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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Home studio.. will this work?

    Hey, I'm after a little advice, I've bought myself a few bits of kit to build a home studio for family portraits, kit being;

    D5500
    Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX
    Sigma 17-70 C f2.8-4
    Nikon SB-400
    Neewer VK-750 II Speeedlite
    Neewer wireless flash trigger (one sender one receiver)
    Couple of back drops (black, white) with frame
    Two flash stands
    Reflector / Diffuser light boxes for flash

    so, I've had a little play and now i'm thinking of different ways I can use this kit. Would I be right in thinking I could use the SB-400 as a trigger for the VK-750 in S2 mode? In which case could I mount the wireless sender on the camera, receiver on the SB-400 and with VK-750 in S2 have both speedlites off camera? In this setup would I be best having a flash either side of me, 45 degrees from subject? as the SB-400 is so much weaker than the VK-750 would this work as fill/main setup?

    Any pointers are really appreciated!

    M


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Moab Man's Avatar

    Re: Home studio.. will this work?

    Are these individual portraits or a group?
    D5100, D7100, D600, D750, Df
    Lenses: Nikon DX 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 55-300mm, Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD & 200-500mm
    Prime: Nikon 35mm, 50mm, & 85mm f/1.8G, 300mm f/4
    Wide Angle: Tokina AT-X116 Pro DX-II 11-16mm f/2.8, Rokinon f/2.8 14mm (chipped)
    Macro: Nikon 40mm, Tamron 90mm
    ​Flash: Nissin MARK II Di622
    Stuff: Expodisc Neutral & Portrait
    ​Editing: CS6, CC, Nik Tools, Portrait Pro 12, Topaz
    Spyder4Pro
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/122672034@N04/

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Re: Home studio.. will this work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moab Man View Post
    Are these individual portraits or a group?
    Typically individuals but on occasion two people

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Moab Man's Avatar

    Re: Home studio.. will this work?

    You could definitely make this work. Your most powerful flash shooting through the soft box could be used as a key light with a trigger receiver on it. Reflector brought in from the side to provide fill light. Finally, the smaller flash set to optical slave could be snooted (rolled black paper) to create a hair light or used to throw some light on the backdrop.

    Yes, you have the tools for individual/small group portraits.
    Thanks/Like RocketCowboy, rocketman122 Thanks/liked this post
     
    D5100, D7100, D600, D750, Df
    Lenses: Nikon DX 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 55-300mm, Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD & 200-500mm
    Prime: Nikon 35mm, 50mm, & 85mm f/1.8G, 300mm f/4
    Wide Angle: Tokina AT-X116 Pro DX-II 11-16mm f/2.8, Rokinon f/2.8 14mm (chipped)
    Macro: Nikon 40mm, Tamron 90mm
    ​Flash: Nissin MARK II Di622
    Stuff: Expodisc Neutral & Portrait
    ​Editing: CS6, CC, Nik Tools, Portrait Pro 12, Topaz
    Spyder4Pro
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/122672034@N04/

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    WayneF's Avatar

    Re: Home studio.. will this work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marko View Post
    Hey, I'm after a little advice, I've bought myself a few bits of kit to build a home studio for family portraits, kit being;

    D5500
    Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX
    Sigma 17-70 C f2.8-4
    Nikon SB-400
    Neewer VK-750 II Speeedlite
    Neewer wireless flash trigger (one sender one receiver)
    Couple of back drops (black, white) with frame
    Two flash stands
    Reflector / Diffuser light boxes for flash

    so, I've had a little play and now i'm thinking of different ways I can use this kit. Would I be right in thinking I could use the SB-400 as a trigger for the VK-750 in S2 mode? In which case could I mount the wireless sender on the camera, receiver on the SB-400 and with VK-750 in S2 have both speedlites off camera? In this setup would I be best having a flash either side of me, 45 degrees from subject? as the SB-400 is so much weaker than the VK-750 would this work as fill/main setup?

    Any pointers are really appreciated!

    M

    You will really enjoy that studio capability, but there are some problems. However, I'm not familiar with the Neewer trigger (and don't know which one, etc). I wondered about the "Reflector / Diffuser light boxes" too.

    But one problem with off camera is that the SB-400 has no LCD and no menu and no mode switches. Its design works if on the camera hot shoe, and it is then designed to use the cameras internal flash menu to set modes. Which is not available off camera, and I don't think it can even work at all if off camera, with no way to chose a mode. One exception possibly could be if you had a fancy TTL trigger that could fool it into assuming TTL mode, maybe, no bets, I don't know for sure if it is possible?
    But IMO, that money would be much better spent on another flash instead.

