Lights for Senior Portraits

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by AlexColeman, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys- Follow up to an earlier question, what would be the best lighting to go with for portraiture at events, such as proms. Looking for a modern look, yet still being multifunctional (don't know whether these are mutually exclusive). Also, looking for how I would set up the lights? Thanks.
     
  2. themedicine

    themedicine TPF Noob!

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    a simple two light setup would be easy and suitable, a nice three light setup would ad some zazz, and if you're really adventurous four lights would get it done right. Id take two lights, high right and high left with umbrellas or soft boxes kinda to the side of the camera. then, a third light high and behind for a nice backlight/hairlight, then if youve got a fourth id use it to light the background a bit as to create even more separation from the subjects and the background.

    Just my .02
    one question though, and im not trying to be an ass or anything of the sort, but you own a d3s and some nice nice lenses, have you just never done much studio work or whats up? Like i said, im not trying to sound mean or anything of the sort, im just curious. I know im a newb in this stuff so yea, haha.

    -josh
     
  3. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Nope, sports shooter, branching into event photography.
     
  4. themedicine

    themedicine TPF Noob!

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    gotcha! haha. i could only assume as much when i read your gear. haha. and see, im just the opposite, we should team up. Ive always wanted to visit Arizona. haha
     
  5. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You might take a look at Alien Bees strobe kits. The Digibee kit would probably suffice for this type of thing. I think proms and those types of events generally use fairly pedestrian types of photography, just a step up from a photo booth herding folks in like cattle. I have this lighting package and also have the giant octobox which can produce some nice portraits.

    AlienBees: Illuminating the Galaxy with Professional Photographic Lighting Equipment
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Big soft box and a 4 foot strip light.

    If you don't want to sink your trust fund into the lights, try the calumets (I don't own them but have put hands on some- they are worth a look).

    I'm guessing that you are going to do your own research anyway but you might try looking into what you can do with the strip light. ;)
     
  7. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Sounds good, any thought on a ringflash?
     
  8. themedicine

    themedicine TPF Noob!

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    No need for what you are doing. ring flashes are for high fashion and macro stuff. you can use em as hair lights and fills, but there isn't much need for what you're doing.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Ring flashes are of very limited use,and are basically a device popularized by a certain septegenarian owner/entrepeneur of a flash-company assembler-repairer as a way to sell more portable battery and sine wave inverters. I see no need for a ring flash for event/portrait/team photo work, in any way,shape or form; seriously, if you're thinking about the one I am thinking of from, it's largely a gimmick designed to sell more ancillary products. Good marketing and clever ads sell a lot of products,since so few people know much about studio flash,and the flash companies as a whole do very little marketing--except for the guy with the red hair, and ProFoto!

    What I really want in a studio/location flash system that is one that is priced right, is professional looking, and also truly "professional" in terms of design, construction, accessories, and performance. A system that has actual, professional-grade attributes,and which can be adapted to multiple types of lighting jobs. For me, that means a system which can accept umbrellas, soft boxes, beauty dishes, parabolic reflectors, and most importantly, which can accept honeycomb grids in both a standard size "grid reflector" (7 inch diameter),as well as a medium-sized grid reflector (11.5 inch). The Calumet Travelites are professional monolights; the 'other brand' of monolights is designed for a much lower price point. Monolights are popular with many people, but I prefer the pack and head systems.

    For me, Speedotron is the pack-and-head brand of choice for 70 reasons-- one for each full year of production in the USA, dating to 1939. You buy good light heads and they last for 40+ years. You use an appropriate power pack for the job at hand, from the 405 with 3 head outlets, 1.7 second recycle,and 400 watt-seconds, to the 2400 watt-second, 6-outlet pack. All with the same heads!
     
  10. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not agreeing with him b/c he wrote a lot but I am agreeing with him b/c he knows how to put technical 411 into the context that is well understood and 10000% accurate.
    ;)
     
  11. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Sounds good, what would be a setup w/ speedotron?
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    For HS prom uses: Black Line D405 power pack or the new 1005 pack. Three 103, convection-cooled, fan-free light heads for maximum portability and for use with a sine wave inverter when using a battery system like the Paul C. Buff Vagbond II or the Innovatronix Tronix Explorer XT portable sine wave inverter.

    One 11.5 inch reflector with 20 degree honeycomb grid and set of 2-way barn doors for 11.5 inch reflector.

    If you have a four-outlet power pack like the 805 or 1005 or 1205, a fourth light head is useful. If you have a six-outlet pack, well...five and six-light setups are possible.

    Forget lightweight, tip-prone aluminum light stands and look at buying two heavy "turtle-based" stands like the Avenger line from Bogen-Manfrotto,with steel bases and 90 percent of the weight at the bottom of the stand; the Avenger light stands will allow you to mount a medium-large softbox like a 36"x48" Chimera without the need for a boom stand. No accidental tip-overs with this type of stand, unlike lightweight aluminum stands, which are a tip-over just waiting to happen.

    For main light, a 45 inch enclosed umbrella like Photek Softlighter; for fill light a similar-sized or slightly smaller one. You will not have a huge amount of space to set up,and shoot-through umbrellas are not what you want; you'll want a softbox or an enclosed umbrella for main light and light control in a small shooting area. You'll need to light a standing couple, so you need a reasonably large umbrella, but not one so huge it's a PITA. 40-45 inches is about right. You'll also want a background support system too.

    You'll want a solid, wheeled handtruck and some good bungee cords to move this stuff in one trip from the car to the prom floor. Canvas tote bags for light stands and AC cords allow you to pack things like 3-5 light stands easily and fast, and they lash to the cart w/ bungees pretty well.
     

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