Portrait lightning

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by WinterHawk, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. WinterHawk

    WinterHawk TPF Noob!

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    I'm new here and have been peeking in on and off for a few days, and finally decided to join in on the fun and learning experience. Anyway.. my wife is the portrait taker, I prefer the more obscure photography such as close ups of weird and different things, landscapes, outdoor pics and such to doing portraits.

    So I bought her a 3 strobe studio set, some props and gave it to her early this year. And we have been testing placement of the strobes for her portrait taking ofr friend and family. Yesterday, we experimented on taking some shots of our grandson with the strobes in different places, etc.

    Well, the first few didn't turn out very good. But I liked the shots she got, and I play around with paintshop pro now and then and decided to make something of a bad shot to something better. Here's a couple of the shots she took. The original and ones I tried to fix up.

    Here is one original:
    [​IMG]

    And the modified version:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. WinterHawk

    WinterHawk TPF Noob!

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    And here is the other original and modified shots.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Hi.
    You did well for just starting out with it.
    The suggestions I would make is to move your side light (or bounce it), and ditch the hair light, or whatever overhead light you have going on. Because of the hat, you are going to have to low light this one.
    Be careful with lights, and try to keep it only to fills of natural light. Do you have any north/south windows in this room?
    The best lessons I've learned about artificial light has been "less is more". You want only a "kiss" of light.
    Hope that helps, and again, good job.
     
  4. WinterHawk

    WinterHawk TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info, much appreciated. I'm beginning to think perhaps 3 strobes might be overkill in trying to achieve the right lightning for portraits? We've got 2 160 Watt-Second strobes both with 20" X 28" softboxes for defusing. These 2 strobes have controls for the intensity of the light as well. And another 26 Watt-Second strobe with a silver reflection umbrella for background fill. And maybe have the height adjustment wrong with respect to the relationship of the subject? We have been trying to find the right location and settings for all the strobes, but just haven't found the right combination yet.

    No. the way our home laid out, 99% of our natural light comes in threw the east and west or so. We don't have an empty room to put my wife's studio equipment permanently. So I was thinking of building her something out in our garage that would fold up when not in use. There are no windows, only the big garage door facing west and the overhead lights are fluorescent and not very bright for photo work I assume. But we have no heating or cooling in there, so I'd have to find something to supplement that issue without having to extend our existing heating and cooling system. Or spending a lot on a portable unit to both heat and cool.
     
  5. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Hmm. It almost looks like bare lighting, so I'm surprised about the softboxes. Are you using a light meter?
    An aside, I'd definately move to the garage and take advantage of the west facing overhead door.
     
  6. WinterHawk

    WinterHawk TPF Noob!

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    We've got the 2 adjustable strobes set on their lowest setting, and when you set them to full intensity, it's so bright it washes out the images. And we haven't yet found a good point on the settings.

    No, we don't have a light meter. I was going to try and figure out how to use the built-in one on our digitals. But do you suggestion we get a light meter? Any preference on brand?
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Sekonic or Minolta are good light & flash meter brands.

    I am finding that I can use the camera to meter for flash by looking at the histogram (not just the image on the LCD screen).

    I agree with what elsaspet is saying. It looks like you light is very harsh and the ratio is quite dramatic. (one side is very bright and the other is kind of dark).

    I suggest you try to find a book on portrait lighting...or do some Google searching. There is plenty of good info out there...that should get you (or your wife) on track.

    As a start...I'd put two lights up, on to the left and one to the right...at about 45 degrees each way...same distance to the subject. Set one to be at half the power of the other. Then find the aperture setting that will give you a good exposure. (and get the kid to loose the hat :) )
     
  8. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Hi Again Winter Hawk. You are really going to need a light meter to nail this down. There is just too many variables to consider.
    I have the sekonic 558R, and it's great because it has a built in spot meter and pocket wizard. I've got pocket wizards, but it's nice to not have to run to my bag if I'm in a hurry.
     
  9. WinterHawk

    WinterHawk TPF Noob!

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    I appreciate the quick replies and tips. Looks like I need to run out and get a light meter and some reading material :) :thumbup:

    Again, thanks! Once we get this figured out, I'll of course post the results.
     
  10. WinterHawk

    WinterHawk TPF Noob!

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  11. Big Mike

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

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    The camera doesn't matter. The exposure settings should be reasonably the same with every camera. (F8 and 1/125 at ISO 100) should always be the same. When shooting with studio strobes, you should have the camera in manual mode, so the camera's metering doesnt come into play.

    I've heard good recommendations for the L-358, but any of the ones you have listed, should be fine.
     

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