Lighting help, please

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bijoux, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. bijoux

    bijoux TPF Noob!

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    I've been taking photographs for about 5+ years now, and for whatever reason, I cannot master lighting. I've always had trouble with it, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips or insight. When indoors I use two regular flood lamps/bulbs and sometimes that's still not enough. Alot of my photographs will just not turn out crisp, or it will be a very long shutter speed, which makes it hard for a model to stay still. Is making a model stay completely still during a long shutter speed normal? Should I get one of those flash-lights and how do those even work? Does anyone have any input as to what kind of lighting I should use? I would be more than happy to purchase something. Also, does anyone have any lighting tricks they'd be willing to share with me? Any reply is appreciated. Sorry for all the questions, but I'm getting frustrated.
     
  2. littlemama

    littlemama TPF Noob!

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    Hey there. I am a semi-professional photographer and I have to say you will need to get strobes (flash-light) to get the crisp results you want. You can find cheap set-ups on ebay. (around $300 is what I paid) You can see the results I get with the lights on my website. I usually use one light...but a fill light comes in handy sometimes too.
    Getting a model to sit still for long exposures is part of being a model. They are suppose to do what you want them to do. You are in control of the photoshoot. Sometimes I think they think it's the other way around. ;)

    Good luck!
     
  3. bijoux

    bijoux TPF Noob!

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    Ah, strobe was the word I was trying to remember. I'd love to get one, but I have to admit, I'm a bit intimidated. I don't really understand how they work, as I've never used one. Do I need a seperate light meter to use one, and how does it connect? If I want a more dim lighted look, do I have to just bare with a slow shutter speed? What all do I need to look into buying?

    Thanks for the reply! Hope I'm not being too much of a hassle with all these questions.
     
  4. littlemama

    littlemama TPF Noob!

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    No you are not being a hassle.

    I have to say that I like your work as it is now. The slight blur is a nice effect. I just experimented with slides projected on my models. I like the results.
    Even if you do get a strobe...keep shooting this way too. me like. :thumbup:

    You will need a lightmeter if you are going to get strobes. They work pretty much like an on camera flash...just with more control.
    You could also get a sync cord to connect a hotshoe flash to so you could mount it on a tripod or handhold at an angle to your scene. You could guess on your exposure for that. Just trying to think of ideas to solve your delima.

    If you want a dim lighted set up...just set the lights further back and set your aperature smaller. Experiment...and have fun!
     
  5. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    I work with stobes, usually two or sometimes one with a reflector. I have two sets of umbrellas, one shoot through and one reflective to give me more versitality. I shoot with a Canon 10 or 20D so I don't need a light meter since I can see the results instantly and can adjust as needed. I shoot in fully manual mode, and for standard portraits aim to get my f-stop about f/8 - f/11. Try different positions, experiment with a soft box and reflectors. Try natural light with a little extra strobe to fill in for shadows. Lighting was probably the most indimidating aspect for me when I first started. By trying new things and not being afraid of failure it did eventually get easier :D Feel free to take a look around my website if you see something you want to know how I lit just ask! www.stalleyphotography.com
     
  6. bijoux

    bijoux TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the response! I went to your website and your work is stunning.

    Do you think for someone like myself, who is only doing personal shoots for no money, should look into maybe getting one strobe? I'm not sure if it's neccessary for me to have umbrellas and reflectors, do you? I have light meters on all my cameras, do I need an extra handheld one to use a strobe? Any input on what would be best for me, on a less professional level?
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Lighting is definitely a hard skill to master...heck, it's even hard to understand.

    You camera's have light meters to measure reflected light, what you need is a flash meter, I think they are called incident light meters. You can get fancy ones that connect to your strobe units so that you can hold the meter where the model is and fire the strobes to measure the flash.

    I'm no expert on flash photography...but there are some smart people here. Also, a good book can be a great reference to have while you are learning.

    I think the most important thing to know about flash photography is that shutter speed does not affect the exposure of the subject. The flash burst is very fast, so even with a fast shutter speed, the flash will put out enough light to expose the subject. Be aware that cameras can only sync the flash up to a certain speed. Check the specs of your camera.

    The shutter speed is used to control the exposure from ambient light. That usually means the background. So by setting the shutter to a slow setting, (called dragging the shutter) you can let the ambient light expose the background...and the flash will then expose the subject. You will actually have two images of the subject on the film...one from the ambient light & one from the flash. If the subject is still, you wont notice the two images...if the subject is moving quick enough, you will get a blur and a sharp image....which makes for some cool effects. How the effects look depends on how your camera & flash are set. You can have it set for first curtain sync or rear (2nd) curtain sync.

    Sorry...am I rambling again....
     
  8. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    I've never personally used a flash or light meter, but I use digital so I can see the results immediately and adjust as needed. If you are using a film camera I think they would be helpful. Umbrellas aren't required and you can make your own reflector using white posterboard. If you have access to a large window try and utilize that light. A lot of people shoot with only one strobe, you just have to watch for shadows, or try to use them to your advantage. Photography is all about creativity, try different lighting situations and record what you did and the results. The more you shoot the more comfortable it will be.
     
  9. littlemama

    littlemama TPF Noob!

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    I agree with AlisonS. Just play and have fun!
    If you just get one strobe just use a bounce card (like a big piece of white foamcore) to fill in some shadow detail for a dimlit scene.

    Oh, like your wedding shots alot AlisonS! :thumbup:

    www.shotbyheather.com
     
  10. photong

    photong Typo Queen

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    Where do you buy that???? I used it in school. Awesome stuff. I held it with a clamp and a chair to get rid of glare (rhymes!!)
     
  11. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    The secret is to understand how light works. Once you know that you can light with anything - flash, daylight, redheads, even torches. I use whatever is to hand or is right for the shot.
    You can have the best lighting kit in the world but if you don't understand what you are doing with light it won't help you in the least.
     
  12. littlemama

    littlemama TPF Noob!

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    Foamcore,
    you can get it in big sheets at any art supply, or framing supply for starters. I discovered the stuff in college as well. It's cheap!!
     

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