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Background Light Blues
Old 05-19-2006, 08:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I had a 4 light setup the other day for portraiture. (mail,fill,hair,BG) The issue I have ran into both times I have tried a 4 light setup is the BG light not showing up at all. Reguardless if it's turned on full power with a bare bulb or completely off. The BG looks exactly the same in both instances. I have the exposure of the hair, fill and main right where they need to be.

So, what's up with the BG light? I'm shooting in a very small room and I'm figuring that even with my main and fill down almost to the lowest settings, it's still too much power. Would I be correct?

-joshua

(this below image has a noticable BG light, but I was in a very long room which leads me to believe I'm simply working in too small of an area)

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Re: Background Light Blues
Old 05-19-2006, 11:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What does your meter tell you? I.e., do you meter the lights individually?
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Re: Background Light Blues
Old 05-20-2006, 10:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm no expert but...

I think your lighting is fine, except I would turn the hairlight up 1/2 a stop or more.

If you make a shot in a shower and it works that's not too small of a space.
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Re: Background Light Blues
Old 05-20-2006, 09:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moscato_images
I had a 4 light setup the other day for portraiture. (mail,fill,hair,BG) The issue I have ran into both times I have tried a 4 light setup is the BG light not showing up at all. Reguardless if it's turned on full power with a bare bulb or completely off. The BG looks exactly the same in both instances. I have the exposure of the hair, fill and main right where they need to be.

So, what's up with the BG light? I'm shooting in a very small room and I'm figuring that even with my main and fill down almost to the lowest settings, it's still too much power. Would I be correct?
You're most likely seeing spill onto the background from your other lights. With a bigger room you can put enough distance between your model and the background so that your main, fill, and hair lights don't light the BG too (The inverse-square law is your friend, here). The best way to tell for sure is to use a flash-enabled spot meter and meter directly off of the background as you add each of your lights. Move the model out of the way and start by metering the BG light reflected off of the BG. Add each light one at a time, take a meter reading, and see what happens to your exposure. You'll then know which light is affecting your lighting solution.

If you just want to know if your BG light is having any effect, take a meter reading of the BG with all 4 lights, then turn off the BG light and meter again. If the exposure doesn't change then you know that your BG light isn't doing anything for you.

If you don't have a flash-enabled spot meter, you can take an incident flash meter reading right at the background. Use the same procedure. Hold your meter against the background at same height as you would if you were metering your model. Start with the BG light and then add the others one at a time to see which ones are lighting your background.

Grids (for your bare heads), fabric grids (for your softboxes), and flags can help you here by keeping light out of the areas where it's not wanted.


-Chip
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Re: Background Light Blues
Old 05-21-2006, 11:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChipBulgin
You're most likely seeing spill onto the background from your other lights. With a bigger room you can put enough distance between your model and the background so that your main, fill, and hair lights don't light the BG too (The inverse-square law is your friend, here). The best way to tell for sure is to use a flash-enabled spot meter and meter directly off of the background as you add each of your lights. Move the model out of the way and start by metering the BG light reflected off of the BG. Add each light one at a time, take a meter reading, and see what happens to your exposure. You'll then know which light is affecting your lighting solution.

If you just want to know if your BG light is having any effect, take a meter reading of the BG with all 4 lights, then turn off the BG light and meter again. If the exposure doesn't change then you know that your BG light isn't doing anything for you.

If you don't have a flash-enabled spot meter, you can take an incident flash meter reading right at the background. Use the same procedure. Hold your meter against the background at same height as you would if you were metering your model. Start with the BG light and then add the others one at a time to see which ones are lighting your background.

Grids (for your bare heads), fabric grids (for your softboxes), and flags can help you here by keeping light out of the areas where it's not wanted.


-Chip
Thank you for the walk through. That is all simple and I was only making it too difficult. The issue layed in that my main and fill had variable adjustments on the back, and my hair and BG had the FULL,1/2,1/4 switches and I had trouble using them together. I see by your walk through it doesn't matter much so as long as I meter and re-meter the BG and then make changes. I found at the shoot (which came out nice BTW) that I have 3 tons of light spill. I use alien bee lights and the AB softbox has no option to attach a grid. (too bad I learned about grids after I bought them). It's something I have been wanting to make soon.

Thank you for all of your replys and thank you Chip for the walk through, it's what I was looking for.

-joshua
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Re: Background Light Blues
Old 05-24-2006, 04:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCook
I'm no expert but...
I think your lighting is fine, except I would turn the hairlight up 1/2 a stop or more.
If you make a shot in a shower and it works that's not too small of a space.
Aha. I see you don't actually have a hairlight in this shot. Oh well, you shouldn't turn up your main.
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