Settings for flash

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Kofman13, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    I purchased my first light kit. Two monolights. Umbrellas. Softboxes. I'm way over my head. Anyone know any tricks for setting your camera correctly without a light meter?

    I'm also clueless regarding positioning of lights and when to use softbox or umbrella
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I can't give any advice as to light positioning but when it comes to exposure and balancing the lights without an external light meter you can get a long way by taking test shots and reviewing the histogram on you camera LCD. Most will show areas of over and underexposure as well as the overall detailed spread of light - so you can easily see if one light is too strong or weak and adjust as needed (again most histograms have lines on them which indecate 1 stop - so you can tell if you are one or two stops over/underexposured).

    IF you have a laptop or easy to access PC you can use the camera tethered to the computer to output to there and get a larger view upon which you can get a larger image for more detailed image comparison.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Without a handheld light meter it's all trial, error, and experimentation.

    With only 2 lights, one is the main and one is the fill or second light. Fill light is always on the lens axis.

    There are several fairly standard lighting setups you'll need to Google:
    • broad lighting
    • short lighting
    • Rembrandt lighting
    • butterfly lighting
    • rim lighting and many more
    as well as how to use a hair light, a kicker light, and how to light your background.

    Portraiture is usually done with 4 to 7 lights.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  4. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sorry, but a flash meter is part of the basic equipment for using studio strobes. Yes you can chimp you way (trial and error) but it can take time and models tend to get bored. A good flash meter does not have to be expensive. The general trend is more expensive the easier to use/more functionality it has.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Set both lights to EQUAL power levels, and use identical umbrellas. Position the main light camera right and place it at 5.6 feet from the subject. Position the other light immediately to the left of the camera's position, aimed straight ahead at the subject, from a distance of 8 feet. This will give you a three to one lighting ratio.

    Do you notice the two distances? 5.6 feet and 8 feet??? 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, and 16 feet are other distances that will provide the same lighting ratio when two adjacent distances are selected...there's actually some math underlying all this! (lol)

    When KmH said, "fill light is always on te lens axis", he means that the fill light is positioned really close to the lens,and aimed where the lens is aimed at--fill light is NOT typically aimed in from off to the side of the set...that tends to create conflicting, dual shadows.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You can always use a mannequin model to pose as you setup the lights and to judge the lighting. That at least will let you experiment and also pose for a longer while without model/client boring of you taking test shots. It also means you can arrive on site with an idea of the settings and positions you want/need and all without boring the model too much.

    Even with a light meter you'll have to take test shots on the day to ensure that the lighting is all to standard - so a few with minor corrections won't hurt things - but its when you have to keep making large changes and swapping settings around that people get bored (a problem since its hard to act interested/engaged/whatever mood you want) if the person is frustrated and bored of the process and might also be lacking in confidence in the photographer (as a result of the considerable amount of modifications and test shots)
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    There is an amazing high-tech invention* that will allow you to position your lights without using a light meter....it is called "string". And yes, I am totally,totally serious. I have used it myself. It is even endorsed by the Olympus Corporation.

    EVOLT E-300 Creating a Perfect Portrait, Every Time!


    * string was a high-technology invention several hundred years ago
     
  8. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    thanks so much guys!,,, before i read all this ( i just got home) i did some test shots after setting this kit up. i was setting up all the lights, settings on camera, positioning, and my friend was simply pressing the shutter button as i posed at the piano. here are a few samples: they are uneditted, un processed for now. i was thinking of making the background black..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    It's not as difficult as it might seem now, is it??? Good first efforts!
     
  10. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    thanks derrel you're always a great help. now, my biggest weakness is lighting JUST THE FACE for headshots in a provacative, interesting way.
     
  11. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    All of this in a dark room right? And you mean shoot through umbrella?
     
  12. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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