cord mayhem, eh?
almost my favorite palindrome: "mayhem, eh, yam?" the sweet potato said to the yam
cord mayhem, eh?
almost my favorite palindrome: "mayhem, eh, yam?" the sweet potato said to the yam
I think I had 4 or 5 lights for this shot, but the sun did most of the heavy lifting.
Simple three light setup
Center front key light
L/R rim light
Mamiya 6 rangefinder
Last edited by Victor Mercado; 1st February 2010 at 16:53.
One light, plus reflector.
Canon P/100mm/Fuji Film
Last edited by Victor Mercado; 1st February 2010 at 16:53.
I've never been able to use strobes for very long as they cause me ridiculous headaches. But my friend Jason came over and helped me put together a fluorescent cold light and we snapped a few shots. This was my favorite of the bunch.
Nikon D80 w/ 50mm f/1.4D (purchased from Marc Williams here!) and one 18x22 softbox.
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wow! a thread that I can learn from about something apart from shopping and science fiction.
I wish it would become a sticky so as to not get lost in the shuffle ... and that people who post images attach them to their post, so they don't get lost when they remove the shots from a sourced site or gallery
To continue ...
Like Ben, who started this thread, I also photograph weddings. They often present some very challenging lighting issues. While I am primarily a candid photojournalist type wedding shooter and use a Leica M and 35mm DSLR for most of that type work, it is often necessary to do more posed or directed shots. Rather than kiss them off as not being my "style", I decided to make more use of "studio" lighting techniques rather than the more ubiquitous on-camera speed-light. The real challenge is being able to do it quickly, and being highly flexible and mobile.
To solve this I use one battery strobe light on a light-stick with either a shoot-through umbrella, or a beauty dish for key directional light, and a diffused speed-light on-camera for fill ... usually set to TTL. The images below demonstrate a couple of different challenges ...
The subjects with couch wanted to move around the place where they held the reception, which was dimly lit ... requiring mobility and some decent level of lighting power. The shot of the Bride reclining was done to overpower the ambient completely because it was florescent, and there was all kinds of activity behind the couch. I used a higher shutter speed to further kill off the ambient. The key light was camera right almost parallel to her, up high and feathered across her full length, and the on-camera fill took care of the directional shadows.
The one of the same couple under the chandelier was basically lit the same way ...except the key light was further away, and a little more angled ... plus I dragged the shutter to hold some background ambient.
The Summer Bride shots show two different challenges. The one in front of the fireplace was in a claustrophobic room ... so we bounced the strobe off the left wall and used the speed-light rotated more camera right to feather the fill, and maintain the directional feel of the key.
The outdoor shot represents every wedding shooter's nightmare, short time frame, harsh sunlight (we often cannot pick the time of day), and no large areas of shade to be found anywhere ... the best we could find in the time allowed was dappled ambient light that turns the subject into a Dalmatian or Leopard This was solved by overpowering the ambient with 400 w/s and a beauty dish, plus full power from the speed-light. In reality, 800 or 1000 w/s would have been better.
It may be studio type lighting ... but it sure isn't a studio time frame where you can fuss with the lighting ... maybe 5 or 10 minutes per location/set-up. Ya gotta think really fast.
I've also been using an 'off camera key and on camera fill' setup a lot, for a couple of years now, it's nice lighting and very easy to use at a wedding. My key is a dual speedlight setup shooting into a brolly. I use Wireless TTL so I also have the advantage of being able to shoot with literally zero setup/trial shots and a large choice of ratios selectable from the camera. TTL isn't for everyone though of course, some swear by manual, I swear by TTL, the best of course, as always, is the one which works for you!
So, part of this is because weddings suck anymore ... to much work (I'm getting to old for this anyway), to much cheap competition, to much selling and squeezing every thin dime out of clients, and even when you up your game only a few give a darn. I'm moving to more portrait work, studio with the Profotos, environmental and location using MFD. So, the Quadra helps there ... I even got a second box and another head so I can pop off 800w/s when needed ... and control the ratio via groups right from the camera. The two Quadras fit in a small shoulder bag.
It's a whole other world, especially when they come to the studio. Spend a leisurely day sketching out ideas, set up for those ideas, and they come to me ... shoot to the computer, pick the shots with the client, take the print order while they are all enthralled, and you are done.
But, as you say Ben, to each is or her own.
