Lighting rules of thumb (ratios, etc)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Johnboy2978, May 24, 2010.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So I finally got a Sekonic 358 light meter and can finally accurately measure my lighting ratios. I can now get my white background white w/o over-exposing the subject and get my dark background black while still lighting my subject. Would you guys like to share some of your lighting secrets? Right now, I'm just using a 2 light setup (alien bees 800) and am considering a 3rd. I know there is a great deal of variability depending on what mood you're going for, but what are some of the basics that you have as a starting point in terms of ratios? I also have a speed light that I can throw into the mix, but I would think it easier to stick w/ the 2 ABs and go from there. For example, key light at 7 o'clock and fill light at 4-5 o'clock at 2 stops below key light.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    That's sort of like asking people what you should eat for supper tonight.....ask 20 people and you will get 20 different opinions.

    The position of your lights and your subject, will determine your lighting pattern. There are several 'standard' patterns that are common, and it would be a good idea to learn them...but I still think that 'what looks good' trumps the technical accuracy to a predefined pattern.
    Look up patterns like short lighting, broad lighting, Rembrandt lighting, loop lighting, split lighting & butterfly/glamor lighting.

    Ratios are a separate issue from patterns, but of course you use both in your lighting scheme. Deeper ratios tend to be more dramatic, but aren't always appropriate. It's really up to you to decide what ratio you want to use for a particular subject or a particular shot.
     

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