What to use as hair light

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by 45mphK9, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. 45mphK9

    45mphK9 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Is this heaven?
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Okay - here's the plan. I'm shooting school pictures. I will be using 2 of the Elinchrom D-lites with softboxes. I also have access to a Impact VSD160 monolight with a 7" Bowen reflector attached.

    Should I use the Elinchroms as the main and the fill & then use the Impact light as a hair light? If I do that, do I need to add a diffuser of any kind such as a grid, snoot or softbox? Or, would it be okay to just go with the reflector that is with the light.

    Sorry, if this is a stupid question. I've not been able to find much info on using the reflectors that are attached to the lights. My concern is that it will allow too much light back into the camera. But, $$ tight & I really didn't want to have to get addtional equipment.

    Thanks!
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    37,414
    Likes Received:
    10,678
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Okay first of all, if you're referring to a snoot as a diffuser, are your skills up to this task? Assuming they are, and further assuming that these are bog-standard school pictures (assembly-line style) I wouldn't even worry about a hair light. A basic two-light setup, the key light having a reflecting umbrella and the fill with the soft-box should be all you need.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Sometimes the reflector will have a wide light spread, so when positioned for hair or accent lights, they may cause some flare in the lens. Even without a wide spread, this can be an issue, depending on the position of the light and the view of the lens.

    There are several solutions for this. You can use barn doors, a snoot, a grid or a flag (something to go between the light and the camera.
     
  4. 45mphK9

    45mphK9 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Is this heaven?
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Sorry Tirediron, I should have stated my question better. Yes, my skills are up to the task - short of having much experience with using hair lights. I'm not interested in doing bog-standard school pictures. That is why I am asking for info. I see this as an opportunity to increase my business with a demographic that fits my business. So, it important that I get this right.

    I don't want to come off as ungrateful, however, it is responses such as "are your skills up to the task" that don't benefit anyone including those that are trying to become better photographers. Is this not a place to ask questions, learn & then help others? I realize a snoot is not a diffuser. It is often used on hairlights, as are grids, barndoors & softboxes. I know that. I've not ever used just a reflector so I am looking for advice on if it is possible without any attachments. Thank you Mike. I believe you answered my question. You've been very helpful with all of my questions.

    Sorry for the rant. I'm sure I'll get an ear full. It's just something that has bothered me about this forum. I see people get negative comments & then you never see them on here again. It wasn't for lack of trying to find the right answer that I asked. It was because I know there are plenty of talented artist/photographers on this forum & I want to learn what I can.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    37,414
    Likes Received:
    10,678
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    So you want to 'take it up a notch'. Nothing wrong with that at all. There was no intent to to belittle anyone, just a concern that during a paying gig is not usually the best way to learn.

    I'm not familiar with the lights you mentioned, but if you want to use a hairlight (and my concern here would be that this would require a lot of adjustment for student's height, hairstyle, etc.) I would use the lowest-power of the three, probably with just a bowl, or perhaps a set of barn doors.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,797
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If yuo want to do better-than-standard school portraits, I would use what I consider to be the best hair light/separation light, and that is a 7 to 11 inch parabolic reflector, fitted with a honeycomb grid that narrows the beam spread down to around 20 to 30 degrees, and then, over top of that, apply a clear,white diffuser of TuffSpun, Fibreglas (TM), or white plastic, and then fit that with a 2-way barndoors to narrow the beam spread,and also to prevent the light from flaring the lens. You want the light to be narrow, AND soft. A snoot does not work nearly as well for this, and is in fact typically too-narrow, and the light from a snoot is too "raw". You're going for subtle lighting, so the grid + diffuser + barndoor trio is really nice.

    If you do not have a 2-way barndoor set, position a large 42x78 or other LARGE reflector in between the hairlight and your lens, and use the angled reflector to kick main light back into the shadow side as fill and also as a gobo or "go-between" to protect your lens front from flaring due to the hairlight being aimed at the left side and shoulders and hair of your sitters.

    Position that hair/separation light high,and at the back of the set, aimed toward the subject's head and shoulders. You need to keep the wattage rather low, since as a light comes in from an angle close to the lens-to-subject axis, it takes VERY,very little light to overpower the main or fill light, which is one of the weirdest things about studio lighting. You are right: a 160 wat second 7 inch parabolic,even dialed way low, will *probably* look hot without the grid + diffuser + barndoors to limit the hair light, and to soften it.

    A larger parabolic, like 11 inch of so, works splendidly, but you can also use a 7 inch with the grid + diffuser + barn door. The effect is somewhat like a strip box, but easier to control, due to the barndoors. Use the two softboxes as your main and fill lights, or use only a main light + a large reflector for fill,and use the other light as a background light.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
hair light for photography
,

hair light photography

,
hair light photography equipment
,
hair light position
,
hair lights photography
,
how to use a hair light
,
photography hair light
,
photography hair light equipment
,
what is hair light photography
,
what to use for hair light