Luckily the canon units don't have the auto shutdown of the sb-900 which has my mentor and friend tearing his hair out (he's a PJ). I'm using 35mm cameras so I need far less aperture and hence less light, my dual speedlights in a brolly are more than enough which is useful.
I know you use an older Canon unit as your main flash, (which I never had shut down), and using two TTL speed-lights in the umbrella helps lower the need for full output. But, trust me, the Canons WILL go down if they get to hot, and it takes upwards of 15 minutes to get them cooled down and back on line.
FYI, I use the strobes at weddings with 35mm mostly, the MFD is more for portrait work ... although that may change now that the S2 is in the bag. However, I agree that dual speed-lights and umbrellas work just fine at weddings ... but as full output studio strobe replacements they don't. It is to taxing on such expensive tools.
Anyway, back to lighting of all forms ... I hope to post a few new "lighting shots" by this week-end after a pregnant client session ... with the girl's permission that is I forgot how much I love working in the studio. I've become a photo hermit this winter ...
Best to you Ben,
Thanks for the heads up then Marc!
Continuing onward and hopefully upward ...
Here is how I have staged my in-home studio for an upcoming shoot ...
Large 7.5' X 7.5' light-wall with 1400 w/s pumped into it to do a profile silhouette shot of a pregnant woman ... with and without a Scrim-Jim silk in front of her to try some shadowed diffused effects. All other lights shown will be off.
Then all that will be removed, and a 6' strip light added to the overhead boom to rim light her from the side lying in a Le Corbusier chair against the dark sweep ... the chair curve mimicking the opposite of her bump. Fill as needed.
Then that is removed and a few things done with the big boxes set very low and use of a beauty dish and grid ... and 9" reflector with grid and barn doors. Her and her husband will be part of these ... some dramatically lit "body as landscape" standard sort of stuff ... but I have a few different ideas for these.
Lighting is Profoto ... two D4 2400 boxes, a couple of monos in the Light-Wall ... large softbox camera left is a 7' Plume Wafer, and most of the other stuff is Profoto except a giant Elinchrom Beauty dish which uses an EL to Profoto adapter.
I have about 6 shots mapped out and staged as I remove elements to keep things moving quickly and not wear her out ... including a "Humpty-Dumpty" idea that'll require PS work afterwards. The gal is open to just about anything. Should be fun.
Looking forward to seeing the shots Marc. Interesting how you have organised your lights - within the context of (relatively) low ceiling height.
Thanks Marc, I also look forward to seeing what comes out of this session with Humpty Dumpty and Le Courbesier - though am suprised that if you have an S2 in your bag you need to worry about lights at all, since I thought that once a photographer has an S2 the light shines out of his... oh dear, I can see I am getting off topic again.
Yes, Peter the ceiling height is less than optimal. It's 11' high at one end and 8' 10" at the end I shoot from ... but the cross beams cut that some ... so I had to go with a 7' camera stand. The room is 20' X 25' ... what isn't shown is the storage behind the backdrop, and there is a large translucent shooting table camera left.
You would be amazed what I've shot in this little studio ... including Kayaks and all kinds of commercial advertising "people" work.
My home studio prior to this one was much larger with 12' ceilings and more open space ... the downstairs area here has 25' ceilings and a large open common area, but my wife nixed the notion of using that as the studio
I have access to a big studio when needed ... but for the most part if I plan out the shots, this works pretty well. So, those who have a smaller space to work in can take heart
Here's a few of the diverse things done here ... some bank loan graphics, jewelry retail, the wheels I shoot ... bread and butter stuff to pay for the toys
Yes Marc - I think of your current set up as 'real world' - intreresting for me to see studio layouts within home environment..as always I appreciate your willingness to share your experiences - very much appreciated.
