DON'T MISS: Italian conceptual portrait photographer Sara Lando coming to US for two weekends of workshops in August.

Friday, October 10, 2008

On-Axis Fill: Introduction

A few months ago I was talking about lighting stuff on the phone with Peter Yang and the subject got around to small flashes.

We were talking about old Nikon speedlights (SB-24's, 26's, etc.) when he mentioned that he liked to work with an on-camera speedlight even while he was shooting with the big Profoto 7B lights off-camera.

"You know," he said, "just to kick in a little fill in there."

I didn't quite get it, because we were talking about his very cool photo of Admiral William Fallon at the time. But it stuck in the back of my mind and has been rattling around ever since.

Fast forward a few months, and I am watching one of Joe McNally's videos on Kelby Training. He's shooting some multi-speedlight CLS setup. He is using an on-camera master flash to control several off-camera flashes, and is making really cool photos, as usual.

Then he pops off with something to the effect of always turning the on-camera master to "no flash" because, "why would you want any light coming from on camera?"

Wait a minute... on-camera... on-camera... Oh yeah, Peter Yang!

So, there was one photographer I really admire, asking me why I would ever want to do some particular thing, and another photog I really admire telling me that was one of his go-to techniques.

That's one of the things I love about photography, that there are no real rules. You learn the rules so you can break them on purpose. The main thing is to know why the rules are there, so you know when and why to break them.

Don't get me wrong. I am a huge fan of McNally. God knows I have certainly ripped off learned much from many of his techniques. And for an old guy he still is mentally very spry. He does an admirable job of keeping up with us younger folks. I understand he is even starting to blog now!

My friends, I think that's just great.

So, back at the other end of the chronological scale, here's Peter Yang, knocking the cover off of the ball before the ink was even dry on his driver's license. His pictures all seem to have this "polished snapshot" kind of thing going that just really does it for me for some reason. They are meticulously lit, with a very controlled visibility into the shadows -- no matter which way the key light is coming from.

That's the day I started thinking about on-axis fill almost nonstop. It has totally changed the way I light. Not saying I would use it every time, because I wouldn't. But it is a very powerful tool, and it merits consideration in the context of just about any lighting scheme I might be designing.


Like a 3-D Detail Volume Knob

In years past, I would think of my key light first, then decide how much ambient to dial in for fill. Or if there was no good ambient, I might fill from the shadow side with another light source.

Problem was, that would significantly alter the 3-D quality of my subject and create new shadows and texture on the highlight side. But lately, I have been thinking about my fill -- both in terms of quality and quantity -- before I even start thinking about my key light.


Filling from on (or very near to) the lens axis allows you to sort of "dial in" the detail in a way that can also leave the subject very 3-D in a natural way, or compress it to look like a multi-layered paper cutout.

All of the photos in this post were filled with on-axis light., in different forms and ratios. And they all have a very different look because the on-axis light source can be anything: Umbrella, ring, small softbox right over the lens -- even an on-camera flash.

There. I said it.

(I know -- it was weird to me at first, too.)


And the on-axis fill can not only come from many different types of light modifiers, but can also work against just about any type of key light. And it can come in at just about any intensity, too. Thus, the ability to dial 3-D detail into the shadows.

I have been working with this just about every chance I could get over the last few months. And I will be working through lots of On-Assignment that involve on-axis fill, not to mention some straight "how-to" posts that detail different fill / key light source combos and lighting ratios.

But I wanted to get a sort of "intro" post out there, where I could whet your appetite with the concept. Just as mine was whetted by studying other peoples' work over the last few months.

So stay tuned for a lot more on this -- with lots of specifics -- in upcoming weeks. I am having a lot of fun with it, and I think you will, too.


__________

Brand new to Strobist, or lighting? Start here.
Or, jump right into our free Lighting 101 course.
Connect: Discussion Threads | Reader Photos | Twitter

64 Comments:

Blogger killrb323 said...

I've actually been doing the same thing for quite a while, after reading an article about a high end fashion photog who ALWAYS uses on camera light with whatever else he is doing.

I don't care for his pictures, but this method of lighting definately adds a unique dimension and can actually look better than filling shadows at all from the same angle off axis with another light in many cases.

October 10, 2008 12:27 AM  
Blogger Danie said...

