Makeshift Lighting Help, w/photos


TPF Noob!
Feb 25, 2008
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Hello Everyone. I'm still a beginner for sure, but my friend has offered up her kid for me to photograph (about 8mos old). Not sure when it will happen, but I'm practicing with the flash so I know how to set things up when I do get around to it. My equipment is a Nikon D200, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR lens, and an SB-600 (and some trash bags). I'm working with a makeshift lighting setup since I don't want to spend a bunch of money on some stuff I might only use once or twice, so I'm trying out a cheap setup for diffusing the light. The direct light from the flash is really harsh... All photos shot in manual: F = 4.5, Shutter = 2, Iso = 200, (had no lights on and was shooting into a kind of dark corner) off-camera flash behind me with me on the floor peeking under the hanging bag to take the photos.

So here's the setup:

The first try is the setup with just the flash, no trashbags:

And now with just the hanging trashbag:

And now with the hanging trashbag and the trashbag directly on the flash:

So I think I'm on the right track here because I'm definitely losing the shadows which is what I want (probably need to work on the white balance, but not sure if it's just an effect from that little nook). I also know when I take the pictures of the kid I want to have the flash at about a 45 degree angle so I'll have her mom hold the hanging trashbag(s). Is there anything I can do to make this setup better short of getting actual gear (i.e. adding more layers of bags or taping some together to make the "screen" larger)? I'm playing with the idea of making a make-shift umbrella with some white foam-board but I'm not sure that will actually help?
When you say "shutter = 2", do you mean 2 seconds. That is a long time for a baby to be still, unless maybe the kid is sleeping. If you have to slow your shutter down that much to get enough light at f/4.5, I think you need more ambient light. Get some lamps around you. I don't know much about lighting to say anything more about placement.

p.s. Seems like you understand the importance of diffused light, good job on that
aprhockey: I don't know, when I look at the info in-camera it said 2, not 2" (seconds) which means it was faster than a second, but not like 1/#.

The dark corner made sense at the time. I'm more worried about the lighting setup than the shutter speed though, I know I can fix that by turning on a light. I'll probably have a lamp or something behind the kid at an angle anyway to catch the hair. I'll probably have a white foam board as a reflector as well in case I need it. Any comments on how to get the light from the flash more diffused or a better way to set things up?

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