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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 16 Feb 2015 (Monday) 05:42
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Need some lighting advice please

 
jebrady03
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Feb 16, 2015 05:42 |  #1

I'm a Canon shooter and am primarily interested in shots of my daughter (2.5 years old) and my soon to be born son. Historically, I've used natural light both outdoors and indoors. I own a 430 EX II flash, but only use it occasionally and when I do, it's always bounced off of at least one wall and sometimes the wall and ceiling.

My wife recently asked if I was able to produce some of the studio type shots that are commonplace in today's infant portraiture (kid laying on a blanket that's stretched into the background, kid laying in a box, etc.). I said that I definitely could, but lighting inside of our house might be an issue as, even though we have several large windows, we have several even larger trees shading out house! The garage might be an option but only for a few hours a day and if it's cloudy, that might not work either. So, I'm looking into additional off-camera lighting.

What I'm wondering is, would a setup like this (http://www.ls-photostudio.com …-bulbs-5-photo-bulbs.html (external link)) be what I'm looking for, or should I be looking for something that's more strobe-like? The reason I ask about that specific setup is that there is someone on Craigslist advertising two of these, used but in very good shape, for less than the cost of one of them brand new. So, it seems like a great deal IF that is a good setup for what I'm looking for (nothing is a good deal if it's not the right equipment).

What I like about the idea of continuous lighting: normal sized pupils - I hate when a shot is well lit but the pupils are dilated, it looks very unnatural to me, plus you miss out on the best part of the eye; the colorful iris, easy to plan/meter a shot. One thing I'm curious about (having never used lighting beyond the external flash I own) is; is 1000W in one of these sufficient for shots with a shutter speed of 1/100-1/150, f/8-f/11, and ISO 100-400? I would assume so but I'd like to ask.

Thanks for any advice y'all can offer!




  
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pulsar123
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Feb 16, 2015 18:35 |  #2

Second hand fluorescent bulbs? I wonder what is the life expectancy of these bulbs. Might not be as much of a bargain as you think.

They claim 1000W Incandescent light equivalence per light. You can make your own test: take a fluorescent bulb with known equivalent wattage, measure exposure/aperture combination at highest ISO (400) at the distance ~4-6 ft (2-3x the size of the softbox), and then translate that to 1000W.


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sdipirro
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Feb 18, 2015 14:37 |  #3

With a reasonable amount of ambient light (or model lights on strobes), pupil dilation shouldn't be a big problem. With babies, you want a big, soft light. You can sometimes achieve this with a bounced light, but it's easier to control and direct the light the way you want when it's off-camera. It's more challenging to create a large light source with a flash than with a more powerful studio strobe that can handle large modifiers. You can create a studio environment that's relatively quick to setup and tear down so it's not always in the way, but it also depends on your budget.


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nes_matt
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Feb 21, 2015 11:43 |  #4

It would not be unreasonalbe to start with a just buying a cord to extend your 430ex off the camera and get an umbrella. Then you can get a feel for it. It would be a simple modest investment that you can use in many situations. Work on it with your daughter


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Feb 21, 2015 12:23 |  #5

i would read this entire series: http://strobist.blogsp​ot.com/2006/03/lightin​g-101.html (external link)

then get these: http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …mIAHA&Q=&is=REG​&A=details (external link) (make sure you get the right shutter release cord for your camera)

and something like this: http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …sible_Umbrella_​Flash.html (external link)

you will be able to keep ambient light up enough to keep pupils looking normal and virtually over power the ambient enough to make the flash the main light source.


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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Alveric
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Post edited over 4 years ago by Alveric.
     
Feb 21, 2015 12:39 |  #6
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Have you any north-facing windows in your home? That's a free softbox. You can then use the flash to accent; but, yes: you have to get that flash off the camera.

I'd advise against continous light sources: they'd need to be very powerful to allow you to maintain the high shutter speeds you'd need for people.


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dmward
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Post edited over 4 years ago by dmward. (2 edits in all)
     
Feb 21, 2015 14:25 |  #7

I did this shot with two strobes, and a reflector.
Main light was in a softbox, kicker was direct speedlite on a stand.
The light in the softbox was a Cheetah (Godox) 360 but the power was about 1/16 so well within the capabilities of a speedlite.

