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What's the best way to avoid shadows on ceilings fans, chandeliers, etc? When using strobes I know I can blend in an ambient exposure but I'm looking for a technique or trick without those extra steps.
Yes, shadows from things that hang from ceilings are a pain! The trick to eliminating the shadows from hanging things is to use multiple flashes from different directions. This is an important enough subject that Scott Hargis has a whole chapter on the subject in his ebook: Lighting Interiors. Scott shows how with a couple of small flashes when positioned correctly you can completely eliminate these annoying shadows.