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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 27 Dec 2012 (Thursday) 11:04
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Taming sunlight pouring in

 
Alveric
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Dec 27, 2012 11:04 |  #1
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Heya,

I have to do a shoot presently and the snapshots the client sent me shew a big problem with the light pouring in through the windows. I have only one flashgun (EX 430II) and I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to lower the dynamic range so as to take acceptable pictures.

The main subject is the granite counter tops. Big reflections there already and I don't think the polariser is enough to handle all that.

See the problem:
Kitchen (external link)
Counter top (external link)

TIA for any useful input.


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SkyBaby
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Dec 27, 2012 11:14 |  #2

Perhaps you could block the windows some way? Maybe either an opaque white fabric or something a little translucent that allows some light in. That seems like the easiest thing to do.


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Alveric
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Dec 27, 2012 11:15 |  #3
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I was thinking of bathroom curtains, but was wondering if anyone has a better idea than mine.


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CoRNDoG ­ R6
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Dec 27, 2012 11:18 |  #4

How about multiple shots with different exposures, then blended in PP?


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doidinho
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Dec 27, 2012 11:39 |  #5

Shoot with the windows to your back to minimize reflections in the countertop. As long as there is no direct sunlight near the counters the flash sould be powerfull enough to provide fill.

There are lots of little details (some you probably don't have the answers to yet) that will determine the best setup.

Good idea to think about them and come up with solutions as you are doing. Just don't get too set in how you want to light the shot before you see the location.


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René ­ Damkot
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Dec 27, 2012 11:56 |  #6

CoRNDoG R6 wrote in post #15412490 (external link)
How about multiple shots with different exposures, then blended in PP?

^^^ This.
The windows are supposed to be the brightest part in the scene. All you want to do is make sure they (and the reflections) aren't (completely) blown.

Use a tripod, and (mostly) forget about using flash. You might want to practice in advance, since you mention "client"…

https://photography-on-the.net …blend+window#po​st13410320

The only reason to limit the light coming in the windows is if you want for instance the lights above the kitchen to add light to the scene, for "atmosphere".
As it is, the window light will overpower them. (Although I do see some spotlights illumination already)
In that case, lowering the "translucent" blind might be enough, or you can tape some (thick) tracing paper to the outside of the windows.

Still, adding light should only be done if you want to alter the quality of light. You could try bouncing the flash behind you.

In these examples, the windows provide the main light. If you shoot from this position, they should be for the shot to look natural.

The other option is to follow Roberts' advise…


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Whortleberry
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Dec 27, 2012 12:12 |  #7

You can (certainly in the UK because I have and use some for this very purpose) buy tracing paper on the roll pretty inexpensively. Check out either tracing paper or drafting film at your local graphic design / art supplies shop.

When not being used to deflate over-bright windows, it makes a rather nice translucent backlit background for portraits.


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gonzogolf
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Dec 27, 2012 12:22 |  #8

Blending images is fine in theory, but as a practical matter its much easier to block the light coming in the window and get the shot you want in the first place.




  
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Alveric
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Dec 27, 2012 12:31 |  #9
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^^
Yes, I tried HDRI in my own place and the results were terrible. I'm trying to avoid blending exposures as much as I can. This is for a magazine and I get no chance to reshoot. Have to get everything right on the first try. I hadn't thought about tracing paper, maybe I can look into it, providing it's not that expensive: the magazine pays very little for these shoots.


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René ­ Damkot
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Dec 27, 2012 12:34 |  #10

gonzogolf wrote in post #15412704 (external link)
Blending images is fine in theory, but as a practical matter its much easier to block the light coming in the window and get the shot you want in the first place.

Sure, but it will be an entirely different shot: If you blocking (part off) the window light, you'll probably (assuming you're not just into testing the highest ISO settings of your camera) add light indoors (either flash or tungsten lighting that's there), altering the entire image. ;)

All I'm saying, it certainly won't be "either - or". Just adding a flash (certainly if it's a speedlight on camera), won't give you the (control to get the) results you'd want.

Oh. And "HDR" is something entirely different from "blending exposures" in this case.


