Multiple Strobes
Skip Navigation Links.
Collapse underwater Photo Courseunderwater Photo Course
How to use
Collapse (1) The Basics(1) The Basics
Where to Start?
Exposure Basics
Shutter Speed Basics
Aperture Basics
Exposure Values
Quick Quiz
Light Underwater
Light Meter Basics
Film Speeds Primer
Optic Basics
Depth of Field Introduction
What makes a good picture?
Your first dive!
O-Ring Fundamentals
What Next?
Collapse (2) Equipment Guide(2) Equipment Guide
Collapse Underwater Camera HousingsUnderwater Camera Housings
Camera Housings
Collapse Digital Underwater CamerasDigital Underwater Cameras
Housing Types
Build Quality
Camera Housing Viewfinders
Viewfinder Optics
Housing Features
D-SLR Lens Gears
D-SLR Ports
Leak Detectors
Collapse Lenses and opticsLenses and optics
Lens Types
Wide Angle Lenses
Macro Lenses
Zoom Lenses
Collapse Underwater StrobesUnderwater Strobes
Choice of underwater Strobe
underwater Strobe Power Rating
Strobe Firing Modes
underwater Strobe Compatibility
underwater Strobe Construction
underwater Strobe Connectors
underwater Strobe Coverage
underwater Flash Housings
Power Supplies
underwater Strobe Arms
Underwater Camera Maintenance
Underwater camera Floods
Underwater camera O-rings
Collapse (3) Diving with a Camera(3) Diving with a Camera
Collapse StrategyStrategy
What lens - which camera?
Autofocus or manual?
Check Lists
Camera Preparation (film)
Pre-Dive Checks
Entering the Water
Checking for Leaks
On reaching the bottom
Holding your camera underwater
Strategy on the dive
Collapse Dive TypesDive Types
Wall Diving
Night Diving
Shore Diving
Boat Diving
Snorkel Photography
Collapse Safety And Dive GearSafety And Dive Gear
Solo Diving
Diving Equipment
Collapse (4) Light Underwater(4) Light Underwater
Predicting your results
What is Light?
What is Color?
Color Temperature
Effects of Depth
The Inverse Square Law
Collapse ExposureExposure
Collapse Light Metering UnderwaterLight Metering Underwater
Types of Metering Systems
Types of Light Measurement
Metering Zones
Metering Modes
Which metering system to choose
Metering Problems
Metering Limitations
Collapse Natural LightNatural Light
Time Of Day
Against The Light
Silhouettes Underwater
Sunbursts Underwater
Filters Underwater
Collapse Artificial LightArtificial Light
Automatic Flash Exposure
Strobe Angle
Collapse Balanced LightBalanced Light
Balanced Light Exposure
Collapse (5) Travel(5) Travel
Why Travel?
Where to Go?
Location Strategy
Ten Questions
Air Travel
How best to dive it?
Diving Medicine
Collapse Temperate WatersTemperate Waters
Temperate Tips
Collapse Camera MaintenanceCamera Maintenance
Maintenance Tips
Maintenance Mistakes to avoid
10 things to do with a flooded camera!
Collapse FloodsFloods
Flood Repair
Flood Prevention
Flood Emergency Actions
Collapse (6) Composition(6) Composition
What is Composition?
Rule of Thirds
The Golden Mean
The Horizon
Negative Space
Collapse (7) Advanced Techniques(7) Advanced Techniques
Maintaining Motivation
Collapse Mastering EquipmentMastering Equipment
Collapse Using Underwater StrobesUsing Underwater Strobes
Flash to Subject Distance
Practical Strobe Techniques
Multiple Strobes
Strobe Lighting Accessories
Advanced Flash Bracketing
Manual Flash Exposure
Manual fill-in Exposure
Strobe Tips
Collapse StrategyStrategy
Percentage Photography
Batch Shooting
The Decisive Moment
Classic Shots
Idea Development
Making Ideas Work
Tourist Mentality
Planned Shots
Collapse Avoiding MistakesAvoiding Mistakes
Operator Error
Picture Problems
Compositional Faults
Camera Problems
Strobe Problems
Collapse (8) underwater Photo Subjects(8) underwater Photo Subjects
Collapse FishFish
Shoaling Fish
Collapse Natural History SubjectsNatural History Subjects
Large Subjects
Planktonic Life
Moving Subjects
Other Subjects
Collapse WrecksWrecks
Wreck Strategy
Photographing Wrecks
Wreck Composition
Collapse Wide Angle SubjectsWide Angle Subjects
Wide Angle Lenses
Fisheye lenses Underwater
Wide Zooms Underwater
Lens Angle Underwater
Wide Angle Flash
Collapse Macro and Close-UpMacro and Close-Up
Lenses for Macro
Flash for Macro
Finding Macro Subjects
Super Macro
Collapse (9) The Creative Approach(9) The Creative Approach
Close Focus Wide Angle
Double Exposures
Collapse The SurfaceThe Surface
Surface Reflections
On the Suface
Surf Photography
Collapse Models and PropsModels and Props
Dive Gear
Collapse Long ExposuresLong Exposures
Aquarium Photography
Collapse FantasyFantasy
underwater Fantasy
Special Effects Filters
Filters on Flash
Collapse (10) Promoting Your Work(10) Promoting Your Work
Collapse PortfoliosPortfolios
Collapse PresentationsPresentations
Planning a Presentation
Presentation Software
Shooting for Presentations
Making Presentations Flow
Collapse Careers in Underwater PhotographyCareers in Underwater Photography
Picture Libraries
Advertising Work
Getting Published
Collapse Underwater Photo ContestsUnderwater Photo Contests
Contest Types
underwater Photo Festivals
underwater Photo Shoot-outs
Collapse (11) Digital Imaging(11) Digital Imaging
Collapse Digital BasicsDigital Basics
How To Email images
Computer Hardware
Storing images
Connecting to a computer
Transferring Images
Collapse Color ManagementColor Management
Colour Space
ICC profiles
Monitor Calibration
Collapse Image FilesImage Files
Image File Resolution
Image Problems
Collapse Digital WorkflowDigital Workflow
Digital Capture
Cleaning your CCD
Image File Management
Assessing Images
Rotate Images
Captions and Keywording
Digital Workflow Checklist
Skip Navigation Linksunderwater Photo Course :: (7) Advanced Techniques :: Mastering Equipment :: Using Underwater Strobes :: Multiple Strobes

