Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username   Password

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Lighting & Studio Techniques | Join Upload & Sell

  

Archive 2013 · C&C on Studio Lighting
  
 
Ken_K
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · C&C on Studio Lighting


First of all, if posting images on this forum isn't appropriate let me know and I'll move it.
I'm just getting started with studio lighting. I'm about 1/2 way through "Light Science and Magic". I've read a lot of the material posted by fellow FMers but sooner or later I have to start clicking and see where I stand.
I have a pair of Einstein 640's. The one to camera left has a 24x36 softbox with an inner and outer diffuser. To camera right is a 64" PCB PLM Silver Umbrella. Hair light is via a Canon 580EXII. The EXIF info is : f7.1, ISO 200, 1/160 using a Canon 5DII and a 70-200 2.8L lens.
On camera I thought the exposure was close but viewing it on my calibrated monitor, it appears a bit overexposed to me. The only PP was a slight tweak of WB.
I cringe doing self portraits but I can't seems so snag a willing model.
Comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.






Mar 27, 2013 at 11:55 PM
RustyBug
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #2 · C&C on Studio Lighting


First question ... what are you using as your method / approach for determining exposure?
Are you reading RGB histogram, taking light meter readings or something else?

Next question ... what are you using as your method / approach for determining white balance?

I made some assumptions regarding background and shirt color. It looked like your blue channel was unusually brighter than the others and it was lifting the overall exposure as well as giving it the blue cast. This is what I've dialed in, based on my assumptions that the shirt was black, with a gray collar and the bg was white. Not sure how close this is to your reality (especially hair color) or if my assumptions were reasonable, or way off.

As to the lighting ... I'm not a portrait shooter, but the shadow under the nose looks pretty good to me. The main thing that sticks out for me is the darker (camera) left eye, but for a self port I probably wouldn't complain very much, knowing that with a model in place you'd be able to better gauge catchlight placement.









Mar 28, 2013 at 12:56 AM
BrianO
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #3 · C&C on Studio Lighting


I agree that the white balance is off.

The lighting itself I think looks fine. It could look even better, in my opinion, with a few minor adjustments:

Because of your deep smile lines there's a shadow under your left cheek (camera right) that isn't balanced by one under the right cheek. Since the overall facial lighting isn't split lighting, that shadow looks out of place to my eye. Using a clamshell light setup, with the key centered over your camera position and the fill under the camera (or next to it, for a large umbrella) might be more pleasing; or a definite split lighting scheme or even a strong Rembrandt effect since your face has so much character.

Also, I don't see the hair light's effect at all. In this case it might have been better to use that light as a background light (unless the darker top was what you wanted).

These are all minor points, though. The portrait is, I think, a successful one.



Mar 28, 2013 at 02:39 AM
Ken_K
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · C&C on Studio Lighting


Rusty, I was using the histogram to get a ballpark on exposure. I normally use a gray card to set WB but in this case I was so preoccupied with the lighting that I forgot about WB until I was in LR. You were spot on about shirt colors. When I look at your version compared to mine, I can definitely see the bluish cast in the background. Will definitely get the gray card out next time. My bad.
Brian, I'll give your lighting variations a try and see how it looks compared to what I started with. I agree that the hair light didn't seem to be doing much. I was using a naked strobe set to full power about 5 ft. above my head. Maybe a case of too little power compared to what the key and fill are producing. I initially was using it as a background light but didn't see much difference without it.
I learned a new euphemism for wrinkles - "character".
Thanks you both for your help. It is much appreciated.



Mar 29, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Mark_L
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · C&C on Studio Lighting


You've done pretty well imo. Some comments:

Quite a blue cast but one click in lightroom will remove that ok

You have a gradient on the background, if that wasn't what you wanted light the background separately

There are no catchlights from your main light and from the shadows I suspect is a bit too high which the big size of the plm masks to some extent. Your fill light is also quite far off axis (uneven catchlights), to fill the shadows under the cheeks more get it closer to the camera.

I'd suggest using much harder light to learn which will show up the effects of placement very quickly, with light as soft as this you can get away with just about anything.

Edited on Mar 29, 2013 at 02:48 PM · View previous versions



Mar 29, 2013 at 02:38 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Steve Wylie
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #6 · C&C on Studio Lighting


Not a bad first effort, once the white balance is corrected. What I would do as a second effort (until you've mastered this relatively simple lighting grid) is move your fill light from camera right to directly overhead (behind you). That will provide the open shadows you need across the entire face (don't overexpose this). Then, place your key light pretty much where you have it here, and shoot that. What I see here is the effect of the camera right umbrella being too high, which causes the deep shadow under your left (camera right) cheek. The tell? No catchlight from the umbrella (unless you cloned it out). As to the hair light, I don't think you needed it in this setup.


