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Thread: Single OCF light source picture thread

  1. #16
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    Derrel: Umbrellas

    As Village Idiot pointed out, fall-off is more about the distance between the light, and the subject, than it is about the light itself. HOWEVER, comparing different light modifiers, one against the other, and there are differences in how different lights cast their light. If you want a dark, shadowed side, you can pull the light in really close to the subject, and the "bright side" will be pretty bright, and the shadowed side will be quite dark, by comparison with the lightness of the light side of a subject. Using a large and effective reflector on the shadowed side allows the photographer to bounce light back, and into the shadows, to modify the ratio of dark-to-light. The key is using a reflector that is atually A) large enough to DO something and B)using a reflector that is EFFECTIVE.

    Shoot-through umbrellas come in different sizes, and different fabrics, and they perform differently with different flash units fitted to them , as well as with "how" they are used. If you take a Nikon Sb 800 and choke it wayyyyyy up on the umbrella shaft and use a 45 inch shoot-through, only the CENTRAL part of the umbrella will be lighted, and the edges will have very,very rapid fall-off. If you back the umbrella off toward the end of the shaft and set the zoom head to 35mm, you can "fill" the umbrella, and get an entirely different effect, which is a broader "swath of light" that exits the umbrella, with a more-even amount of light between the center of the beam and the edges.

    Shoot-through umbrellas vary, a LOT; On some, you'll get 45% of the light going through the umbrella, and 55% of the light reflecting backward, where it bounces all over the shooting area. This is not good,or bad, but just the way it is. A black-backed reflecting umbrella will almost always direct a higher amount of light toward the subject than a shoot-through umbrella will. The reflecting umbrella has a higher efficiency,and it sends the light basically, for the most part, in only one direction, and not all over the room.

    The Lastolite Umbrella Box lights MORE like a softbox than a traditional umbrella does, because of the way it works. The flash is aimed into the umbrella, which has soft, solid white fabric inside, almost a plastic-like fabric, covered on the outside by a 100% light-proof black coating, also kind of "plastic-like", not just woven fabric, but a sort of "coated" white fabric and a "coated" black exterior. The light is scrambled inside the umbrella, and then goes through the white nylon front face. This design makes the "distance" around double, or more, than what one would get with a shoot-through. The Umbrella Box takes the scrambled, diffused light from the first bounce, and then diffuses it additionally when the light goes through the front cover: to me, this is called "double-diffusion". It is the same process as adding a diffuser to a light, and then firing it through a scrim--it makes the light even softer. The Lastolite Umbrella Box and the Photek Softlighter that Annie Liebovitz relies upon are almost the same thing in how they scramble the light, and then diffuse it AGAIN, through a front fabric, much the way a softbox fires through an internal diffusing baffle, and then through a front white nylon fabric.

    There is a second type of umbrella, which Zack Arias shows in one of his tutorials: it is the kind sometimes called a "brolly box", and is typically nothing more than a shoot-through umbrella with a black backing...it gives an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT type of light because it works very differently. Take a look at Zack's illustrations here, showing a shoot-through umbrella, and a softbox: I've moved the blog > zackarias.com/blog Shoot Through Umbrella vs. Softbox

    One of the most-important differences between 1) a shoot-through umbrella and a softbox, or 2) a Lastolite Umbrella Box or a Photek Softlighter and 3) a softbox is the degree of specularity the lights have. Shoot-through umbrellas are often very brightly lit-up where the flash blast through the umbrella fabric, and they often impart a sickly, disgusting, cheesy look to human foreheads and faces...lots of specular "sheen and shine"...which can make pictures shown really small and on the web or in newspapers look visually "exciting". Lots of punch, and sharp delineation of facial features. Softboxes and the Lastolite and Photek double-diffusion umbrellas have less specularity on human skin, when used for higher-resolution portraiture that is going to be printed, bigger, and seen, bigger than on the web on on newsprint screened at under 120 dots per inch...

    To me, the Lastolite Umbrella Box is the perfect umbrella for people...the "quality" of the light is different from either a shoot-through, or a reflecting umbrella. It is a double-diffusion, enclosed, rounded light. The Photek Sotlighter has even more ribs, and is even more-rounded. At "normal" studio distances, the 40 inch Lastolite Umbrella Box delivers a quality of light that I like. it is softer, with less specularity, and lower fall-off, than with a traditional reflecting umbrella. They cost almost $80 a pop. They are not $19 Chinese cheapies...
    Big Mike, 2WheelPhoto and cnutco like this.
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  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2WheelPhoto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 2WheelPhoto View Post

    ^^^^that umbrella may be the answer to my question of how do i get softer light without hassling with putting a softbox together everytime I get somewhere to shoot but still be softer than a bare umbrella? Derrel does the light fall off super-fast like a shoot-through umbrella? is there anything i need to mount a SB-600 with it, other than universal adapters i already have that hold a flash and umbrella on a light stand?
    Fall off isn't a result of the modifier. It's the distance the light source is from the modifier.

    Zack Arias has the best illustrated example of this I've ever seen:
    I've moved the blog > zackarias.com/blog White Seamless Tutorial :: Part 3 :: From White To Black.
    Thanks for the information and link, I'll study it. I'm brand new to OCF and it just seems when i take two umbrellas out, my shoot through and the regular one with the black backing on and same settings same flash, the shoot through is significantly less light for me (unless I about move it against the subject). I haven't made as far as the studio and advanced studio lighting courses at school yet.
    You'll lose more light with the shoot through as you're shooting through an object and not bouncing it off of a reflective surface. You'll have to turn the power up to compensate but if you have the shoot through at the same distance as the reflective and have the subject at the same f stop, the fall off should theoretically be the same. The farther you move the light source from the subject, the less falloff there should be, you'll just have to have more power to compensate for it. Like with Zack's photo, if you were shooting a group with one light source and wanted them all as evenly lit as possible, you would pull the light farther away so that the falloff is as close to nil as possible and they're all lit within a stop fo each other. If you moved the light source right up against them, there would be massive falloff.

