Author Topic: Studio Lighting  (Read 8685 times)

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Studio Lighting
« on: August 19, 2010, 12:26:45 AM »
Studio Lighting

     For good studio photography, the camera should be mounted on a firm surface or tripod. This will help minimize camera shake, resulting in sharper pictures. When you are testing your lighting setup, it also provides a consistent location for the camera and angle of view for the picture. Sighting through the camera viewfinder or LCD screen will help you in placing the lights.

     If you must use flash, try to take it off the camera. Bouncing it against a light-colored wall or ceiling helps, too. If you have a sheet that you can drape over something or hang up, it makes a good reflector.

     Posterboard or poster paper are inexpensive reflectors that you can place just outside of the camera view. White is generally used, although light colors can change the mood of a scene. Pinks, yellows, and light oranges will look warmer. Light blues, violets, and greens will look cooler.

     "Hot lights", lights that are on all of the time, are easier to direct. You can see where the light spills out on the scene. Clamp lights are avalable at most general stores, and can be placed anywhere. The only thing you should be careful of is the heat that they generate.

     Try to get one for each side and place them higher than the model's head, if possible. A "hair light" mounted high or bounced off of the ceiling provides more natural light. Keep extra light bulbs in stock in case one fails during a shoot. Try different wattage bulbs for more control over the amount of light cast on your model.

     Most of us do not have the room, but pros also use a 'back light'. It is another light behind the model and pointed at the background, away from the model. It is used to separate the model from the background. Sometimes this light is reversed, pointed at the model's back, for a rim lighting effect.

     Lastly, a weak light placed low in front of the model is used to fill in the shadows cast by the other lights. This takes out some of the harshness of shadow under the eyebrows and chin. You do not want to erase the shadows, or the picture will look flat.

     A photographic umbrella has a silver, white, or gold reflective surface and should be mounted on a light stand. There is special hardware used to attach the umbrella to the stand. If one is used, it can be placed anywhere behind the camera. If two are used, they are arranged on both sides behind the camera.

     There are filters that go over the lights, and can alter the color of light from any one source, or any number of sources. Use these filters with caution! One filter over the camera lens can alter all of the light.

     Regardless of how many of these extra lights and reflectors you have, make good use of the room lights as well. A ceiling light makes a good hair light. Table and wall lamps add coziness to a room. Decorative lights and string lights may also be used throughout the scene.

     If you are in an area where you can shoot near a window, natural light can help fill out a scene. Early morning and early evening is more dramatic, but harder to control. Light changes fast at these times of day, and the mood may shift before you get set up. Midday light is softer, especially when filtered through a sheer or semi-transparent curtain.

     You do not need all of this equipment. If you do have all of this, you do not need to use every bit of it for every shot. Use what you have and experiment. The only real expense for digital cameras is the batteries, and the electricity for the lights.

     Online magazines, such as Popular Photography, have articles for lighting and pictures that you can study. Look through your favorite magazines and study those pictures. Try to identify where the shadows are, and you will have an idea where the light comes from.

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Re: Studio Lighting
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2010, 04:12:16 PM »
Hi all,

What about this set:

2 strobes to be known:
1 300 W softbox
1 300 W umbrella
1/16th step adjustable
Mettle T300A
Looks to be compatible with Nikon and Canon DSLR (there is a set for Sony DSLR too).

2 X 300 W, just enough for photographing one, maybe 2 dolls as a whole...? Seems to me just enough for doll photography, I think the 150 W sets are on the light side (from what I did read this is just too little power for photographing one or two dolls as a whole).
There is a big discount on this set now, its a bargain looks to me -> 199 Euro instead of 398...
I think with such set I will get some more benefit out my DSLR?

What I found is on the internet and might be interesting for people who want to buy such set, is that the 160 W sets of Mettle have no cooling fans in the strobe's. The temperature in the strobes will raise quick too high, and thus the lamps will burn. I personally would never buy a strobe set without fans because you have to turn it off after 20 minutes work, the 300 W set I mentioned seems to have the fans, does not cost much more and can be used continually so better look for fan cooled strobes.

I did read some more the Mettle set is probably not the right thing.
A better idea for dolls for starters is a more universal budget set, of 300 W from QiHe or Linkstar (which are the same, those are made in China but they are very good (poor mans Bowens a lot cheaper but can do the same!)
These strobes have build in fans, are from metal with quality flash and stepless adjustable from 1/32 to 1/1 (this is what you want!) and adapt Bowens accesoiry, although its said that is not needed cause Linkstar has a lot accesoiry, but its always easy huh?
I did read a lot good about Linkstar, the tripods seem to be better, more stable than a lot other sets e.g. falcon eyes too (I have no experience with it myself but its what I readed noted down by people who used this stuff a lot.)
Of coarse you don't use this for dolls only you can use this set too for the sexy gurl on the beach 8).
I need to spend some more money than for that mettle set, (399 euro for 300w instead of 199 euro) but I think I could better save it up and buy in one time the right thing.

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Re: Studio Lighting
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:45 PM »
christ, how am i going to fit all this shit in my small flat?


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Re: Studio Lighting
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 09:23:34 PM » is an amazing resource for DIY projects.

I even found an instruction set for making your own soft box for photography.

I'm going to give it a go one of these days.

PS: the site requires you to sign up to view the pics in a larger format than thumbnail, but membership is free.
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Re: Studio Lighting
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2012, 01:11:04 PM »
realise I'm adding my 5 cents worth a bit late, but anyway:

> there are 'universal' (square) sofboxes around; they have a large diameter ring in which you insert the poles that form the softbox. Adjustable clamps and a handable screw will enable you to fit the combination on almost every kinda flash(head). Studio-flash-gear-sellers probably have them ... and are probably as cheap as making them yourself ... or at least save you the hassle  :)

> recently got myself an umbrella-softbox, which is an umbrella with a diffusor attached ... you can get them in 2 different versions:

got that first version myself, and it's very easy and quick to set up or collapse ... soft lighting ... and very compact to take with you! They're rather cheap on eBay! They come in a couple of sizes.


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Re: Studio Lighting
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2012, 07:55:38 AM »
I will most certainly refer back to this post later. There is just so much good information, similar to the book for photography class at Spencerian. I'll eventually have a good camera and lights, and I want to minimize newbie errors.


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Re: Studio Lighting
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 12:48:51 PM »
I will most certainly refer back to this post later. There is just so much good information, similar to the book for photography class at Spencerian. I'll eventually have a good camera and lights, and I want to minimize newbie errors.

Learn to work with one light, learn how to "see" it and move up from there.
There are so many kinds of diffusors and shapes that it gets real confusing real fast. Grids, parabolic umbrella's, normal umbrella that are diffusing or reflecting, hecta softboxes or just just rectangular ones, etc...