Interior Lighting

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by alvinschmucker, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. alvinschmucker

    alvinschmucker TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I need advice on lighting. We (me, my wife, friends, extended family, etc) often take family photos, group photos, etc in your average living room/family room using our run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot digital cameras (the best one of the bunch is a Canon Rebel XT).

    I am no photo whiz, but it just bugs me that the biggest problem with the results is lighting. Dim lighting, shadows, etc.

    So, I would like to acquire a couple of lights to improve the situation. Something that we can pull out of the closet, setup quickly, and give us better results.

    What should I be looking for? Budget is a key concern ($100 or less). Portability would be a big plus, and I could probably push the budget a little for the "perfect" solution.

    Please help. :hail:
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    6,111
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Likely an $80-$100 flash on a $25 light stand (or just placed on a strategically placed end table or shelf), is 90% of the way towards your solution. Just set it up off camera and shooting so it bounces off the ceiling or walls for best effect.

    Problem over. ;)
     
  3. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Japan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yep think like your living room is a 3 dimensional pool-table and bounce the projected volume of light from a fairly powerful flash (I dunno if $100 units will cut it though) off one or more surfaces.

    There's also translucent diffusion than you can create by pointing your flash through a bed-sheet from a meter or two back (flash to sheet distance). For group shots you want very large surfaces to become the illuminating source so stay kind of far from the walls or sheet with the flash. Ceilings in a single bounce usually don't look great and produce results that look like the tops of everyone's heads are glowing. :D

    Then there's also little unobtrusive gadgets you can get that help with aiming or splitting the light directions. Like this: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/06/directional_mirror_flash.html But don't bother with the little flash attachable soft-boxes, shells, and tiny (a4 sized or so) reflector panels that attach to flash or camera. They're too small for group shots and only offer a very small improvement. Remember, (for groups) you want to turn your flash into as large a light source as possible. 8'x10' wall section, 8'x6' bed sheet, etc. and only increasing it to the size of an A4 sheet of paper isn't going to help very much.

    The other thing to remember is that with flash photography pretty much any shutter speed above room light will produce the same exposure so the exposure controls become limited to aperture and ISO for all intent and purpose.

    If you're shooting with P&S cameras the addition of an optical slave (~$25) will add the functionality you need to use a bigger off-camera flash - which is what you want. You can even make you're own if you'ld like. http://www.diyphotography.net/universal_sound_and_optical_slave_flash_trigger :D Here's the taylor-made equivalent http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=268542 . Make sure you get one that works with all cameras or whatever's being used.

    If you click my "Recent Threads" link (below) there are several tutorials that may or may or apply directly but will get you thinking in the proper direction and term.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2008
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Use the flash but put together a 4 foot by 6 foot pvc frame and stretch some white satin (the material wedding dresses are made of) over it to bounce the flash off. It'll work similar to a big soft box.

    Glue or tape some aluminum foil to a 2 foot square piece of cardboard and position it opposite the big reflector and up high for a hair light and a smaller (1/2 to 1/3) white reflector on the other side of your subject. You will need to move them around until you are happy with the ratios but in a small space this will do wonders!
     

Share This Page