Strobe help!

mrshaleyberg

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First off,
It's been a VERY long time since I've posted on here. Too long, in fact. I still linger around on here every so often, but have been busy with life, and haven't paid much attention to TPF.

So recently, (lets say..two days ago) I received my first Alien Bees B800 strobe! I'm more than excited to play and experiment with this thing. I have been playing with it for a few days (ever since I got it). I am determined to do maternity pictures of my friend to help me learn different ways to use it. I will be ordering a second strobe in a few weeks, but for now, I'm trying to just work with one.

Can anybody give me advice to achieve a picture similar to this?

http://lalumierephoto.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/wilmington-maternity-photographer.jpg

I have no idea where to place my strobe when it comes to this. I tried doing some "self portraits" but it's very hard not having a subject so I can stay directly behind the camera.

Question:
What power should I have my strobe at for something like this? Half? Full?

I'm guessing this is one of those things where its a "trial and error" type thing. It's fun, and I'm totally excited to be getting the chance to use a strobe!

Any feedback and help from you guys would be great!

-Haley
 

Derrel

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Okay...the strobe is to the right of the camera, and is slightly behind the model's nose. See how her nose has a rim-light, or line of light on its contours? That is how I can tell that the light is coming from "slightly behind" her, and of course, from off to the side.

I also see some haloing, or areas that show me some post-processing was used to create the dark wall off to the right...

Do you see how the light is a bit hot or hard? And how it does not hit the top of her head? That effect could be achieved by using either a 4-way barn doors set, or a grid on a smallish reflector. Notice that the entire left, front side of here has NO LIGHT on it...that makes me think this was photyographed with a parabolic-type reflector, with the light fitted most likely with a barn doors set, and placed about 15-20 degrees behind her.

I would also like to take a second to point out that the photographer's watermark is simply horrible in this photo...
 

gsgary

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Very easily, you can see from the shadows that it has been lit slightly from behind to the short side and not high probably level with her and feathered towards the backdrop, a high intensity reflector with a grid fitted ? ******** i knew he would beat me to it :lol:
 
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mrshaleyberg

mrshaleyberg

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So basically I need to get a grid or barn doors for my strobe so I can "Aim" the light more in a direct spot on my subject, correct? Looks like I'll be making a trip to the photo store tomorrow! So what would work better? A grid, or barn doors? Or do they basically work the same?
 

Derrel

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So basically I need to get a grid or barn doors for my strobe so I can "Aim" the light more in a direct spot on my subject, correct? Looks like I'll be making a trip to the photo store tomorrow! So what would work better? A grid, or barn doors? Or do they basically work the same?

No, they work differently. If I had to buy JUST one, it would be the grid. A 20 degree model. OF course, they are also often sold in set like 3,10,20,30 degrees, with, in my experience, the 10 and 20 models being of tremendous use.

Barn doors are available in 2- and 4-door models, in both professionally designed and cheezily-designed forms. Barn doors narrow the spread of a light beam, and help to keep it off of the background or foreground or the top or bottom...barn doors CAN BE jerry-rigged too, by using flat pieces of cardboard or aluminum foil,etc. A light can be "flagged", and that can simulate barn doors, and so that's why the Grid is the #1 accessory.
 
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mrshaleyberg

mrshaleyberg

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Luckily my local camera store sells a 20 degree grid. I can always get a barn door later. Definitely something I should get and have. Thank you so much for the help! I will post my pictures from the shoot.

Now, will the strobe power have anything to do with it? Or should I just adjust it until I get what I want?
 

IgsEMT

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I'm not even going to read what Derrel said, (no disrespect, on contrary) b/c w/e he said is MORE then accurate so no point of me repeating it.
Just wanted to add: Welcome to the wonderful world of lighting Portrait Lighting

Good Luck
 
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Destin

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The power of the flash will depend on what camera settings you want to use. Generally base ISO, around f11, and 1/125th-1/200th of a second.

A light meter would really come in handy for this because you could set up your flash to exactly match the camera settings you had chosen and wouldn't need to use trial and error to guess your exposure.
 
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mrshaleyberg

mrshaleyberg

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I actually have a light meter, but haven't ever used it! Maybe this is my chance to practice with that too! :)
 
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mrshaleyberg

mrshaleyberg

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ha ha Yep! And I need to USE IT!
 

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