Studio Portraits with minimal lights

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by beany75, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. beany75

    beany75 TPF Noob!

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    Hi, this is my first time on here, so hope someone can help.

    I am just starting out with portrait photography of babies and children plus the occasional mum with baby - and did a whole family last week too - but in there home.

    I'm needing advice on lighting and camera settings.

    I set up a basic white back drop in my kitchen area and then place a bean bag with white sheet over it for the baby to lie on. Older kids might sit on a stool or chair.

    I'm using a Canon EOS, 400D. Usually using an 18-55mm lens. Occasionally a telephoto lens.

    1. Lighting - how can i improve results with what i've got?
    I have 2 tungsten lights which I place at each side, front. There is natural light coming in too, but not very direct.
    I do a custom white balance, which generally improves the lighting, but sometimes sends it out of whack.
    i don't use flash as i only have a built in one and this never provides nice results for me - unless someone can suggest a way to use it.

    2. So based on above, interested in whether you'd suggest aperture priority, fully manual, etc.

    3. Also, if it's not a studio set up, then tips and advice on taking photos in peoples homes. looking for that lovely deep, rich colour.

    My website gallery page thus far is firstart gallery

    Although I love doing photography, i'm feeling like it's a bit hit and miss at the moment, so appreciate any help!
    thanks
     
  2. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi and welcome.

    I would suggest getting some white rip-stop nylon to shine your hot lights through. Say a couple of 4 foot square frames (PVC works well).

    Diffusion is a good thing. :)

    http://www.software-cinema.com/page/13/tinkertubes Download the pdf booklet at the bottom of the page. It's free
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The first thing I'd do would be to check and make sure that all your lights are the same temperature. I saw some 'unusual' tones resulting from skewed WB in a couple of your images. In addition to the diffusers Mike recommended, you need reflectors. You can either go the photo store and buy some nice big 5 in 1 jobs, or make your own; any reflective surface will do. For in-home work, 24x36 posterboard at a couple of dollars a sheet can work miracles.
     
  4. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I am not saying this to hurt feelings, just to put things into perspective.

    If you are going to charge people for the photos, you need to invest in the right equipment to take them. As far as I can tell almost 50% or more of your images on your website look soft or out of focus. This may be the result of slow shutter speed.
    There are plenty of inexpensive studio light kits (Monolight) out there and all would work better than what you have right now.

    Once you have the lights, practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. You need to have full control over your lighting and a strong understanding of portrait techniques and lighting before you start to charge people.

    The last thing you want to be using around children is hot-lights, they do not have the power to give high shutter speed and they are hot. I would not want someone to get burnt
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    and a photographer to become involved in a law suit they can't possibly win.

    You have business liability insurance.......?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  6. beany75

    beany75 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice - open to anything!
    What kind of brands do you recommend for a studio light kit?
    Or what exactly should i be looking for?
     
  7. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    Check the Paul C. Buff website, the AB series of strobes with softboxes are an excellent choice for studio lights and really not too expensive when you consider a high end speedlight costs nearly 500 bucks.

    There are less expensive options though, such as the impact strobe kits from B&H, I'm just not sure how they compare to the AlienBees.
     

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