Lighting, Background and Lens Question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by sj022698, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. sj022698

    sj022698 TPF Noob!

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    I am looking to do a book that will have somewhat portrait shots. It will be done in my kitchen. I want to do a solid white background. Can I used standard vinyl from a sign shop?

    Also, when it comes to lighting, can anyone give me some direction into finding an inexpensive way to light these. I will only be using about 30 pictures. All with the white background. I am not a professional but wanting to get some quality photos for my project.

    I have a Canon Digital Rebal.
    Should I be using a polarized lens on this project?

    I appreciate the help!

    Thanks,
    Justin
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    You can use just about anything for a white background...the key is getting more light onto the background than onto your subject.

    You won't need a polarizing filter for this, although it might help to cut down on reflections if you have them.

    As for lighting, there are any number of ways to light a portrait. Check Amazon, your local book store or your local library. There have been many books and lighting is dependant on digital or film, so older books are OK too.

    Whatever you do, remember that you will need extra light on the backdrop to make it white. Also, if you don't get it just right...it should be fairly easy to fix with a program like Photoshop etc.
     
  3. sj022698

    sj022698 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the warm welcome and the help.

    I've been reading tons on lighting and I feel I'm even more confused now.

    If you were to be putting up a 10'x10' white backdrop, how much lighting would you advise. I can always use my photoshop but would prefer not to have to do too much to it.

    Since this will be a short project and I will not be using the equipment afterwards, I don't want to sink too much money into it. I was looking at several on ebay. Some were 2 lights, 3 lights, 4 lights, umbrellas, no unbrellas.

    Obviously there are a TON of different lights out there. How many and what wattage would you recommend and should I use the umbrellas. I know you get what you pay for but I can't justify dumping much money into this. Any suggestions of packages on ebay that you would reccomend as a good starting point?

    I think I'll try both a couple different filters.

    Once again, thanks for the help!
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    To keep thing on the affordable side, you could probably use house hold lights or work lights for the background lights. Just a couple of them pointed at the backdrop should get you pretty close.

    For the main lights on the subject, umbrellas are good for getting soft light. I don't know how much power you will need or what kit to get...but I'm sure there are deals to be had. As you said, you do get what you pay for...and with lower powered lights, it may be harder to get acceptable shutter speeds.

    The important thing will be that you don't mix lighting types (color temps). If you mix the lighting, then your white balance can not be set for both types and you will get color shifts.

    Heck, if you have good window light, that will work and it's pretty much free.

    Most filters are not recommended for digital photography...if only because they are so easy to replicate with photoshop, that it's pointless to use them while shooting. Also, most filters will make it harder for the camera to get the exposure...so the less you have in front of the lens, the better.
     
  5. sj022698

    sj022698 TPF Noob!

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    That makes more sense. Thanks for dumbing it down for me :D

    I guess I'll look for some kind of seamless backdrop as my kitchen walls are green so I think a sheet would bleed through color, epecially if I have additional light.

    I think I'll just try a handful of household lights with Power Compact bulbs.

    Should I try to evenly distribute the lighting to the background and subject if I don't go with umbrellas?
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    A sheet would probably do the trick...just try to make sure that it's flat and not wrinkly...iron it if need be....or clip something heavy to the bottom.

    Umbrellas are good for making the light 'softer'. Basically, they enlarge the size of the light source. This makes the edges of the shadow more gradual...rather than hard lines. You could do this with any number of things...you could diffuse the light with a sheet, or you could bounce the light off of a white wall or a large board (foam core board works well).

    Remember that when you bounce or diffuse the light, you loose some of the light...and you may need a lot of power to pull it off.

    THIS LINK has many Do-It-Yourself ideas for the photographer on a budget.
     
  7. sj022698

    sj022698 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the help even though you're an oiler fan :lol:
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    If you are a Flames fan...then I take back everything I said. :mrgreen:
     
  9. sj022698

    sj022698 TPF Noob!

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    Nope. Blues!

    You can thank me a bit though for a solid season with Pronger. Even though it didn't work out, you wouldn't have made it to the finals without him. Great player!
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    Ya, we loved him while he was here...easily the 1st or 2nd best D-man in the league. However, there isn't a player that we Oiler fans hate more than Pronger now. He signs a long term contract, the team gets to within one game of winning the cup and he asks for a trade. The Oilers are still a mess because of that. Not to mention that we traded him for Lupul, who was useless.
     

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