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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 14 Mar 2012 (Wednesday) 21:23
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Need help with lighting white backgrounds

 
Dustin ­ Mustangs
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Mar 14, 2012 21:23 |  #1

I'm not happy with the lighting in these and I don't know which way to go. The skin tones just seem to have a really weird look to me, I don't even know how to describe it. Am I lighting this wrong or needing something else in post?

Exif is inbedded in the first one and I used a speedlight camera left at 1/2 power flagged for background only and another one at camera right 1/4 power with a white sheet between it and the subject.

First is sooc, second is after post.


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THE ­ Phreak
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Mar 14, 2012 21:25 |  #2

Your second pic seems to be compressed too hard. reupload?


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Dustin ­ Mustangs
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Mar 14, 2012 21:40 |  #3

I'm working on it. LR and it's 'limit to file size' option is battling me right now for some reason...


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Dustin ­ Mustangs
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Mar 14, 2012 21:46 |  #4

fixed


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K.C.
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Mar 15, 2012 00:21 |  #5

The top and left corner of the stool are merging with the background. That's your first clue that the background is over-lit. The same thing is happening under the child's left arm and on the right side of his face. The highlights on his face have no detail and his eyes are too dark.

You've just over exposed the entire shot, blown out the background and the skin.

Your exif lists white balance as manual. Where have you set the white point ?

Did you shoot a color checker or gray card ?




  
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PCthug
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Mar 15, 2012 00:49 |  #6

K.C. wrote in post #14089122 (external link)
The top and left corner of the stool are merging with the background. That's your first clue that the background is over-lit. The same thing is happening under the child's left arm and on the right side of his face. The highlights on his face have no detail and his eyes are too dark.

You've just over exposed the entire shot, blown out the background and the skin.

Your exif lists white balance as manual. Where have you set the white point ?

Did you shoot a color checker or gray card ?

I agree.

You need to look at the background and subject as 2 seperate things. Set your flash power for your background so its nice and white but not just blown (dont just crank your power up), then expose your subject.
The chair has a lot of bounce back flash, showing that there is too much light on the background.


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JackSw1ss
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Mar 15, 2012 02:15 |  #7

Dude, BG's in order to be blown out correctly should be about at a light ratio of 2:1...you don't need to blast them as hell, just twice as light or otherwise you'll end up with what you got here.
so 2:1 ratio, twice as light as the key light and you'll end up with white BG without blowing out everything

cheers and hope this helps

PS: I was doing your same mistake but after that I started doing it right with some advice from around here and got it right ;)


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Dustin ­ Mustangs
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Mar 15, 2012 09:05 |  #8

K.C. wrote in post #14089122 (external link)
Your exif lists white balance as manual. Where have you set the white point ?

Did you shoot a color checker or gray card ?


Not sure why it says manual, I used the flash preset on my camera. Maybe because I warmed it up a bit in post. No grey card or color checker, I am shooting from the hip for the time being.

PCthug wrote in post #14089190 (external link)
Set your flash power for your background so its nice and white but not just blown...

JackSw1ss wrote in post #14089367 (external link)
Dude, BG's in order to be blown out correctly...

So do I want it blown or not blown? I was trying to blow it thinking that I didn't want any detail or a light shade of grey, just pure white. I am not using seamless so any visible detail is going to be a bad thing.

Thanks for the comments so far...


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juggy4805
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Mar 15, 2012 10:09 |  #9

JackSw1ss wrote in post #14089367 (external link)
Dude, BG's in order to be blown out correctly should be about at a light ratio of 2:1...you don't need to blast them as hell, just twice as light or otherwise you'll end up with what you got here.
so 2:1 ratio, twice as light as the key light and you'll end up with white BG without blowing out everything

cheers and hope this helps

PS: I was doing your same mistake but after that I started doing it right with some advice from around here and got it right ;)

I'm learning about lighting ratios and since he had backkground light at 1\2 and key light at 1\4 is that not a 2:1 ratio since it is one stop less? Or could different brand speedlights or distance to subject make that irrelevent.


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K.C.
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Mar 16, 2012 01:39 |  #10

Dustin Mustangs wrote in post #14090372 (external link)
Not sure why it says manual, I used the flash preset on my camera. Maybe because I warmed it up a bit in post. No grey card or color checker, I am shooting from the hip for the time being.

Hmmm, maybe you didn't have it set as you intended. It wouldn't say manual unless it was set to manual.

Dustin Mustangs wrote in post #14090372 (external link)
So do I want it blown or not blown? I was trying to blow it thinking that I didn't want any detail or a light shade of grey, just pure white. I am not using seamless so any visible detail is going to be a bad thing.

In reality you don't want anything 'blown out,' including backgrounds. To create a clean white you want .75 to 1.0 stops above a spot exposure reading on an 18% gray card.




  
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Kechar
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Mar 16, 2012 09:25 |  #11

juggy4805 wrote in post #14090703 (external link)
I'm learning about lighting ratios and since he had backkground light at 1\2 and key light at 1\4 is that not a 2:1 ratio since it is one stop less? Or could different brand speedlights or distance to subject make that irrelevent.

Even if he had the power of the lights set to 2:1 respectively, that doesn't mean the light was laying on the surfaces in those ratios. Distance to subject (inverse square mumbo jumbo) comes into play here. If the light were 2:1, but the BG light was twice as close to its intended subject as the main to its subject, then the ratio would be 4:1, no?

Metering at the subjects, independently, is the best way to ensure these ratios.


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JackSw1ss
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Mar 16, 2012 09:28 as a reply to  @ Kechar's post |  #12

juggy4805 wrote in post #14090703 (external link)
I'm learning about lighting ratios and since he had backkground light at 1\2 and key light at 1\4 is that not a 2:1 ratio since it is one stop less? Or could different brand speedlights or distance to subject make that irrelevent.

Maybe it could have been but the distance of the light/subject and relative distance matters alot too...best way to be sure to be at a 2:1 ratio is to meter it...you put your lights and subject ready to shoot and you meter to achieve 2:1 ratio, adjust lights to the need (eventually) and start shooting ;)

hope this helps


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JackSw1ss
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Mar 16, 2012 09:29 |  #13

Kechar wrote in post #14096692 (external link)
Metering at the subjects, independently, is the best way to ensure these ratios.

here you go juggy...what he says bw! (exactly what I posted yet ooops, should have read through the thread LOL)


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Seamus69
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Mar 16, 2012 10:23 |  #14

Try shooting the background without a subject at low power upping it until it is an even white, then add your subject and key light.


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Wilt
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Mar 18, 2012 18:43 |  #15

For a white background, you need its reflective brightness to meter about 2.3-2.5EV brighter than a reading taken (at subject position) with an 18% gray card or incident meter. Brighter than that and you run the danger of flare and poor subject definition caused by flare.

In the photos posted, the subject is clearly too close to the background, as light is coming off the background and falling onto the subject. Not good, even if there is no flare (which there is).

A mistake of all too many amateurs is to position the subject much too close to the background. The ramifications of doing this are worsened with high key backgrounds.


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Need help with lighting white backgrounds
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