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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 18 Nov 2016 (Friday) 08:04
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scobols
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Nov 18, 2016 08:04 |  #1

I'm shooting hockey T&I photos and I want to start gelling my strobes to get closer to the ambient lighting. I need a little help calculating what gels to use. It seems like one should be able to estimate that by using photos of the actual lighting so, if that is possible, here are the photos.

This photo was taken with just ambient light, in Lightroom the WB is set to As Shot (6350k):

IMAGE: http://www.scottbolster.com/potn/rink-6350.jpg

Here is the same photo with WB set to flash (5500k) in Lightroom:

IMAGE: http://www.scottbolster.com/potn/rink-5500.jpg

And the same photo again with WB set with the eyedropper from the ice (3450k):

IMAGE: http://www.scottbolster.com/potn/rink-3450.jpg

Using these photos, is it possible to estimate the correct gels to at least get close to the ambient light?

Thanks for any help.

Scott

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scobols
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Nov 18, 2016 08:17 |  #2

If I use 3/4 CTO, that should convert a 5500k strobe to 3200k. Is it as simple as that?


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wallstreetoneil
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Nov 18, 2016 08:35 as a reply to scobols's post |  #3

yes it is - you just want to get it close - no need to be perfect


Hockey and wedding photographer. Favourite camera / lens combos: a 1DX II with a Tamron 45 1.8 VC, an A7Rii with a Canon 24-70F2.8L II, and a 5DSR with a Tamron 85 1.8 VC. Every lens I own I strongly recommend [Canon (35Lii, 100L Macro, 24-70F2.8ii, 70-200F2.8ii, 100-400Lii), Tamron (45 1.8, 85 1.8), Sigma 24-105]. If there are better lenses out there let me know because I haven't found them.

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Qlayer2
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Nov 18, 2016 08:41 as a reply to scobols's post |  #4

That is correct-

1/8 CTO Converts 5500°K to 4900°K
1/4 CTO Converts 5500°K to 4500°K
1/2 CTO Converts 5500°K to 3800°K
3/4 CTO Converts 5500°K to 3200°K
Full CTO Converts 5500°K to 2900°K


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scobols
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Nov 18, 2016 09:07 |  #5

Okay, thanks guys. I guess I was overthinking it.

Scott


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scobols
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Nov 30, 2016 09:28 |  #6

Just thought I'd give an update...

I used a 3/4 CTO gel on the Einstein and here is the result:

IMAGE: http://www.scottbolster.com/potn/sqbteam.jpg

Lighting turned out pretty good. I probably could use a full CTO and it would look great.

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wallstreetoneil
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by wallstreetoneil. 3 edits done in total.
Nov 30, 2016 09:38 |  #7

scobols wrote in post #18199065 (external link)
Just thought I'd give an update...

I used a 3/4 CTO gel on the Einstein and here is the result:

QUOTED IMAGE

Lighting turned out pretty good. I probably could use a full CTO and it would look great.

Scott


If I can offer a few comments:

- think about having the team at center so that you can blur the background / lessen its effect on reflection
- you can also lower the camera to shoot slightly 'up' to further hide what is behind them (doors, etc)
- consider using more exposure (2-3 stops more) to brighten the entire space and better blend the flash exposure (i.e. it would be more of a fill flash effect)

a team picture I did for a friend's team a few years back

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5505/30529705913_9822268444_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/NvNH​VT] (external link)nyk2005 @ St Mikes (external link) by Paul O'Neil (external link), on Flickr

Hockey and wedding photographer. Favourite camera / lens combos: a 1DX II with a Tamron 45 1.8 VC, an A7Rii with a Canon 24-70F2.8L II, and a 5DSR with a Tamron 85 1.8 VC. Every lens I own I strongly recommend [Canon (35Lii, 100L Macro, 24-70F2.8ii, 70-200F2.8ii, 100-400Lii), Tamron (45 1.8, 85 1.8), Sigma 24-105]. If there are better lenses out there let me know because I haven't found them.

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bobbyz
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Nov 30, 2016 09:45 |  #8

I think it would have turned out same without any gel. Also lighting is too directional for me. Agree with needing little more fill.


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scobols
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Nov 30, 2016 13:24 |  #9

Thanks for the tips.

We typically can't use center ice because two teams share ice time and the one not being photographed is using half the rink behind me. I would love to shoot center ice if I could.

I choose to shoot from a little higher angle because there is an obnoxious advertisement just above their heads, behind a net. It's not fun to edit out of the photos. It would be nice to hide the doors.

I think you have a great suggestion for bringing up the ambient exposure. I'll give it a shot at my next session and see how it goes.

Thanks again!
Scott


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Alveric
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by Alveric. 3 edits done in total.
Nov 30, 2016 13:42 |  #10

scobols wrote in post #18199305 (external link)
[..]

I think you have a great suggestion for bringing up the ambient exposure. I'll give it a shot at my next session and see how it goes.

Thanks again!
Scott

Personally I think you want to leave the ambient exposure at the level it is, for several reasons:

  • Darker ambient brings out the subjects more: the photo isn't about the rink, but the team.
  • The ambient's light colour is a terrible green, and the more you bring it up the more it will contaminate your subject's hues and you'll end up in colour-cast correction hell.
  • With the ice providing natural and neutral fill light, you don't need the ambient as fill. Again, if you bring the ambient up, you'll contaminate your fill source as well.

Picture's lighting is mostly fine as it is, with only the back row being a bit underexposed. Don't be taken by the HDRI mindset that every detail must show. Embrace shadows and it'll go well with you and your photos.