Now really blow your hair back:

When you mix continnuous light with flash, and you can have a - 2 to 3 stops difference (no more than 3 stops), between the flash and continuous light (pref tungsten), the tungsten being the underexposed light, you'll find the overall cast of your pic not at all affected colour-wise, but your shadows will take on the colour or cast of your tungsten light. Now snap that on over your lens axis...

The theory goes that you can colour your shadows with tungsten (or any gelled continuous ligth) when it is underexposed by no more than 3 stops and no less than 2.

Beware - this is a very tricky technique to master, as all other ambient light will affect your shadows (thus having blue shadows when shooting with flash in shaded daylight areas....).

Nice post.

October 10, 2008 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I ♥ Peter Yang.

Great post Dave. Thank you.

October 10, 2008 1:13 AM  
Blogger Robin Sarac said...

I guess it goes to show...you have to keep your mind open to new old ideas!

October 10, 2008 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice article......I've been on this kick for the past few months. It will give your photos a whole new dimension, especially if you like low key stuff. it just makes the light wrap more in a very subtle, more natural way....tends to make it look more like ambient light and not so crisp/stroby.

October 10, 2008 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. this is gonna make the Radio Poppers more crucial to you, and

2. I read a month or 2 ago, a posting somewhere from Some Guy(tm) ( who seems to get everywhere!... :) about a Canon-only technique ( he'd tried it with every system he came across, it apparently only worked with Canon .. pity ) for on camera fill:

Set the flash to -1EV ( or something similar, was it -2/3? )

Set the camera to Aperture priority.

Set the aperture to .. ah, .. 4.5 or 5.7 or something?

I can't remember the exact number, and don't have the equipment necessary to test -grrr-

Anyways, it was his go-to technique for I Need A Good Shot Right Now!, and he said it never failed. ( I got the impression it was for outdoor photography, but that may be mis-memory )

Experimenting with your system might reveal some equivalently good emergency-good-lighting technique...

WHOMEVER FINDS THAT PAGE, PLEASE POST THE LINK!

-grumbling-about-Retention-Deficits-and-senility-

October 10, 2008 3:17 AM  
Blogger marco said...

Man I'm, scared. One day you'll come and say: guys, ya know what? Just use your on-camera pop-up flash and TTL, it just works.

Ah, photographers.

;)

October 10, 2008 3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this useful post. Can't wait to see the posts to come.
Such a tremendous source of inspiraton.
On-camera fill flash? It will have to be set to manuel mode provided that key-light is manuel. Only way to use ETTL as on-camera fill would be using a SB-26 as key light (with delay switched on)..right?
Michael

October 10, 2008 3:35 AM  
Anonymous Stefan said...

On axis fill can be a good choice, but I don't like the very tiny flash lights in the eyes (at a portrait of course). So it would be interesting to combine the fill with the softbox you recently tested. Unfortunatly this thing is far to expensive in Germany...

October 10, 2008 3:52 AM  
Anonymous Leigh, UK said...

I must admit that when you called time on Lighting 102 I was worried that us noobs had lost the instructional element of Storbist... And then you go and pull this out of the bag!

Can't wait for the On-assignments and how-to's David, you are an inspiration!

Leigh

October 10, 2008 4:00 AM  
Blogger Dalantech said...

I've been doing something similar with my natural light closeups lately -using a little "on camera (a macro flash attached to the end of the lens) to add just enough light to keep from losing details in the shadows when I'm under exposing the ambient. It's a great way to shoot insects in light that isn't optimal.

Also by shooting the scene with two different "exposures" (ambient for the background and ambient plus flash for the subject) you can get a lot of separation between the subject and the background. Here's an example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dalantech/2926447933/ and I spent less than two minutes in post on that shot -just let the light and the aperture do all the work for me...

October 10, 2008 4:21 AM  
Blogger Paulo said...

David Hobby using on-camera flash? OK, now Strobist is definitely dead.

Just kidding. I really like to see how you are always open to new ways of using your lights even though you've criticized even the mere idea of doing something like that. I also remember some posts where you shot with your lights in TTL, which I remember being something you used to advocate so much against.
Those "Strobist purists" sometimes found here in the comments or in the Flickr pool would never allow something like that, saying what you once said, that on-camera flash is always a no-no, that manual adjustments should always be used instead of TTL.
And this is what I like about you and this website. You're not that person who only knows how to use the thoughts they had, like, 20 years ago and simply close themselves to anything new. And, on top of it all, you are willing to share it with your readers. That's one of your biggest differential and one of the reasons I admire you so much. I've learned so much from this website and know I will continue to learn, and not just things about photography.