Multiple Strobes

U/W Photo Course

Learn u/w photography the easy way!

One solution to the shadow problem caused by single strobes that has become popular in recent years is to mount two strobes on camera. With two strobes one should be the principal light source and the other used for fill in order to avoid double shadows. It is therefore desirable to have one strobe more powerful than the other is and use the lesser-powered unit for filla second flashgun should be used to fill-in the shadows caused by the main strobe and should therefore be less powerful

trade secrets! Things the pro's don't want you to know! The use of multiple strobes can be considered for a couple of reasons. It is true that the main benefit is to reduce harsh shadows but, as a by-product, you are also able to increase your exposureRecording light onto photo sensitive devices and materials by a stop, and get wider-angle coverage.

It is worth pointing out that, because of the inverse square lawThe quantity of light falling on a subject is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source, in order to gain an extra F-stopStandard unit of exposure. A means of expressing the illuminating power of a lens regardless of its focal length. you must double the number of strobes (so to gain a stop more than two strobes will give you requires four, eight if you want another!) This is clearly impractical. To calculate the combined guide numberA number used to represent the illuminating power of a photographic flash for comparison of efficiency with other flash units. for two (identical) strobes multiply the individual guide number by 1.4.

Dual Strobes

Using two strobes is extremely popular and a natural progression. Once again the photographers who do best on manual do best with two strobes! The basic principle is that one strobe will always 'win' through being more powerful or closest to the subject. We call this the key light and try to balance the second strobe, which we call the fill light with it. The degree of fill determines the lighting ratio.

trade secrets! Things the pro's don't want you to know! A very pleasing ratio is achieved when the fill strobe is between one to two stops under the key light. This just adds contrastthe difference in desity between parts of an image. High contrast for example denotes larger differences with blacker blacks and whiter whites. to the shadows without destroying them. You should select a strobe of appropriately lesser power, or set to half or quarter power.

You don't really need your fill strobe to be TTLThrough The Lens. A term applied to viewfinders and metering systems that operate behind the lens. As such TTL is accurate because it sees what the lens sees.. A second, slave type flash can be used provided you make sure it is less powerful than the main strobe and you use an apertureThe variable diameter hole used to control the amount of light passing through a lens. guaranteed to make your TTL main strobe fire at near to full output.

With two strobes you risk lighting up the suspended particles in the water from two directions, so you might imagine that multiple strobes increase problems in that respect. In practice backscatterBackscatter is light reflected from suspended particles in the water a problem in underwater flash photography caused by having the flash too close to the camera lens. is usually reduced.

With two strobes you also have twice as many aiming problems however. Be aware of accidentally creating 'hot spots' where coverage overlaps.

geat advice! On a limited budget, the purchase of a second strobe should seriously be considered a priority to buying a second camera, as it gives a better return in terms of making a difference to picture quality. You can't use two cameras simultaneously - but you can two strobes!

One thing is certain - you will not win competitions with on camera flash, whether you use one, or two; and surely a more artistic way to use two or more flashguns is to point them in different directions! Selectively highlighting areas, preferably with subtlety, can transform an otherwise dull shot.

Stephen Frink on Dual Strobes

Next >> Strobe Lighting Accessories