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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 22 Dec 2011 (Thursday) 12:06
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Help Please - Group Lighting

 
mckinleypics
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Dec 22, 2011 12:06 |  #1

Hi guys,

Lighting newb here.

My mom just called and said she had a great idea. She wants to do a family portrait after the Christmas service. 13 people including myself. This will test my skills severely.

The group - 7 adults, 6 boys between the ages of 5 and 13.

The gear - 2 Eli 500 BXRis, 1 580EXII, 1 Vivtar flash
1 53" Rotalux, 2 small soft boxes, 1 strip light (has to be used with flash)
2 dishes for the Eli's with gels
1 large black backdrop
9 ft ceiling

How would you guys set this up?


Dave
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bdillon
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Dec 22, 2011 12:57 |  #2

I'd use my biggest modifer directly behind and above the camera.
I'd use the rest of my lights and or mods to take care of the background or add accent lights if needed. If you're using a background I might consider throwing a gradient of light across it, or maybe use a bare flash with the dish to make a halo of light or something on the background.

If you want to do key/fill, you really need to work on positioniong people so they don't cast a shadow on anyone. I personally don't think key/fill looks good on group shots in most cases. If I do it, I keep the contrast ratio between key and fill pretty tight, and keep my key light closer to the axis of the camera than normal. I position it about 15 degrees off axis from the lens. Judging from your gear, I probably wouldn't do this though, you don't really have a modifier big enough to act as fill, and those small softboxes won't act as key on a large group.

I think your best bet would be to keep it simple. Use the Rotalux directly behind and above camera, use the 580 as a hair light and the other Eli as a background light to either cast a gradient of light on the background, or to make a halo of light on the background. There's probably going to be some color shift between the Elis and the 580. It would be less noticeable if the odd light out was used as a hair light.




  
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mckinleypics
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Dec 22, 2011 15:50 |  #3

Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!


Dave
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Dave ­ Jr
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Dec 22, 2011 16:14 |  #4

And if you think you might do this type of thing again, consider picking up a 64" or 86" PLM with eli mount for future use, they work great for lighting groups.


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bdillon
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Dec 22, 2011 16:27 |  #5

Those two together make a great combo. 64" in soft silver as key, 86" soft silver as fill.
It'll put out a little more light than a softbox yet has a little more contrast or punch.

The 86" is a beast though. Hard to use indoors without a tall ceiling, especially as a key.




  
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Dave ­ Jr
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Dec 22, 2011 16:30 |  #6

bdillon wrote in post #13586495 (external link)
Those two together make a great combo. 64" in soft silver as key, 86" soft silver as fill.
It'll put out a little more light than a softbox yet has a little more contrast or punch.

The 86" is a beast though. Hard to use indoors without a tall ceiling, especially as a key.

Yeah, that is what I do. I was thinking he'd still use his 53" Rotalux as key, so he'd only need one PLM.

Also, if it's too punchy for the group, you can put the white diffusion front on to tone it down.


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bdillon
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Dec 22, 2011 16:44 |  #7

Dave Jr wrote in post #13586515 (external link)
Yeah, that is what I do. I was thinking he'd still use his 53" Rotalux as key, so he'd only need one PLM.

Also, if it's too punchy for the group, you can put the white diffusion front on to tone it down.

Can you really have too much gear? :p

That's why I like the PLM so much. Very versatile. I actually prefer the punch, it goes quite well with full sun photos......you just really need a person there holding the dang stand though.

I always try to match the type of light my strobe produces with what the brain (my brain anyway) would expect to see in that scene. There's something about a large softbox in close at 3pm on a summer day that doesn't look natural to me.




  
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Dave ­ Jr
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Dec 22, 2011 16:49 |  #8

bdillon wrote in post #13586576 (external link)
Can you really have too much gear? :p

That's why I like the PLM so much. Very versatile. I actually prefer the punch, it goes quite well with full sun photos......you just really need a person there holding the dang stand though.

I always try to match the type of light my strobe produces with what the brain (my brain anyway) would expect to see in that scene. There's something about a large softbox in close at 3pm on a summer day that doesn't look natural to me.

HAHA, no, you can't. Just trying to be fiscally prudent for the OP. I like PLM's too, both with and without diffusion.


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mckinleypics
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Dec 22, 2011 16:51 |  #9

Ok. What is a plm?


Dave
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Dave ­ Jr
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Dec 22, 2011 16:53 |  #10

http://www.paulcbuff.c​om/plm.php (external link)

Comes in three sizes and three finishes, and is available in eli mount.


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bdillon
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Dec 22, 2011 17:31 |  #11

Read this too. Helps you decide which one you might want.

http://www.paulcbuff.c​om/plm-compare.php (external link)




  
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SuperHuman21
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Dec 22, 2011 17:51 |  #12

Wow, that's cheap. I never bothered looking at this stuff much. I hope it's ok to ask here but is the quality of light that much better in the 69" indirects or whatever and the other things that the guys in the Eli thread always rave about?


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mckinleypics
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Dec 22, 2011 18:13 |  #13

That is cheap - might have to get one, though unfortunately I won't have it by Saturday.


Dave
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Dave ­ Jr
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Dec 22, 2011 18:23 |  #14

SuperHuman21 wrote in post #13586863 (external link)
Wow, that's cheap. I never bothered looking at this stuff much. I hope it's ok to ask here but is the quality of light that much better in the 69" indirects or whatever and the other things that the guys in the Eli thread always rave about?

I believe the quality of light is excellent from them. The 86" with the diffusion fabric makes a massive cheap softbox. I can't comment on the difference between these and the large expensive eli stuff, but these do a very nice job, at a great price.


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Dave ­ Jr
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Dec 22, 2011 18:26 |  #15

Of the three finishes, I prefer the soft silver, for most uses.

The 51" white with front spill kill makes an interesting Chinese Lantern style modifier.

IMAGE: http://www.davidbrooksphotography.com/photos/i-rjrrNp6/0/XL/i-rjrrNp6-XL.jpg

Dave Jr - MN
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Help Please - Group Lighting
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