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Archive 2011 · Need help with shadows
  
 
MS PHOTO
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Need help with shadows


Here is a sample photo and I need some help with my light setup. This photo was taken with 2 Ultra Zap 1600 one on both sides & 1 Ultra Zap 800 in the middle all are shot through umbrellas, My lights were in a straight row about 18 feet from my backdrop. The gymnast was 5ft from the drop. Can someone help me with my setup
Thanks Paul







Dec 24, 2011 at 03:07 AM
woffles
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Need help with shadows


You can either get your lights much closer to the subject to soften the shadows or move the subject further away from the backdrop to lessen shadows.


Dec 24, 2011 at 05:26 AM
alohadave
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Need help with shadows


MS PHOTO wrote:
Can someone help me with my setup
Thanks Paul


What is your specific question? You've posted how you setup the shot, but not what the problem that you want to correct or change.



Dec 24, 2011 at 07:03 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Need help with shadows


Move the lights in closer, much closer - to the point where they're just out of frame. Move your subject further away from the backdrop if you want to lesson the shadow on the background. Start with on light higher to throw the shadow lower on the ground and only add additional lights as needed. You may not want to use umbrellas on the background and may opt for bare heads with reflectors and gridspots for mood - or not. It's all subjective, but definitely start with light(s) closer.


Dec 24, 2011 at 09:14 AM
 

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cgardner
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Need help with shadows


There's no way to prevent the subject from casting a shadow, what you need to do is control the direction the shadow falls with your light placement related to the subject and what it hits by controlling the distance of the subject to the background.

Subject Lighting Strategy: Try a butterfly pattern with key directly above subject and full just below the camera as illustrated here....







The butterfly pattern is very flattering and allows a wide range of subject movement without the lights creating any distracting harsh shadows on the subject's face or clothing.







Background shadow: Part of the problem in your shot is that the angle of your lights is too shallow relative to the subject. If you use a butterfly pattern with the key light placed so it hits the face at a 45 downward angle the shadow the subject casts will fall down directly behind them and will not be noticed much. Then you simply need to allow enough space for the shadow to fall down onto the floor instead of up on the background.

FWIW - I find the line created by floor and background cutting across the legs is much more distracting than the shadow on the background. I'd suggest you get some white muslin which is available at fabric stores in 10' widths and drape it rather than going for the smooth seamless look...




Dec 24, 2011 at 12:59 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Need help with shadows


+1 @ light(s) closer

The point of using a shoot through umbrella is in part to help you achieve a "larger" light source. By moving your "larger" light source 12-13 feet away from your subject, your effort for a "larger" light source has now been contradicted into effectively a much "smaller" light source than if your had your light only 3-5 feet away from your subject.

Light source "size" & "distance" are relative to how your light will "falloff" your subject.

Do a test shot with your umbrella close enough that your subject can reach up and literally touch the umbrella. You'll get a sense of how your light falloff changes significantly from moving in that close. While you may not shoot with your lights that close (obvious reasons) ... it will provide you a strong illustration of how your falloff changes with respect to the distance your lights are from your subject.

+1 @ moving subject farther from background
+1 @ raising light higher to move shadow downward



Dec 24, 2011 at 02:26 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Need help with shadows


MS PHOTO wrote:
Here is a sample photo and I need some help with my light setup. This photo was taken with 2 Ultra Zap 1600 one on both sides & 1 Ultra Zap 800 in the middle all are shot through umbrellas, My lights were in a straight row about 18 feet from my backdrop. The gymnast was 5ft from the drop. Can someone help me with my setup


You don't say what it is about the shadows that you want to change, but if I were to guess I assume you want softer and lighter shadows on your subject, and no shadow on the backdrop.

Right now you have your lights 13 feet from your subject, which is way too far for the umbrellas to have any softening effect. As mentioned above, move the lights much closer to the subject and/or the subject closer to the lights (further from the background), and the relative size of the umbrellas compared to your subject will increase, softening the shadows and lowering the contrast.

To decrease the shadow on the background, the easiest way would be to add two more lights and place them even with you subject, with the left BG light pointing right of center and the right BG light pointing left of center. "Cross lighting" the background this way evens out the hot spots of each background light.

If you don't have two more lights, then using the existing pair of lights positioned as above as BG lights, and using the single light positioned high and near the camera for the subject would also be an option.

Another benefit to moving the subject further from the BG is that you can use a wider aperture to narrow the depth of field, throwing the BG out of focus, which will help to hide the creases and wrinkles and draw attention off the BG and onto the subject.

HTH.



Dec 24, 2011 at 02:50 PM
woffles
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Need help with shadows


Just to add also, next time watch for things like her right hand. The thumb looks amputated shot like that.


Dec 24, 2011 at 09:59 PM





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