Bought some Alien Bees now I need some HELP

Joined
Aug 23, 2007
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3,405
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Missouri
Ok guys I bought a 800 and a 400 and 1 very large softbox for the 800 and a large one for the 400, yes to act like a reflector as well. A girl I know sets the 800 on camera right and the 400 at camera left next to the backdrop tilted toward the the subject for fill in front of her of course. Would this work correctly? I know I could use a reflector where the 400 for fill would be but since I bought two I just assume to use them. :)

I haven't got my bees yet but I want to be ready.

Now with the speedlights I had one SB800 at camera left and fill another SB800 at camera right, right next to each other. But I didn't light the two catch lights in the eyes and the flat lighting I was getting.

Thanks in Advance!!!
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
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I'm not sure there is a "standard" setup. My most common configuration is a light on either side of the camera position towed in toward the subject at a 45 degree angle. I set one down a stop for fill. I often add an old speedlight as background or rim light. I currently bounce the light off umbrellas, but plan on moving to softboxes eventually. This setup gives me the option of quickly going to broad or short lighting if I choose. Another setup is bringing both lights together, set fairly high, and pointed down at the subject. I set the lights at the same output and shoot between them. This creates butterfly lighting and is very flattering with female subjects. I've found a good flash meter to be really useful when experimenting with different light ratios.

I didn't have a clue when I started and still am very much a novice. I got this book that has really helped me, but I'm sure there are other good ones.

http://www.amazon.com/Master-Lighting-Guide-Portrait-Photographers/dp/1584281251

I really enjoy studio photography. Having total control of the lighting and background allows for a degree of creativity I don't get with the event photography I do most of the time. You can see some of the different lighting results in the Portrait section of my website Photo Gallery.
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
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Hey Debbie congrats on the new AB ,have you checked out the sticky in the general flash photography thread their is a link in there with and interactive placement and end results for placement of your fill.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
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177
Location
Missouri
The nice thing about the Bees over the speedlights is you'll have a modeling light to observe the catchlights and get a visual on the shadows and the fill ratio. Placing the light more than one to one and a half times the longest dimention of the soft box and it becomes more specular and the softness diminishes, you'll just have to experiment and have fun. Shooting tethered is another good way to study the results and learn what the light is doing. A common error when starting out with multiple lights is having the fill too hot resulting in flat lighting and loss of dimentionality. Good luck! (BTW, I see you're a fellow Missourian, I'm in the Columbia area)
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
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Location
Missouri
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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I'm not sure there is a "standard" setup. My most common configuration is a light on either side of the camera position towed in toward the subject at a 45 degree angle. I set one down a stop for fill. I often add an old speedlight as background or rim light. I currently bounce the light off umbrellas, but plan on moving to softboxes eventually. This setup gives me the option of quickly going to broad or short lighting if I choose. Another setup is bringing both lights together, set fairly high, and pointed down at the subject. I set the lights at the same output and shoot between them. This creates butterfly lighting and is very flattering with female subjects. I've found a good flash meter to be really useful when experimenting with different light ratios.

I didn't have a clue when I started and still am very much a novice. I got this book that has really helped me, but I'm sure there are other good ones.

http://www.amazon.com/Master-Lighting-Guide-Portrait-Photographers/dp/1584281251

I really enjoy studio photography. Having total control of the lighting and background allows for a degree of creativity I don't get with the event photography I do most of the time. You can see some of the different lighting results in the Portrait section of my website Photo Gallery.
Thanks so much I will check it out and thanks for the pointers!!!

Hey Debbie congrats on the new AB ,have you checked out the sticky in the general flash photography thread their is a link in there with and interactive placement and end results for placement of your fill.
Thanks Mark! No I wasn't aware of it Thanks!!

The nice thing about the Bees over the speedlights is you'll have a modeling light to observe the catchlights and get a visual on the shadows and the fill ratio. Placing the light more than one to one and a half times the longest dimention of the soft box and it becomes more specular and the softness diminishes, you'll just have to experiment and have fun. Shooting tethered is another good way to study the results and learn what the light is doing. A common error when starting out with multiple lights is having the fill too hot resulting in flat lighting and loss of dimentionality. Good luck! (BTW, I see you're a fellow Missourian, I'm in the Columbia area)
Thanks for the pointers!!! Yes I'm around 45 miles away from Columbia :)

Have a look at this it might help give you some ideas. I always find seeing better than trying to explain.

http://www.lowel.com/edu/foundations_of_lighting.html#2
Thanks David :smile:
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
321
Location
USA
I think you will find a flash meter to be very helpful in setting up your lights. It is a little intimidating at first, but once you start using it, you will love it. You don't have to buy the latest and greatest - there are good ones to be had at very reasonable prices if you do some research.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
5,614
Location
Texas
Ok guys I bought a 800 and a 400 and 1 very large softbox for the 800 and a large one for the 400, yes to act like a reflector as well. A girl I know sets the 800 on camera right and the 400 at camera left next to the backdrop tilted toward the the subject for fill in front of her of course. Would this work correctly? I know I could use a reflector where the 400 for fill would be but since I bought two I just assume to use them. :)

Any weird fill setup you choose probably has a name and a few fans. :smile:

But the conventional classical idea for Main and Fill lighting is:

Main light about 45 degrees wide and high, from the subject. This makes intentional shadows ON THE SUBJECT to show shape and be interesting. We eliminate the shadows behind by moving the background back a few feet, and maybe lighting it too. The large Main light (softbox or umbrella) makes those shadows ON THE SUBJECT be soft, to be the wonderful subtle gradient tonal variations, pleasing instead of objectionable.

But one light is contrasty, excessively so. Many things can be done, for example, a simple reflector on the other side, but a reflector has to be where it works, and it does what it does (passive). A second light is much easier, it can be moved anywhere and adjusted any way (active). But a second light makes a second set of shadows. It is turned down a stop or so for fill, but it still makes shadows too. Two sets of shadows is not a good thing. We are used to our Sun making one set.

So the conventional place for a fill light is very near the lens axis. This lights exactly what the lens sees, and lightens the shadows the lens sees (which is the goal), specifically without making a second set of shadows itself. The shadows that this light at lens axis makes is BEHIND the subject, not on it. This direct light is a flat light on the subject, by definition of being direct and flat, but a large light makes the shadow behind too soft to see, esp if the background is back a bit.

It could be near the camera on opposite side from main light, but the idea is near the lens. Or one easy and popular method is that the fill is behind the camera, just above it, to be on axis with the lens. It makes good catchlights near the lens axis too.
 
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