Help with lighting setup (2 umbrellas)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by BrandonS, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. BrandonS
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    BrandonS New Member

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    My wife got me an umbrella kit for my speedlights for my birthday and I figured I would give them a try. The cat was nice enough to lay on the filing cabinet for about two minutes. I think this one came out alright.

    One umbrella was placed camera left and 2ft up with the flash set 1/4 and the second one was camera right level with the cats eyes and about 2ft away. My camera settings were 1/250 @ F5 and 70mm.

    Would this be a conventional way of setting up the umbrellas? I was thinking the main source up high because it would be a more natural look (sun, indoor lighting, etc) then put the other one on the other side as a "fill" to soften the transition, but also add light to the undersides.

    Also is this about the same DOF you would want in a portrait or would you use more/less?

    Thanks, this is the first time shooting with umbrellas.

    [​IMG]
  2. Iron Flatline
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    Iron Flatline Guest

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    A cat is going to be a really difficult subject. You can't tell whether you successfully sculpted with light while filling the shadows enough to retain interesting detail. It requires something with smoother yet more distinct features such as a human face. In the absence of a patient model, get a doll of sorts.

    Overall the image you posted looks evenly lit, but it is hard to say that the umbrellas are providing an advantage. In some ways it's too well lit. It's quite bright (thus lacking a little drama) and it could just as well be available light and some reflection.
  3. BrandonS
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    BrandonS New Member

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    Thanks for the input. It makes sense that fur wouldn't show as distinct lines as a human face. Sounds like I'm going to have to coerce the wife to stand in. I'll also try to create more of a contrast between ambient, main, and fill flash. I see where evenly lit doesn't create any type of mood in the picture.
  4. IgsEMT
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    IgsEMT Well-Known Member

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  5. eric-holmes
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    eric-holmes New Member

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    Did you shoot through the umbrella or reflect it?
  6. BrandonS
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    BrandonS New Member

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    I reflected off both of them, each was an SB-600 firing into a silver umbrella. I can remove the black backing and shoot through as well.
  7. kundalini
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    kundalini Well-Known Member

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    You don't mention what the fill flash is set to. Typically (I think) you'll want to drop the power for fill by one stop from the main light to add a little drama in the lighting (2:1 to 4:1 ratio), assuming your main is at ~45° camera left or right x ~45° above your subject. So if your main light is at 1/4 power, try having the fill at 1/8 or 1/16 power.

    As Flatline mentioned, your overall scene is quite bright and I think the umbrella is spreading the light too much on such a small subject. Since you can peel the backing on your umbrella, try removing only part of it to flag the light to remain mostly on your cat (notice how bright the left edge of the image is).

    I think you did pretty good overall and suggest you keep playing with settings and positions on your flashes.
  8. BrandonS
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    BrandonS New Member

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    I never even thought about flagging the flash with backing. Oh and the fill was 1/20.
  9. LearnMyShot
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    LearnMyShot New Member

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