Lighting help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by CThomas817, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. CThomas817

    CThomas817 TPF Noob!

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    Hi, I am getting into newborn work and I got into a little snafu. I typically feather my light (strobe in a 50x50 westcott softbox) so that it's at a 90 degree angle to the baby. However, I just built a little bed prop and the headboard blocks the light feathering down the top half of the baby's face. If I turn the bed/baby toward the light at a 45 degree, shadows are a bit harsh. Reflector isn't giving me enough light to soften the shadows. Below is the look I'm going for (not my work). Any suggestions?


     

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  2. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The photo you posted does not have the light 90 degrees to the baby, if that was the case, there would be a shadow from the headboard. Look at the shadow under the nose, lips and chin, light is placed opposite that, high to r of camera slightly. Use the modeling lights to show you where the shadows fall and move the light around and up and down. If you cant see the shadows, take off the soft box and put a cone reflector on the light and move it til you are positioned as you should be able to see the shadows this way. This is why a 250 watt modeling light is so helpful. And remove the reflector fill while you are dialing in the main. Always build your lighting one light at a time, first the main to establish the shadow pattern, then bring in the fill. From there, add spice with the lights behind the subject, kicker. hair light, background fill to control darkness of bg relative to subject and a bg spot. You say the shadows are "too harsh" which is not photographic term that is commonly understood by other photographers. If you mean the shadows are too dark or deep or the contrast ratio is too high, In that case, move the reflector in closer to increase intensity of the fill. If can't without getting the reflector in the shot, are you using a white reflector? You will get more "horsepower" out of soft silver or using a silver for intensity and covering it with a diffuser panel, more power than white, but diffused instead of specular like a straight silver reflector. Softness usually refers to the shadow edge transfer(from a diffused or scattered light like through clouds or sheer material, quick is "hard light" gradual is soft light. Keep at it, keep asking questions, none are stupid, you will grow in you understanding and mastery. Light has a number of characteristics and a good way to analyze a shot. Direction-check the nose shadow and light is opposite or eye catchlights shows position,shape and relative size of light. Diffusion, how scattered the rays are as opposed to being lined up parallel. The parallel ones produce hard edged shadows, the diffused, soft edged shadows. Think how soft edged shadows are on a cloudy day and how hard edged in full sun. Intensity, how strong the light is, what you are setting exposure for. Relative intensity between light and shadow is the lighting ratio. Finally, light can have color from pure white like flash, yellow like incandescent of a fire,or green from florescent. You have them all at your control with that light.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Some excellent advice from mrca: "Direction-check the nose shadow and light is opposite or eye catchlights shows position,shape and relative size of light."
     
  4. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks, Derrel, we all can learn here. Thanks to another post, for the first time in 6 years have boomed a hair light. Like it enough to leave it up. Easy to get in a rut and not go back to things discarded years ago. Inspired to go back to it by some newbies here. Did learn there was nothing wrong with my cybercommander or any shorts in lights as I constantly tripped the circuit breaker, I realized had found the limit of my camera room breaker and had to bring in a cord from another circuit. Used to that with hot lights, not with strobes.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Setting and checking the nose shadow and eye catchlights by adjusting the height and placement of the main or key light...I was taught that that was SOP, or standard operating procedure, and the very first thing to do when lighting a person. Your advice is so important that I thought it was worth extracting that phrase from all the other words, and giving it it's own sort of star billing as a piece of excellent advice. Sometimes the very-basic things get lost in all the other details.
     
  6. CThomas817

    CThomas817 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you both kindly. To clarify, by "harsh", I meant hard edged shadows. I want soft shadows and dimension, which is why I typically feather the light, but this lighting position does not work if the subject is being blocked by a prop from the direction of the light. My strobe does have a modeling light, I just didn't like the look of the light directly opposite the subject and even at a 45 the light wasn't what I was aiming for. I didn't think about raising the light and aiming down, simple solution. Thanks again!
     

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