Questions regarding lighting
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Old 03-27-2007   #1
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Default Questions regarding lighting

I have just finished reading some of Benji's wonderful tutorials and had some questions regarding lighting - particularly for portraiture, not necessarily how to use them, but how to make them work.

Hair Light: Is this a continuous light or does it flash? Also, has anyone made a makeshift snoot for this?

Kicker: Continuous or flash? I currently have a 250/500 watt work light would this work, maybe off of a reflector?

Background Light: Again, continuous or flash? Any recommendations on this light?

Softbox/Main Light: I understand that a softbox fits around a light source but what is the recommended light source? I currently have a dual head work light that goes from 250 - 1000 watts with a tinker toy gobo. Any recommendations for moving from something home made to something a little more professional looking?

Fill Lighting: I currently have a hot shoe SB-600 on my Nikon D40. Would a better solution be to purchase a single AB400/AB800 or a cheaper monolight light the Savage FT-150. The second part of this question is how would the other unit fire? Would I have to by a sync cord that matches the D40 or would the SB-600 be able to remotely fire any other flash?

Thanks and sorry for the long post and ton of questions,

Dan

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Old 03-27-2007   #2
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

best of luck with your questions. i can tell you that the ab800 is powerful - it's night and day from using an on camera flash. and as for tripping it, i got the wireless set up from alien bee's and it's worked flawlessly for me.
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Old 03-27-2007   #3
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

Quote:
Would I have to by a sync cord that matches the D40 or would the SB-600 be able to remotely fire any other flash?
The simplest PC sync cords are generic products, but the D40 doesn't have a sync port. You'd have to purchase the AS-15 terminal adapter to use PC sync cords with the D40, which fits into the hotshoe of your D40, available from B&H for $18.95: Nikon AS-15 Sync Terminal Adapter (Hot Shoe to PC)
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Old 03-27-2007   #4
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

There are lots of lighting options or solutions available.

The SB 800 or SB 600 flash units on the camera are flash units that you have options for allowing the camera to do some of the thinking for you in various modes.

Generally speaking, studio lighting, whether continuous (hot lights) or strobes / monolights, etc. are generally flashes that are used manually. Power settings are metered for depending on the effect you want and the ratios you are looking for and you set the camera, on manual, accordingly.

It's a bad idea to mix types of flash because the light temperature (color) generally won't match; however, some lights have optical strobes built in and will fire when they "see" a preflash or flash.

Hot lights (continuous) have the advantage that you can see up front what you are getting in the way of lighting and can deal with it; however, they can and do get very hot and can really get people "cooking" in the room. You need good ventilation to work with hot lights like the Photoflex starlite kits. You still want to meter it....

Strobes like the Alien Bees are somewhat more flexible in that they operate at cooler temps and are not always on, but you need a meter to set the power correctly and meter a scene. This is the way of things.

Both can use various modifiers so no big difference there except you have to watch what you put on a hot light because it can catch on fire (ask me about a makeshift scrim sometime .... burn baby burn...and quite frankly, why I ended up ordering the Alien Bees I use now )

As Michael said, you have to get a hot shoe sync port so that you can trigger the strobes if you go the route of strobes. The AS-15 is fine.

Julio
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Old 03-27-2007   #5
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

I recommend using a studio strobe for the main (AB 800 for example). If you are short on money, you can use the on-camera strobe (manual) for fill, and you can also use camera strobes for background and hair lights.

Alien Bee's has some very inexpensive radio slaves... $40.00 each for transmitter or receiver. They work great.
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Old 03-27-2007   #6
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

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Originally Posted by deluco View Post
and you can also use camera strobes for background and hair lights.
I guess this could go to Lee4145 too. Is this to say that most background and hair lights are strobes? And if so, would another SB-400/600/800 work fine? I am just wanting to make sure I am understanding this correctly.

Cyclohexane and Nikonfreak - thank for pointing out the AS-15.

http://www.photocamel.com/forum/tuto...hting-how.html

Post number 7 shows a wide angle shot of Benji's set up. I guess where I am getting confused is that all of these lights are "on"...or am I misunderstanding and they are flashing as he is taking the photo?

Sorry to sound like a dumba$$ but I am really having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

Thanks again,

Dan
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Old 03-27-2007   #7
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

All of those lights should be strobes. They have a regular bulb that is used for modeling, and that's on most of the time to give you an idea of ratios. They turn off when the strobe flashes. I've used AB-400s and Nikon Speedlights in combination with good results. I'd avoid the hot lights, because they get wayyyyy to hot!

Bob
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Old 03-27-2007   #8
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

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Originally Posted by Hurricanedan View Post
Post number 7 shows a wide angle shot of Benji's set up. I guess where I am getting confused is that all of these lights are "on"...or am I misunderstanding and they are flashing as he is taking the photo?Dan
Dan,

Yes, all of the lights are flash units and all of them fired at exactly the same time. That is why they look "on" in the images even though there are not continous lights.

I suggest flash because (as already mentioned) they are cooler to operate and therefore safer. This is especially true in the summer when it is hot outside. The last thing some pretty high school senior girl wants on a hot summer day is to sit under some hot lights to have her senior portraits taken!

Benji
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Old 03-27-2007   #9
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

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Originally Posted by Benji View Post
Dan,

Yes, all of the lights are flash units and all of them fired at exactly the same time. That is why they look "on" in the images even though there are not continous lights.

I suggest flash because (as already mentioned) they are cooler to operate and therefore safer. This is especially true in the summer when it is hot outside. The last thing some pretty high school senior girl wants on a hot summer day is to sit under some hot lights to have her senior portrait taken!

Benji
Thanks for clearing that up for me. I know it may have come across to most as common sense but I was really lost on the concept. 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
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Old 03-27-2007   #10
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Default Re: Questions regarding lighting

I would recommend that you get one strobe. Learn to use it. Then move on to adding multiple light sources. A single light can create some great images.


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