A thousand thanks for the inspiration, David.

Kind regards,
Paulo

October 10, 2008 4:53 AM  
Anonymous Peachy said...

I'm really looking forward to the rest of this. It's really whetted my appetite. I've been feeling lately that my photography lacks a certain something. Character, depth etc. I'm going to experiment more with my SB800s/600s and this will help I'm sure.

October 10, 2008 4:56 AM  
Anonymous sensitive2light said...

Begooone! Forbear thy heresy!

;)

October 10, 2008 5:28 AM  
Blogger SuperATP said...

Sounds very interesting, I cant wait to see what you have in store.....

October 10, 2008 6:49 AM  
Blogger Marcio Brazao said...

As mentioned, rules can always be broken - just be sure to have a purpose. With DSLR's usage spreading in the hands of (mostly) amateurs wanting to improve lighting skills, on camera flash tips and techniques are very wellcome to the strobist readers. Sounds like heresy (hei, maybe it is some..) but let's see what's coming!

October 10, 2008 7:15 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Finally, flash gear I can afford!

October 10, 2008 7:31 AM  
Blogger Co.Whistlepig said...

This makes sense. Look at the Dave Hill's behind the scenes videos. Two lights rear right and rear left, and a ring flash. Whether he uses the ring flash as fill or main I don't know. His highly desired post process technique doesn't work with out this 3-D lighting.

October 10, 2008 7:57 AM  
Blogger Pat Morrissey said...

Hi David, I think OAL (we have a TLA so it's now official) is a really useful additional string to one's bow. I only came to Strobist a few months ago and seeing the evolution of the blog and your willingness to share your own shooting development is really liberating.
Good on ye.

October 10, 2008 8:00 AM  
Blogger Karp said...

Ringflashes are popular for a reason ;)

October 10, 2008 8:12 AM  
Blogger Jim Coffey said...

David - using on axis fill was a standard technique for Monte Zucker's wedding and portrait business. Chuck Gardner has a very nice set of tutorials that are very strobist friendly.
http://super.nova.org/DPR/Canon/MultiCanon/

Also check out his tutorial on the benefits of manual flash mode
http://super.nova.org/DPR/Canon/Manual/

October 10, 2008 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Wedding Photographer France said...

Kelby training? Never heard about that - it seems to cover a very wide range of topics.

Has anybody tested them and is happy about it? Would you recommend it?

October 10, 2008 9:15 AM  
Blogger yanik said...

Hey David

I also use my built in flash on my D300 to act as fill sometimes. It works great to just bring in some details and sometime, in my small studio, my studio flashes are too strong for fill even at their lowest setting so an SB-800 or built in flash does the trick.

I do it mostly for food and other small objects but I have yet to try it with people. I'll give it a go! :)

October 10, 2008 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David,

Thanks for being willing to change the way you do things when a different concept comes along, as well as sharing the thoughts behind your evolving repertoir. Another example that I can think of is the silver/shoot-through umbrella thing. That's one of the reasons I've been coming here for a long time now. I know that when you discover something different you won't stick to the old ways of working. I really appreciate your willingness to share your journey to 'lighting nirvana' with the rest of us.

Tony

October 10, 2008 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Setups???

I'm very curious about the tightly-controlled light (at least - it looks that way to my newbie eyes).

Thanks!

TIM

October 10, 2008 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember a shoot a couple of years ago when I had two speedlights into umbrellas on each side of a work area (some folks were making a holiday display) and as I moved around, I realized that the only area that didn't have light was the one right in front of me.

So I grabbed the PC extension cable to connect the pocket wizard, and plopped the on camera flash on top, with a better-bounce-card diffuser.

After a couple of shots, I got the balance where I wanted it, and the rest of the shoot looked a lot better.

Pete

October 10, 2008 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very similar to Zucker's style of lighting. Love the 3D effect it has.

October 10, 2008 10:07 AM  
Blogger Philippe and Patti said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 10, 2008 10:11 AM  
Blogger Sergei Rodionov said...

And here - new twist , oh yeah! We needed some fresh stuff! Thank you!


I think the biggest thing against on-axis light is - it will create very centered catchlights. Which considered to be not very pleasing for portraits.