I no longer do portraits but I am teaching a class in portraiture next month so it was fortuitous when an aquaintance called and asked me to do a portrait for her. My "studio" is in my basement and it is sort of set up for table-top things, certainly not for portraiture. So I had to use low wattage hot lights, (continuous lighting as I read here the other day) Three point lighting for the final product, and minimal retouching, some stray hairs and two small blemishes, little things like that. I took one photo in harsh light as an example for the class what lighting can do, the other two are just standard corrective lighting. Joe
Last edited by Jack; 12th April 2011 at 14:54. Reason: images removed per OP request
As an addendum, these were all taken within a few minutes of each other, her makeup is the same, the camera (Nikon d700) and the lens is the same (105mm) the exposure was 1/40th at f/4 at if I remember correctly 1600 ISO, and the processing was pretty much what I do for any photo, (which in my case is usually inanimate) I think the major difference is in vibrance and saturation, I scarcely did any adjustment at all. I do virtually everything in Adobe Camera Raw and just a bit in PS, less than 5 minutes each from RAW to print, there just wasn't much to do. As you can see the subject is a good looking woman, mid aged but with great bone structure, when the lighting is set right you do not really need much to make a dramatic difference. The main was a 750 watt light into a silver reflecter, the fill was a 100 raw light bulb and the hair light was a raw 100 watt bulb focused with a fresnell lens.
I hope you paid your model well for the "harsh" sample, as it really is
Hmm... you guys are streets ahead of this sucker!
Until now like most people I have played around a bit with sometimes satisfactory and sometimes awful results using flash and this is where I find myself at the moment:
(1) like Marc's suggestion for a simple portable setup that can be used for portraits of either individuals or small groups. Would like to do this maintaining as much available ambient light to flush out the setting as possible and only do it if there is not enough ambient light to shoot without flash.
* two light stands (actually one is a spare tripod but ignore that)
* One powerful old Quantum Q flash with turbo battery and Contax 645 TTL adapter
* One old Metz c32 (4 rechargeable AA batteries) + 1 Nikon speedlight (rechargeable quantum battery) with multi-connector so they can be used together as "one" unit
* One thingy that goes on the end of the flash cable and automatically fires the flash when another one goes off
* 1 flash extension cable
* I Sekonic flash meter
* Two umbrellas; one with additional semi-transparent shell that turns it into a softbox
* 1 mini-lightbox that can be used for using shooting Quantum flash mounted on camera or on stand
* oh almost forgot: camera and digital back
* low budget (of course due to all of the above)
Obviously need to do some tests to figure out:
* what to use as main light and fill light?
* best to use manual or try to combine with TTL?
* best to use fill flash on camera or on a separate stand on the opposite side of camera from main light
* worth hassle of setting up Metz+Nikon flashes as one combo unit.
TTL will always try to balance everything out. I would have off camera equipment in your case. If you have one unit that will support three heads and you can adjust each one that is the ideal. But you could just as easily use two systems, one for your Main and fill and the other one for hair light on a radio slave and that works just as well. The ratios should be: Main as 1, fill as .5to.75 and hair light as 1.25. That should set your ratios perfectly. Joe
thanks for input jfk will try this
This is the Humpty-Dumpty idea completed ... the lighting was a beauty dish with a grid above her, camera right to sort of mimmick the ambient of the two composite shots of the sky and brick wall ... and the large 7' softbox behind me camera left for fill ... I shot her with a wide angle from floor level and further distorted her in PS.
These two were backlit with the "wall of light" and shot through the 7' X 7' Scrim Jim silk. Just a touch of bounce back fill happens from the silk.
Attachment 41291 Attachment 41292
This was shot the same way, except I added a Profoto light stick on a short stand hidden just behind her to lift the level of light and increase the bounce from the silk.
This is the one in the Le Corbusier chair that I mentioned. The backdrop was a charcoal grey cloth. I used a 6' Strip light on a boom above her and modified it by covering 1/2 of the soft-box face with black velvet to narrow the light ... and I left 2' hanging to act as an apron to keep any light from spilling onto the background. I also used another unmodified 6' strip light with it's normal diffusers in place to keep the light quality from getting to specular especially considering the chrome. It was placed on the floor just in front of me to provide some fill and light the chrome arcs of the classic chair.
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Why pay a photographer for a portrait when you can buy a camera for less and do it yourself? Here is the answer!
I reckon even if you shot each of these with a Kodak Brownie and the same light set up they would look just as good. But I guess the prints really bring out the contribution of the S2
I also like the portraits of the model not just the chair
Perhaps more importantly, with bigger files you have lots of data headroom to easily crop, manipulate and deal with skin retouching, etc. Or for dealing with extremes ... for example, the Mrs. H. Dumpty shot was really manipulated a lot, and the MFD file held up remarkably well without introducing all kinds of visible artifacts and pixel distortions at size. They are there, but the file is so big that it masks them when reduced to the size used. That print is 30" tall BTW.
