A&P Could use some advice

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by shwindogg, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. shwindogg

    shwindogg RESPECT!

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    Hey guys,

    I've recently started taking interest in photography...not that I wanna become a pro or anything. I bought an Olympus C5060 and I'm still breaking into it with the various aperture, shutter, and exposure settings.

    Anyways, I really want to improve on taking portrait shots i.e. photographing people. One of my friends is coming over this weekend so I can practice shooting her. She wants to make a modelling portfolio so I thought maybe I'd experiment shooting her. I've read a few posts about softbox and such. As far as lighting goes, I'm quite clueless and I understand lighting makes a huge difference.

    My studio is 12ft x 12ft. The background is white on all sides and there are 2 lights on the cieling...

    [​IMG]

    I've noticed the emphasis on using a softbox as opposed to using the flash for a softer touch and to avoid harsh lights (2d vs 3d)

    Is there anything I can do to substitute softboxes? I can control the flash settings on the camera so would it be alright to maybe use the available lighting in conjunction with a reduced flash setting?

    Thanks!
     
  2. shwindogg

    shwindogg RESPECT!

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    The lights above can be adjusted to face any direction...
     
  3. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    you can difuse your flash, if it's external, look for a omni bounce. but if you're serious about using this alot, you'll want to look into how studios are lit. Theres a lot of options out there, just have to find one that fits your size room and budget
     
  4. shwindogg

    shwindogg RESPECT!

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    how bout using the umbrella lighting for the soft touch that i'm looking for? i reckon 2 should be good?
     
  5. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Soft bounce light is almost always best for portraits. Bouncing your flash into an umbrella will give nice results however the "spill" from the umbrella cannot be easily controlled. This is why a soft box is a better choice.

    The lights you have mounted on your ceiling will be the wrong color tempreture for color photography in that they will reproduce very "warm" or orange in color. However, that can be a nice effect if you use one or both of them as hair or backlights.

    You can also use diffused window light as your key light. I've used this technique before and you can get great results. A north facing window generally works best.

    To really understand lighting you should purchase a book on photography and start reading. You don't need to buy a whole lot of expensive lights to get started, but you do need to understand the how and why of lighting.
     
  6. shwindogg

    shwindogg RESPECT!

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    Thanks Jcolman! I don't have a window close by so I guess the window light option is out. As far as the soft box, how many do you think I would require? Using the mounted lights as backlights was exactly what I had in mind. But won't it cast a down ward shadow of the face? Should I use my camera flash or should I depend on the soft box and the mounted lights?

    Thanks!
     
  7. shwindogg

    shwindogg RESPECT!

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    How do you bounce off light from the celing?

    I got this from a website:

    -direct flash:
    [​IMG]

    -direct flash plus bounce from ceiling:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. frinky23

    frinky23 Bangle Sackrider

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    You aim the flash at the ceiling...
     
  9. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Basically you only need one soft box to act as the main, or key, light. Depending on where you place the key light you may need a "fill" light or a "bounce" card. If you place your key light to the side of your subject, then you need to "fill" the shadow side. I often use a big white piece of foamcore for this purpose. It "bounces" the key light back into the subject's shadow side.

    If you use your key light directly over the camera, then you don't need a fill light. Place the light about two-three feet above the camera. You can easily achieve a softbox-like "look" by placing a white card directly above the camera and shoot your flash directly into the white card. Position the card at a 45* angle so that it bounces the light from the flash onto the subject.

    If your flash is removable from your camera via a long enough cord, you can experiment with placing your bounce card to the subject's side and bouncing your flash into the card. If you do this, use another white bounce card as I described above to act as a fill light.

    Your lights that are mounted on the ceiling should not be directed at the subjects face. Place your subject in front of these lights so that the lights shine on the back of the subjects head and shoulders. You can also use one of the lights to make a "spot" of light on your set wall behind the subject.

    Remember that when you bounce your flash, you lose a lot of light power which means that you'll have to open your apeature at least two stops to compensate. If you're shooting digital, you can experiment until you achieve the proper exposure value.

    Following is an example of direct flash (on the right side of the bird) with another direct flash on the left side. In this instance, I used two strobe lights with one acting as a fill light. The fill light was reduced in intensity by adding a white cloth over the flash head.
    [​IMG]

    This next pic is an example of using a lot of direct back light and two huge white bounce cards for key lights. The cards were placed on each side of the camera and my lights were bounced into them. Warning....don't try this at home....I used about 6 kilowatts of lights to make this shot as I needed a lot of depth of field because I was using a very slow film.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2004

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