Studio Lighting?

D-50

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Im getting into "studio" photography and am just starting to use lighting in a more controlled way than I amused to. I have two 1000watt halogen shoplights frommy woodshop that I am thinking about messing around with. I kniow they create a lot of heat but aside from that what are their dawbacks? Also what is a good base set up in terms of positioning lights from a subject. I realize different set ups are used for different purposes and each will create drasiacally different moodsfor a photo but Imjust looking for something to get me started.Ive looked around on the web but often find that the people here give better advice or at least I can ask for eleboration if I do not understand the set up whereas on the web sometmes it gets confusing.
 

BAB

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Hello,

I cut my teeth in studio lighting using Halogen lamps and you are correct, heat is a big factor but as long as you know that going in they will work fine. The other consideration is with color and insuring correct color temp. I am making the assumption that you shoot digital, and so color temp is easily managed and accomplished especially if you shoot raw.

As for the second part of your question, so much depends on the subject and the size of the subject so it is very hard to answer. As a starting point, consider with 1000 watts you probably are not going to want the lights too close to your subject. Also the closer the light to the subject in general, the harsher the light will be and the less exposure you will need. The further the light is from the subject again in general the softer the light and wider coverage.

What I would recommend is to look at some basic studio photography books and/or on-line reources and tutorials. Look for one's that give illustrations of lighting diagrams along with the pictures that were made using those lighting diagrams. Then just plain old trial and error is a great way to learn. When you do a set-up, pay attention to what the lighting is doing as you change the distances, angle of light and any alterations you may do to the light.

Hope this helps and good luck with it.
 

Big Mike

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Most of that is good advice...but this part is wrong...
Also the closer the light to the subject in general, the harsher the light will be and the less exposure you will need. The further the light is from the subject again in general the softer the light and wider coverage.
Softer lighting is created by increasing the relative size of the source in relation to the subject. So the closer the light, the softer it is...the farther away, the smaller it is to the subject, the harder the light will be.
Now, with these lights, there is no power adjustment except distance, so when you put them close to the subject, they do get stronger/brighter (on the subject).

As I see it, the main problem with these types of lights is obviously the heat but because of that, it's hard to use any sort of modification...you can't just slap an umbrella on them or a softbox. You could use a diffusion screen, but it would have to be far enough away from the light to keep from melting or burning.

They can be used to help you learn about light placement and shadows. Set up a test subject like a ball or a mannequin head and position the lights around it and see what looks good. You could do the same thing with an orange and a desk lamp.

I'll second the recommendation for some good books on studio lighting.
 

Alpha

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Most of that is good advice...but this part is wrong...

Softer lighting is created by increasing the relative size of the source in relation to the subject. So the closer the light, the softer it is...the farther away, the smaller it is to the subject, the harder the light will be.
Now, with these lights, there is no power adjustment except distance, so when you put them close to the subject, they do get stronger/brighter (on the subject).

As I see it, the main problem with these types of lights is obviously the heat but because of that, it's hard to use any sort of modification...you can't just slap an umbrella on them or a softbox. You could use a diffusion screen, but it would have to be far enough away from the light to keep from melting or burning.

They can be used to help you learn about light placement and shadows. Set up a test subject like a ball or a mannequin head and position the lights around it and see what looks good. You could do the same thing with an orange and a desk lamp.

I'll second the recommendation for some good books on studio lighting.

I'm sorry but I don't believe this is correct. The inverse square law is a function of the physical dispersion of light. As such, a closer light will, in fact, make for "harder" light.

As for the OP's question about how best to work with hot lights, you could try some large grids. Also, you'll probably need to make some adjustment of the color temperature, which tends to be quite warm. It will make human subjects' skin look orange or yellow. That can be corrected through filtering, printing, or post-processing in PS.
 

Big Mike

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I'm sorry but I don't believe this is correct. The inverse square law is a function of the physical dispersion of light. As such, a closer light will, in fact, make for "harder" light.
The inverse square law applies to the intensity of the light...not the hardness or softness of it. They are two distinct properties. Softness is determined by the size of the light source (bigger is softer) and the distance from the subject...the closer, the softer.

Wikipedia
Soft light refers to light that tends to "wrap" around object, casting shadows with soft edges. The softness of the light depends mostly on the following two factors:

Distance. The closer the light source, the softer it becomes.
Size of light source. The larger the source, the softer it becomes.

In practical terms, the intensity of the light must be considered as well...and the intensity does fall of with distance (inverse square).
 

Alpha

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Okay, if you want to be a stickler for jargon. But you know that's not what BAB was referring to. He was referring to intensity.
 

Big Mike

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This is an internet forum and all we have are our words to communicate with. We might as well try to get it right. ;)
 

BAB

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My bad... sort of. In reality both Big Mike and Max Bloom are correct. I was referring to as Max suggested, intensity of the light. Sorry I was not more clearer in my response.
 

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