First try with studio lights

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bellavita64, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. bellavita64

    bellavita64 TPF Noob!

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    This is from the first batch of shots I tried with my new studio lighting setup. I was trying for low-key lighting, but I think this may be too dark. There is still some detail in the guitar, but not sure if I should have upped the flash output a little more. Please c&c. I really want to get this figured out. Thanks!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    They hardly look like they're turned on. Did you proof?
     
  3. bellavita64

    bellavita64 TPF Noob!

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    By proof, do you mean did I check each strobe to make sure it was firing? (This is all brand new to me!) Yes, they were all firing. But I may not have had them close enough to the subject. The key was about 8 feet away and the fill was about 6 feet away. Guess I need to experiment MUCH more and try to figure out the logistics of light fall-off. Now I now why I always prefer working with natural light...
     
  4. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Inverse square law explains how light works, I'm guessing you need a flashmeter for correct exposure, its not how close to the subject the lights were set at anyway, closer = softer light distant = hard light, but you do need to get the exposure right, this is what studio lighting is for, to control the light. H
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Right.

    You'll need to up the power output of the strobes or bring them closer to your subject. If you don't have a flash meter, then you should get one. On top of that, proof. Even though I have a flash meter, and can meter the output of my strobes, I still shoot polaroids or digital in order to see what the actual shot will look like. Even with modeling lamps and a flash meter, you're still half blind when it comes to where exactly the light will fall and how strong it will be.
     
  6. bellavita64

    bellavita64 TPF Noob!

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    Half blind pretty much sums it up! Not to make a stupid pun, but I felt like I was shooting in the dark. Guess that is a stupid pun, anyway. Sorry. I have a flash meter. I think it is a fairly good one. Can't figure out how to make it work for me. I've read the manual several times, and I just don't get it. (Math and science were my downfall in school.) Here is my true confession. I love the art/creative side of photography. I want to master this, but I feel like an idiot when it comes to all of the rules and gadgets I have to manipulate and work with. Everything I have read (and believe me I have read TONS of books) says that eventually this will all come second nature and I and the camera (and all of the equipment) will work as one. Sounds kind of mystic to me, but I'm hoping it is true. I mean I'm not an idiot. I hope I'm "beyond the basics" which is why I posted my thread on this particular forum. I know how to take off the lens cap and I know how my camera works. I know my questions must sound pretty stupid to some of you who have been at this for a long time. In the other areas of my life, I'm a highly intelligent person with a mean DIY streak! I really believe that if I can create the shot in my mind, then I should be able to master the technology and bring the image to fruition. This is incredibly frustrating but I'm loving the challenge. BTW, my meter is a Sekonic L-358. If I can get the right side of my brain to catch up with the left side, there may be hope!! Sorry to ramble.
     
  7. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Hook up your meter to your strobe(s). Set the ISO and the aperture that you're using on the flash meter. Pick a power output on your strobe. Walk over to your subject, aim the dome of the flash meter at them, and press the measure button on the side. The meter will tell you the exposure time.
     
  8. bellavita64

    bellavita64 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. In five sentences, you made more sense than the whole manual!
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Are you sure about that Max? The L-358 needs the shutter speed (= gate time) to be set, then it gives the aperture (that's the normal way a flash meter works). I don't think that there is an aperture priority mode for flash measurement with the L-358. There is for continuous light, but not for flash. Among the Sekonic flash-capable meters, I only have the L-508 and L-758 available so I can't check it. Bellavita64 can check it easily enough.

    I suggest pointing the dome in the general direction of the camera, not towards the subject.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  10. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    You're right. It does not have an aperture priority mode for flash. Sorry about that.

    As for the dome, I think it depends greatly on the angle of the strobes to the subject and consequently to the camera. The dome has a maximum field of view of 180 degrees, which in practical terms is significantly more narrow. With the dome over the sensor, it's basically measuring ambient light created during the flash exposure. But let's say you have a hair light, above and to the side of the subject. If you were to stand at your subject and point the dome toward the camera, most of that light would hit the back of the meter, not the dome. There are many other possible lighting configurations in which you'd run into the same problem. Therefore, I tend to point the dome toward my subject (which is what my Minolta manual recommends, btw) so that I can get a more accurate measure of the ambient light surrounding my subject in the field of view of the camera.
     
  11. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Most domes are designed to read over more than 180° so that they take some account of light coming from everywhere except directly behind the subject. The ISO terminology for them is a cardioid receptor because they are supposed to have a cardioid response. (A flat disk has a cosine response, as should a retracted dome).

    "Therefore, I tend to point the dome toward my subject (which is what my Minolta manual recommends, btw)..."

    Which part of which Minolta manual says that you should point the dome of an incident meter at the subject? It sounds something like the way that individual lights or lighting ratios are normally measured.

    Our metering techniques should suit the lighting in use, but I would suggest that pointing the dome in the general direction of the camera will work in more situations than pointing it at the subject. I guess that you don't use much frontal lighting, and I also guess that bellavita64 will learn quickly enough.

    In the photo above, I would have placed the dome by the side of the subject's cheek, pointing about half-way between the camera and the main source, while making sure that I was not shading the dome.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  12. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Okay.
     

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