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Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-19-2005, 10:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi everyone. kind of a mixed critique here. Is it possible to get good effect on an extremely low budget. Im using a Fuji FinePix S5000 and Jlt 110 flash strobes. Critiques,Tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Don (the Newbie)
 
 
Re: Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-19-2005, 12:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Is it possible to get good effect on an extremely low budget?

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not exactly clear on what you're asking here. "Is it possible to get good photographs on a low budget?" Yes. It takes persistance, talent, imagination, and luck. From looking at your image, and your portfolio, I'd say you're on your way - technically speaking. Look at lots of images, study those you like, and try to reproduce them. Look at your attempts critically, keep trying. I think I've learned a lot from reading criticisms here. Keep posting.

OTOH, perhaps you're asking, "Is it possible to get good photographic effects on a low budget?" Like, image manipulation, or costumes, etc. That's a lot harder. My wife has taught me that cheap things photograph like cheap things. There's a significant difference between a $25 fake leather corset-like top and a $300 Axford corset. So, here I'd have to say that you have to be really creative.

Don't know if this helps any. Sorry.

Did you check out the "Tips" section of this site?
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Re: Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-19-2005, 07:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for your response....sorry I wasnt more specific, but you were right along what I was wondering...Ive looked at so many of the photographs on here. It kind of put me back into my own little space on the planet so to speak. But I do have to start somewhere, and this looks like a great place to learn just by observing,reading,and paying close attention to detail. I really love the work with dramatic shadows, but I havent been able to capture these. I am using Umbrellas, one white,one silver with my strobes, Considering shelling out for a soft box. Am I on the right track? Anyway thank you very much for responding, I want to be very careful and not be a Pain in the Rear end kind of newbie. So I'll be doing alot of reading on here you can count on that.
Don
 
 
Re: Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-19-2005, 10:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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First, I suggest that you check out the "Tips" section here, and at Scott Smith's site. The latter contains a lot of useful information on lighting using panels rather than soft boxes. There's also some information on-line about "tinkertubes" - assemblies built using PVC pipe, fittings, and nylon - for low-cost lighting. Search the archives here for links.

I'm hardly an expert, but here's a brief statement of what I know and/or misunderstand about lighting. Light can be diffuse or direct. Direct light travels in a straight line, gives rise to defined shadows - like on a sunny day. Diffuse light contains scattered light - the rays are moving in all directions, spreading, so that diffuse light doesn't give hard-edged shadows. If the light is diffused enough, it doesn't give much of a shadow at all. Think of light on a partial overcast day - the shadows have soft edges. On a very overcast day, you almost don't have shadows - just darker regions of less light.
Light can also be specular or not, depending on the surface it's being reflected from. Specular reflections are like off metal - hard, shiny. Specular reflections are somewhat more directional, less diffuse light than the light prior to reflection.
Here's a couple of important aspects - if the light source is large relative to the subject, it will appear diffuse. Like a large light box close to a subject, or standing next to a large Northern window during daylight. The further the source is from the subject, the less diffuse, more directional the source becomes.
What's all this got to do with glamour? Typically, glamour uses more diffuse light, which "wraps" around the subject - hence glamour shooters tend towards soft boxes, up close - or large sources, like a beauty dish - which offers a moderately diffused directional light. And they do things like put grids on their softboxes, to increased the directionality, to decrease the diffusiveness of the light.
Umbrellas are the soft box of the sixties. They give a soft, diffused light if shoot-through, a slightly less soft light if bounced, and can have modifiers - like gold or silver interiors - to modify the degree of specularity (I don't know if that's a word) and warmth (gold enhances the warmth of the image, silver doesn't). With umbrellas, however, it's harder to control the "spill" - light going where we don't want it. Soft boxes are much easier to control in this regards.

Don, I consider myself a rank amateur. I suggest you post this question - "what do you recommend for a beginner?" on the main forum. It's been addressed before, but not recently, and not, specifically, in terms of modifiers and systems.

Maybe I'll do that myself.

