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one strobe or two?

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I am a brand new beginner at photography. My question is this...I have access to two strobes. Is there any reason to learn with one strobe before starting to use two?

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no

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no

What he said. It's no harder and you'll get better results right off the bat!

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I started with one strobe and found it to be a real hassle, you really have to fiddle with the strobes so much and hope that the scene youre shooting lines up on the opposite side of where the strobe is positioned. although I have gotten some nice shots with one strobe, it creates some really hard shadows that works for some shots but not for others. I say go for two and you can always experiment by turning one off if you want to try something different

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I started out with one strobe butt after a couple of dives found that two strobes gave me far greater options for lighting affects

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I guess there's no real reason why one should start with one strobe, but I did so simply because of a somewhat restricted budget. Now that I have two strobes, I realize what shooting for a year with only one did for me. It made me less likely to simply default to two - gave me pause to at least think about the situation in front of me and consider what one, or two strobes, could do for the image I wanted. I also liked the reduced task-loading of only one strobe in the beginning.

 

These days I hardly feel hindered if one strobe runs out of gas on a long dive, and sometimes only take one - depending on what it is I plan to shoot. I firmly believe in the principle of, "Take everything you need and nothing you don't." - particularly with u/w photography, given that the task-loading and a photo-oriented focus can take away from what should be the first consideration... the dive.

 

Lee

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I was reading an underwater photography book, and the author stuck with just one strobe, and his explanation is: There is only ONE sun! Hence one source of light is enough. My wallet agreed with him, but my result strongly disagree. :lol2:

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There is an idea that you should start out with 1 Strobe and learn it, before you step up to 2 Strobes. I think that M.Edge wrote it in his excellent book.

A lot of extremly good UW-photographers are using 1 Strobe only. It is quicker to aim 1 strobe correctly.

 

I personally started out with 2 Strobes and used them both all the time. Nowadays, I quite often find my right strobe switched off.

 

If I would have started over again. I would probably have started with 1 strobe and learn it properly, before moving over to 2 strobes.

 

/Erik

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Start with one if you are just a beginner, as you will have enough to worry about. Also starting with one will make you think more about your lighting, the best position for the strobe for each shot. I have seen plenty of beginners using two strobes (because they see images of all the pros with two) and then not move them once during a dive and wondering why they get flat, washed out or images full of backscatter.

 

Keep it simple and have a lot of fun.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Depends on what lighting effect you want. One strobe can gives some dramatic shots ;)

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Definitely get two strobes. There may be many times you only want to use one, and you can turn one around or off then.

Edited by AllisonFinch

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If I would have started out all over again. Then I would have started with 1 Strobe.

When I had command of it. Then I would have bought the 2nd Strobe.

I believe that my Pictures would have gotten better faster that way.

 

For some reasons:

1) It is a lot easier to control 1 Strobe, especially strobe angles.

2) You get a faster feeling for how shadows improves a picture

3) You get to buy a new toy a bit later and not all at once :-)

 

/Erik

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I think that if you have two strobes (as the OP did) then take them both but the best way to learn about their use is to find a scene and shoot it with one and two at various powers for each. You can do this in your kitchen if your dive time is too precious. Learn about where shadows add to a photo and on which side they should be, but make sure you learn about the effects. Simply taking two strobes down both set in TTL and not moving them around at all is not the path to learning.

Bill

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I was reading an underwater photography book, and the author stuck with just one strobe, and his explanation is: There is only ONE sun! Hence one source of light is enough. My wallet agreed with him, but my result strongly disagree. :lol2:

I will go with the "one strobe, one sun" theory when they sell a strobe with the same guide number as the sun! :)
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I will go with the "one strobe, one sun" theory when they sell a strobe with the same guide number as the sun! :)

The battery pack would be a pain to travel with.

Bill

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Back in the day I did the "start with one strobe because I don't feel like buying a second strobe"….and by the next SCUBA excursion I was using a second strobe.

Just start with two strobes! Better results and you will be using two sooner or later anyways….

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Wide angle benefit most, but macro can benefit from 2 strobes as well.

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I am another case of a former two-strobe owner finding out that over time I more and more often only used one, and now am back to a one-strobe system. But I would not necessarily recommend that to others. As Doug indicated, WA in particular can use both the extra power and the ability to throw a wider light cone needed to cover your field of view. It is also true that with two strobes you can use one to fill in the shadow thrown by the other. I have never found that to bother me, but you should know for yourself how critical you are about image perfection. I do however notice that above water I rarely see photographers use two strobes outside a studio.

 

From a learning perspective I think it can be useful to have two strobes, assuming you have them or can borrow, so you can experiment and learn from the results. This assumes that you are at least a competent diver and find conditions where you can focus on playing with your camera. A pool or shore diving with a patient buddy will work, trying to do this while keeping up with a dive master or fighting a current will be futile and it is better to keep things simple.

 

Bart

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Most studio photogs use multiple strobes, and the majority of pro shooters often employ reflectors when using a single on camera flash unit. I rarely use a single flash for my studio work, and use multiples and assistant holding reflector for my beach portrait work. For U/W I rarely turn one of my strobes off. Even when I want strong shadowing, I have my secondary strobe turned low but still on to make the shadowing less harsh.

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You know what? I completely disagree with Doug! One strobe often works very well in a balanced-light wide-angle image, the colour focussing attention on the subject. One strobe can also work very well in macrophotography, but is likely to produce very harsh modelling, which is softened by the second strobe. Sometimes dramatic modelling is great, but often it isn't...

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Tim, I said I rarely used one strobe, I did not say that shooting with one strobe was never a viable option. I have seen a lot of your great work, so I know that we both USUALY use 2 strobes. :)

Edited by diverdoug1

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Doug:

 

It was the post "Wide angle benefit most, but macro can benefit from 2 strobes as well" that should have been above my (exaggerated-for-effect) response: I'm typing on a horrible PC with an ancient legacy OS and a ghastly firewall, so it wasn't attached to my post*. Sorry.

 

I think that macro benefits most from 2 strobes, in wide-angle they just spread the light when focussed and balanced light is often a more exciting way to construct the image.

 

 

*I'm also unable to format anything.

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