Other than that, i got to admit - i do it sometime too, using honl's grid snapped on, to add more "dimensionality" to light.. ;)

October 10, 2008 10:12 AM  
Blogger Klaidas said...

I've been using on-axis fill for quite some time now, but... rather accidentally.
I trigger my 430EX with a 580EXII on camera (thank you very much, canon, for not having a system like nikon's CLS... :/), and, having just one light source and being new to strobist, I also like to experiment with angles. That usually leaves my self portraits being silhouette-ish.

But it would be a shame to break the bank for a 580EXII and make it not fire! So I started firing it into the ceiling with the white reflector card pulled out (like so) or just bare flash at 1/128 (can't find an example at the moment). Why? Just because I could, and I wanted some light on my face. But it always felt a bit strange to fire an on-camera flash while learning strobist stuff.

Now, it looks like it wasn't that bad after all.

October 10, 2008 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Don said...

I use a ringflash, for fill. same effect as having a big softbox behind the camera. (red eye is sometimes an issue, but fixable). I never use ringflash as keylight, but simply to control contrast in the shadow areas.

October 10, 2008 10:18 AM  
Blogger Philippe and Patti said...

I realized not too long ago the need for on-or-near-camera axis fill, doing corporate shots. That clientele isn't keen on chiaroscuro. Business people like their faces amply lit. It has proven very helpful indeed, I will need post some of those example on my flickr.

It did feel like cheating a bit at first, but hey, "form follows function". Remember, your eyes are you greatest asset.

October 10, 2008 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Glenn M said...

@Wedding Photographer France

I've used Kelby Training for several months now. I find it very useful. It is a blend of Photoshop training and shooting training but more heavily leaning towards the PS side and its sibling products.

There are a couple of courses on weddings specifically concerning both shooting and post production which you might find interesting.

Its a month to month subscription so you may want to give it a try for a month or two and decide for yourself. Personally I find it quite valuable.

I hope this helps!

October 10, 2008 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go back and look at the napkin diagram Brent used on Steve Correll for Wired. Ring flash, that's as on Axis fill as your going to get. Please show a shot with OAF and one without it, especially at different ratios. People will get it instantly.

October 10, 2008 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Photo Retoucher said...

I would have to say that having that little bit of fill is a retouchers dream! It allows for that touch of information they would need if per say, they wanted to play with the picture. I know this is off topic but from my perspective, it makes for a very smooth transfer edge.


______________
Kristina Sherk
Photographer-Retoucher
Photo Retouching
Photo Retouching Blog

October 10, 2008 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

David Ziser has several videos on his blog detailing this technique. Well worth a look.

October 10, 2008 12:13 PM  
Anonymous K.J. Doyle said...

In the cinema world, for years DOPs have used an "Obie" light...a single small source usually clamped to the lens hood, or just above. It got its name from the actress Merle Oberon back in the 30s and 40s, and was used to provide a stronger constant and direct highlight to her very dark eyes.

One critical loss in off axis lighting is the loss of light (and therefore color and detail) in the eyes themselves, compared to on axis source. Dialing this direct light in picks the eyes back up. I have used this for years, many times with a focused snoot. I would typically remove the small catchlight in PS, leaving the larger source reflection.

Obviously, it is more critical the darker the subjects' eyes.

K.J. Doyle

October 10, 2008 12:56 PM  
Blogger Guided Light Photography said...

@ Anonymous

Kirk Voclain, a senior's photographer from LA, described the technique SomeGuy(?) was talking about. You can listen to the podcast where he describes his technique from here:

http://www.studiolighting.net/lightsource-photography-podcast-e028-kirk-voclain/

October 10, 2008 2:04 PM  
Blogger Adam McAnaney said...

David,

Thom Hogan has confirmed that Nikon has discontinued the SB-800. See here: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1021&message=29646536

Thought you might like to know.

Best,
Adam

October 10, 2008 2:30 PM  
Blogger David said...

Yep, that's why I had buying them up for the last three months or so. Some stuff you know, but can't really write about...

:)

-D

October 10, 2008 3:09 PM  
Blogger Andy M said...

