Newbie to studio need help understanding metering
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Old 11-28-2007   #1
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Question Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

I`m trying to shoot a portrait on a canon 400d with 70-200mm f4 with two strobes/softboxed set 2 stops apart at 45(ish degrees to subject). the subject is wearing a white (AGHHHHHH) fleece like rug .. problem is all i get is underexposed or blown highlights i cant get a happy medium, even trying HDR only got as far as blowing the face to pieces on the hilites.
i have tried altering light settings (Power distance angle etc) tried the flash exposure but still all i get is blowout.
HOW do i go about metering for this I have tried using a white balance card on 18% and dialing down 1/2 stop on compensation but still the same underexposed features blown out white fleece

Please someone out there must have a simple solution
Many thanks
allen

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Old 11-28-2007   #2
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

How are you metering?
What are you using as flashes?
Are you making the decisions ( fully manual) or are you letting the camera screw it up for you?
You should be able to adjust your f stops so that the exposure is proper.

Glenn
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Old 11-28-2007   #3
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

re: I have tried using a white balance card on 18% and dialing down 1/2 stop on compensation

Are you trying to use your in-camera meter or do you have a separate hand-held flash meter?
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Old 11-28-2007   #4
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

i have a seperate light meter.. and im in manual mode with studio strobes (150W gn30 ISO100)
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Old 11-28-2007   #5
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

You need to make sure your meter and your camera are "saying" the same thing.

Set your camera to manual... 1/125 of a second... white balance to flash.

Using one strobe Set your strobe to a centre value ( if it is adjustable ( one thing to remember about adjustable strobes, the knob isn't the light it is going to put out this flash, it is the amount it will charge up to next time...make an adjustment, recycle your flash))

Take a meter reading. Set your camera's f stop to this reading. Take a shot of your 18% grey card so that it fills your view finder. ( It has to be at the exact location the meter reading was) Your histogram should be a large chunk right in the centre. If it isn't adjust your f stops up or down until it is.

When it is in the centre that is the correct exposure. If it is different then your meter then all your reading from the meter will be off the same amount.

Something else to remember, your meter reading is only for that point in space. It will not tell you what the results are going to be six inches in any direction.... if your white subject is closer to the light, it will be brighter, and you have to take a reading there.

Sorry for the long winded reply.

Glenn
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Old 11-29-2007   #6
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

Are you using an incident meter or reflective?

Can you post some images of your results? How about some pics of the setup?

How big are the softboxes, and how far away from the subject are they?


Good advice already given. Myself, I would think it out like this:
-I'd shoot several test shots, and using your histogram - aim to find a good exposure FOR THE WHITES in the image (rug) using just the main light only.

-Then, turn on your fill light, and adjust it's power/distance to provide the -2 stops of fill or whatever you find you'll need to fill in the shadows to your liking.
Meter this by turning off the main light then meter it, or just eyeball it on your lcd (zoom in, etc)

-Might need to close down fstop a 1/3 to compensate for the fill being added.

Also - some fabrics are 'shiny' than others, and this extra reflectance will require exposure or lighting adjustments to compensate.
Also, a thing known as the angle of incidence can increase this reflectiveness.

To sum it up, sounds like exposure and lighting issues.

hope this helps
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Old 11-29-2007   #7
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

I have a question about the -2 stops fill light.

Let's say he's metering off the model's forehead for the main light (is 'main' and 'key' the same thing?). For the fill light that's to be set at -2, does he turn off the main light and meter for the fill light in the exact same place, the forhead? Or do you turn both lights on and find a shadowed area on the opposite of the model's head and meter that to be -2?
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Old 11-29-2007   #8
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

What I do Is I meter for each light individually using my hand to shield the meter from the other lights. I find this the quickest and easist method.... but if you ask 3 photographers this question you will likely get 4 answers

- 2 stops down is a very dramatic ( dark) fill

Glenn
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Old 11-29-2007   #9
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

To set the fill to two stops (-2) stops of the main, after setting the main, turn off the main and set the fill by itself. Then turn both on and meter together to find the actual f:stop to set the camera at.

As an example, if your main = f:8.0 and your fill is 5.6(-1stop) the combined will be 8.5 (or its equivalent in your terms, ie 9.3) and that is what you set the camera f:stop to.
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Old 11-30-2007   #10
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Default Re: Newbie to studio need help understanding metering

mmm i get what your saying (yes I am metering each seperate to get the ratio 2:1)
but when to say "if you main = f:8.0 and your fill is 5.6(-1stop)" I go from F8.0 to F7.1 -F6.3 - F5.6 which is the two stops that i have. I`m thinking now along the lines that the lights are too close to subject tried another shot using bounced brollys and it came out much better using the info from here..LOL i`ll keep going ( i`ve glued the subject in place and locked the door feeding twice a day ------JOKE----- before anyone trys me for kidnap or false inprisonment)
thanks peeps its getting better


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