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Alveric
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Dec 27, 2012 12:44 |  #11
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You're correct in noticing that the windows are providing the main light. I was told by the editor to watch the glare on the counter tops and the colour balance. Another problem there: the daylight is blue and the lighting indoors is tungsten: I had thought of putting a CTO on the flashgun, but there's still the light from the windows: big colour mismatch there.

One thing that I'm quite concerned about is the reflection on the countertops, almost a mirror image of the windows. If I do exposure blending, I guess I can make the windows look acceptable, but, will that be the case with their reflection on the granite?

The flash would be used off-camera. I've a 45-inch brolly that can be used either as a normal umbrella or as a shoot-through one.


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doidinho
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Dec 27, 2012 12:57 |  #12

Alveric wrote in post #15412787 (external link)
You're correct in noticing that the windows are providing the main light. I was told by the editor to watch the glare on the counter tops and the colour balance. Another problem there: the daylight is blue and the lighting indoors is tungsten: I had thought of putting a CTO on the flashgun, but there's still the light from the windows: big colour mismatch there.

One thing that I'm quite concerned about is the reflection on the countertops, almost a mirror image of the windows. If I do exposure blending, I guess I can make the windows look acceptable, but, will that be the case with their reflection on the granite?

The flash would be used off-camera. I've a 45-inch brolly that can be used either as a normal umbrella or as a shoot-through one.

As I mentioned, shoot with the windows to your back and that will minimize the reflection from the windows.

Regarding the color temp difference between the indoor bulbs and the window light; you are goign to have to address that.

You can replace the bulbs with daylight balanced bulbs (could be expensive depending on the number you need, but sounds like the client understands the importance of them; pass the cost off to them).

You can also choose to turn the indoor light off, use a tripod, the window light, and a gelled flash.


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René ­ Damkot
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Dec 27, 2012 13:03 |  #13

You could gel both windows and flash, or switch off the tungsten.

Reflections: I doubt a polarizing filter alone will be sufficient. You could go the full monty and also put polarizing sheets (external link) over the windows :lol:
http://www.naturescape​s.net/042004/wh0404.ht​m (external link)
http://www.cgfeedback.​com …ack/showthread.​php?t=1854 (external link)

Might be going "a bit" overboard though…

Also: IMO, you want a (bit of) glare, to make it look real. When blending exposures, you pretty much have everything in hand, provided you take the right shots on location. It will probably a bit of mix and match (different exposures, with and without fill flash/polarizer/tungst​en/whatever) to get what you want.
Hardest part will be the transitions, but that shouldn't be rocket science if you are decent in Photoshop (side note: Lightroom will certainly not be sufficient).

Flash: Main challenge will be to have it look natural.
Off camera flash into an umbrella (even a 45" one) will still be pretty directional light in these circumstances (which is why I suggested bouncing behind you: use the entire back wall as reflector)…


Edit: Again, Robert offers valid points (and beat me to it on some) ;)


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Alveric
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Dec 27, 2012 13:32 |  #14
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doidinho wrote in post #15412830 (external link)
As I mentioned, shoot with the windows to your back and that will minimize the reflection from the windows.

Not trying to be a contrarian, but I don't think I can do that: there's no place for the camera in that arrangement, as the windows are right next to the countertop/sink.

-------

I was indeed thinking of doing composites anywise, as I have to shoot with an APS-C camera. :(


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MrScott
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Dec 27, 2012 13:36 |  #15

Do you want/need to see out the windows?

If you have access to the exterior; i.e. first floor or deck access, then you could 'add' Fiberglass Sunshade Fabric in one or two layers to the exterior of the windows and cut the light.

Just make sure its Fiberglass and not metal so that it doesn't slash you up and is easy to transport.

A stapler should work on wood window trim, take gaffers tape for brick or siding that you don't want to damage.

If you need to cover a larger area like sliding glass doors, they also sell garage door sized panels for a few $$'s.

At that size though, you may want to shoot with an ND filter on camera to open up the lens and throw the mesh OOF.

This WILL allow you to see out the window, 1 or 2 layers of white ripstop nylon will completely block the view IF it's a distraction.

OR depending on the direction, schedule your shoot around the suns path...




  
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