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Old Dec 15, 2010, 8:15 AM   #1
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Default How bad is this idea?

My wife's family gathers to exchange Christmas gifts. With her mom & dad, 7 siblings, sibling's spouses and all the children, there will be about 35 people in the room.

In order to take photos of everything that's going on, here's my idea and I'd love to hear you guys talk about what's wrong with the idea.

I have 3 flashes (Canon 430 EX Speedlite). I put a diffuser on each, station them in various spots around the room where the big gift exchange occurs. I'm going to dial down the power to 1/2 full then aim them all at the ceiling

Then, set my white balance and using the wireless gadget to fire the flashes.

I'll be able to shoot in any direction and had somewhat even light in a constantly changing environment.

I'm doing this for two reasons.
A) It's an idea that I'm wondering if it will work.
B) Her family argues for recreation. With a camera in my hand, I'm invited to enjoin fewer "discussions". Half her family is democrat, half republican....I'm Libertarian.

What do you think of the 3 flash approach?

Faithfully Yours,
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 8:32 AM   #2
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I like the idea and I dont see why it shouldnt work
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 10:25 AM   #3
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If you are pointing at the ceiling then forget the diffusers. As for WB shoot flash WB then correct in PP (ensure you are shooting RAW). Check that half power is enough (or not too much) for a good exposure and that you are aware of any hot spots or cool areas where you need to change your aperture of ISO for correct exposure.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 10:53 AM   #4
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Sounds like an interesting experiment. So I'll be interested to hear how it works. But, if this is a standard ceiling (12 feet) I don't think you gain anything for the majority of shots where you're not shooting the big groups and you'll be going through batteries - if you drain them then you're changing 3 units. So if you're shooting say 4 people together, you're not gaining much vs. just using shoe-mounted flash for your subjects. What you will have is different background lighting depending on where you are in relation to the 3 flashes. In general, I actually prefer light fall-off.

You also have another issue - having one of the flash stands in the background and the VERY distracting flash burst going off. That won't look too good, so you'll want to pick your spots so you don't have one of the stands in the background.

I think its a great idea for doing formal group shots so you get nice even lighting but I think you might end up with more down side than gain for the standard photos with only a few people in the frame. But I am curious how it works. Let us know.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 7:31 PM   #5
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Definitely sounds worth a try. You should probably take some test shots before they show up to check lighting, and flash position. If you can, hide the flashes so they don't wash out your pictures, or worse, get knocked over/around/down, by one of the guests.

Another advantage of holding a camera. For me, the primary one is that I don't appear in the pictures.

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