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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 18 Nov 2014 (Tuesday) 20:07
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Lighting a holiday family shoot

 
adammazza
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Nov 18, 2014 20:07 |  #1

I volunteered some time to take family shots at a holiday fundraiser.

I visited the venue today and will need to supply a backdrop or create a 'scene'. I'm not a fan of any of the holiday backdrops you can purchase and was looking to create something like this:

http://www.propinsanit​y.com/how-to-holiday-backdrop/ (external link)

The difference being I will be lighting this entirely with strobes and hanging the holiday lights in front of a white wall.

To get the shallow depth of field I figure I'll need to place the subjects about 4' in front of the lights. I plan on using 2 60" umbrellas to light my subjects.

For anyone that's done this, were the holiday lights bright enough? I plan on having the umbrellas close to my subjects so the falloff will probably be too much to reach the lights. Should I move the umbrellas back?


Canon 5Dm3, Fuji X100T, Fuji X-T1, Fuji X70
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JakAHearts
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Nov 18, 2014 20:16 |  #2

Im not positive about the brightness of the lights but youll want to get the non-led ones because they flicker and a lot of them wont show up in your images.


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adammazza
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Nov 18, 2014 20:28 |  #3

JakAHearts wrote in post #17280417 (external link)
Im not positive about the brightness of the lights but youll want to get the non-led ones because they flicker and a lot of them wont show up in your images.

Thanks, good point! The more I think about this, I can't "light the lights". I would have to drag the shutter and let ambient in right or emulate some daylight. maybe adding a strobe from the back through a sheet?


Canon 5Dm3, Fuji X100T, Fuji X-T1, Fuji X70
Canon 70-200mm L F/2.8 IS
Canon 24-105mm L F/4.0 IS
Sigma 35mm F/1.4, Sigma 85mm F/1.4
Fuji 16mm F/1.4, Fuji 35mm F/1.4, Fuji 56mm F/1.2, Fuji 16-55 F/2.8

  
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JakAHearts
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Nov 18, 2014 20:34 |  #4

Yes, youll need to drag the shutter or up that ISO. There are quite a few google tutorials out there about this very kind of image. :D


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StanNJ1
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Nov 19, 2014 07:34 |  #5

I see some potential issues with your setup. Your subjects are going to need to be much further from the backdrop than four feet if you are looking for a shallow depth of field. You'll want the hanging lights to be out of focus but in order to shoot "Family" shots which assumes multiple people you are going to have to stop down to about 5.6-8.0 Four feet is also too close for two 60" umbrellas which will throw light everywhere including your background.


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adammazza
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Nov 19, 2014 07:53 |  #6

StanNJ1 wrote in post #17281035 (external link)
I see some potential issues with your setup. Your subjects are going to need to be much further from the backdrop than four feet if you are looking for a shallow depth of field. You'll want the hanging lights to be out of focus but in order to shoot "Family" shots which assumes multiple people you are going to have to stop down to about 5.6-8.0 Four feet is also too close for two 60" umbrellas which will throw light everywhere including your background.

Thanks, yes I did some tests, and need the subjects to be about 7' from the lights. The largest family I'll have is 4 people it looks like. I'm going to move as far back as I can with my 70-200 and try and still shoot shallow enough to get the lights and background to blow out of focus.

I do want the lights to blow on to the back ground, take advantage of inverse square law so I want the lights a good distance from my subjects. If that doesn't work, I'll add some some to the background with 2 150W modelling lights from some studio strobes.


Canon 5Dm3, Fuji X100T, Fuji X-T1, Fuji X70
Canon 70-200mm L F/2.8 IS
Canon 24-105mm L F/4.0 IS
Sigma 35mm F/1.4, Sigma 85mm F/1.4
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StanNJ1
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Nov 19, 2014 08:33 |  #7

Can you move your subjects even further away from the background and shoot with your 24-70?


1DX, ID MKIII, 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 2.8L, 16-35 2.8L, 100 macro, 600EX-RTs, ST-E3-RT, Einsteins, Kacey Beauty Dish with a cracked grid, yada yada
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adammazza
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Nov 19, 2014 08:50 |  #8

StanNJ1 wrote in post #17281135 (external link)
Can you move your subjects even further away from the background and shoot with your 24-70?

Will try, not sure the background is big enough to get them further. I don't have a 24-70, plan on using the 70-200 though.


Canon 5Dm3, Fuji X100T, Fuji X-T1, Fuji X70
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StanNJ1
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Nov 19, 2014 08:54 |  #9

adammazza wrote in post #17281170 (external link)
Will try, not sure the background is big enough to get them further. I don't have a 24-70, plan on using the 70-200 though.

