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Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

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Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Old 08-22-10, 05:31 PM
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Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Hi, My wife and I will be required to photograph some models for a makeup course she is doing.
I want to purchased a studio lighting kit but don't know which direction to go in, so I needed some help/advice from people in the know. Many of you seem to be good photographers.

I have seen the following package

http://www.backdropsource.com.au/10f...ductsInfo.aspx

And it seems like great value for money.
I would prefer a continuous lighting system so I can set up the lighting by eye. I mainly use prime lenses and like using available light. I figure that using a couple of continuous softboxes will give me similar control to opening and closing a set of blinds.
The kit comes with cold fluorescent bulbs so there is no heat related problems.

Compared to other setups this seems really cheap.
What am I missing out on? What will I benefit from by spending more money?
Thanks in advance.
Old 08-22-10, 10:06 PM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

you may want to pick up this book and look it over. it does cover lighting setups as well as calibrating your camera colors.
http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Complete-...sr=1-1-catcorr

The only thing i see wrong with that kit is "Fluorescent bulbs" which flicker and that flicker can cause white balance issues when shooting at high shutter speeds.
Old 08-22-10, 10:19 PM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Are you in AU?

I bought a handful of Smith Victor stuff more my shop. I photograph a lot of industrial equipment. I use the Smith Victor lighting, a Canon 50D and a 17-85 zoom lens (their best walk-around lens).

I own one 600mm prime (my baby). But it's virtually useless for that work. I'm doing preproduction on a few film projects and it takes fucking spetacular shots of cityscapes and whatnot ... where I can step back from what I'm photographing. And it helps me 'sneak into' a lot of locations.

BHPhotoVideo.Com has an excellent selection, with pricing. Not sure if they ship to AU, though.

If you spend more money, you're going to get production-quality lighting ... plain and simple. You can't quite get 'that look' with low-cost lighting. If it's for a shcool course, I'd recommend using the cheap solution. I don't see what you couldn't make due with the cheaper stuff. Spend a few thousand on an Arri or Mole Richardson set if you open a business and have to satisfy customers and whatnot.
Old 08-23-10, 06:15 AM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

mmconhea:
Thanks I'll look into that book.
What kind of shutter speeds are we talking about? At the most extreme I'll be working with a 140mm equivalent lens. I'm anticipating an average of f/5.6, ISO as low as I can leave it of course and a shutter speed between 1/60 and 1/120. The models will mostly be stationary since the shots will be showing off makeup.

Is it possible to use a dimmer on Fluorescent bulbs or will I have to move the softboxes back and forth to manage the intensity? I guess I could just increase shutter speed, but as you say that could cause problems.

troystiffler:
Yep I'm in Australia. The 17-85 is an awesome lens. I've ordered the 17-55 f/2.8 IS for work (I work in an electronics/camera shop) and can't wait to try it out.
I'll check out the sites you suggested.
How are the backdrops normally attached to the verticle rods? Are they easy to remove and replace if I need to change colour, or would I be better off with one that can hold multiple backdrops at once?

Thanks for the quick replies. I'll be sure to post the shots once they are done. Should be in about 8 weeks or so.
Old 08-23-10, 09:38 AM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Originally Posted by fmian View Post
Hi, My wife and I will be required to photograph some models for a makeup course she is doing.
I want to purchased a studio lighting kit but don't know which direction to go in, so I needed some help/advice from people in the know. Many of you seem to be good photographers.
Are you a photographer, or do you plan to keep doing studio photography after this project? I ask because you put this in the context of your wife's makeup course, which suggests that once she finishes that, the lighting won't be used. If that's the case, I would find a local photographer who will let you borrow/rent his studio rather than buy a set-up for yourself that you won't keep using.
Old 08-23-10, 09:52 AM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Are you a photographer, or do you plan to keep doing studio photography after this project? I ask because you put this in the context of your wife's makeup course, which suggests that once she finishes that, the lighting won't be used. If that's the case, I would find a local photographer who will let you borrow/rent his studio rather than buy a set-up for yourself that you won't keep using.
Heh. I definately missed that one. Good idea. Depending on the logistics of the project, you could just have everything professionally done.
Old 08-23-10, 11:43 AM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Originally Posted by fmian View Post
mmconhea:
Thanks I'll look into that book.
What kind of shutter speeds are we talking about? At the most extreme I'll be working with a 140mm equivalent lens. I'm anticipating an average of f/5.6, ISO as low as I can leave it of course and a shutter speed between 1/60 and 1/120. The models will mostly be stationary since the shots will be showing off makeup.

