Simulating daylight...

splproductions

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I get home around 5:30PM every day, and by that time it's too late to do photo shoots of my little baby. We've been doing the shoots on Saturdays in the kitchen or bedroom using available light from the windows combined with bouncing a flash. But it would be really nice not to have to restrict our shooting to the weekends.

If I went to Home Depot and got some lighting with daylight-temp bulbs, could I simulate daylight enough to do shots in the evening? I was thinking I could hang a white sheet up in front of them to diffuse the lighting.

Does anyone have experience with this, or some tips for me? Any links to some products that would work well? (I don't have the budget right now for expensive studio lighting - I'm probably limited to $100 for this one.) Thanks!
 
What kind of effect are you going for? You can simulate sun light through a window using speed light/strobe with colored gel.
 
What kind of effect are you going for? You can simulate sun light through a window using speed light/strobe with colored gel.

I guess I'm not really looking for a direct sunlight effect - definitely more of a diffused look. I do have colored gels, and I have two speedlights, but I haven't figured out how to get my second one to fire wirelessly yet. (I'll start a new thread for questions about that).

I guess I just need more diffused ambient light, with a very white temp, not a yellow-sun look.
 
Check to see if your speedlights have optical trigger, then you can just trigger them wirelessly using your onboard flash. If you're just looking for certain color temperature, then I'd shoot in RAW and then adjust the temperature in post. You may want to match the color of your light sources. As long as you have a neutral grey point, you can get to the base colors and then adjust it from there.
 
Check to see if your speedlights have optical trigger, then you can just trigger them wirelessly using your onboard flash. If you're just looking for certain color temperature, then I'd shoot in RAW and then adjust the temperature in post. You may want to match the color of your light sources. As long as you have a neutral grey point, you can get to the base colors and then adjust it from there.

I think here's what my problem is... correct me if I'm off on this...

So the camera, and the Speedlite, need a decent amount of light to do their thing, right? Autofocus, etc. But my townhome faces in such a direction that by evening, the sun is completely facing the opposite direction. So in order to get a decent amount of light, I would need to turn on my lamps, kitchen light, etc, but those are all nasty tungsten. So then I'd be battling two different temperatures (my Speedlite and the indoor lights).

So I was thinking I'd try to get some daylight lighting so I don't have to always shoot in my house with all the lights off.
 
splproductions said:
I think here's what my problem is... correct me if I'm off on this...

So the camera, and the Speedlite, need a decent amount of light to do their thing, right? Autofocus, etc. But my townhome faces in such a direction that by evening, the sun is completely facing the opposite direction. So in order to get a decent amount of light, I would need to turn on my lamps, kitchen light, etc, but those are all nasty tungsten. So then I'd be battling two different temperatures (my Speedlite and the indoor lights).

So I was thinking I'd try to get some daylight lighting so I don't have to always shoot in my house with all the lights off.

I think your speedlight would overpower your house lights - maybe. I have no light in my house at all - its very dark but my speedlight, alone, gives plenty of light for the photo. You'd obviously need some house lights on to be able to lock focus with auto focus.
 
Speedlights are pretty much the same color temperture as sunlight, about 5500°K.

Indoor lighting has color temperatures different from the Sun or speedlights, and mixing light source color temperatures introduces color casts that are virtually impossible to fully correct.

To simulate window light with a speedlight takes making the speedlight apparently the same size as the window, and the same light output power.

You can take into consideration that the further away the window is, the apparently smaller it is.

Light modifiers like umbrellas, brollys, diffusion panels, and or softboxes are what get used to make a small light source, like a speedlight, apparently larger.

Studio portrait photographers do this all day long, though they usually add additional lights (hair light, kicker, rim, fill, background) to make the photo produced more professional looking.

Plus there are a multitude of lighting styles.
 
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Tugging on the coattails of Keith's comments about apparent size..... a cheap and easy remedy for that is to fire (bounce) one of your flashes (Main) into a reflector. For a Rembrandt lighting pattern, you would position the Main light at ~45° camera right or left (I let the subjects' hair part determine that) x 45° above from the subject. You can get an el cheapo 5-N-1 reflector and use the white side for a softer light or the silver side for a more contrasty light.

Using a 1/4 or 1/2 to a full cut of CTO gel on the Fill light will bring back some warmth to the subjects skin tone.

For the most part, keep this in mind..... shadows are our friends. So don't be afraid. A good rule of thumb is to have a 3 to 1 lighting ratio on the face (mask). Flat lighting (no shadows) is boring and renders very 2 dimensional.
 
Thanks for all of the replies...

Just for people searching the forum later, I'll post what I did and how it turned out. I went to Home Depot and got two dish-clamp things, and two 200W fluorescent bulbs. The only bulbs they had were 6500K "Daylight" bulbs - nothing at 5500K. So I set them up on one side of the room shooting onto a round, white lamp shade (no light on in the lamp shade - just a reference object). Then I bounced my Speedlite so it was hitting the other side of the lamp shade. I didn't notice any difference in color temp from the left and the right side of the lamp shade. I then took different test shots around the house and have not noticed any "fighting" of those two temps (5500K from the flash and 6500K from the bulbs). Maybe there are two tones showing up, but I'm not seeing it.

So what this has allowed me to do is shoot my little boy at 9:30PM, and have my photos turn out great! Also, DSLR video looks awesome with these lights - you can't even tell it's not 2PM!
 
If using flash its good to get a translucent cup, like the ones you use for filling up an iron. Put the it over the flash and take a photo. This gives a nice smooth touch. Probably the best for cheap, sunlight simulation. :)

Orbit.
 

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