Lighting basics

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by JasonUK, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. JasonUK

    JasonUK TPF Noob!

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    I bought a couple of (tungsten i guess) photography lights with defusers and reflectors for use in home studio.

    I have not had much success, as they are so bright.

    For a basic/well lit portrait how far away should the lights be?

    And what sized area is the minimum space required for a small home studio?
     
  2. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    I have used about an 8x8 area. I try to keep the lights about 6 ft away from the subject.

    What is the problem your having? Are you talking over exposure or what?
     
  3. JasonUK

    JasonUK TPF Noob!

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    Yes, over exposure, it washes some parts out. and when just relying on lights alone the shutter speed is so slow and grainy.

    8x8 is in feet?
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is a good starting point.

    [​IMG]

    Are you shooting film or digital?
     
  5. JasonUK

    JasonUK TPF Noob!

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    I am digital :)
     
  6. Ghoste

    Ghoste TPF Noob!

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    I'm not a pro or anything but can't you bounce the lights off the ceiling? Have it brighten up the room? Maybe I'm completly wrong =p.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK... good. Yeah, the light's are bight, and there are some pros and cons, but one good thing right off is you can see just where the light is. Get someone to help as a model and move the lights until you see what you like.

    Once you get things looking like you want, I recommend you take a reading (MANUAL) off a gray card. Have your model hold the gray card close to the face. Make sure you fill the viewfinder with nothing but card. Then, flip the card over and do a "custom white balance." Sorry, I don't remember which camera you have, but you can find the steps in your owner's manuel.

    Now that you have your exposure set and white balance done, do a practice session.

    Then, post your favorites here and you'll get plenty of good direction from your forum friends!
     
  8. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No.... you're not completely wrong. But it would create a light source that is more streight-down, causing some shadows under the brow, nose and chin.
    If there's any color in the ceiling, this will cause a bit of a color shift too. But more important, you can't (easily) move the ceiling for adjustment.

    Not a bad thought, though. I've done this with hand-held stobes in certain conditions.
     
  9. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Actually, it's better to measure white balance off of the gray card because the exposure is accurate which gives a more accurate white balance reading.
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suppose... but I like to see where the "white data" falls on the histogram though. And again, the white reading is done after the exposure is determined with the gray, so it would be as accurate.
     
  11. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Quoted for truth. I didn't even think of that.
     
  12. JasonUK

    JasonUK TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the thoughts and direction, I will give it a go and let you all see where I end up. Although I think my space is too small for a home studio (3.5mx4.5m) to get the lights far enough away.
     

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