That's interesting, I remember reading Chuck Gardner's lighting tutorial last year and came across this:

"Positioning the Fill Source: Ideally the fill light should come from the camera axis so it will illuminate everything the camera sees evenly and falls off front to back relative to the camera. This is called "neutral fill" because it does not influence the modeling of the subject. The second best position for fill, applicable to oblique facial views, is to align the fill with the subject's nose so it falls off front-to-back relative to the front of the face.
When fill is positioned to the side opposite the key light to catch and reflect it the resulting fill becomes uneve, overfilling the shadow side, particularly the ear. Side fill can also create unflattering cross-shadows in a direction opposite the shadow created by the key light. If you can see cross-shadows from the fill it also means the fill is cancelling the modeling effects of the key light. When side fill is used it is possible for body parts such as cheekbones to shade it from other areas such as the "smile line" crease next to the mouth, or the area of the cheek where the nose shadow created by the key light falls. When fill is shaded like this there will be two-tone key light shadows; lighter in areas getting fill and dark voids were the fill is getting shaded by some other body part. The problems of side fill can combine to create a very unflattering mottled pattern of highlight and shadow which looks unnatural. If you must use it, do so carefully watching for uneven dark "dead" spots.
"


http://super.nova.org/DPR/Fill/

And I thought "hmmm that doesn't seem right", but the more you think about it, the more natural it seems.

Glad you covered it in your own kick-ass terms.

October 10, 2008 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Brett Dickson said...

As a variation on this technique, you could try adding a snoot or grid over a on camera strobe. This provides a bit of extra scope for creating separation between the subject and the background.

For an example of this approach see this photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brettdickson/2074962322/

October 10, 2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger Brad Herman said...

I started to experiment with something along these lines at Comic Con this year.
On Camera Light @ Comic Con

I used a combination of Ambient and Custom On Camera Gobo, Gell, Snoot'ed Light.
It was like a nice mini spotlight to fill in detail.

October 10, 2008 8:08 PM  
Blogger James said...

Ok even after attending last week's seminar I'm still going to need some schooling on this one. I was under the impression that your key light was the hottest light but it looks as if these on axis fills are pretty bright themselves. Which to me looks more like key than fill. Definitely more explaining would help.

October 10, 2008 11:27 PM  
OpenID Southern Exposure said...

I learned this technique awhile back from David? Gardner. I have used it quite a lot with my fill flash on a bracket

October 11, 2008 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just finished five days of shooting with Michael Grecco. He is almost always using a large on axis fill and a single small softbox as key. He's a master. No more chimping for this monkey though, I'm absolutly sold on shooting teathered.

October 11, 2008 2:37 AM  
Blogger Jason Bell said...

I did a bunch of little tests with different attachments on an on-camera flash (my old Sigma EF500) to see how things would turn out.

Not too bad it seems.

http://www.jasonbellphotography.co.uk/lighttest

October 11, 2008 4:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Morgan said...

I've been using this technique for this past wedding season with exciting results. I use hard lighting from off camera flash units onto a dance floor when the action gets heavy at a reception. My on camera flash is dialed down to a point that it becomes fill light and the two off camera hard flash units are controlled by the aperture setting. I dial the on camera flash up or down as needed to be a nice soft fill. Works wonderfully and gives the reception / dance period of the wedding a "different" look for the bridal couple for the last exciting phase of their set of photos. (Can look at my most recent wedding at kivapix.com and look at the photos at the end of the reception for the results and how it gives a nice / different look to the last phase of a wedding). Nice article Dave, my friend ... you give people Hope.

October 11, 2008 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I've been using this technique at weddings for a little over a year now and I've gotten some great results. I use my 580EXII on camera and I use up to two Vivitar 285HV's off camera during formals and the reception. I trigger the Vivitars by plugging a Calumet litelink into the pc socket on my 30D while the 580EXII is on the hotshoe. I always get comments on how the people appear to jump off the page!

Great read David and keep up the good work!

October 11, 2008 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a noob... just got my DVD's!

I've used these techniques for a while, though. On camera flash in TTL mode with FEC dialed down and a flash on a stand with a PW.

I must admit that I felt a certain shame for resorting to this technique... it feels great to be vindicated!

October 11, 2008 8:33 AM  
Blogger Addison Geary Photography said...

What if your subject wears glasses? It might be okay to see the light source in an editorial portrait of a rock star but most of the time it's a no-no. Seeing the light source calls attention to the hardware and away from the subject.

October 11, 2008 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm missing something, but hasn't on-axis fill been a standard part of many portrait lighting setups for ever?

