. or 5.6. I can just dial that in until it's exactly there with my meter and then start shooting and it's never gonna change. So we're not using exposure compensation anymore, we're using our flash power to set how much light is coming out from our flashes. Okay, we're gonna do something a little bit different. I have a different system here that I think is a little bit easier to use. These are pocket wizards. So I'm again going to go over here to the super close up zone. I'm gonna show you how we're gonna hook these up. So what I'm gonna do here, so I'm gonna go over here and I'll have to do this hand held. So this is my flash and I need to plug in my pocket wizard to this flash. So there's support on the side, there's a little cable so I can just put this cable into this porch like that. Then I'm gonna take this flash and I don't want it to be in um in radio trigger mode anymore. I just wanted to be normal but I wanted to be in manual so now it's just in manual mode, that's it. So it's just in manual mode. This flash to change the flash output. There's this plus or minus. I'm gonna take it up or down right there on the flash, it's very, very fast music like that. Let's flash more flesh. So it's very, very fast to do that. And then this guy, what it will do is if it has a signal and the flash fires. So if this gets a signal, it fires. So this pocket wizard, just telling this flash fire, how bright does it need to be? That's what I determined on the back by dialing this up or down. So that's how that works. So this guy, this little guy here, this goes on my camera. So when I take a photo, this sends a radio signal to my pocket. Wizard tells that flash to fire and it fires and all is good. So you can see if I do this, this is I'm firing this bling, it looks like that. So controlling the flash is done on the back of the flash itself, not from the remote control. And the groups. We can set groups by setting those on the pocket wizards themselves. We have a B, C and D. So we can still set up groups, but it's much easier in my opinion. So let me do that right now. So I'm gonna take this, put this back in my soft box here, let me go. I think I move that a little bit. Here we go. Good. Okay, and then this guy right here, just sort of hangs off of this, a little strap there that hangs off of that right there. Now, this guy, when I put that on the camera itself, if I take a photo, do this really fast, that makes the flash fire. So did you meet her? This, what I need to do is I'm going to change this metering mode. I got too much stuff going on here, changed this metering mode here on my side, iconic. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go in here, I'm gonna change this to this little guy right here, which means it's using a meter, a radio trigger. And now when I push this, watch what happens, look over here. So you can see when I push the button on this flash fires. So the radio inside my meter is telling this to fire, which is easier to meet her. So what I can do now, yes, I can just go over to Teresa, I can meet her this click and I can see ah that's 55 is not bright enough, I wanted to be F eight, so I just come over to the flash and then I go up here, I'll tell it to be a little bit brighter. I said that, then I can go back and meet her it And I can go back and forth until they get it metered exactly where I want. That's F nine that's close enough for government work bam. Oh, I'll take a picture and then we can see when this comes into lightroom that it is metered exactly correctly and it is right. So what that means is now using our pocket wizards or using a Canon or a todos or an Olympus or whatever system that you want. You can use a light meter to see how bright the light is and then adjust that brightness of that flash up or down to get it to the exact aperture value that you want. And what we're gonna do in the next session is we're gonna start adding many different lights. I think we're gonna do three lights set up and a little bonus. So we're gonna do I think four lights actually. And I'm gonna show you how you can meet her, each of those lights separately, control those in groups and really start sculpting the light to get some very interesting looks. So that's what we're going to do next.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tether Tools Pro Kit Discount
Tether Tools Starter Kit Discount
Frio Grasp Mini Discount
NanLite_WALLACE5.pdf

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