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help with lighting
Old 01-06-2006, 11:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello All,
I am trying to get some great shots of my wife for submission to Maxim hometown hotties. I currently have a 160ws studio strobe, 1000w halogen lights, a clamshell AC lamp, and a 36" circular 5 in 1 reflector. Any assistance you can offer with lighting setups using the items listed would be greatly appreciated. I am new to studio lighting and requesting helpful critism and suggestions from the community / members.
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Re: help with lighting
Old 01-07-2006, 12:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you want to do full length, 3/4, waist up, or headshots? Do you have any umbrellas or softboxes? How much space do you have where you're going to shoot?

-Chip
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Re: help with lighting
Old 01-07-2006, 12:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Im going to offer some Advice I got from a wise man on GG!
Start out with one light preferably one of your 160ws strobes an umbrella or softbox and a reflector. then add lights for polish!!
Try the same shot with each until you find what you like.

Set your main light at 45degrees and the reflector on the opposite side and move it around until you find the light!

Don.
 
 
Re: help with lighting
Old 01-07-2006, 07:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a 40" silver umbrella, and I am shooting in a space that is about 13X10. I am looking for mainly 3/4, full length and waist up.
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Re: help with lighting
Old 01-07-2006, 08:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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look at that banner, it screams *ROWR!*

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]




[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Re: help with lighting
Old 01-07-2006, 12:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok, first you should decide whether you're going to use the halogen lights or the strobe. Trying to mix the two at this point will give you too many variables to deal with. I'd skip the AC clamshell lamp for now. If you want to use the strobe, set your white balance to daylight. If you decide to use the halogens, set your white balance for tungsten/indoors/whatever gives you a 3200 degree Kelvin setting.

You want to create diffuse, as opposed to specular, lighting. This means pointing your lights into your umbrella and/or reflector to create bigger light sources. If you use the halogens, be VERY careful not to put them too close to the fabric of the umbrellas and/or reflector unless you like the smell of burnt fabric.

Full length shots are going to be a little tough to light evenly with a 40" umbrella and a 36" reflector. A 13' x 10' space is going to be a little tight as well. You'd be better off sticking to 3/4 and waist up images. If you'll send me an email address, I'll send you some instructions on how to build some collapsible 3-1/2' x 6 1/2' PVC frames to which you can attach foam-core or fabric. You can use these as full-size reflectors and construct them for about $20 each. Add another ~$20 for the foam-core/fabric and you're in business for about $40 each. Two of them can be quite handy and add quite a bit of versatility to your lighting kit.

As for a lighting setup, Don (FantasiesImages) gave you a real good setup for a single light. Again, send me an email address and I'll send you a diagram that's easier to understand than what I'm about to write.

Put the umbrella on your light and aim it more or less at your model. Raise the umbrella so that it's above your model and pointing down. Don't position it too high or you'll lose the catch-lights in your model's eyes. If you can visualize an angle drawn from the umbrella rod to your model's face and then to your camera lens, position the light to the side of your model and slightly in front of her to form an angle of ~45 degrees. By all means change the angle to get an effect you like, but try to stay way from placing the light right next to your camera. The closer you place the umbrella to your subject, the softer the quality of light. For a head shot, you can get as close as 3 or so feet. For a 1/2 or 3/4 length you're going to have to back it up, making the light appear more specular (harder edges).

I like to aim the umbrella so that the umbrella rod doesn't point directly at my model. Rather, I point it so that the light would pass just in front of her, kind of like a glancing blow.

Now that the umbrella's in place, put your reflector on the opposite side of your model and as close as you can get to her without having the reflector show up in the shot. 12"-18" is good for a head shot. Again, you'll have to back it up for a 1/2 or 3/4 length shot. Place the reflector slightly forward of your subject and angle it so that it redirects the light from the umbrella onto your subject. The reason for aiming the umbrella like I said in the previous paragraph is so that you can bounce the light passing just in front of your model onto the shadow side of her face with the reflector.

Hope this wasn't too confusing. Sometimes a picture is worth more than 1000 words.

-Chip
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Re: help with lighting
Old 01-09-2006, 11:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Maxim shots are usally a 1-2 light set up. One light slightly to camera right or left diffused by shooting thru a white umbrella or softbox. and the second light skimming from side or behind model with a colored gel. I posted ex:
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Re: help with lighting
Old 01-09-2006, 07:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with Don and Darby, put all of those lights in a corner out of the way and pick out one (or maybe two) to work with. It is much easier to control one or two lights and much easier to make the lights do what you want when you only have to control one or two. I like a large softbox, but you can use your studio strobe--diffused--and a gold reflector to warm the image a bit. Your wife looks a little over-lit and washed out in this photo. Cut back on the lights, bounce a little reflected light at her, and, if you must add more light, build a snoot and backlight her beautiful, auburn hair.
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Re: help with lighting
Old 01-09-2006, 10:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm no expert on the subject, but I've had my share of experience with single light setups.

I would stick to the strobe, and don't worry about the halogen for now. You don't want to mix light sources, but continuous lighting usually doesn't show up very much when you're using strobes anyway because the shutter speed is usually too high.

Do you have an umbrella or a softbox for your strobe? If so, you'll most likely want to use it to diffuse the shadows. Start by setting the strobe off to an angle, and pointing slightly downwards. Turn down/off the ambient lighting so you're using your modeling lights on the strobe and then on the opposite side put your reflector(s) and watch the lighting on your wife to see where it gets the brightest.




Reflectors don't have to cost a lot. I use foam core board (yellow on one side, white on the other) and those big foil car window reflectors. Recently I started playing with using an actual umbrella as a reflector and that seems to work well.

I'd say that at 125 W/S you'd probably want to leave it at full power. You MIGHT need to turn it down just a hair. Obviously you'd need to play with it. Light meters come in really handy here. Depending on your camera, I'd set shutter speed to whatever your sync speed is (depending on camera it's likely 80, 125, 250 or 500). 125 is usually always safe unless you have a Rebel which I believe is 80. If you're shooting film, take at least 3 consecutive shots, start with an aperture of 8, then 11, then 16. If you're shooting digital, watch the histogram in your review mode and make sure you don't have anything touching the right hand side.

I like the background in your pic, it really adds to the pic, and your wife looks natural in front of the camera. Play around with your lighting and post your results back here. I'll be watching for your entry on the site! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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Re: help with lighting
Old 01-09-2006, 10:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This image was shot with one light at about 45degree angle and about a foot over the models head..the reflector was the white walls of the bathroom!
One light, nice effect.

Don.

 
 
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