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Old 03-28-2007   #11
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

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Originally Posted by Hurricanedan View Post
Now, are you using the same type of strobes for the main light (with the softbox) and the fill, possibly set at different f/stops?

Dan
Yes. They are the same type, both are monolights and both are the same brand. You can usually mix different types and brands without any problem.

I meter my fill light all alone. I make sure the ISO that the meter is set on matches the ISO set into the camera, then I place the dome of the meter under the chin of the subject and aim it directly at the fill light. I fire the fill light and note the reading. Then I meter the main light by holding the dome of the meter under the chin again, but this time it is aimed directly at the main light. If this reading is the same as my fill reading was, the light will be flat. So I turn the power of the main light only up to where it is two stops more than the fill light reading was. I then set that aperture into the camera (the camera is on manual.)

The background light meter reading should match the reading of the fill light. This light will cancel out any shadows from the main or fill lights, and it makes the background more interesting.

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Old 03-29-2007   #12
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

Benji,

Thanks for for clearing this up for me. It has been a great help.

Dan
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Old 03-30-2007   #13
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It is always better to start off with just 1 light and a digital light meter. Then you can add more lights with more experience. I suggest to get 1 studio strobe (AB400) for the main light with an umbrella (60" is a good size), and one large foam board reflector (4foot x 6 foot) for the fill light. Smaller umbrellas and reflectors will not properly light a whole person standing with good quality soft light.

If you have a volunteer then they can aim and hold the reflector. If you don't have a volunteer you can prop it up against a chair to hold it up at the right angle. Most of my shots are with just 1 light and 1 reflector. You do not have to meter the reflector, just the main light. Silver reflectors are easier to aim. When you get better at it, you can upgrade to a collapsible reflector with a reflector support mounted on a light stand. Then as you get even better, you can keep adding additional lights and modifiers.
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Old 04-07-2007   #14
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I believe that strobe is the way to go in portraiture because of the lack of intense heat generated and the ease of using modifiers. If you are not careful; you can burn up a snoot, softbox or umbrella while using continuous lighting.

In my opinion, although the strobes designed for camera use such as the 550ex and 580ex (and Nikon equivalents - I will be using the term 550ex/580ex generically and it is meant to include the Nikon versions also) can certainly be used for portraiture; you are selling yourself short if you are trying to learn portraiture without the use of strobes that have modeling lights.

I know that Canon's top end flashes have a psuedo-modeling light that is actually the flash firing multiple times in order to give a somewhat consistant light. Again IMO, this is not an adequate substitute for a "REAL" modeling light and the Canon units can be damaged if you use the modeling light effect for a lengthy period.

So again, IMO, I would advise anyone who wants to purchase a portrait lighting setup to forgo the thought of using the camera type units (such a 550ex and 580ex) and to purchase studio type units that incorporate "REAL" modeling lights.

You can start with one light with an umbrella. Actually, you can purchase a studio setup for less than purchasing 3 or four of the 550ex / 580ex style units. If you are short of money... try eBay for used lights (not the cheapie Chinese imports sold new) of a good name brand.

I have recently purchased a set of three German made Multiblitz studio strobes with barndoors, filter holder, glass filters, scrim and snoot - all in a fitted plastic suitcase for $200.00 USD plus a couple of bucks for postage. These are well made strobes that are in excellent shape and work great The only slight problem is that I needed to purchase a set of bushings to convert the 3/8 inch European style screws to 1/4 x 20 standard tripod mount screws in order to fit my light stands. The three bushings cost less than $5.00 including postage.

One cavaet... you need to do some research and know what you need (or want) and know the going prices for used lighting equipment. I have seen used equipment selling for inflated prices.

Since I am giving a lot of opinions; here is another one: you can learn portrait lighting better by working with manually controlled lights that are adjusted individually than by using lighting setups where the lights control themselves for ratios (again like the 550ex/580ex series).

Please do not fret about not having through the lens metering control with studio flash units. You can get your exposure locked down by first using the flash guide numbers and then doing a series of test shots using a human or a mannekin head. I have a flash meter but, I have learned my lights so well that I seldom need to revert to using it. I can get a correct exposure/lighting ratios without resorting to my flash meter. That is the advantage of having strobes with adequate and accurate modeling lights. (Many of the Chinese inports have modeling lights which are not accurate)

However, if you pine for a flash meter; there are several models on the market for which you don't have to sell your farm to purchase. I have a Sekonic L-718 flash meter that I have used successfully for years and years. It works great and I have seen them listed on eBay for around a hundred bucks. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the newest Sekonic models but it does what it is supposed to do - get you close to correct exposure. Like every meter, you need to interpret the results to get nail-head accuracy.

Finally, I mentioned a mannekin head (not the styrofoam wig holders but a real mannekin head). Unless you have a friend, relative or lover with utmost patience, you can avoid a lot of fuss if you use the mannekin head to:
1. learning lighting
2. play around with any new lighting setups
Believe me, my mannekin has a lot more patience than my wife.

Last edited by richardpcrowe; 04-07-2007 at 10:12 AM.. Reason: Added Comments
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Old 12-09-2007   #15
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

I have the same setup Nikon D40 with all that you have...I purchased a inexpensive lighting package to get me started from Ebay...I know don't laugh. But I am havin the same problem I don't know how to work them. I would recomend a cheap setup first to see that you can play with them and if they get damaged your not out HUNDREDS of dollars. here's what I purchased: Square Perfect -- photography equipment, lighting solutions, flash sets, photo cubes and tents, muslin backgrounds, softbox kits and photography tutorials. - SP3500 Portrait Studio Set
hope that helps a little... Good luck let me know if you figure it out..I'm still workin on it. Have fun!
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Old 12-10-2007   #16
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Where do I find benji's lighting tuts?

Thanks!

--MrV
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Old 12-12-2007   #17
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

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Originally Posted by MrV View Post
Where do I find benji's lighting tuts?

Thanks!

--MrV
MrV,

From the home page here at Photocamel click on "Tutorials." It is the third forum from the top.

Benji


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