Time to update your equipment list in your signature :)


1DX, ID MKIII, 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 2.8L, 16-35 2.8L, 100 macro, 600EX-RTs, ST-E3-RT, Einsteins, Kacey Beauty Dish with a cracked grid, yada yada
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adammazza
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Nov 19, 2014 09:16 |  #10

StanNJ1 wrote in post #17281182 (external link)
Time to update your equipment list in your signature :)

I don't see that, just the 24-105 ;).


Canon 5Dm3, Fuji X100T, Fuji X-T1, Fuji X70
Canon 70-200mm L F/2.8 IS
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Nov 19, 2014 10:49 |  #11

adammazza wrote in post #17281054 (external link)
I do want the lights to blow on to the back ground, take advantage of inverse square law so I want the lights a good distance from my subjects. If that doesn't work, I'll add some some to the background with 2 150W modelling lights from some studio strobes.

i think you will find that you are going to need additional light on the background. Not sure even a couple of continuous lights will make much difference. I also think that blowing the background out will diminish the effect of the xmas lights, especially if you are using incandescent bulbs as modeling lights as they will have the same color temp as the xmas lights. Maybe a color gel on the background to help the lights pop?


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adammazza
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Nov 19, 2014 19:54 |  #12

hes gone wrote in post #17281393 (external link)
=he's gone;17281393]i think you will find that you are going to need additional light on the background. Not sure even a couple of continuous lights will make much difference. I also think that blowing the background out will diminish the effect of the xmas lights, especially if you are using incandescent bulbs as modeling lights as they will have the same color temp as the xmas lights. Maybe a color gel on the background to help the lights pop?

So tested various setups tonight.

With a single person this was very easy. Was able to have the subject ~10' from the background backup another 15' and be at ~170mm F4 ISO200 1/160 and was able to get subject fine and light the back ground enough with the umbrella that it washed out of focus nicely with the holiday lights. I used white streams of lights on a white muslin.

The problem was I couldn't get it to work well with more than 1 person. I'm sure if I had enough space and a large enough back drop I could.


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Canon 24-105mm L F/4.0 IS
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Nov 21, 2014 13:27 |  #13

adammazza wrote in post #17282434 (external link)
So tested various setups tonight.

With a single person this was very easy. Was able to have the subject ~10' from the background backup another 15' and be at ~170mm F4 ISO200 1/160 and was able to get subject fine and light the back ground enough with the umbrella that it washed out of focus nicely with the holiday lights. I used white streams of lights on a white muslin.

The problem was I couldn't get it to work well with more than 1 person. I'm sure if I had enough space and a large enough back drop I could.

would you share your tests? Thanks to your posting this idea, i am working on something similar.

i find the cords to be a bit distracting and wanted the option of hitting the background with a gelled flash. What i did was take a piece of grey seamless paper up and laid it on the bed. I then took a string of lights and poked them through the back and taped the cord down to the paper. I need to work out the aperture and distances (i'll have to find another place to set up) but here are the first set of results.

I'm going to give colored lights a shot too.

in focus and out:


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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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adammazza
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Nov 21, 2014 13:41 |  #14

hes gone wrote in post #17285588 (external link)
=he's gone;17285588]would you share your tests? Thanks to your posting this idea, i am working on something similar.

i find the cords to be a bit distracting and wanted the option of hitting the background with a gelled flash. What i did was take a piece of grey seamless paper up and laid it on the bed. I then took a string of lights and poked them through the back and taped the cord down to the paper. I need to work out the aperture and distances (i'll have to find another place to set up) but here are the first set of results.

I'm going to give colored lights a shot too.

in focus and out:

This was just a test with a single person. Didn't really clean this up:

https://www.flickr.com​/photos/amazza/1583253​8771/ (external link)

This was white lights hung on a very creased white background. Like I said a single person or two is easy. But you need a real lot of space to do this with a group.


Canon 5Dm3, Fuji X100T, Fuji X-T1, Fuji X70
Canon 70-200mm L F/2.8 IS
Canon 24-105mm L F/4.0 IS
Sigma 35mm F/1.4, Sigma 85mm F/1.4
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EmaginePixel
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Nov 21, 2014 13:46 |  #15

I did something similar last year using the tree as lights. The challenge is that the lights are fairly dim. Therefore you'll have to have a faster than 2.8 lens. Plus, you'll have to separate the subjects from the lights at about 8 to 10ft. Here's a group shot at f.2, iso 640, 85mm Sigma.

IMAGE: http://www.emaginepixel.com/photos/i-ShqNVz2/1/XL/i-ShqNVz2-XL.jpg

Now for an individual, you can get closer and get more bokeh. Here's the same lens at f1.8.

IMAGE: http://www.emaginepixel.com/photos/i-hCqhw7Q/1/XL/i-hCqhw7Q-XL.jpg

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