'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
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scobols
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Nov 30, 2016 13:55 as a reply to Alveric's post |  #11

Thanks for the feedback - that's great to hear! I've always liked the lighting but the last few comments had me second guessing. I feel much better now :)


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wallstreetoneil
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Nov 30, 2016 15:44 |  #12

Alveric wrote in post #18199326 (external link)
Personally I think you want to leave the ambient exposure at the level it is, for several reasons:
  • Darker ambient brings out the subjects more: the photo isn't about the rink, but the team.
  • The ambient's light colour is a terrible green, and the more you bring it up the more it will contaminate your subject's hues and you'll end up in colour-cast correction hell.
  • With the ice providing natural and neutral fill light, you don't need the ambient as fill. Again, if you bring the ambient up, you'll contaminate your fill source as well.

Picture's lighting is mostly fine as it is, with only the back row being a bit underexposed. Don't be taken by the HDRI mindset that every detail must show. Embrace shadows and it'll go well with you and your photos.


As a person that shoots in arenas quit a bit, I want to first agree with some things but also disagree (and I accept there are different opinions so it isn't personal). Lets start with what I agree with - i.e embrace shadow. As a photographer, I couldn't agree more - shadows are most often what creates a great portrait. That said, this is a sports team portrait and while I actually love black and white artistic type hockey pictures and have delivered many of them to parents who love them, more light / brighter is what hockey parents want. There is something about an arena that the mind sees different when you are in one that doesn't photograph well from the perception of those that live in hockey arenas watching their kids play - ie. parents, kids and coaches have in their mind a brighter / whiter arena - which when you see what a DSLR in automatic mode does to the picture you think - 'god - it isn't this yellow, dark, ugly is it?' - and that is why, from experience, upping the exposure (significantly) makes the overall picture look more like what people in arenas know it to be. If you look at the ice and the walls behind the flashed team, it appears brown - that isn't how people know hockey arenas to be. I will say that if you crop the image much tighter it will be better. But also, given the flash distance from the players and coaches, it creates a hard light (again I'm not debating in portraits if this is a good or bad thing) but bringing up the ambient (with a gelled flash in this case doing a decent job of matching the ambient colour) would make for a better overall picture - in my opinion.

To the poster, if you crop the image tighter, I think it would be better.


Hockey and wedding photographer. Favourite camera / lens combos: a 1DX II with a Tamron 45 1.8 VC, an A7Rii with a Canon 24-70F2.8L II, and a 5DSR with a Tamron 85 1.8 VC. Every lens I own I strongly recommend [Canon (35Lii, 100L Macro, 24-70F2.8ii, 70-200F2.8ii, 100-400Lii), Tamron (45 1.8, 85 1.8), Sigma 24-105]. If there are better lenses out there let me know because I haven't found them.

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Alveric
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by Alveric. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 30, 2016 16:01 as a reply to wallstreetoneil's post |  #13

It's good that you rely the client's perspective. Sometimes we make exposure decisions based on a completely different mindset, which might explain why we are then perplexed that clients didn't like the outcomes of our hard work.

As well, this isn't personal either, but I do want to make some comments anent the photo you posted above: from a viewer's perspective, my eye is confused with the abundance of detail, in particular, it finds the lettering on the background competing for attention with and detracting from the heads of the people in the back row. I'd think a shallower depth of field would provide separation. Then again, I know how challenging it is to take group photos in non-studio situations, so that might not be helped. Your image also has a more attractive environment/background​: even if it's distracting, the manifold distractions are not ugly like the cables and the big grey door in the rink where the OP had to work. Not to harp, but that's one reason I prefer to render the background as inconspicuous as possible; if I can't accomplish that by blurring by means of selective depth of field, I try to do so by underexposing it.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

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wallstreetoneil
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Nov 30, 2016 16:18 |  #14

Alveric wrote in post #18199445 (external link)
It's good that you rely the client's perspective. Sometimes we make exposure decisions based on a completely different mindset, which might explain why we are then perplexed that clients didn't like the outcomes of our hard work.

As well, this isn't personal either, but I do want to make some comments anent the photo you posted above: from a viewer's perspective, my eye is confused with the abundance of detail, in particular, it finds the lettering on the background competing for attention with and detracting from the heads of the people in the back row. I'd think a shallower depth of field would provide separation. Then again, I know how challenging it is to take group photos in non-studio situations, so that might not be helped. Your image also has a more attractive environment/background​: even if it's distracting, the manifold distractions are not ugly like the cables and the big grey door in the rink where the OP had to work. Not to harp, but that's one reason I prefer to render the background as inconspicuous as possible; if I can't accomplish that by blurring by means of selective depth of field, I try to do so by underexposing it.

good comment and I agree

the thing you don't know is that this is a very famous arena in Toronto, St Mikes arena, with a huge history that means a lot to the fathers of the kids on the team that grew up knowing the arena, watching semi pro teams play there, likely played there themselves, there are banners hanging from the ceiling with some of the greats of the game that played for the Leafs, etc, etc, etc - getting the name / the letter is the background is what I was after

otherwise I agree completely with what you wrote


Hockey and wedding photographer. Favourite camera / lens combos: a 1DX II with a Tamron 45 1.8 VC, an A7Rii with a Canon 24-70F2.8L II, and a 5DSR with a Tamron 85 1.8 VC. Every lens I own I strongly recommend [Canon (35Lii, 100L Macro, 24-70F2.8ii, 70-200F2.8ii, 100-400Lii), Tamron (45 1.8, 85 1.8), Sigma 24-105]. If there are better lenses out there let me know because I haven't found them.

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scobols
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Nov 30, 2016 16:27 |  #15

Very few parents order just the team photo. It's typically just the individual, the memory mate, or the attitude panorama. The team is cropped tighter on the memory mate:

IMAGE: http://www.scottbolster.com/potn/mm.jpg

This is the attitude panorama (different team):

IMAGE: http://www.scottbolster.com/potn/att.jpg

Scott

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