Lighting Problems...

Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Messages
210
Location
Chicago
"Forget the books unless it is your ambition to work in a mall kiosk. Train your eyes to see light the way the camera does... in a compressed dynamic range"

Or the Cliff Notes version: "It's light, not rocket science"
Well, maybe not rocket science, but if there's one book covering the fundamentals of controlling light that I would recommend, that would be "Light, Science & Magic".

The 3rd edition is just about the best lighting primer that I've ever come across. It's available in most book stores. Well worth spending some time with.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
1,820
There's a set of strobist dvds that's supposed to be great, first batch sold out, next batch supposedly due today at Midwest Photo.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
2,096
Location
Pensacola, Florida
Seneca, this is the best help I can give you. You dont need adjustable lights or a light meter to do this.

Simply move your lights (that are set at the same power) in increments equal to f-stops. 4, 5.6, 8, 11 etc.

Use the ullustration for light placement, start with the main 1 stop closer than the fill. Adjust your aperture for exposure. If you need to change aperture for DOF, move your lights.

There is another link at the bottom of one of my posts in this thread to where I find the information.

I know it is frustrating when things dont come together. This is an easy way to start and get good results. Then it is easier to make changes to what you are doing. I just try to remember that when things go bad, go back to square 1.
 
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Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
10,266
Location
Texas!
Seneca, this is the best help I can give you. You dont need adjustable lights or a light meter to do this.

Simply move your lights (that are set at the same power) in increments equal to f-stops. 4, 5.6, 8, 11 etc.

Use the ullustration for light placement, start with the main 1 stop closer than the fill. Adjust your aperture for exposure. If you need to change aperture for DOF, move your lights.

There is another link at the bottom of one of my posts in this thread to where I find the information.

I know it is frustrating when things dont come together. This is an easy way to start and get good results. Then it is easier to make changes to what you are doing. I just try to remember that when things go bad, go back to square 1.
Thank you Roy. It seems all I can shoot at is F13 without blowing something out if I go larger than F13. I wish I could explain this better. Perhaps I need to take a picture of my set up so ya'll can see what I'm dealing with and then mabye someone can tell me where this set-up has problems.
 
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Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
2,096
Location
Pensacola, Florida
Thank you Roy. It seems all I can shoot at is F13 without blowing something out if I go larger than F13. I wish I could explain this better. Perhaps I need to take a picture of my set up so ya'll can see what I'm dealing with and then mabye someone can tell me where this set-up has problems.
You can pull your lights out some if you have room, but this makes your lights harder not softer. I would like to see what you have for a setup when you get a chance.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
814
Location
Outer Los Angeles
You're right, P'Cola. Moving the lights to and fro will change the f/stop as well as the shadows and highlights.

Seneca, experiment with something small, shiny and round: An apple or billiard ball, for instance. Move your light in close, set the exposure and take a snap. Next, move it back as far as you can and do the same. Then compare the images with each other.

As an extreme example: You can place a twelve-inch by twelve-inch soft box one foot from your shiny, round subject, and you'll see that the highlights and shadows are large, soft and pleasing. But, the six-foot by eight-foot window ten feet behind you (the one with the diaphanous curtains that turn it into a huge soft box) shows up as a small, bright generally window-shaped specular. Yes, on a shiny object, any light from across the room that reaches the subject, even when over-powered by the strobes (window light at, say, f/5.6 and strobes at f/16), will reflect back as a specular highlight, and will often be amazingly identifiable.

Another, slightly less expensive method for controling highlights and shadows is to use reflectors and umbrellas of different sizes. Assuming both are at the same power setting and distance from the subject, the smaller, of course, will give smaller reflections and more defined shadows, and provide for smaller a aperature. Larger will do the opposite.

Aperture size will also affect reflection size (shadow, not so much). But, that's another atory for another time.
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
57
Location
Northern Illinois USA
Seneca, as someone mentioned earlier the battery-looking thing is the power pack for your lights. There should be a single knob on the power pack that allows you to turn the flash power up or down. The switch on the individual strobe head allow you to adjust an individual light down 1 or 2 stops from the other lights plugged into the powerpack.
You could use one of the strobe heads without a -1 or -2 for your main light - turn the knob on the power pack to get the power level of the main at the F stop you want and then use one of the strobe heads with the switch to adjust that head down either 1 or 2 stops to give your the main to fill ratio you want.
Actually, assuming everything works, that is a very nice lighting setup.
I found a link to their website to get the info.
http://www.novatron.com/products/6/

Good luck. A flash meter is very handy for setting up the lights.

Rick
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
926
Location
Southern NH
Hi Seneca
I'm having my own battles with lighting at the moment, I keep telling myself that flash is my friend but it's hard. I think everyone learns in a different way and personally I HAVE to know a bunch of theory before I start trying stuff. Over the last few months I must have read over 6 different lighting books. I am still not much wiser but now I'm trying to play with what I've read about.
I just did another big order at Amazon last night so I've got lots of new photography books coming and so if you want to send me a PM maybe I can send you some of the books I found useful? I would like them back eventually but figure you're good for them!
 
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