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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 03 Dec 2013 (Tuesday) 17:04
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Lighting a 3' x 3' area, evenly.

 
Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Dec 03, 2013 17:04 |  #1

I have a bunch of fabric samples that need to be shot with as much detail as possible. My set up is the 6D with 85mm, 580EXII and a Nikon SB-28, which is very similar to the 580. No transmitters.

I basically set up a two light source, copy shot type lighting, except the light sources are above and below rather than left and right of the camera. I feel like I have a pretty good set up, and the first round of shots (6 pieces) came out really good.

They sent me home with 30 more!

So, two questions.

1) I need to continue with what I have, give the results to the client, and get thirty more, FAST. The first batch were all the same pattern and material. Now I have a large variety of patterns and materials.

Without buying any "real" camera gear, thoughts on improvements or things to consider?

2) Looks like my procrastination and indecision on buying some gear is over. I wanted to go with 2 different shaped modifiers and probably some YN622 and a couple more flashes, with a two flash set up in the modifiers.

So, what modifiers and brackets should I buy?

"Copy" work like this requires as similar light sources as possible, right? If so I need two (or four) of the same modifiers, I think?

Extraneous set-up info that you probably don't need to read:

• All shots will be square and in the center of the fabric and frame.
• Fabric is stretched over a board that is 11 feet (3 meters) from the camera.
• 580 on 6D firing straight up into a very low ceiling, with the Nikon on a tripod and optical slave below the camera firing into white paper.
• The white paper runs on the floor up to the fabric to kind of mimic the ceiling.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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CAPhotog
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Dec 03, 2013 20:27 |  #2

Two 580EXs and two 24x36 softboxes, left and right, can do this. Your lens is not the best for it, however, try a shorter focal length to get you closer with more texture and detail.




  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Dec 03, 2013 21:01 |  #3

CAPhotog wrote in post #16499605 (external link)
Two 580EXs and two 24x36 softboxes, left and right, can do this. Your lens is not the best for it, however, try a shorter focal length to get you closer with more texture and detail.

I know I said the samples were square, but if I wanted to light the whole frame evenly, do you think that the dimensions of the softbox would matter much? Kind of thinking that the long edge of the softbox should match the long edge of the sample. Sticking with the format of the camera is common sense, eh?

The 85 1.8 on my 6D gives incredible detail. I know others have complained about this lens, but I have not had the first problem with it. Besides, anything wider would start to introduce distortion on the very regular patterns of most of this fabric.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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dmward
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Dec 03, 2013 21:56 |  #4

Situations like this you may want one light just a bit more powerful to add some dimensional shadowing.

The 85 should be fine stopped down a bit if you can get far enough away.

I like using macro lenses for this sort of work since they are designed to have a flat field of focus.

The plan you have with the ceiling and white paper bounce sounds like it could provide just about the right kind of light.


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Dec 04, 2013 09:22 |  #5

CAPhotog wrote in post #16499605 (external link)
however, try a shorter focal length to get you closer with more texture and detail.

I don't understand this advice. A shorter focal length would force you to move the camera closer to the subject to achieve the same framing, but that wouldn't directly result in more texture and detail.

Maybe you meant a longer focal length, like the 135 prime or a 200mm?


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Dec 04, 2013 12:30 |  #6

dmward wrote in post #16499822 (external link)
Situations like this you may want one light just a bit more powerful to add some dimensional shadowing.

The 85 should be fine stopped down a bit if you can get far enough away.

I like using macro lenses for this sort of work since they are designed to have a flat field of focus.

The plan you have with the ceiling and white paper bounce sounds like it could provide just about the right kind of light.

I wish I could be more creative and add some depth/dimension, but they are going to take them into a 3D modeling type deal and place them on furniture. Which is why they must be as evenly lighted as possible.

Thanks for the confirmation of my set-up.

I took some time last night to test each flash individually on the white board where I am mounting the fabric. I adjusted ISO until the highlight clipping of the camera showed up. Interestingly the flash on top has more influence on the bottom of the board, and the flash on bottom has more influence on the top of the board. I also added a reflector near the upper left corner that for some reason was darker than the rest.

I now have very even coverage over 90 percent of the board. In fact, since the board fills the frame top to bottom, and almost left to right (landscape) I'm wondering if the little bit of fall off is caused by lens vignetting. Will do more testing when I get a chance.

I'll also try to post some set-up shots for my fellow lighting gear challenged POTN'ers.

:D


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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CAPhotog
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Dec 04, 2013 15:09 |  #7

nathancarter wrote in post #16500731 (external link)
I don't understand this advice. A shorter focal length would force you to move the camera closer to the subject to achieve the same framing, but that wouldn't directly result in more texture and detail.

Maybe you meant a longer focal length, like the 135 prime or a 200mm?

For this size copy work of flat art or textiles, the 50mm f2.5 Macro is the lens I would use. It is arguably the sharpest Canon 50mm lens and virtually distortion free, making it ideal for copy work using a DSLR. OP primarily stated he wanted minimal lighting investment, thus the suggestion for two speedlites in 24x36 softboxes. They need to be set up a distance of about 4 feet with uniform overlap and no discernible fall off. He noted he is setting up 11 feet away with the 85mm prime. At that distance, continuing with that lens might be possible, but inconvenient in this lighting configuration, not to mention a lot of foot steps when prepping 30 samples. The texture and detail relate to the lighting distance-to-subject with two speedlights in softboxes for copy work. With the camera at 11 feet, the OP will struggle keeping the softboxes close enough and out of frame with uniform coverage, so texture and detail will be lost with any fall off. In this situation, texture and detail are the result of lighting not the sharpness of the lens. I should have written more "uniform" texture and detail above.




  
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CAPhotog
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Dec 04, 2013 16:20 |  #8

hes gone wrote in post #16499686 (external link)
=he's gone;16499686]I know I said the samples were square, but if I wanted to light the whole frame evenly, do you think that the dimensions of the softbox would matter much? Kind of thinking that the long edge of the softbox should match the long edge of the sample. Sticking with the format of the camera is common sense, eh?

The 85 1.8 on my 6D gives incredible detail. I know others have complained about this lens, but I have not had the first problem with it. Besides, anything wider would start to introduce distortion on the very regular patterns of most of this fabric.

Traditionally, you set up left and right on the copy board or wall. It is most practical for access and changing subjects. With two lights you illuminate the area at 45 degrees as evenly as possible. With 24x36 softboxes vertically, you'll get a roundish area. I suppose you can experiment with strip boxes for an oval shape but don't see it as a good use of time. If done right, the subject orientation doesn't matter so long as there is no fall off in the final crop.

As for the lens, not knocking the 85 1.8 at all. Each is designed for a purpose. If that's the best you have for the job then use it. The 50mm 2.5 Macro however is ideal with no distortion. (Not expensive either.) You can also consider using lens profile correction (Lightroom for example) for lenses that have minor distortion. For fabric samples, that's probably fine. The main thing is uniform lighting and keeping the focal plane parallel with the subject.

Thinking a bit more, the essential aspects of copy work set up are: uniform lighting, flat field focus, minimal distortion, distance-to-subject.




  
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Lighting a 3' x 3' area, evenly.
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