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Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

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  #1  
Old 01-26-2009, 11:10 AM
lolli lolli is offline
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Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

Hi I lost all my equipment and studio in Katrina and have since replaced alot but went from strobe lights to continuos because I was told it was easier to control lights .My problem is that I find it harder to control and am wondering if I should reinvest in strobes or can any body give me clues as how to use this. I have a Nikon d80 with attachment to use lights and have 4-5 stands and lights with 2 -10 in. reflectors and 2- 8 in., a boom, 2 white umbrellas shoot thru, 1 bounce white, and 1 black . I have also one expandable reflector white, silver, gold, one small back drop strobe and one with barn doors. I do mostly head shots with some full length model. what would be my ideal lighting set up right now I have a portable studio 10x10 ft 8 ft. tall with either black or white sides (which I make and sell). My studio hopefully will be done within next two weeks. I have access to any color of backdrop I choose as I have hundreds of yards of fabric in any color ( I also design kids clothes) any help would be greatly appreiated Pat
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:46 AM
HuBBa HuBBa is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

Imho it all depends on what you will be using it for. Continous lighting is quite good for product photography since what you see is what you get, hence the comment that its easier to control.

For humans (and animals however you either need to have them stand still for slow shutterspeeds, high iso, or cram a LOT of light power which will make the set about as hot as a sauna. This usually means that the talent (ie. models) will start to sweat quite fast and the eyes will be irritated by the bright light.

And that is why most people use strobes for portraits and fashion work. Its easier to handle with and just as easy to control and manipulate once you get used to it. In the end, thats what the modelling light is for =)

As for ideal setup for full-length shots and such it also depends on your style of lighting. Some photographers like to use 5-8 lights, and some use one. A good start however would be one key, one fill/hair, and 1-2 background lights (which can also be used for other effects). so 3-4 lights should start you off nicely but remember that 1 light also works well if you use it right

Good luck and post some photos soon when you are up and running.
/Henrik
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:54 AM
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igot2pman igot2pman is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

Hubba is correct, but I would like to add to why continuous is better.

If you over or under expose a flash, It’s hard to recover the lost data. Continuous lighting gives you smooth buttery highlights that can easily be dodged our burned. You can also bring back an under or over exposure with ease so long as your cameras dynamic range will allow, and how much noise you will allow.

That’s why wedding photographers use window light (natural) whenever possible, it gives you a smooth buttery finish. With a flash there is nearly always an ugly hot spot closest to the flash. Making it hard and tedious to edit if bad exposure or even sometimes if its good.

The down side is that the amount of light needed to get a low ISO, good shutter speed. And enough aperture can be a lot. So yes it can be hot, but now a days you can buy 400W compact florescent that are daylight temp. A lot less heat (still hot when on for long time) and last a long time. To compensate for the heat, you could make or buy a Spiderlite set up with those 400W bulbs and only turn all them on when you’re shooting. Like only have two or one on at all times. Go HERE for info on the Spiderlite and check out the links oh how to make one.

Speedlights and strobes a just a lot more convenient. But can you name a strobe that can flash at 6 Fps??? I think not. If you can get enough continuous light in there, you can...

Just my thoughts...,
-Keven
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:03 AM
HuBBa HuBBa is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

Well, last challenge first. Profoto Pro-8 =) Up to 20 fps for that (http://www.profoto.se/products/profo...a%202400%20Air)

Obviously not 20fps at maxium power but it has a pretty extreme recycling rate for that aswell, 0.9s at 2400 ws.

Just a little comment regarding the buttery highlights and such. You can create this with flashes also, but it does require you to measure your flash powers very carefully so you do not get any blown highlights areas or lost shadows. Quite a few photographers seems to think that just checking the histogram is enough and that lightmeters are a thing for old stuck up film photographers Reality however is that a histogram will only give you the blackest point and the lightest point, but not where those points are.

Now this is just a clarification and in no way a point that flash is the solve-all because it isnt. When i shoot textiles and fabrics i always try to use natural light actually. I can recreate that with flashes but it tends to be more problems to get the same softness as a overcast day.

I used to work a lot with video and film production earlier, and the continous light is ofcourse the only alternative there. There are problems, heat being the main one, but also that the color temperature may vary even on very high quality lights. They also tend to vary a bit during the shoot which may be a problem. Good quality flashes should not vary more than a few kelvin between shots. Cheap ones will however.

But in the end use what works for you. Most important part is to take the pictures, not how you got there
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:21 AM
lolli lolli is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

Thanks for the input guys I do appreciate it but I think you are right I am going to have to figure this one out with trial and error I will just have to see what works best for what I do I had just become so accustomed to my flash and figuring out all new equipment is hard I new how to work with what I had and did a pretty good job. I think photography is a continuous learning thing any way so will have to put in my time .... Pat
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:11 PM
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igot2pman igot2pman is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HuBBa View Post
Well, last challenge first. Profoto Pro-8 =) Up to 20 fps for that (http://www.profoto.se/products/profo...a%202400%20Air)

Obviously not 20fps at maxium power but it has a pretty extreme recycling rate for that aswell, 0.9s at 2400 ws.
That is a crazy flash...but at almost $11,000...but yes if you had the $$$ you could get 20fps...

And, yes, if your flash is spot on, you shouldn’t have blown the highlights. I need a good strobe meter... costly but better then the guess and check method.

______________________________________

lolli,

Everyone has their own style... and budgets...

It’s not the lighting, subject, position, lens, sensor, or camera....it’s what’s behind it, the photographer that makes the picture.

Good luck,
-Keven
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:36 AM
HuBBa HuBBa is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

I got a Pro 7b myself, and that is pretty good and fast for a battery-powered unit. Especially if you can go low on the power then it's quite fast. no 6fps though.

I attended a shoot not too long ago where the photographer had a Pro8 unit and it was insane. He shot with a EOS 1Ds mk3, at full fps while the model bounced around on the floor. The flash unit hit every frame perfect sync. Just silly power but as you said, if you are not working with this professionally (and at a pretty good income-level too) then these kinds of units are a bit overkill.

However.. there are rental places

But in the end its what you closed the reply with, it is the photographer in the end that makes the picture. I've seen crap images taken with very high $$$ gear and setups, and i've seen superb images taken with a small pocket camera and no flash.
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:40 AM
lolli lolli is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

Ok after my shoot yesterday I have decided I need to go back to strobe so need to decide what to go back to. My budget is not even in the ball park of the ones mentioned so whats the best I can go with in the low end to get me at least started then I will work my way back up Thanks Pat
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2009, 09:10 AM
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igot2pman igot2pman is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

Now just to show you that your equipment doesent matter...

I use this set up bought for $125 off e-bay. 2x 110W, 7ft stand, silver umbrellas.
- So cheep that one of the test buttons didn't work when they arrived...lol, got $10 off because of it. They work well for stationary posed shots. But the nob on the back has no numbers so setting it is a chore. Recharge time 3 sec. You can work around your equipments faults.

I used these strobes for the pictures i recently shoot found HERE

But if you need a certain capability then you almost have no choice but to put out the $$$. I do more outdoor, so these cheep strobes work for my needs.

Good luck,
-Keven
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2009, 05:17 PM
HuBBa HuBBa is offline
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Re: Need help on lighting strobe or continuos?

White Lighting (Alienbee's) are pretty good quality for the cost though. So you don't have to go with profoto, broncolor or any of the other high-end brands just to get good consistant flashes. You generally only by those if you really have need for the extra mojo they may bring. And you rarely have that unless you bring in the cash needed to afford them =9
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