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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 06 Apr 2017 (Thursday) 13:42
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Convert Garage Lighting

 
Nathan
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Apr 06, 2017 13:42 |  #1

I have 4 ceiling lights in my garage which are just bare bulbs. Would anyone recommend converting any of these into some type of studio light with a DIY modifier or other idea? Maybe a fixed overhead softbox?


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SkipD
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Apr 06, 2017 15:38 |  #2

Turn off the garage lights and get some photo style lighting with stands and either umbrellas or softboxes to help you control the light quality. Softboxes would be better than umbrellas, in my opinion, because you could have less spilled light.

Spilled light (uncontrolled light bouncing around the room and ultimately back toward the subject and/or background) can pick up colors from outside the area you are trying to use as a studio and that oddball color in the light can upset the subject/background colors.


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Apr 06, 2017 15:45 |  #3

If it were to turn it into a non-product studio for imaging, I would disble or heavily dim the overhead bulbs and put in some portable heavy duty lighting stands, strobes, and huge modifiers.

Forget trying to image with some house light bulbs.

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Nathan
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Apr 06, 2017 16:21 |  #4

Thanks, guys. I'm just trying to come up with some clever built in solution.


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Apr 06, 2017 17:49 |  #5

Nathan wrote in post #18321415 (external link)
Thanks, guys. I'm just trying to come up with some clever built in solution.

The big problem with doing that is that, unless you plan on using only one lighting setup (or minor variations of one setup), fixed locations for the light sources probably won't work. Ceiling-level lighting won't work for most photography jobs.

You could have lighting on booms or something like that, but it would get cumbersome quickly in my opinion.


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Apr 06, 2017 18:44 |  #6

Nathan wrote in post #18321278 (external link)
I have 4 ceiling lights in my garage which are just bare bulbs. Would anyone recommend converting any of these into some type of studio light with a DIY modifier or other idea? Maybe a fixed overhead softbox?

To shoot what? Product? People? What watt output bulbs?
I'd start by unscrewing 3 of the lights. Take a test shot. Try adding another light. Take a test shot. Maybe add a reflector, etc. Etc. See what works & what doesn't.


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Apr 06, 2017 18:46 |  #7

Have you tried a big scrim from a bed sheet??


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RicoTudor
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Apr 06, 2017 22:54 |  #8

The Sun is a better solution than 90% of all lighting products available, and it's free. The first modifier is a diffuser which can be as simple as a bed sheet or old shower curtain. Imagination is the limiting resource.


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F2Bthere
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Apr 06, 2017 23:43 |  #9

RicoTudor wrote in post #18321659 (external link)
The Sun is a better solution than 90% of all lighting products available, and it's free. The first modifier is a diffuser which can be as simple as a bed sheet or old shower curtain. Imagination is the limiting resource.

Well...not great inside a garage. :). Even with the door open, the options are limited.


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Apr 07, 2017 07:37 |  #10

F2Bthere wrote in post #18321691 (external link)
Well...not great inside a garage. :). Even with the door open, the options are limited.

Surely, but I presume he was attracted to his garage by its four lightbulbs. :) If using the Sun, he should set up in his solarium or, alternatively, in the back yard. I'm looking at a $100 tent for my back yard like those used at parties or by art-fair exhibitors. Being translucent, it serves as its own diffuser, and will protect from the elements. Add a black drape to generate directional lighting and I have a perfect little studio for daylight shooting. I want to maintain some lighting control of a studio while introducing a bit of nature into my portraits: landscape for the background, shrubs in the foreground, natural flooring, etc. Faking all that in a real studio is hard (and messy).

Example of party tent: http://www.quictents.c​om …x20-white-party-tent.html (external link)

20' long is perfect for upper body. Note the arched "windows" for a nice catchlight.


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Nathan
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Apr 07, 2017 08:19 |  #11

Thanks, everyone. I intentionally left bits out to see what people thought overall.

Here's what I am really thinking:

  • Modify two or three of the 4 lights with articulating reflectors to basically only act as hair lights. Just wanted to have those bulbs serve a purpose. Don't know if those bulbs are sufficient for hair lights.
  • Install a curved track overhead so that I could install a backdrop connected at each end to the track using some sort of ceiling mount. This would enable me to have a backdrop that I could adjust its angle if needed for whatever purpose (orientation to light, posing, etc.) I'd just roll it up and it would be self storing.
  • Use strobes on stands for all other lighting needs.
Those 4 bulbs wouldn't be the end all and be all of my lighting solution. I'm wondering what creative uses I could turn them into for portraiture? Could I use something like this: https://www.amazon.com …r-Converter/dp/B0057UHB6​Y (external link)

Maybe, I'm just a little crazy.

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F2Bthere
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Apr 07, 2017 11:14 |  #12

Nathan wrote in post #18321852 (external link)
Thanks, everyone. I intentionally left bits out to see what people thought overall.