The real notion here isn't about cameras and lenses, it is about thinking through ideas and designing the lighting scenarios to pull it off. That's the stuff that separates the work from an unimaginative Uncle Bob and his "Deer in the headlights" on-camera speed-light
the strip lighting works perfectly; but i checked them out: $ ouch!
This thread is really interesting!
This is two Eli mono lights, that I have owned forever they are marked 500
One with a grid on the background one as main on the subject with a deep Octa no interior diffusion. F8 and be there, they gave me 15 minutes from the moment I entered the room to the moment Glenn left.
For the inset, subject gave me the same amount of time.
from a recent project - challenge was one light, one object.
more here: http://www.korenman.com/showupshowoff/gallery/?p=339
recent headshot - eli quadra into mola demi. reflector at camera lower left.
Whoosh, created by about a dozen Profoto heads into 6 packs in studio.
Main, was a beauty dish, fill was two large soft boxes diffused top light was bounced off the white ceiling to fill the background and a two banks of umbrellas did the rest. Fun day!
Here's a couple of jobs I did for a client. I included photos of the article in which they were used to show the final product.
I so enjoy shooting glass, each piece poses different lighting challenges.
Six Speedotron heads were used with 7" reflectors. Various reflectors and gobos were also used to capture the subtle reflections and details of each piece.
Glass Wave Sculpture showing lighting setup
Glass Fishbowl Sculpture showing lighting setup.
Glass Calendar Wheel Sculpture showing lighting setup.
This is a separate job and another magazine article showcasing my client. Shown here are the 3 glass sculptures with related lighting and the final cover shot as it was used.
Thanks so much. I can never get enough shots of studios in action.
Very instructive to see your lighting arrangement.
And creative use of space!
I make do with what I have for space, the final product is what is most important.
My lighting gear packs up nicely into two large custom cases, so if the budget is there, I can easily take everything to a rented studio.
This was shot on location, I basically balanced the light level of my strobe light with the ambient available light. Very simple one Ranger, with a deep octa fully diffused.
Having used Elinchrom for well over a decade I considered buying a Quadra for this kind of application, light mobile fill light.
The Southampton sun was the key here, a Profoto Acute B 600 ws AirS with the zoom reflector was my fill. I really like this little lite.
So did you buy the Profoto instead or are you still thinking of the Quadra?
Giorgo, do you have already the Speedring/Adapter for Elinchrom Softboxes mounting on Profoto? I'm waiting for an adapter to use my Rotalux with the Hensel heads (just bought the Hensel Porty 1200 Lithium). Thanks, rem
Back to the thread, this was about 3 years after I started shooting catalog. A small client said I could show him an alternative to the cover photo he chose. I went straight to the darkroom, made a b/w dup distressed it and printed it on colour paper.
Lighting was daylight ambient one softbox 4x6 to the side one key above and to the left of camera about 2/3 of a stop above daylight. If I remember correctly.
For more involved work, more power, and more extensive use of modifiers it is not the best choice. But with other choices comes bigger stuff and more set-up time even with the small Profoto 600B ... which I owned before the Quadra.
I'm currently without a bigger portable battery solution and am waiting to see if more lithium technology makes it's way into separate inverters to drive my Profoto Monos or D4s ... like an update of the Profoto Batpac.
I'm in no hurry, so we'll see what comes next.
Late to this thread.
One from the recent shot (not necessarily the favorite, but one I have available).
-gridded Speedo BD as a main (I love this dish and almost never use my Mola anymore)
-gridded 1x4 strip for fill
-gridded 1x6 strip and gridded 7" reflector from behind
I'm hoping to contribute more to this thread, if only the time permits.
Just checking in before I take off...
This one is gritty, Chef Vincent Nargi at his restaurant in NYC.
I put him in the shade and had one small softbox off camera right on him.
Still waiting ...
One more, NYC Designer Naeem Khan in his showroom. Main light gelled to 3200 degrees K, above and to the right of camera powered way down, daylight from windows spilling in to the background.
Polo Player, on location.
1 & 3 Eli Ranger, set low power, one S head with a Deep Octa front diffusion only. Placed above and camera left. I measured the exterior daylight and tried to match it to my main light.
2 Profoto Acute B one head zoom reflector set wide, 1/3 of one stop over available daylight. No gel, no diffusion. Above camera to the left.
Giorgio, I like your Work and Infos to the Pictures!