Lighting for prom formals
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Tools Of the Trade > Lighting Technique

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-21-2011   #1
Alpaca
 
Posts: 3
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Lighting for prom formals

Hello,
Unexpectedly I have a military ball formal this Friday night.
I've seen postings for 1 light to use overhead. Could you give some more specifics. For instance height- settings etc.
I have an alien bee 800. I don't have a soft box yet but plan to run out & get one tonight.
How far should they be from the back drop the camera & where should the light be. Their photographer last minute cancelled & they're asking me to help out.
Thanks for your help.

__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
kayzphotoz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011   #2
Photocamel Master
 
Ed Shapiro's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Posts: 6,718
CamelKarma: 5188665
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

This is really a last minute thing so I will try to cut to the chase and give you the facts and some instructions.

For a military ball you are going to be taking full length portraits of each couple so that you can see the dress uniform (mess kit) on the military personal and the ball gowns on the ladies.

Don't shoot up or down at the couple so the camera position will be at the subject's waist level. Use a normal focal length lens or zoom setting (about 35mm). Keep the camera level so you do not get any distortion.

I have attached a diagram for lighting. Get a soft box for you AB or an umbrella. Use the built in or shoe mount flash unit for a fill light and use the AB with the umbrella a the main light. Expose for the main light and power down the on camera flash so it about 1 stop lower than the main. Keep the subjects about 5 feet from the background. to avoid any shadows on the wall. If you can find a good real background such as a archway, a draped area of something with that old grand hotel look it will go well with formal/casual military portraits.

It would be better to have 2 AB umbrella units but theses instructions are for what you have.

I hope I am not too late bur I just came back to my studio and checked out the Email.

Good luck!

Ed
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DIAGRAM PROM LIGHTING.jpg (129.8 KB, 746 views)
__________________
Ed Shapiro - Master Photographer
Ottawa, Canada
Ed Shapiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011   #3
Llama
 
nomorspam's Avatar
 
Location: Maine
Posts: 837
CamelKarma: 1930
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

Ed...Just to clarify for the original poster when you say about 35mm are you talking full frame sensor or crop sensor?......I guess you are talking FF.

Good luck and be sure to post some of the results if you can.
__________________
Every photographer in all of history was a horrible photographer for some period of time.
nomorspam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011   #4
Alpaca
 
Posts: 3
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

Well I can get a 2nd light. Just all the postings I was seeing was to use only 1 light behind the camera. I've never done it that way so was confused. Thank you so much for your drawing & details.
kayzphotoz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011   #5
Llama
 
nomorspam's Avatar
 
Location: Maine
Posts: 837
CamelKarma: 1930
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

The problem with one light directly behind the camera is that it will look a lot like on camera flash and you'll just end up with formal passport photos......I guess some people would view it as "can't go wrong lighting" but others would probably say "can't go right lighting"
__________________
Every photographer in all of history was a horrible photographer for some period of time.
nomorspam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011   #6
Camel Breath
 
Rain Lily's Avatar
 
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 25,943
CamelKarma: 12372109
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomorspam View Post
The problem with one light directly behind the camera is that it will look a lot like on camera flash and you'll just end up with formal passport photos......I guess some people would view it as "can't go wrong lighting" but others would probably say "can't go right lighting"
Actually, the fill light is supposed to be directly on the camera axis, although higher. And if you have it metered at a stop or two under the main light, it won't look anything like on-camera flash. At least that's the way I understand it.
__________________
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Critique and comments always welcome.
Rain Lily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011   #7
Photocamel Master
 
Ed Shapiro's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Posts: 6,718
CamelKarma: 5188665
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

We are not talking studio conditions or a well planned locations setup- We are talking about an emergency situation with only a few hours to assemble some sort of working system which is limited by an existing equipment inventory.

If the OP has only one light stand it is best to use it for the main light. An on-camera light can serve as a good fill providing it does not overpower the main source. Using a main light only in back of the camera will be very flat. Improvising a 2 light system will render better texture on uniforms and gowns and provide a decent ratio to enable dimensionality and modeling on the faces. If the on-camera light is on a bracket that places the on-camera light over the lens with the camera in a vertical position- all the better.

The "normal lens" for a camera with a 1.5 system is 35mm and 50mm for a full frame DSLR. Using the normal focal length will enable a comfortable shooting distance of about 12 feet from the camera to the subject. If the camera is positioned at the subject's waist level the will be no foreshortening.

Ed
__________________
Ed Shapiro - Master Photographer
Ottawa, Canada
Ed Shapiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011   #8
Lubbock, Tx.
 
Mark McCall's Avatar
 
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Posts: 3,711
CamelKarma: 307172
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

I agree with all that Ed says.
My lighting pattern is a tad different.

I learned Prom and Event photography lighting from the late, great Ken Porter.

Two umbrellas, side to side, over the camera position. Easy.
It's not artistic, but doesn't have to be. This is documentary style photography.
There is no ratio. Both lights pump out the same amount.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg prom.jpg (161.9 KB, 666 views)
__________________
Mark McCall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011   #9
Camel Breath
 
Rain Lily's Avatar
 
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 25,943
CamelKarma: 12372109
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

Mark, do you happen to have an example of the results of that setup, including a typical high school prom background (to see how the light falls on it as well)? I volunteer to help with the local middle school's prom each year and might like to try that setup.
__________________
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Critique and comments always welcome.
Rain Lily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011   #10
Llama
 
nomorspam's Avatar
 
Location: Maine
Posts: 837
CamelKarma: 1930
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Lighting for prom formals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rain Lily View Post
Actually, the fill light is supposed to be directly on the camera axis, although higher. And if you have it metered at a stop or two under the main light, it won't look anything like on-camera flash. At least that's the way I understand it.
Yes but I believe what the op was talking about was a one light set up with the light directly behind the camera (ie main light)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayzphotoz View Post
Just all the postings I was seeing was to use only 1 light behind the camera
Not a 2+ light set up were it would be used as the fill. (but I could be mistaken.)


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
__________________
Every photographer in all of history was a horrible photographer for some period of time.
nomorspam is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Tools Of the Trade > Lighting Technique »


Share this topic:


Tags
alien bees, formals, lighting, prom, strobe
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A couple formals... rhinotherunt Portraits 9 08-17-2010 10:14 PM
A Few Formals From Wisconsin Wedding KellyL Weddings 29 03-23-2009 05:39 AM