FLASH TESTING SIMPLE



HOW TO TEST YOUR FLASH  -  WITH A FLASH METER

How to establish a true guide number for your flash since all the manufacturers lie like politicians and bump the numbers.  We use and endorse SEKONIC flash and ambient meters and my trusty 358 has been my pal for years.  I have three meters and they are calibrated.  What you are concerned with and going to achieve is reality, as to how your flash really performs.  

•   A meter will answer the questions before you try this at a real wedding and screw up.  
•   It’ s real power rating, known as the guide number. If you like any Nikon owner has to add +0.3 in photoshop, correct it in the camera or flash beforehand.
•   How wide the light beam really is.  Critical is the width of the beam of the flash, in relation to the subjects.  Very important is the fall off on the edges If your strobe has a hot center,  giving you those Al Jolson portraits.
•   Here’s the straight poop, most higher level strobes have wider larger heads and disperse the light more evenly than consumer or prosumer heads.  You generally get what you pay for.


PROCESS FLASH TEST - COVERAGE GUIDE TEST
A plain room with no bright lights nor windows facing camera, totally dark is not required, just low levels of light.

  1. Camera on tripod 60- 65 inches off ground. Normal 50mm lens setting.
  2. Flash on camera with fresh unused batteries.
  3. Place meter ten feet from flash to flash meter.   Place a book at ten feet.
  4. Set camera, flash, flash meter, toaster, vacuum cleaner and TV set to ISO 100.  Shutter at 1/125
  5. Stand on book, trigger flash.
  6. Read meter.
  7. Rethink your numbers.


PROCESS AREA TEST  – OR THROW TEST

  1. Take a king or queen size bed sheet hung on two light stands and a cross bar as a backdrop. 
  2. Dim the room, set the flash and camera at the real guide number and ten feet at ISO 100.  
  3. You will find on the less expensive strobes the drop off is significant and loses much at the edges.  
  4. You’ll see that when the prints come back and the center is weighted and edges are underexposed.  
  5. The perfection bracket we offer and dual strobes are critical for cross the board evenness on wide shoots. 
  6. Build your own double bracket for peanuts under my section “Informational”.