NSFW: Lighting, what am I doing wrong here?

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by dizzyg44, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. dizzyg44

    dizzyg44 TPF Noob!

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    First serious attempt at lighting, plus make shift backdrop.

    Lighting is really frustrating.

    I'm using some cheapo smith vector lights, pop up flash w/ GF Puffer, cheap reflector (really a metallic windshield shade I use for my car lol)

    Technique CC's would be greatly appreciated, but please refrain from harsh comments about the model, it's hard enough convincing my wife to get in front of the camera and I have no one else to practice with.
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    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  2. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    You can try moving the model away from the backdrop and/or aim a light onto it. This can also double as a hair light.

    PS You didn't say whether this is a 2 or 3 light set up, or whatever you have. Anyway, digital is cheap, and so is electricity lately, so practice, practice, practice. And do get a couple of umbrellas for softer lighting.
     
  3. dizzyg44

    dizzyg44 TPF Noob!

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    ahh, sorry.

    I was using two 250 watt photofloods. I tried to have one off to the models right w/o umbrella at about 45deg about 4 or so feet (not enough space to go back farther) and the second one straight on about 8 feet away, tried with and without umbrella.

    I would have liked to have more room but she wouldn't let me move the furniture out of the way.

    Looking back, I think part of the problem may have been that all the lights were on also (overheard) and another light in the kitchen. Maybe I should have turned them all off to make my lighting more pronounced maybe?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  4. MyaLover

    MyaLover TPF Noob!

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    think outside the box. some of my best pics and ideas came from me having no choice but to get creative with lighting and materials becuz i didnt have anything! dont get frustrated becuz of lack of equipment. trial and error and getting unconventional paid off for me
     
  5. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    Google for "Photographic lighting set up diagrams" and you should find lots of ideas. Play around with them and you'll quickly see how it is done.

    Also, go and read the Strobist blog. David there discusses off camera lighting techniques in a great amount of detail.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    Firstly, you are having color issues because you are tying to mix lighting types. Flash and flood lights don't usually mix well because they are different color temperatures. It will make things easier on you if you stick with one type of lighting. For shooting people, flash/strobe lighting is best.

    As mentioned, the model is maybe too close to the backdrop and we can see the shadows on it. Also, when using a 'white' backdrop and you want it to appear white...you need to light it separately, meaning that you need to put more light on the background than on the subject. This would solve the shadow issue as well.

    Your lighting looks a little hard...the shadows look to have rather hard edges rather than a soft gradient. Using hard or soft light is a creative choice, but for portraits, soft light is usually preferable. To get soft light, you need to enlarge the light source by using something like an umbrella or softbox...or maybe bouncing the light.

    Lastly, the clothing could have been chosen better. Contrast draws the viewer's eye. In these shots, the biggest contrast is her dark shirt because it's so different from the light backdrop. So the eye is drawn to the shirt rather than her face. If she had a shirt that matched the background more, her face would be more contrasty and thus draw the viewer's eye...which is what you want in a portrait. The dark shirt would work well with a darker background.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, Michael...

    This is so concise. You covered everything and did it well.

    It may be time to look for a publisher and start writing a book.
     
  8. dizzyg44

    dizzyg44 TPF Noob!

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    Awesome, thanks everyone, especially Big Mike!

    That was very useful info.
     
  9. DragonHeart

    DragonHeart TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike is the BOMB :) Couldn't have put it any better myself.
     
  10. joeymas

    joeymas TPF Noob!

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    Your going to master this. These look like some of the first shots I did with hot lights. You grow into them and after you get it right, you will grow out of them. It is a learning process we have all taken.
     
  11. joeymas

    joeymas TPF Noob!

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    This is with your exact same set up. 2 250watt SV and a bounced my flash for a hair light. So, it is possible for you to get results.

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