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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 06 Oct 2017 (Friday) 20:16
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Inexpensive soft light options

 
kat.hayes
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Oct 06, 2017 20:16 |  #1

I'm looking at a couple of options for producing soft light for portraits and am interested to hear opinions.

Westcott LunaGrip Kit, Includes 40" Basics 5-in-1 Reflector, Protective Carry Case
https://www.adorama.co​m …+case&searchred​irect=true (external link)


Flashpoint Photo/Video 19" AC Powered 600W 5500K Fluorescent Ring Light With Bag
https://www.adorama.co​m …h+bag&searchred​irect=true (external link)

Thanks for any input




  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
Oct 06, 2017 20:28 |  #2

What kind of portraits?

Kids?

Headshots?

Full body?

Farm animals?

:D

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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Daggah
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Oct 07, 2017 00:17 |  #3

Technically, the cheapest option for soft light is a white wall or ceiling, if you've already got a speedlight.


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tdlavigne
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Oct 07, 2017 00:26 |  #4

Can't go wrong with a large window and some foam core if you want cheapest method. Looks good too and fairly repeatable if you just keep track of what time of day the sun is at it's best for your window (and adjust for different times of year)

There's also a large 5 in 1 collapsible reflector using the scrim setup.

Cheap monolight and a large softbox (got my fotodiox 5' octa for $90)

Depending on where you live shooting under a large tree or in the shade of a building

etc etc

As for the two linked:
Never been a fan of speedlights in any type of modifier. That beam is too focused and harsh, even zoomed out. Hotspots aplenty.

In theory maybe your ringflash would work, but that's not really "soft" light IMO either. More wrap, less shadow, but still harsh(ish) until you start adding modifiers.

It'd probably help more if you linked to a couple images that you like the light quality and someone can tell you what the modifiers used likely were, and then what are good inexpensive options for that particular setup.




  
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MalVeauX
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Oct 07, 2017 04:41 |  #5

kat.hayes wrote in post #18467533 (external link)
I'm looking at a couple of options for producing soft light for portraits and am interested to hear opinions.

Westcott LunaGrip Kit, Includes 40" Basics 5-in-1 Reflector, Protective Carry Case
https://www.adorama.co​m …+case&searchred​irect=true (external link)


Flashpoint Photo/Video 19" AC Powered 600W 5500K Fluorescent Ring Light With Bag
https://www.adorama.co​m …h+bag&searchred​irect=true (external link)

Thanks for any input

Continuous light for video portrait? Or flash/strobe for still portrait?
What lights are you using?
If you're buying everything now, what's your budget?
And how many lights do you need for this?
Is this studio or outdoor?

There's no real secret to a special thing that gives softer light. If the source is larger than the subject and closer to the subject (increasing apparent size relative to subject), it will produce softer light. This is why a bounced flash/strobe off the ceiling/wall is soft light, and why huge modifiers are used to produce really soft light at really close proximity to the subject. But what you're using changes signifiicantly if you're doing continuous lighting for video.

Very best,


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ImageMaker...
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Oct 07, 2017 07:12 |  #6

6x7 foot diffusion silk. $8. B&H. It’s wonderful. Cut to any size or frame it up big-time.

Medium Translum rolls. South of $50

Here’s a back lit Translum. Using blue and red gels to get that purple color


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Post edited over 2 years ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
Oct 07, 2017 07:36 as a reply to  @ ImageMaker...'s post |  #7

Great shot!

I am really looking forward to ordering a roll of Translum. I had an old roll of frosted Mylar that I have used from time to time but it was smallish and kind of yellowed.

Been setting up a new studio space and am very close to having it ready, hopefully this weekend.

Any tips on getting the ungelled areas to be black? How much space between subject and background? Assuming flagging main light is the biggest trick?


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Bassat
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Oct 07, 2017 07:36 |  #8
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Inexpensive is relative. I use a set from Cowboy studios: 2 stands, 2 30" white shoot-through umbrellas, 2 flash holder thingies, all for like $29. I bought two extra reflector umbrellas and 2 12"x18" softboxes for about the same amount. The real expense is the actual lighting. I use 2x 580EX II, 2x 550EX ($45 each on E-Bay), and a 430EX II if I need group C. Also use YN-622 stuff for control.




  
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ImageMaker...
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Post edited over 2 years ago by ImageMaker.... (11 edits in all)
     
Oct 07, 2017 08:26 |  #9

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18467737 (external link)
Great shot!

I am really looking forward to ordering a roll of Translum. I had an old roll of frosted Mylar that I have used from time to time but it was smallish and kind of yellowed.

Been setting up a new studio space and am very close to having it ready, hopefully this weekend.

Any tips on getting the ungelled areas to be black? How much space between subject and background? Assuming flagging main light is the biggest trick?

Thanks. It was her first shoot ever.

No flags. As I recall, the Translum was maybe 3 or 4 feet behind the model. I hung the Translum in front of the background so that took space. The backlit strobe was towards the left of model falling off to the right as you can see. I metered the Translum brightest was I think f4 no more than 5.6. Feathering Translum rocks!!

Main light cheetahstand QRB 48” was 45 degree up and 45 side from model about 2 feet from her face. Fully difused no grid. I think the Main was at most f8 at the model.

Simple light falloff darkened the Translum. That and the Main was at a 45 to the Translum helped minimize spill. Falloff is the secret here. 5 feet from Main light is 5 stops down roughly.

I use a flash meter on everything. Also had a large black reflector to the right of the model. Along the side of the studio to control stray light. Flash meters help you see the falloff before the shot. Just takes a few seconds and a few pops of the flash. Since the Sekonic/Elinchrom flash meter can control all the strobes, it’s the right time to check and adjust.

Also using Translum as a Main light is great. You can feather the light onto the Translum and get a soft smooth buttery shadow transition on a face/subject you simply can’t get any other way. It’s amazing.

Really, I live by f-stops. My meter uses it, the camera is all about stops (aperture, shutter speed, ISO is all in stops) so I may as well too.


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RicoTudor
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Oct 07, 2017 10:10 |  #10

I use diffusion panels like no tomorrow. Rosco Rolux is frosted plastic sheeting (like Translum) that can be cut and taped onto a gel frame. Silk gives a more directional light. Even a shower curtain with frosted finish will serve perfectly well. I find either Speedlight or strobe to be fine for shoot-through. If stray light is ruining a dark b/g, hang some black fabric.


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Oct 07, 2017 11:52 as a reply to  @ ImageMaker...'s post |  #11

Thanks for the info, and the edits ;)

I have used cheap fabric store nylon as shoot through panels for mostly simple stuff. Ordering the Translum is intended to help me step up my game. I was going to finish up another project or two before getting distracted with building some frames and testing different set ups, but I'm not sure I can wait.


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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ImageMaker...
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Oct 07, 2017 13:36 |  #12

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18467878 (external link)
Thanks for the info, and the edits ;)

I have used cheap fabric store nylon as shoot through panels for mostly simple stuff. Ordering the Translum is intended to help me step up my game. I was going to finish up another project or two before getting distracted with building some frames and testing different set ups, but I'm not sure I can wait.

Mostly, I just hang the Translum from a couple stands and weigh it down to something using blue painters tape. Then roll it up smaller and put it on the inside of the provided tube. The outside holding the unused portion... I’m so clever...:-D


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Inexpensive soft light options
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