JerryHayesAustin 9:43pm, 16 June 2010
Hey guys... I do enjoy learning from this group but there's one question that I'm sure has been answered but I haven't found it.

If you're using flash to fill some dark areas in a room do you adjust your flash output to the same adjustment you're making with the shutter?

So a shutter bracketing of 0, -2, +2 stops would have a flash output adjustment of 1/4, 1/16th, 1/1.

Thanks for the help.
ginormous wrist [deleted] 8 years ago
I don't adjust my flash power. Generally I keep mine around 1/8th or so for each exposure.
John McBay 8 years ago
I agree with Tulip Chain. No need to adjust flash strength to match the exposure brackets.
BML Media 8 years ago
another option I am playing with is to do 3 exposures all ambient, and then 1-3 exposures with flash. Layer them in PS and make the top on 50% transparent
ginormous wrist [deleted] 8 years ago
There are a few others doing something like that with really fantastic results. A lot of work with this method, though...
Iran Watson 8 years ago
I'm still new to this technique, but I've found you don't necessarily need an entire additional bracketed set with the flash. I usually try to get at least one good capture using flash before I shoot my brackets. A full power flash exposure blended with an ambient HDR definitely helps with fill. Of course you still have to manage an image that stands on its own. If you get harsh shadows and the like, you'll likely have to clone those out before you can blend with the HDR image.
A Hurst 8 years ago
I am with Brian here - I have been taking 3 to 6 shots depending on light intensity with windows and then getting a single flash shot - to one give me a good reference to colour and two to bring a window in and make for easier blending rather than use an ambient window shot and take time masking windows etc.
JerryHayesAustin 8 years ago
Thanks for the info. I couldn't think of how I was going to jump around the room(s) and change the output on each strobe, especially since each would most likely be at a difference starting point.
TGrundvig 8 years ago
Personally, I have not been pleased with any HDR shots using the flash. They come out ok but they never compare to the ones without a flash. IMHO.
handsome zephyr [deleted] 8 years ago
Tulip: I don't adjust my flash power. Generally I keep mine around 1/8th or so for each exposure.

If you keep your aperture the same, adjusting shutter speed will have no effect on the flash exposure. This is why I am confused at how to bracket using flash. Seems one would have to change aperture instead of shutter speed, but that makes a mess of things from a DOF point of view.
cabbiinc 8 years ago
Dave, consider that the flash will be the same as you've pointed out, but the ambient will be what she is bracketting.
dan_achatz PRO 8 years ago
I keep a constant level of power on my strobe for each exposure, but I vary my power depending on the situation. Shooting into windows I'm usually at full power. Shooting away from windows I might be 1/4 power.

What I look at is the little graph on the display (For some reason I always forget the name of the Damn thing). I know exactly what the three exposures should look like to get the perfect HDR or blend. The strobe power goes up or down to get the three graphs into the areas that I want to see them.

As for the reason I use the strobe fill is to get contrast back into the HDR. If you don't use strobe fill then things tend to go muddy. With Strobe fill you get better blacks and better whites.
ginormous wrist [deleted] 8 years ago
"...little graph on the display..."

The histogram! :D
dan_achatz PRO 8 years ago
Maybe that's what you call it. My manual says that little graph thingy.
OK, Help please: If you are shutter bracket for HDR, can someone share the starting point.

I am to new to HDR, Fusion, to understand what I need to capture base images to get results even close to Dan.

What is the starting point everyone may use, meter for the window, bracket from there?

Shoot with aperture priority or manual?

I find the issue I had today was my shutter speed beyond 200 did not sync with my flash, what am I missing? That all you folks are doing?

Meter for windows, set AEB, fired away, with poor results. This did not work.

So what is the start point aperture to suggest & what is the ISO to start with, 100, 200, 400 or something more? Then from there the shutter speed, how do you know, beyond the AEB on a Canon.

Anyway, I am a tad confused, any help is appreciated.

Rusty @ mi6films dot com
David Eichler Posted 8 years ago. Edited by David Eichler (member) 8 years ago
Manual exposure. Starting point depends on how you are bracketing. If the number of brackets is not limited (i.e. you are bracketing manually or you are using an autbracketing system that can give you as many brackets as you might reasonably want), a typical starting point is the darkest exposure that does not have clipped highlights (or maybe just clipped specular highlights). Then increase the exposure in even increments (2 stops seems most common) until the darkest tones read as midtones on the histogram. Sometimes the lightest exposures will have excessive sensor bloom or will exaggerate flare, and you will have to leave them out. One of the advantages of using some flash is that you don't have to use as many brackets to tame a wide contrast range, which helps minimize sensor bloom. Also, HDR tonemapping will deal with a very wide contrast range better than exposure fusion, at the expense of more complicated processing, both in the tonemapping and in post.

