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Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-18-2004, 04:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi Everyone,
I am hoping that someone will help me understand what I am doing wrong.
What I am trying to do is get a totally black background behind my model.
I have tried several lighting setups and different black backdrops and I still end up seeing the background. The best that I can figure is that I am using too much light and my lights are for sure setup incorrectly.
Please help me understand what I am doing wrong.
I see all the beautiful photos that ya'all do and I would like to try and do close to the same.
Thank you for your help.
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Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-18-2004, 05:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I dunno if I can help... I'm a newbie here and also in the middle of equiping my own smallish studio. However, I did buy the book Beginner's Guide to Photographic Lighting by Don Marr from amazon. On page 94, it says: [ QUOTE ]
Any background can be made black, as long as there is a big enough difference in exposure between your subject in the foreground and the background. Try to get the background five stops or more darker than your foreground subject. At this ratio, even a lightly colored background will go black.

[/ QUOTE ]It goes on to say that if you use black velvet which reflects hardly any light, only a one-stop difference is needed. HTH.
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Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-18-2004, 07:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You are seeing the background due to light hitting it (naturally). Did you try metering the background to see how many stops of light difference it has? If so what was the difference (how many stops). If you show a sample photo it might help out. Where are you shooting? Can you move the more further away from the background? Are you using black paper or velvet? Velvet will absorb more light and reflect less (or so I am told). I don't shoot against a black background often.
 
 
Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-18-2004, 09:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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One thing you can look at is the angle of your main light to the background. Is it falling directly on the background? Does the light cross the background? If it's a straight line from the light to the model to the background, then you need to get the model farther away from the background. The model should be closer to the light then the background.

If the light is striking the background at an angle, you can feather the light by using a piece of foamcore to block the side of the light toward the background.

Hope all that's understandable!

Bob

The main light here is to the image right, and has a piece of foamcore leaning up against it to keep it off the background. The fill light is to the image left, shooting in parallel to the camera. However, the model is far enough from the background and the light is low enough that the fill light falls off before it hits the background.

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Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-18-2004, 04:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I want to Thank brother7, rjwarren and Hackman.
I am going to take all the information that ya'all passed on to me and give it a try.
rjwarren I have got to tell you that, that is a beautiful photo that you posted with your information. I hope that I can do half as good.
Thanks Fellow Photographers
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Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-18-2004, 09:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Otto. The formula for true black is pretty simple. The background should be black and should meter atleast two stops less than your subject. In other words, if the model meters at f/5.6, the background should meter 2.8 or less. If you DON"T have a hand held incident light meter, you can also use an old photographer's trick called the "rule of squares". The distance from the model to the background should be the distance of the light to the model cubed (to the third power). In other words, the distance should be squared for each stop you want to reduce the light (in this case two stops).. Please let me know if you get what I'm saying, or if you need me to reiterate in a different way.

-Craig Hildebrand
www.craighphoto.com
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Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-18-2004, 09:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey Bob... sorry but that background in your photo isn't black either :P

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Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-18-2004, 10:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I got tired about 15 years ago since I shoot in my garage and the light spillover is bad So I had a black velour back ground made up

It is 9 yards wide and a seperate piece -easier to clean - for the floor
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Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-19-2004, 02:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i see a lot of guys struggling with this. usually, they're making it more difficult on themselxes simply because they have the model posed to close to the black background. i'm not discounting everyone's exposure equations, but the futher you can get your model from your backdrop, the greater + or - tolerance you'll have in those equations.
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Re: Lighting Setup (Need Help)
Old 10-19-2004, 04:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Craigh
I do understand perfectly, Thanks
I will put all the posts to practice too see what will work best for me.
Thanks again Everyone
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