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In this course, Rich Harrington and Abba Shapiro give beginning photographers a brisk look at using strobe lights in a studio setting—lessons that easily translate to the field and locations, inside and out. Learn why shooting with strobes and continuous lighting makes such a big impact on your photographs, and how to buy a good, affordable starter kit. Rich and Abba also show how to set your gear up, trigger your lights, and make modifications with accessories like reflectors, umbrellas, and soft boxes. Finally, learn how to make the most of what you have in a series of lighting challenges.
Well, now we're ready to actually start taking some pictures. But there are some basics that you need to know. And the first thing you need to know is, what speed do you set your shutter for? When you're not shooting with strobe lights, you can actually set your shutter to any speed you want, and the aperture will compensate for it. Or if you have a speed light on top of your camera, it will automatically sync up, but this is a different world. There is something called a sync speed for each camera, and it does vary but it's in a range, and usually it's between about 100 and 250th of a second.
And it's best to look up in the manual or online, what is the ideal sink speed for your specific camera. Now I'm working with a Canon here, and 125 is perfect for a Canon in this environment. Rich's camera is a Nikon. And, it has a shutter sync speed of 200 that works well. So I want to show you the difference with setting the shutter to 125, what happens when you set it to 60, and what happens when you go over that number, that 125, if I jump to 250 or 500.
So let me go ahead and start adjusting my shutter speed. Here I have it at 125, and I just have it at a default setting of F9.5. So now I'm ready to take a picture. And I need a reference shot. So Rick, could you bring me something in that we could actually shoot, so that they can see the difference between different shutter speeds in this environment, and the only thing I'm going to change is shutter speed. Now what Rich is putting up is actually a very useful tool, if you notice it's black, white, and gray.
It's a grayscale card, and it's great to use these to make sure your scene is not over exposed or under exposed. And this is great to use in your post processing. For instance when we open this up in Lightroom, I can simply sample and tell the computer and tell the application, what is truly black, what is truly white, and what is gray. So now that we have something to shoot, let me go ahead and aim and take a quick picture. And if we look at our monitor, we can see that it is well balanced and I'm going to turn on the info screen, and I can see it's 125th of a second.
What if I slowed it down to say 160th of a second, or 130th of a second. Traditionally, that means that the scene would be brighter. I'm going to just bring it down to a 30th of a second, and we'll take a shot. Now you'll notice the scene looks exactly the same. As a matter of fact, if I play this scene back, between the previous and the following one, that's a 30th of a second, and that's my 125th of a second. The reason the light is exactly the same, is because these flashes are popping way faster than my shutter.
Maybe a 500th of a second, and maybe even a 8000th of a second, depending on the light and how much power output, the duration of the flash is directly related to how bright they are. So if it's brighter, if you make the image brighter, the flash just stays on a little bit longer, so maybe it's one 500th of a second. If you make it less bright, it may only stay on for one 8000ths of a second. The important thing to realize, is that in either case that flash is faster than my shutter speed. Now I'm going to flip it around and show you what happens if you turn the shutter speed up, if you bring it above the sync speed.
So instead of shooting at 130th or 125th, I'm going to actually shoot at maybe one 500th. Now, if you notice, we're only seeing part of the image. It's because, with a camera, you actually have an opening and a closing shutter. You have two shutters, and it's actually blocking the image. If I step this down to close. To my maximum shutter speed, say one 250th of a second.
You'll notice that we're still blocking with a horizontal bar part of the image, but a lot less of it is blocked as we approach the proper sync speed. If I take it down one more notch. In this case, to 180. You can see, it's very clean. I'm going to keep it at 125, and that just gives me a little bit of a cushion. So, the best sync speed for your camera is available in the manual, and on the internet.
But, I always like to run a series of tests whenever I get a new camera, to find out the best shutter sync speed for me when I'm shooting with strobes.
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