Lighting Ratio

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by israel09, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. israel09

    israel09 TPF Noob!

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    Hello Everyone, I'm wondering if someone could inform me of where I can read and learn information about how to properly use the "lighting ratio". I've only heard of the lighting ratio in very brief passings. So any help would be great. I don't own any strobes, so I would not be able to practice. I'm looking to have this knowledge so I can apply it in the future and to better my understanding as a photographer.

    -Please & Thank You
     
  2. 786soul

    786soul TPF Noob!

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    The best resource I've looked through slips my mind but if you doa quick google for 'strobist' you'll find quite a few useful sources.
     
  3. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    I don't understand your question. Lighting ratio simply refers to the relative intensity of light on different sides of your subject. Usually the context is portraiture.
     
  4. israel09

    israel09 TPF Noob!

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    I thought it took a deeper level of understanding, or that there was a basic formula you must follow

    Such as the golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers when applied to photography

    lol, I'm horrible at math, so forgive me
     
  5. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think you're trying to make it more complicated than it is...

    Say you have 2 lights and they're set to different powers. The lighting ratio is just the relationship between those 2 lights.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Nope, I won't forgive you.....

    No, you're not horrible at math.

    You likely never had a good math teacher, and/or started telling yourself you were horrible at math at an early age as a way to avoid a subject you found challenging.

    As long as you keep telling yourself you are horrible at math, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy whenever math is involved, because you have a ready made excuse.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, it's not rocket science. But you do need to have a good understanding of ratio.

    There is a rule-of-thumb starting point in portraiture. For general portaits, begin with a 3:1 ratio. When photographing older people (old enough to have wrinkles), consider something less, like 2:1
    A more dramatic setting might call for 4:1

    Remember... photography is making a record of reflected (sometimes transmitted) light. It follows: no light, no record.

    To communicate in two dimensions a three dimensional scene, highlights and shadow are necessary. In order to record detail in shadow areas, they must be illuminated. For the purpose of this discussion, lets consider the amount of light illuminating the shadows as one "unit" of light. If the light falling on the highlight side of the subject equals one unit of light, the scene appears "flat." If we increase the light on the highlight side to two units (a 2:1 ratio) we begin to see shape communicated.

    With this in mind, if we light a subject with a unit of light that illuminates both sides [we call this a "fill" light] and then add a light twice as bright (two units) to just one side of the subject [this is called a main light or key light], the results are a 3:1 ratio since we added the two units of the main light to the one unit already provided by the fill light.

    Since you are not currently creating your lighting ratio, you will have to learn to see ratio in existing light and then measure it to make adjustments using reflectors or go-betweens (gobos).

    I hope this helps.

    -Pete
     

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