    The difference between the shoot through and the reflective is that the shoot through can be put closer to the subject and is a bigger light source, acting as a softer light. The reflective can't but put as close and as a smaller source, the light will be harder. It'll still be much softer than a bare flash head, but it'll be a bit harder than a shoot through. Hard is not bad though. A lot of photographers from their first experiences gather the notion that hard is bad because they're working with lighting out of their control. Hard is definitely not bad though, it's just not soft and it's a different type of light. Use your imagination and your tools to get the lighting you want.
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  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Village Idiot
    >SNIP> if you were shooting a group with one light source and wanted them all as evenly lit as possible, you would pull the light farther away so that the falloff is as close to nil as possible and they're all lit within a stop of each other. If you moved the light source right up against them, there would be massive falloff.
    That statement from Village Idiot summarizes the way the Inverse Square Law applies to photographic lighting. For anybody who wants to learn perhaps the single most-critical aspect of studio lighting, they need to fully understand that statement that V-I just made.
    Destin likes this.
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    More posting less talking. I thought this was a thread to post pics?
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  5. #20
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    Schwetty I apologize. Guys thank you very much for the extremely helpful info and links.

    Ok another on a lighter note - my girlfriend tiling my house. I couldn't help but sneak a pic of her as she had the shop light cam left in the front yard.

    Last edited by 2WheelPhoto; 10-06-2011 at 01:37 PM.
    D800 |Nikon 24-70 | Nikon 70-200 VRII | 50mm f/1.4 | Manfrotto | pocketwizards | flashes

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    Single sb600 very high-camera(almost above head) right at 45 deg and aimed towards the ground at about 45 deg. I tried to feather the light as it was aimed towards his legs.




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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwettylens View Post
    More posting less talking. I thought this was a thread to post pics?
    I started the thread and if people want to learn, then that's awesome. If you don't like it, go start your own thread elsewhere.
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    Ok here's one I will really appreciate C & C help with. My grandson is 2 hours old in this photo I took using a shoot through umbrella/Vivitar/PW being held by my son in law in the hospital room. The shadow behind his head I believe shows the direction of the flash and the cam position. I took a lot of shots at different cam and flash angles but this one seems to be the best of that bunch.

    Babies aren't my thing but according to my daughter I'll be visiting GA a lot more often and shooting a lot more pics of him in the near future so any tips are appreciated

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    Light source is too close. The kid is like what, about a foot long? Notice the sheets at the right are blown while the same color sheet at the right is turning gray? That's fall off from having the light source too close, as was explained in the previous post. Pull your lightsource back a bit.

    He's another post from Zack Arias about lighting a white seamless back drop. This goes into detail about using a white background as white, gray, or inbetween. This can be achieved by the exposure level of the light on the seamless vs. your main subject and uses fall off to accomplish it. It's important because it illustrates how certain colors are affected by light intensity. This goes along with the multi strobe photo you took where your dark jacket was under exposed and your lighter jeans were properly exposed by the same light.

    I've moved the blog –> zackarias.com/blog White Seamless Tutorial :: Part 3 :: From White To Black.
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    Thanks!
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  11. #26
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    These are my friends, Jon and Ashley. Ashley helps out with modeling for the DC/Baltimore/NoVa Strobist shoots from time to time and volunteered to help us for a mini test run of a photo scavenger hunt we're putting together in DC. Jon ended up tagging along and he loocked board, so I figured I'd use in in a shot. This is with one 580EX II with shoot through umbrella held by a VAL on the above landing to the left of the camera. It was pretty sunny out so we found this nice shaded landing at the entrance to the Regal Cinemas next to the Verizon center. I was going for as much of a natural balance between the ambient and the flash as possible without giving it the look of being obviously lit.

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  12. #27
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    Tomato sauce shot for my recipe blog.

    This was a LumoPro LP160, zoomed to 105mm at 1/64 power. I snooted it with a piece of cardboard and used a mason jar lid ring to form a perfect circle at the opening. Flash was about a half meter left and half meter above the jar, 45 degree downward tilt. Black fabric hanging about 2 ft behind the table. 1/250,ISO100. Zeiss 35/1.4 Distagon @f/3.5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by analog.universe View Post
    Tomato sauce shot for my recipe blog.

    This was a LumoPro LP160, zoomed to 105mm at 1/64 power. I snooted it with a piece of cardboard and used a mason jar lid ring to form a perfect circle at the opening. Flash was about a half meter left and half meter above the jar, 45 degree downward tilt. Black fabric hanging about 2 ft behind the table. 1/250,ISO100. Zeiss 35/1.4 Distagon @f/3.5.
    Nice, makes me want the recipe!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwettylens View Post
    Single speedlite, camera left on a monopod held by model's husband. Bare flash.

    I WISH there was a bare flash!
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    SB800 set behind the camera and to the back of the mailbox, reverse fired. This was using Nikon CLS (no triggers yet), so I fashioned a piece of aluminum foil on the built-in flash to bounce the pre-flash backwards.









    SB800 bungeed to the ribs of a refelective umbrella.


    Last edited by kundalini; 10-13-2011 at 09:42 AM.
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