Though I usually see (and use) on-axis with umbrella/softbox above the camera, or large diffuser behind the camera, as opposed to on-camera flash. Much the same technique, though.

October 11, 2008 11:27 PM  
Blogger Darien Chin said...

Interesting. Just yesterday I was reading a guys strobist info and he seemed to use fill (by bouncing a strobe up into the ceiling or down off the floor) in almost every portrait he does. I sat wondering why. Fill light has been irrelevant in my photography. There is key then rim(s). Possibly a back light or a gelled light. But I never think of fill. I'm not someone who's afraid of shadows but I find a lot of people are. This article hit me up side the head because it's so 'out of the box' for me. But hey, using strobes was 'out of the box' for me not too far back..

October 12, 2008 12:48 AM  
Anonymous george said...

OMG he said "on-camera flash"!!
hehe ...

in a way, I think it's really important to give people a way to not overdo their shots. cheers to a bit of fill coming straight from where you look.

October 12, 2008 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Pamela Duncan Vasquez said...

David, I really love that you brought this up as I have been attempting to do just this. However, using PW on my camera how do I have an on axis flash? I certainly can' use the pop up and I can't put one of my 580 on there as the pw is on my hotshoe. I know I can have one light on a stand almost on axis yes...but is there a way to wangle the pw and a flash on camera?

Thanks, as always, for your constant inspiration and search for different approaches. It keeps me so excited about what I love to do.

October 12, 2008 8:17 AM  
Anonymous JohnF said...

Yeah, like Pamela, I am wondering what the easiest way is to do this.

October 12, 2008 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Pamela

580 on top and PW connected to camera by cord to sync port, assuming your camera has a sync port.

October 12, 2008 3:11 PM  
Blogger MASilva said...

Great post! I've been doing a lot of location kid photography - basically letting the kid run around and snapping photos when I can. I've been shooting in the shade and am using a lot of on camera flash, because kids are always on the go. I've experienced a lot of what people are commenting on, and I'm really excited to read about some more techniques, with the hope to get my results a bit more predictable. One comment about what was said by Stefan and the smaller catch light: I had some really good luck getting a larger catch light shooting in a really dark shadow (next to a tall building under tree cover, that was adjacent to a really bright open space. Here is a shot I did (totally unedited) on Saturday where I basically let the kid loose and walked around a building - East Gallery in Washington DC. You can see the light temp. change from one side of the building to the next. Most of these were shot on the shade setting with the flash balance with a gel for daylight. The really blue shots were set on tungsten. - http://flickr.com/photos/63292732@N00/sets/72157607946084017/

October 13, 2008 12:45 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Thanks for the post. I thought I was cheating, chasing my kids around with an umbrella/strobe and on-camera strobe. They just move too fast for a reflector to fill in the shadows. Latest version of my daughter using this on-camera fill: http://flickr.com/photos/hankroark/2929154886/

October 13, 2008 8:22 PM  
Anonymous David H said...

About four, when I got into studio flash, I had a Dennis Keeley Bowens video where he said the fill sould be on the same axis as the camera and not swung out as a mirror of the key like 'copy set-up'.
From then on it made perfect sense. A fill in most scenarios needs to be flat, neutral, with the key providing the depth or directionality.
A separate issue is whether that means on camera flash as fill is a good idea. I've done some band shoots recently using a dialled 580ex and flip it as subtle fill and a monoblock as key. It's simple, but works really, really well even if it's not a textbook technique.

October 14, 2008 5:12 AM  
Anonymous Pamela Duncan Vasquez said...

Anonymous...from Pamela...THANKS so much. I tried it and it worked. :) I am so happy to be trying something I have been thinking about.

October 14, 2008 10:25 PM  
Blogger danieljenkins said...

Great post. I've actually have done this, and just now admitting to it. Had issue with a slave trigger, and pulled out an old bowens trigger and used the on camera flash to fire it. It also worked great with filling and giving that 3-d effect you spoke about. You can see an example in one of my portfolio photos of Gracy Lace jumping in a green dress.

http://danieljenkinsphoto.com

October 15, 2008 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Eric Hamilton said...

I have been using the pop-up flash on my D80 for fill for a long time, in concert with my speedlights set up off-camera. It has helped me create some very cool images. Like this one.

November 05, 2008 11:41 PM  
Blogger Brian Carey said...

Great info thanks!

July 06, 2010 1:31 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home