    You didn't mention Manual flash mode or TTL flash mode? With suitable flashes (that are complete with menus, and so can work off camera), Manual flash mode would easily allow two flashes to be off camera. With optical slaves, or radio triggers, etc... No big deal.

    However you mentioned S2 which implies TTL. Not for the VK750, its slave mode has to be in Manual flash mode, but S2 allows it to be triggered by a TTL flash. Most inexpensive triggers cannot do TTL. But S2 would work if the SB-400 were on the hot shoe so it could work. Or if the SB-400 is on the hot shoe to work, you can of course use manual flash mode for both, and use S1 instead (for manual flash trigger). One redeeming point is that fill flash is best located very near the camera anyway, to light exactly what the lens sees.

    And frankly (one very common opinion), you don't even want TTL in the studio. Your setup situation is fixed, the lights are on stands and are not moving around. The subject is carefully located in the field of the fixed flashes, and is not moving around. You setup the lights up carefully, and then they do not change for the duration of the session. You get it like you want it, and nothing changes. One proper exposure works for the full session. That is Manual flash mode. And Manual flash mode allows full control, however you set up the lights to do it (instead of whatever the automation does, which is NOT full control). And most any $60 speedlight (like Yongnuo YN560 versions) will do Manual mode very well.

    Manual flash means you have to be able to adjust the flash power levels yourself (no TTL automation). You have to adjust the exposure of both flashes, by adjusting their individual power levels. This is pretty easy for one flash. For only two lights, this can be done by trial and error, until you can make the picture look like you want it to look. However, if doing much of it, then by far the easy way (in the studio) is to meter each light with a flash meter, then they will be exactly what you want. The two light levels determine your lighting ratio, which is extremely important, a big part of portrait photos. And the best part, then this setup will be quickly and easily repeatable next time they are set up. The light meter is not inexpensive however, but it will be pretty important for multiple manual flash.
    Last edited by WayneF; 12-21-2016 at 01:14 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Re: Home studio.. will this work?

    Thanks for the response guys,

    So to summarise, the SB-400 is not best off camera, if it works at all, as no manual control. As such use this on camera in manual mode on the camera hot shoe as fill and dial down the power to suit? VK750 off camera in slave mode, use optical for this so that would be S1? Use this to create the look I want?

    This flash malarkey is a whole new ball game... spent the last few years playing with low light and long exposures!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    WayneF's Avatar

    Re: Home studio.. will this work?

    To use the SB-400, it being on camera in Manual mode at low power should easily trigger the VK750 in Manual mode using its S1 trigger. That situation would also provide frontal fill flash for your portrait photo. One possible problem could be if the remote flash were inside a softbox and the trigger hidden from the camera.

    However, this on camera location prevents the hot shoe fill light from being a large light? I failed to mention that you could instead use a hot shoe extension cable (Nikon SC-28, or older SC-17 works fine too, and is plentiful on Ebay cheaper), to move the SB-400 off camera (only a very few feet, the coil cord tension tends to tip light stands over). But very near the camera is where fill light needs to be anyway. The flash works the same on these cables as if it were on the hot shoe.
    (The older SC-17 is identical, except it does not have the pin lock in shoe, but you can still simply drop the flash spring loaded pin anyway, and it will hold fine, never any issue).

    Portraits do want a large soft light (large umbrella or soft box) on the main light (and normally placed close to subject, to emphasize large and soft). It is located high and wide from the subject (just out of camera view) to intentionally provide some shadows on the subjects face (broad or narrow shading, nose, etc) to show curves and shape. Very much more interesting than flat. The fill light softens them to become very pleasing.

    For suitable tonal gradients, the lighting ratio (for color work) is commonly that the fill light alone is about one stop less bright at the subject than the main light alone. Without a light meter, a setup clue is that if one stop down, then the two added together will be about 1/3 stop brighter than the brightest alone. The hard part about portraits is to learn to LOOK, to learn to SEE, those tonal gradients. They are very important in portraits. We always think we LOOK, but it always takes a while to learn to SEE (and then, they are the first thing that we see). But ratio is a choice, make them look like you want to see them. Ratio is a conscious choice, part of "control".

    But regarding large, the fill light (to make those main light shadows be mild tonal gradients instead of dark and harsh), does not actually need to be soft, because it is very close to the lens axis so as to light what the lens sees without making another set of shadows on its own. Usually is large, but there, on axis, frontal and center, it is flat light that makes no shadows (none that the lens sees on the face). So if no shadows, then no need for it to be soft. If near on axis, and slightly higher than lens, the direct fill shadow is hidden behind and below subject, out of sight. Again, it is typically about one stop less bright than the main light (but there are choices).

    You might see 45 degree Portrait Lighting Setup
    Last edited by WayneF; 12-21-2016 at 05:29 PM.





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