Yet another question about studio lighting!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Fusee, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Fusee

    Fusee TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I have done alot of reading about studio lighting lately. I think I know what I want!?! What I will be doing is taking images of antique furniture for our website(there are hundreds of pieces). We have decided to set up a studio to take the images. The room is 10' by 20', walls and celing are painted off-white. We will be photographing items as small as inkwells to items as large as 12' tall armoirs. We will be using a paper backdrop (Thunder Gray). I am thinking about using 2 soft boxes with 2 alien bees monolights(B800). Is this too much light for my needs? Should I just get the B400s? I don't mind spending the money but also don't feel the need for over-spending.
    Would love to hear your opinions. Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The B400's would work. I usually have my B800's set at 1/4 and under when I'm doing studio shots inside. Then again, if you ever need the power, the B800 will always have it. And if it's too much power, you can always get a set of ND filters.

    You might want to add a third light, maybe a B400 at that point. If you're using two large lights to illuminate the products, a third light for the background will help create seperation. It's really about aesthetics.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    I would go with the B800 units. When shooting furniture, you will probably want to have the whole unit in focus, which will probably mean using a smaller aperture. Flash exposure and aperture are directly related, so the smaller the aperture you use, the more flash power you will need...therefore, the more powerful units would be a better choice.

    That being said, since you are shooting still subjects and not people...you could save a fair bit by using constant lights rather than flash. You would probably need a tripod as well.
     
  4. Fusee

    Fusee TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice! It is always good to hear other opinions.
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh yeah... in your case, the more the merrier. You'll want to shoot at f22 most of the time.

    Mike has a good thought about the hot lights. If you have some knowledge about lighting, you could do just fine with hot lights.

    -Pete
     
  6. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    F/22? Why would you want lens diffraction? I would think you would want to be as far back as the room allows with a medium length lens in it's sweet spot. Depth of field would be plenty, and you wouldn't have to slave drive the lights shooting at f/22. At least that's my understanding of it.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well.....

    "We will be photographing items as small as inkwells..."

    And... let's not be afraid to shoot at f22. Most better lenses will perform just fine at any aperture. I often shoot at f22. Really... it's OK.

    -Pete
     
  8. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    I still don't see the point. Inkwells present even less of a DOF concern. Use the same lens, get closer, shoot in the sweet spot and turn down the lights. Why run the lights so hard if you don't need to. Sure high end lenses are sharp at f/22, but they're sill sharper somewhere in the middle.
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ahhh...

    That's the misunderstanding. They're really the greater concern. Distance from subject to camera will affect DoF... quite a bit.

    So, if a photographer wants to utilize the majority of the format (film or digital), it's necessary to get very close to a small subject like an ink well. Working at minimum focus, it'll take the smallest aperture to bring it all into focus, if at all.

    I hope this helps.

    -Pete
     
  10. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    That part I get. Don't think I think I know everything about studio lighting; because I definitely don't. but I would think an inkwell at f/11 from a foot away or so would would be in total focus, no? I always thought the idea was to work with smaller apertures if you can, so you don't ned to use so much light power.
     
  11. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I wouldn't think so, at least not with a lens long enough to do the job properly. That's another factor affecting DoF... focal length. So an ink well that's oh... 3" in diameter would not come entirely into focus at f11.


    I'm guessing it's more like.... working with larger apetures (smaller number) due to lack of enough lighting power. I've had serveral jobs that required me to turn off the room lights, open the shutter, and do multiple "pops" of 2400ws strobes to achieve necessary DoF. This is why I thought Mike's suggestion to use hot lights was a good one.

    -Pete
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008
  12. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Even primes have sweet spots.

    If you're aperture is too wide, your image is soft. If your aperture is too small, then you can start to see issues with the image as well.

    f/22 is awefully close to the smallest aperture on a lot of lenses.
     

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