Here's what I am really thinking:
  • Modify two or three of the 4 lights with articulating reflectors to basically only act as hair lights. Just wanted to have those bulbs serve a purpose. Don't know if those bulbs are sufficient for hair lights.
  • Install a curved track overhead so that I could install a backdrop connected at each end to the track using some sort of ceiling mount. This would enable me to have a backdrop that I could adjust its angle if needed for whatever purpose (orientation to light, posing, etc.) I'd just roll it up and it would be self storing.
  • Use strobes on stands for all other lighting needs.
Those 4 bulbs wouldn't be the end all and be all of my lighting solution. I'm wondering what creative uses I could turn them into for portraiture? Could I use something like this: https://www.amazon.com …r-Converter/dp/B0057UHB6​Y (external link)

Maybe, I'm just a little crazy.

Ok...

Is your plan to use strobes or continuous lights. In theory, you can use both together, but this rarely makes sense in practice for studio work. Since you mention "hair lights," I am going to assume your subjects are people. At which point, mixing the two makes even less sense.

The reason is that the amount of exposure you can get from a continuous light (a bulb) is very small. They get more light on movie sets because they use huge lights which require generators. You want to run that gear in your house, you would need to seriously upgrade your wiring.

Hair lights are generally at an exposure level similar to your key light. So this probably doesn't make sense.

Try some experiments. Take a few pictures with your camera with just the bulbs. Notice the ISO, shutter speed and aperture of the pictures.

Now compare this with what is typically done in a studio with strobes photographing people. ISO 100, f8 and 1/125 sec would be common. Some will bump ISO because you can, drag the shutter a stop or two, even open up a stop or two. Even so, compare the two...


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Nathan
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Apr 07, 2017 13:08 |  #13

F2Bthere wrote in post #18321969 (external link)
Hair lights are generally at an exposure level similar to your key light. So this probably doesn't make sense.

Thanks. That probably answers all my questions. Not doable unless I spends too much on upgrading wiring.

I'll scrap the idea. I'm trying to explore options as I develop my skills in lighting... I'm pretty clueless and get way too far ahead of myself trying to think about studio set ups. It's not like I'm ever going to make money off this.


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F2Bthere
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Apr 08, 2017 18:12 |  #14

Nathan wrote in post #18322059 (external link)
Thanks. That probably answers all my questions. Not doable unless I spends too much on upgrading wiring.

I'll scrap the idea. I'm trying to explore options as I develop my skills in lighting... I'm pretty clueless and get way too far ahead of myself trying to think about studio set ups. It's not like I'm ever going to make money off this.

There is nothing wrong with making nice pictures. Probably 1 in 1000 serious photographers makes a living at it. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Thinking creatively about setups is not a bad thing, either. I think up 40 ideas which ultimately won't work, but this leads me to one good one which helps a lot.

My advice on lighting is figure out how to use one light to get good results. For many purposes, one is enough. I have a bunch of lights and I work hard to keep it to one or two lights as much as possible. I usually succeed. :)

In fact, I think it's best to have one light, one modifier and a simple reflector. The reflector can be foam core (preferably black on one side and white on the other) or one of the 5in1 reflectors which are pretty cheap on Amazon these days. The reflector is most useful with lights, as well as without. Great compliment to windowlight, outdoor daylight, etc. Very versatile.

Pick one modifier you like the look of. For me, the choice for "only one" is a Deep Octa, but there are many other great choices.

An umbrella is the easiest light to use and the most versatile. Also the least expensive and easiest to carry around. It is harder to go wrong with (although it offers less control).

In general, you can choose between greater control and less risk. A softbox gives more control than an umbrella and a narrow (strip)'soft box a bit more. Add a grid and you get more control. A beauty dish raises the control and risk more. A hard reflector goes the next step up (and hence is a less good first choice).

Easiest answer: get an umbrella and follow this free class:

http://strobist.blogsp​ot.com/2006/03/lightin​g-101.html (external link)

After that, you will have a good foundation and can build on that.

If you don't like the umbrella, a softbox (rectangular or octagonal) is also a good starting point. Anything else is likely to lead to frusration early on.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Left Handed Brisket. (2 edits in all)
     
Apr 09, 2017 06:20 |  #15

Nathan wrote in post #18321852 (external link)
Maybe, I'm just a little crazy.

We have a winner! ;)

Shooting at 160 f/8 I am able to keep a lightbulb burning 3-4 feet from my shooting table that has ZERO effect on exposure. A single CL-360 in a large octa can provide proper exposure at 1/4 power.

With the same settings I can also have some window light (two windows) and the light on in the next room (only five feet from table) with almost undetectable impact on the exposure. Definitely nothing I worry about.

Unless you have a 300 watt light bulb with the subject directly below, or maybe a spotlight throwing all the light toward the subject, AND speedlights on low power, AND shooting wide open you aren't going to get much from the lightbulb.

Plus, when mixing flash with ambient, the ambient sets the exposure level, you then have to set all other lights to blend with ambient AND gel the strobes to match ambient. A very limiting set-up.

Or you could just buy a cheap ($50) speedlight, a baby pin wall mount and stick it where it makes sense, with whatever modifier you want.

Ten dollar wall mount: https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …yword%7D&is=REG​&A=details (external link)


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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