In response to my “quick portrait” instructions, a reader asks:
What do you think about Strobist.com’s method where he recommends adjusting shutter for ambient and aperture for flash, by “chimping” (no light meter).
Just interested in your response.
As the two methods have similar results, yet dramatically different philosophy.
David Hobby (the Strobist) and I (the Speedlighter) sometimes differ – he says “don’t use TTL”, I say “do” – but it is never a case of “you don’t know what you are talking about” – it is more “personally, I’d do that differently”.
First, I think for ambient you set both aperture and shutter. Clearly, changing aperture affects foreground as well as background.
The table of “what affects what” is as follows:
- Shutter: Changes mainly the background.
- Flash power setting (including distance of flash to foreground subject): Changes mainly the foreground.
- Aperture – changes both.
- ISO – changes both.
So first off, I’d change the two boldfaced properties above.
But secondly – I like to meter, since it takes guesswork away. Then I finesse.
Yes, my experience tells me I can just choose 1/4 power on the flash, say, and with f/5.6 this will give you a good picture at standard ISO and distance. But it’s still guesswork so you need to iterate. When I use my meter I am objectively sure I’ll get that good starting point with less iterating.
- I will not go to extremes and set my light meter to tenths of stops. No way. The last bit may be chimping, not metering to 1/10th stop which I will never see anyway.
- I set the values I know will work to get close enough before I even meter. You will see that with a little experience, this will work just fine.
So taking into account 1 and 2, David and I are not that far apart after all, are we?