A Sheet, Two PhotoFlood Lights, Tripod, & A D50

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by iPanzica, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. iPanzica

    iPanzica TPF Noob!

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    So that's what I have to work with at the moment. Can anyone give me any advice on fixing my white backgrounds. I don't much much about lighting, but I am learning. I am really trying to take totally white background pictures with as little photoshoping as possible. What's the best way to do this with what I have? If there is no way what's the best way with spending as little money as possible?

    Here is my setup at the moment.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture I took in Automatic mode (still very new to the camera trying to remember all the F Stop stuff I learned in college)

    No Photoshoping Whatsoever. Just reduced the size.
    [​IMG]

    And here is after. (the effect I am going for (or as close to as possible) I hate using Dodge becuase it just doesn't work as well as the other way.
    [​IMG]

    PS I didn't really want to make it Black and White but it looked better that way with the dodging.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

    Micheal.
     
  2. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    I think if you blast the backdrop with bright white lights you'll be closer to what you want.... the backdrop should be fairly easy to drop out if you select a color range and then clear it out - might be faster and easier than dodge?
     
  3. oldnavy170

    oldnavy170 TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, I am not going to be much help with your set up. Looks like you have a nice starter home studio going. I too am thinking about investing in some equipment for home. I am interested in what others have to say to help improve your "home studio".
     
  4. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Put a third light on that white paper
     
  5. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    You should light the white background about 2 stops (Trial and error will tell you exactly how much, but 2 stops is a good starter ) lighter than the subject. Meter off the subject and the background should burn out. You will see grey areas if you need to make it lighter and the burnout will encroach into the subject if it is too light. some say 1 1/2 some say 2 1/2 stops. but 2 will be a good beginning.
    if you don't have a separate meter then light the scene, and use the camera to meter first the model and then the background. there should be about 2 stops difference give or take. when this is so, take a shot and review the results....
    If you only have the 2 lights you may be able to put the lights on the paper , and light the model with daylight (Worth a try).
    Idealy though you will probably need more light(s) for a full length shot.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. iPanzica

    iPanzica TPF Noob!

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    Once i figure out what you said about all the stops I'll do it. I really need to take out my old photo notes and read them. I think I got what your talking about, but meh it's almost midnight. Thanks for all the replys.

    Keep um coming if you know anything else.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    To make the background appear white, you have to put more light onto it as Groupcaptainbonzo said. That will get it done with little or no Photoshop.

    Alternatively, rather than burning in photoshop....just open levels and grab the white point eye dropper...and click on the background...ta da. That will adjust the whole image. If you just want to run levels on the background...use the magic wand to select the background and then run levels and pick the white point. Very fast and easy.
     
  8. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    First thing if you have not already done so. Take the camera out of AUTO mode! On D-50 it is P. Set it to A or aperature mode. What this allows is you to choose aperature and it will set shutter for propper exposure. Also take the camera out of auto ISO mode. This is a menu function. Set the camera to 200 iso. This is the lowest setting and provides the clearest immages (if your lights are not bright enough you may need iso 400 or even 800 but at least take it out of auto iso).

    Now what he means by two stops is the background needs to be 4x brighter than the subject. To do this you would take your camera and meter your subject. Say the camera reads 1/125 at f/8. Now take the camera and meter just the background. If it reads 1/500 at f/8. The background would be 2 stops brighter (notice the shutter speed is 2 settings faster, that is 2 stops). Now just for grins. Say when you meter the background you only get a reading of 1/250 at f/8. That is only 1 setting different from the subject reading. That would be 1 stop. To get a 2 stop difference between background and subject, you have 2 options. Increase the light on the background without increasing light on your subject. Or reduce the light on your subject without reducing the light on the background (ie move the lights or add lights).

    Now I am going to throw a wrench into it.

    If you adjust your aperature to a lower number (larger lens opening) less of the picture will be in focus. This will help in making the background fade out or be less prominent in the picture. Basically set your aperature so that only the subject is in sharp focus. Example would be at f/16 everything in the picture frame is in focus (subject, background, even light cords 2 feet in front of subject). And at f/4 only the subjects nose to ear is in focus (everything closer than the nose, and everything behind the ears is out of focus). You may want to use f/5.6 or f/8. Get into focus just the subject or even just parts of the subject you want. An out of focus bright background will give you more of the look your are looking for without as much photoshopping. If you have enough and propperly positioned light and aperature set correctly you could get the shot you want without photoshop at all.

    For a cheap add on to your kit lights. When you get a chance go to home depot or lowes or ace and buy a couple garage lights. They are the clamp on type with like a 10" metal reflector. A local discount store near me sells them for about $6. Probably $10 or 12 at brand name stores. So about $40 for lights, bulbs, and ceramic insulators you can double your light set. Like I said in another post the ceramic insulators will allow you to use brighter bulbs than the light normally takes due to heat.
     
  9. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Also go to ebay and pick up a foam head. They sell them for wig and hat displays. Might find one local at a craft store too. With a foam head and ladder, light stand, or tripod you can have a model that will not loose patience with you while practicing. And will not get too hot after being under hot lights for hour or two straight.

    Also get a note pad and sketch your model position, camera position, light positions. Record camera settings, light settings (height, position, and brightness), and image #. When you review your pics on the computer. Review your sketches to the pics and you will pick up what movements does what really quickly. Don't just move something, shoot and forget about everything else. There are standard set ups, but you want to learn for when the non-standard comes up.
     
  10. texassand

    texassand TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for askin all these questions. I've been confused about which route to take also. I have a Canon Rebel XT and am getting into people portrait photos. This is the setup I was going to buy: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=010&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=200044189533&rd=1&rd=1

    Is this a rip off. low quality ect.? If so, I will go with something different , but now I'm wondering if I should go with strobe? If a person uses strobe, do they not use ANY continuous lighting? Also, would it be an option to buy this set up and just get more powerful bulbs? Where do you buy bulbs that are 250watt and above anyway? I guess the main reason I wanted to use continuous (lame reason probably) is because I don't understand strobes. I don't even know if my camera would "hook up" to them. Can a pro please give me an idea of a standard setup using strobes and/or contnuous lighting in a studio? Like physically where they are placed in a studio setting (just a common one)?

    sorry for all the questions - afterall I'm a "beginner".

    thanks

    God Bless!!
     
  11. iPanzica

    iPanzica TPF Noob!

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    I am going to mess with everything you just said. I too would like someday to use strobes (it is the best way do to do this isn't it?) But I have no idea how to use them either. I'll post my results with what you sujested. It's hard doing self portiets, specaily becuse you can't see yourself when your in possition. I need to find a model that I can shoot to pratice.
     
  12. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    Get a written-off mannikin from a fashion store.
     

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