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Archive 2013 · New setup and
  
 
RKnecht
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · New setup and


I'm trying to figure all this stuff out. I want the background darker (or do I?). I have the dogs about 3 feet from the background and the lights on either side. I'm using 2 Einsteins and 2 soft silver PLMs with the diffuser fabric. The background is black muslin. I'm trying to create a BLACK background, not charcoal. I'd also be interested in any critiques or comments since these are basically my first shots with the lighting.

http://www.richknechtphotography.com/Gallery-Index/Pets/Our-Dogs/i-PXPfJ8S/0/XL/FF4_1477FB-XL.jpg

http://www.richknechtphotography.com/Gallery-Index/Pets/Our-Dogs/i-fHM56wt/0/XL/FF4_1432FB-XL.jpg

I'm also going to try a solid white background to see if I like "the look" I get with that. I am looking forward to learning as much as I can about lighting as I find it is a fascinating part of photography.



Dec 14, 2013 at 02:58 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · New setup and


RKnecht wrote:
...I have the dogs about 3 feet from the background and the lights on either side. I'm trying to create a BLACK background, not charcoal.


With no EXIF info I can't say for sure, but it may be that you're recording too much room light in addition to your strobes. It could also be spill and bounce from the strobes, since you're using large modifiers.

Two things to try are moving the subjects further from the background, and moving the lights closer to the subjects...or doing both. These accomplish the same thing: getting more fall-off of the light before it reaches the background.

If it's ambient light that's causing the BG to be over-lit, a faster shutter speed may help cut down the ambient without affecting the strobe, unless you're already at max sync speed for your camera.

As for whether or not you should have a black background, you may get too much subject/background merge considering the subject is also black. If you do go for a black BG you'll almost surely need to add rim lights from behind the dog to create separation.



Dec 14, 2013 at 05:06 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · New setup and


I actually like the charcoal. It might be good even a little lighter. It provides nice separation with your subject. I think white would be too contrasty, I like the low key nature of these.

How good are your Photoshop skills? Do two experiments. Create a curves adjustment layer with a mask. Crush the background to black black (3,3,3 or so). Then paint in the background and look at the results. Turn this layer off and create another curves (or brightness) mask layer. Adjust the background up ever so slightly, it won't take much. Paint in the mask and look at the results.

I'm betting that raising the background just a little to help with the separation will produce a pleasing image.

Handsome pooch!



Dec 14, 2013 at 05:17 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · New setup and


dmacmillan wrote:
I actually like the charcoal. It might be good even a little lighter. It provides nice separation with your subject.


I agree, especially with there being no rim lights.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the original and a simulated black BG.








Dec 14, 2013 at 06:15 PM
 

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unclemikey
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · New setup and


Here is a simple solution. Use Velvet instead of muslin which has a greater reflective character to it. Also, I think there is too much room light.


Dec 14, 2013 at 06:25 PM
RKnecht
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · New setup and


Thanks for the great info, it really helps me out. I tried moving the dogs further from the background and the lights closer and it looked much better. I also went from 1/125 shutter speed to 1/250 which I think made a big difference as well. However, the more I look at these shots, I think I am leaning towards the charcoal as mentioned.

As far as room light, these were shot in my living room which has a large bay window. Far from ideal, but I was a little anxious to play around with the new lights before the studio is finished. I'm going to play around more when it's dark outside or hang a dark sheet in the window.




Dec 14, 2013 at 06:52 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · New setup and


RKnecht wrote:
I tried moving the dogs further from the background and the lights closer and it looked much better.


Yep; that's the inverse square law at work.

RKnecht wrote:
...I also went from 1/125 shutter speed to 1/250 which I think made a big difference as well.


Yeah, cutting the room light by a full stop can't hurt when it comes to getting more control of the lighting. Have fun with your new studio!



Dec 14, 2013 at 07:00 PM





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