Is it possible to use a dimmer on Fluorescent bulbs or will I have to move the softboxes back and forth to manage the intensity? I guess I could just increase shutter speed, but as you say that could cause problems.
It'll be consistent color balance issues at 1/120 sec or more... and random at lower.
Unless there is a technology I am unaware of, FL bulbs cannot be dimmed.
Old 08-23-10, 08:47 PM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Sorry I should have made things a little clearer before.
I plan on making a career out of photography, but not necessarily just studio photography. I want to study arts, media and photojournalism when I can tear myself away from a job.
I might do studio work on the side, but don't want to focus entirely on it.
I understand that it's important to know and that's where the immediate dollars are.
If anything, I think I will keep this new studio kit as a portable, and get a more solid one if I ever need to open a studio.
I mentioned it's for my wifes makeup course so you will know what kind of photos I'll need to be taking, in case I am choosing the wrong studio kit for that kind of work.

Didn't want to go the professional route as I really want to know how to do this myself, and my wife and I can spend more time collaborating for the desired end result. Her college is offering use of their photographers for $10 per 5 x 7 print. It's a great price but they will be time limited in applying the makeup and having the shots taken, since the class shares the photographer. Also, if she is not happy with the prints there is no going back.

In regards to flouro lights flickering, some of them are advertised as flicker-free such as this
http://www.adorama.com/PAFPFK.html
Is the flicker-free nature down to the light fitting or the actual bulb?
Old 10-14-10, 09:22 AM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Finally got the first of five photoshoots done.
The theme is bridal and my wife chose to go with an Indian wedding style.
Here are some samples.



In hindsight, I should have noticed that the jewellery was not strait, and in some shots it was out of focus.

Last edited by fmian; 10-15-10 at 06:38 AM.
Old 10-14-10, 05:57 PM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

When photographing subjects where details are important (make-up, jewelry, clothing), it's much better to shoot at a higher stop (f8 or so) and high shutter (at least 1/120) to keep everything you want to see in focus. For this, you'll definitely need to work with strobes. In saying that you want to use continuous light so you can see the ratios by eye, keep in mind that many strobes have a modeling light, so you can still judge your ratios.
Old 10-15-10, 03:34 AM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Yes I'll certainly raise the f-stop next time and keep an eye on the shutter speed.
One of my 2 flashes died a day before the shoot so I had to rely on lighting from one shoot through flash, flouro softbox and a reflector board. To make matters worse the shoot was done around midnight so there was no sunlight to take advantage of.

I have a mature female shoot (my mother of all people) to do next week so I'm eager to get more experience under my belt.

ps. Had to remove the photos from flickr. Will upload them again soon.
Old 10-15-10, 01:20 PM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

the first shot has a yellowish green cast to it. Did you calibrate the white or color balance of the scene?
The second shot... well this is not easily noticed, but huge... get rid of the shadows under features on women... that's hugely important. No shadows under there eyes especially. It makes all the difference. The elimination of these shadows can be done with a softbox just above the camera.
Other than that I think these are excellent! Keep working on it and showing us your results.
Old 11-02-10, 07:49 AM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

I've been eyeballing colour balance in post rather than trying to correct it during the shoot. Either way i think I need a new monitor.

I am now using strobes. The flouro boxes were a waste of money like some of you predicted.

We finished the 1920's period makeup shoot last week. Here is a shot from it.

Old 11-02-10, 11:28 PM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

In my non-photographer opinion - much better lighting on the black and white.
Old 11-03-10, 11:09 AM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

the lighting is spot on, but I recommend touch of soft focus to it
Old 11-04-10, 10:05 PM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

That is definitely an improvement, not that the prior ones were bad, but the lighting/shadows were noticeable.
Old 11-12-10, 03:59 PM
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Re: Photographic Studio Lighting setup. Need advice please.

Originally Posted by mmconhea View Post
the lighting is spot on, but I recommend touch of soft focus to it
Yeah I get what you mean, I just spent a long time pixel hunting and making sure unwanted bumps and spots were cleaned up, and applying some selective sharpening.

Here is another with a High Fashion/Vampire theme.


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