Take care -

John
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Ya know
Old 02-19-2005, 10:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I was trying to decide how to phrase the question to post on the main forum, and started thinking more about your question. I decided to extend my previous comments.

I'm kind of a minimalist - in spite of that, I now own a couple of aging monolights, stands, a background stand, several backgrounds (white paper, silver, and a couple of muslins), a couple of umbrellas, a (single) grid set, and some gels. But, in my opinion, some of my best and favorite images are natural light. Or were shot with a couple of 500 W blue photofloods, back when that was what I used. I've been toying with getting a soft box, too, but then I think about just getting a panel (a la Scott's recommendation) or maybe some reflectors, or a third monolight to let me get a hair light easily.

But deep in my heart, I think I know that I'd be WAY better off spending more time shooting, using what I have at hand. Developing a mastery of my current tools before I go off and start collecting new ones.

I suspect if you post your question on the main forum, you'll get a spectrum of answers, but that the strongest voice will be somewhat similar to mine. Start simple, master the concepts and build your skills, then add an additional element of complexity, master that, etc.

It's kind of like this - having a $4000 commercial range doesn't mean that you automatically will cook better than you did on your $400 Kenmore range.

Good luck, have fun, keep shooting, and - I suggest - keep posting to get comments.
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Re: Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-20-2005, 11:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hello Don.
Newbie myself. I'd like to ask you about your set-up...
"Fuji FinePix S5000 and Jlt 110 flash strobes"
I have the same camera as you do and I am wondering how you are triggering the strobes? I assume that you are using the built in flash off the camera itself, no?
Also, could you let me know more about your strobes, or offer a url to the manufacturer page for more info on them.
TIA.
And I like your photo too.
Bernie
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Re: Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-21-2005, 12:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Bernie. I been experimenting with these strobes for awhile now.
the problem I have is Exposure...its always either over or under or my pictures come out "Noisy" grainy. so Im still working on solving this problem.
the best way that I have gotten the slave sensors to sync with my camera is to make sure I have the Forced Flash setting selected when I shot. Because the red eye preflash is before the shutter opens.
Not sure if a light meter would solve my frustrations or not.
but anyway here is a link for the strobes I use.
http://www.jtl-lighting.com/
Don
 
 
Re: Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-22-2005, 12:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hello Don.
Thanks for the reply.
I wish I had an answer for you on your exposure issue.
What mode are you shooting in? Aperature, Shutter, Program etc?
The pic you posted seems well lit and with out any noise.
Then again, what the heck do I know? I'm new to this too.
Anyway, I hope to take some shots tomorrow. I'll post them and you can have a look.
Thanks again for the strobe info.
Bernie.
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Re: Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-22-2005, 06:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Bernie I found I have to shoot in Manual mode using the strobes and basically fool the built in light meter all together. because it cant read the FLASH.
so its a big guessing game without a meter
had my best luck keeping the shutter speed around 1600 and aperture around f 5 to f 7 I use auto focus and the focus lock set to S AF mode
and set image quality at 1M anything else shows too much NOISE
 
 
Re: Good Effect on a low budget
Old 02-22-2005, 11:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Your flashes should have a "guide number" rating - basically it's the product of the f number times the distance of the flash from the subject. You can use that as an estimate of the proper exposure. With flashes, the pulse of light is so short that the shutter speed doesn't matter, provided the shutter is open for the pulse - i.e., you don't shoot at speeds faster than the "sync speed." Most cameras "synchronize" at any speed less than 1/60 sec, but you should check your camera manual.

Say, for example, your flashes have a guide number of 220. Then, if the light is 10 feet from the subject, you'd use f/22. As I recall, the GN are typically for ISO 100 film. And it's really just a guide. Expect to experiment a bit. The GN should be given in the information that came with your strobe.

Having a flash meter can be quite useful. I bought a $100 Shepard, if my memory is working today. Been OK for me, although most here would recommend a more expensive model. Search the archives here for flash meter recommendations - it comes up fairly frequently.
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