Artificial "natural" light

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Aritay, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. Aritay

    Aritay TPF Noob!

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    So let's say you were constrained by a window-less room.

    And yet you wanted the light to appear as natural (i.e., sunlight-like) as possible. Further, let's say you wanted the light to be like on a nice cloudy day. That is, the light would be diffused, generally "flat", but have some direction. Again, like outside on a cloudy day.

    How would one best go about setting this up indoors for portraiture??

    thanks
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A very large softbox, one of 54 inches or thereabouts on the long axis, or a very large scrim or "panel", say a 42x78 inch white translucent fabric-covered panel with one or two flash heads shot through it would produce the exact effect of diffused light caused by a cloudy sky; soft light, but with some directionality. A big umbrella, like a 60 inch model would also do in a pinch.
     
  3. Aritay

    Aritay TPF Noob!

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    Thanks - - but what about the quality of the light itself. Is there anything that one can do to have it be as "sun-like" as possible??

    Or is that something that would just need to be done in PP. (Though I'd of course rather have it as natural looking as possible to begin with.)

    And how about the positioning of the softbox - - how close or far in general should it be placed.

    thanks again
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Which type of "sun-like" through a window do you want? A north, south, east, or west facing window? What time of year, latitude/longitude/time-of-day do you want to simulate?
     
  5. Aritay

    Aritay TPF Noob!

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    Let's make it a cloudy fall reasonably warm day - - with reasonably warm light, say later in the afternoon.

    But I'm not looking for a "through-the-window" look. I'm trying to re-create what it would be like to sit someone, say, on a park bench - - but on a very nice day for photography (of the diffuse, even, flat, natural light type). No trees, shade or anything. Just a nice cloudy day - - lit by only by sun light, but no direct sun beams or harsh shadows.

    (I may well add to this in the studio for various effects. But I am interested in what it would take to re-create the outdoors indoors as a base point.)

    thanks
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A slight amount of white balance mis-adjusement, a little bit to the warm side, would be good. Some people might be tempted to shoot them light through a cookaloris in order to simulate a more dappled type of lighting. But basically, if you want to simulate light outdoors, you need to differentiate what type of light it is in the first place; at noon, the light is straight overhead. On a cloudy day, you mentioned "sunlight", yet on a cloudy day there is no sun light--there is diffused SKY-light.

    In winter, in my area, the sun is low in the sky. In summer, the sun is higher in the sky, and is more likely to be true sun-light rather than diffused, soft SKY-light,which is what your initial post was describing. The angle of the light needs to be coming from a believable height and direction; why you wish to recreate outdoor lighting indoors is not clear to me; unless you have a Hollywood-grade movie set, outdoor lighting is not indoor lighting and there's not too much advantage to trying to mimic outdoor light when shooting on a set. If you want to re-create the effect of SUN-light, which has a sharp-edged shadow, smaller light sources like 2o-inch pan reflectors or 30-inch silvered umbrellas positioned high,on a boom stand or 13 foot tall light stand will re-create the light of the "sun". But if you want the effect of cloudy,soft sky-light, you need a VERY large source,positioned overhead at least somewhat for noon effects, and lower for earlier or later simulation.
     
  7. Aritay

    Aritay TPF Noob!

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    Thanks again.

    I guess natural, diffused "sky-light" is what I'm looking for.

    The reason is this: I have some portraits which I did outside, late in a fall afternoon, where there was complete yet not heavy cloud cover, etc., etc. (And I too live up north.) Anyway, I really liked the light in these pics - - and how the portraits turned out.

    But how many days/times do you get like that? And with my work schedule, I don't have many occasions to try and be out there, with the right subjects, etc., etc.

    So I was wondering what it would take to re-create that situation in-doors.

    If your comment above regarding a Hollywood set essentially means that what I'm really looking for would be prohibitively expensive - - then I could understand.

    But then I guess my next question would be: How close could I get on a reasonable budget - - or at least what relatively standard things could I do to try and best achieve this look: the look of this particular outside lighting, but done artificially. :)
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Like these?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Had a bed sheet connected to the frame of a horse barn with clamps and fired 4 speedlights through it. I believe it was at least queen sized.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A PERFECT example of a LARGE light source; the bedsheet being a "scrim", a
    "panel" or a "silk" in common parlance.:thumbup:
     
  10. Aritay

    Aritay TPF Noob!

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    Yes, thanks. So you use just 4 regular strobes - - all firing simultaneously? Was that the only light source?

    How about any adjustments in PP?
     
  11. ddeerreekk

    ddeerreekk TPF Noob!

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    To go an easy route.... I've had some great success just bouncing the light off a ceiling or wall. As long as the surface isn't too strongly colored (even so you could probably just color correct in post). I don't have any examples on my at the moment but it's definitely an option. Then again, it may turn out looking very unnatural, depending on the circumstance, I guess.
     
  12. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A mix of Canon and Vivitar strobes fired via Pocket Wizards all fired at the same time to help cover the area of the sheet. There may have been some spill, but the subject was in the shade and the camera settings were ISO 100, f/8, and a shutter speed of 1/80.

    Post was just basic sharpening and a slight crop to get rid of the door frame.

    Oops, one last strobe, possible with a Captain Crunch snoot on it was fired through a barn window as a hair light for the subject's left side. You can tell where it's hitting.
     

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