If you are trying to limit the number of bracketed exposures (say because you want or need to use autobracketing and your camera only gives you a maximum of 3 exposures for this), then there is more need to meter carefully. How you do this will vary from scene to scene and how much flash you can add to supplement the existing lighting. Sometimes, when doing 3 exposure brackets, I will do 2 or 3 brackets at different starting points. Kind of bracketing the brackets. You can do an awful lot with HDR, flash, and 3 exposure brackets. Exposure fusion can be more problematic, especially with interiors that have important exterior views, because the exterior will tend to lose contrast more easily than with (well processed) HDR/tonemapping. I tend to prefer exposure fusion because it is easier to process and often gives me the look I am after, but sometimes I choose HDR specifically for the look for certain subjects, even if exposure fusion would handle the contrast range adequately.

If, by your shooting process, you are limited to a maximum of 3 exposures and can't always add enough flash to help retain maximum highlight and shadow detail with adequate midtone separation, you may have to accept that you will lose some detail in the highlights or shadows, or both, which may be perfectly acceptable, depending on the subject. Or, I suppose you could try doing compositing on top of the fusion/HDR, but that is getting awfully complex for most real estate photography.

I strongly suggest owning a hand held spotmeter and always taking spot meter readings, whether with the camera or with the hand held one.
Iran Watson 8 years ago
I use a handy little device called the Promote Control with my Canon and I love this thing. It lets you bracket as many as 40 something frames. The only issue is you have to start with the middle exposure and the device instructs the camera to take the appropriate number of shots on either side of the middle exposure you set. Before I go to shot the frames I will end up using, I use the camera's meter to tell me what the middle exposure is. From there I set the Promote Control for seven to nine .7 or 1 EV steps and let the device do the rest of the work.

Before I had the Promote Control, I would still use the cameras meter to give me a middle exposure but since Canon only allows 3 shots to be auto-bracketed at a time I had to do two sets of brackets. This normally was meant doing a -2, -1 and 0 Ev set and a +1, +2 and +3 set. Then if I needed the range of those 6 Evs darker or lighter I would adjust in the RAW editor.

@ Rusty - If window pull is important, you might want to get one frame that has a window pull you like so you can mask it back in in post. Its possible to get an acceptable view through HDR or Fusion but it rarely happens for me. In order to get the windows to look good the rest of the image would end up too dark...

As far as aperture and ISO and other camera settings, well thats where your skill as a photographer comes into play. Every scene will be different for the most part. Based on your post, it sounds like you are shooting indoors. My normal starting point for indoors is Manual Mode, f8.0, ISO 200. I adjust my shutter speed accordingly from there. If I'm outside where it is normally much brighter, I usually start with f11.0 and ISO 100. Again, this really all depends on what the scene calls for.
Raffian Photo 7 years ago
@Iran, the promote controller can be setup to start with the darkest, middle, or brightest exposure, just upgrade to the firmware, I believe it's 2.2
AtlantaTerry Posted 7 years ago. Edited by AtlantaTerry (member) 7 years ago
yes, you need to download the latest firmware for the Promote Controller. It was released June 28, 2011.

One of the new features is allowing you to select the starting point: middle exposure, shortest or longest.

This Promote Control firmware update version 2.20 is an official release of a previously available 2.19 beta.


This version adds the following features from the previous official version 2.00:

- allowed using exposures below 1/4000 seconds down to 1/8000 seconds with 1/3 EV step

- added a feature to scan camera settings and report potential problems. This feature can be disabled via Setup option #10

- added post-sequence image check. This feature will attempt to verify if camera took any pictures, and if not, suggest a remedy. This feature can be disabled via Setup option #11

- Promote Control will now try to follow camera MLU status (On or Off). With Setup option #10 enabled, this feature will be enabled/disabled automatically upon pressing Start button.

- added Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature - when enabled, Promote Control will let camera finish Long Exposure NR job before continuing with the rest of the image sequence. With Setup option #10 enabled, this feature will be enabled/disabled automatically upon pressing Start button.

- increased maximum backlight timeout to 60 seconds

- increased frame delay range to 10 seconds (useful when working with a flash that takes time to recharge)

This version has the same functionality as version 2.19 beta available previously. Upgrading from 2.19 beta will not change Promote Control behavior, nor add any functions.

Fred Mueller Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Fred Mueller (member) 7 years ago
intersting post: I bracket both flash and ambient; Nikon D700 does this handily by ramping shutter speed and flash comp....aperture remains constant of course

usually only need to use two frames out of a set of 5 bracketed 1 ev apart (frame 2 and frame 4 usually) or in extreams, three out of a seven frame bracket, in a layerd comp using luminosity masks.......

Nikon CLS very effective in this

very simple

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