The reflector was camera right for fill.

If you want to include the room, then use the shutter speed to control ambient.

This is a proof straight from camera (Fuji XT-1 with 50-140)

Lights triggered via CL-Tx but the linked YN-603s would accomplish the same thing with manual speedlites.

Apparently the proof I linked to is too large, so you'll have to click the link.


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jebrady03
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Feb 21, 2015 14:36 |  #8

Thanks everyone for the feedback and advice!

I decided to pass on that setup. For some reason, I wasn't factoring in fluorescent bulbs into the equation and I'll more often than not be in at least SOME natural light and I hate drastically different color temps.

I went to my local camera shop and spoke with one of the guys there. He kind of gave me a crash course in lighting, most of which I have unfortunately already forgotten. Long story short, his recommendation was dual LED panels. Specifically, he recommended:



Obviously, his job is to sell equipment. And lots of it. Especially if it's expensive! lol

He further refined his recommendation and said for now, focus on the larger of the two and add the smaller of the two later, if necessary, to add fill light to the shadows. By the way, the price is $100 higher in his store than on Amazon. Should I decide to go down this path for lighting, I absolutely will give him the opportunity to price match and I'll happily pay the sales tax to him (no tax from Amazon) if he matches it. But if not, I can't justify a $135 difference (Amazon and no tax vs his store + tax) for the exact same product.

What I like about these:
They're LED lights - so they're not going to get hot, they'll last longer than I'll end up using the equipment, and the color temp is 5500k (+/-)
They're a constant light source - no huge pupils. I also get to see where my shadows will be and adjust before taking any pictures and then chimping.
They're round. Square or rectangular catchlights bug me for some reason. Much like large pupils, square/rectangular catchlights look unnatural to me. Unfortunately the optional softbox is rectangular, which kind of ticks me off while simultaneously making me wonder what the heck the company was thinking. It does come with a little sock type thing to soften the light and keep the catchlights round.

What I'm unsure about:
Is it enough? I mean, he turned one on in the store and I stood back about 8-10 feet and still had to squint when looking directly at it - but I still wonder. When he put the sock on, I no longer had to squint.
The price. That's WAY more than I had initially thought about spending. I'm not opposed to spending the money necessary - just suffering from sticker shock a little.

As for the question about a north facing window... unfortunately the only one we have isn't overly large. It's the east and west facing windows that are large (guessing they're 4'x7' or so, each) - but as I mentioned before, they're actually not well lit as the enormous trees in our yard block all the light.

What are y'alls thoughts on this? I feel like a studio strobe might be a better option - especially one with a modeling light.

Also, sensitive baby eyes... an issue with any of this?

Thanks so much!

Jonathan



  
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Alveric
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Feb 21, 2015 16:08 |  #9
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Those lights aren't expensive.

Myself, I don't care for LEDs. Gimme a good strobe with a modeling light all the time: but, these are indeed expensive.

Also, those LED units are hard lights, is there a way you can attach light formers to them other than a brolly?


'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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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited over 4 years ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
Feb 21, 2015 17:11 |  #10

Alveric wrote in post #17442818 (external link)
Also, those LED units are hard lights, is there a way you can attach light formers to them other than a brolly?

exactly. doesn't sound like it.

from the big light description:

approx. 700 watt equivalent

IMO, that is a LOT more annoying to a small child, or an adult for that matter, than a flash that lasts a fraction of a second. Even if you bought the continuous light you will need a stand and some kind of light modifier. Go ahead and buy something like i mentioned above and put your flash in it. If you want to spend another 2-400 bucks on a LED light later you can.

believe me, i understand the value of a modeling light, but if you're starting with one light anyway you will see the results quickly on the back of the camera. If you absolutely have to, you can rig a shop light to shoot into the umbrella right beside your 480EX.


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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PhilF
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Feb 22, 2015 03:39 |  #11

Use natural light ...shade or cloudy...use a tripod and drag your shutter speed. Babies don't move.


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Need some lighting advice please
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