Lighting advice requested

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by GameVoid, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. GameVoid

    GameVoid TPF Noob!

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Here is what I have
    Nikon D90
    2 x SB600
    Nikon 1.8 50mm
    Nikon 50-200mm

    What I am trying to accomplish is to have my subject appear without the background or any ambient lighting showing at all. I just want the light on my subject, a little on the floor is acceptable, but everything else around them needs to be as pure black as I can get it.

    Last night I practiced with high shutter speeds and low aperture (f/22) and it was getting close to what I need, although the subject herself was pretty dim. If I bump up the ISO I imagine the subject will get brighter but so will the unwanted light.

    I am thinking that my only option is to get someplace where the subject can be placed far away from anything in the background that the light from the flashes/other lights cannot reach it.

    Am I on the right path using flash + high shutter speed + narrow aperture and placing the subject far away from the background as possible? I know that some post processing will probably be necessary to remove all light spillage, but I want to reduce the PP as much as possible.


  2. Yeah, you're basically on the right track. Having a lot of space between background and subject obviously helps in combating light spill. If you're using a flash, just remember the basic mantra: "Aperture controls the flash, shutter speed control the ambient" - meaning light. So control the brightness of the subject being hit by the flash with your aperture, and raise your shutter speed to ensure no ambient light comes in. Low ISO will help a little, too. But if you have space, and a decent flash, you ought to be able to black out the background simply by shooting with a reasonable aperture and a higher shutter speed.
  3. Big Mike

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

    Dec 16, 2003
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    Yes, you are certainly on the right track.
    But you need to remember that as you stop down the aperture, you need more light from the flash.
    The GN of the SB600 is 98 feet. So at F22 & ISO 100, with the flash firing at full power, the flash has to be 4.45 feet away from the subject. That's pretty close.
    So you may not want to go all the way down to F22.

    Also consider that the zoom setting on the flash head will change the GN. As it zooms out for longer focal lengths, it tightens the spread of light, thus giving you more light in a smaller areas.

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