Mar 29, 2013 at 02:44 PM
BrianO
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #7 · C&C on Studio Lighting


Ken_K wrote:
...I learned a new euphemism for wrinkles - "character".


It's not politically correct, but I'm an old fart so I'll stick to it:

Men sweat, women glow.

Women have wrinkles, men have character lines.

Poor people are insane, rich people are eccentric.

Etc., etc.



Mar 29, 2013 at 07:03 PM
cgardner
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · C&C on Studio Lighting


What you used was a crossed light strategy which is why some of the shadows are very dark and you've got that odd little shadow under the nose and the dark shadow under the chin where the shadows of the two lights crossed.

A more natural looking lighting strategy is to put the key light to the side 45 from the nose, similar to the pattern when facing 45 to a north facing window. Vertically you want to adjust based on two goals: 1) getting light in both eyes, and 2) how the shadow from the nose falls. In your shot the right eye (photo left) is shaded and dark.

To avoid the second fill light from creating crossed shadows you need to keep it centered, flat, and shadowless as possible; about chin level. If you raise the camera above the eye line chin level will be just under the lens.

Like most you probably think of fill as something you add after key to "fill" the shadows, but in terms of actual cause and effect the fill source is under the highlights the key light creates.

Try this little experiment wearing a white shirt colar and black sweater or coat

1) Set up just the fill centered under lens with camera on f/8

2) Raise fill until you just see detail in the black sweater. White shirt collar will be gray because camera can't handle the full tonal range if the white <> black clothing.

3) Now slowly raise the power of the "key" light 45 from the nose. Starting with the fill set from the shadow it will create highlight over those shadows. Just raise the power until you see the white shirt color start to clip in the playback warning and back off until the warning disappears.

With the centered fill you will not have the dark crossed shadows as above. The nose being closer to the fill source will have the lightest shadow and the shadows will get darker towards the ear as the intensity of the fill falls off front>back. That looks more natural than fill from the side which makes the ear closer / brighter and the nose the darkest shadow on the face.

More than likely with your huge modifiers as you raise the key light the big footprint will bounce off the walls and ceiling and create wrap-around "spill fill" which will make the shadows lighter than in step 2.

In a small space that can make it very difficult to control the lighting ratio, which is why smaller modifers which cover the subject and little else are often better so you can precisely control the lighting ratio. It's a bit of a cat and mouse game to adjust lighting ratio when there's a lot of uncontrolled spill fill.

If you reduce the power of the centered fill to make the shadows darker, to compensate for the spill fill, you'll see the highlights also get darker, because the key overlaps the fill. So after reducing fill to make the shadows darker you'll need to raise the key a bit to correctly expose the white shirt just below clipping.

Trying that exercise will allow you to see by comparison why the crossed light / shadows strategy you used isn't really very flattering and will help you better understand the roles and interaction of key and fill. You'll also be more aware of the role / effect of all that light your huge PLM is bouncing around the room.







Mar 29, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Ken_K
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #9 · C&C on Studio Lighting


Mark thanks for your comments. I moved the lights as you suggested and the problems you pointed out were corrected.
Steve I appreciate your help. Your suggestion to move the umbrella closer to the camera minimized the shadows and centered the catchlights.
Chuck, I'm always awed by your in-depth comments on the forums. I tried your "homework assignment" with one modification. Because of the size of the fill light (umbrella) I was unable to located it under the camera so I put it as close to the camera on the right side as I could. Adjusting it to obtain black detail went well. When I tried adjusting the key output so that it was just short of clipping, I found the image very overexposed and washed out. I don't remember how much I had to decrease output to get the exposure pleasing but I'd guess it was probably a stop or two.
Again, thanks to all for your input. Much appreciated.



Apr 01, 2013 at 08:52 PM
cgardner
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · C&C on Studio Lighting


Ken_K wrote:
Chuck, I'm always awed by your in-depth comments on the forums. I tried your "homework assignment" with one modification. Because of the size of the fill light (umbrella) I was unable to located it under the camera so I put it as close to the camera on the right side as I could. Adjusting it to obtain black detail went well. When I tried adjusting the key output so that it was just short of clipping, I found the image very overexposed and washed out. I don't remember how much I had to decrease output to get the exposure pleasing
...Show more

As I mentioned large modifiers in a small space make it very difficult to independently control key and fill.

My starting baselines for portrait lighting were a north facing window and a pair of direct unmodifed flashes.

Try the standard reflectors on your lights on a dark background for comparison some time. Use the same proceedure, starting with cented fill, then adding the key light. Distinct edges are not unflattering; poorly placed dark unfilled shadows are. Start with a foundation of even fill and place the key light where it models the face naturally and you might be surprised how flattering the resutls can be.



Apr 02, 2013 at 11:29 PM





FM Forums | Lighting & Studio Techniques | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Retrive password