Power for hair light strobe
I am back into LF portrait work (not for profit), and am using a strobe kit that has 5 one hundred twenty watt second strobes. Two white umbrellas, one black. When
I set up the background light and the rest, I am not able to get enough light on the subject's hair (young woman with long dark hair).
After some testing, I am getting to the opinion that the 120 ws is not powerful enough, and/or I need a snoot to really concentrate the strobe light.
Am I on the right track? I am no averse to getting another strobe, but I am quite ignorant of strobe work, most of my previous portraits were hot lights, and decades ago.
Thanks for the help
Using a snoot won't concentrate the light, it just cuts off spill. Likewise, grid type "spot" attachments will not increase light available. You need a true spotlight - fresnels being the most affordable. There are some fresnel attachments out there for some brands of heads, but what's the odds of you being that lucky?
Other than getting the hair light in closer, or turning down the other lights, that's pretty much your options.
Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
I don't think the issue is not having enough power. It's a matter of increasing the strength of the hair light relative to the other lights. I'd use a snoot and bring it in fairly close, if you want a strong accent.
I agree, snoots etc will not increase the amount of light; may I suggest that you arrange your background so that the hair is at first separated, (ie. light colored for dark hair ) and then move the light in close and high. It helps if the model`s hair has a sheen / shine in the first place. Another suggestion is to make the other lights weaker than the hair light by moving them away,.... cheers barrieb
From what you have said, I believe you have plenty of light, all a snoot will do is as the others have said, not increase the amount, but aid in controlling where and how the spill light falls. When beginning your session with some one set up your hair light first, then build the main and fill to fit your chosen ratio. A snoot of small diameter 2 1/2 in. and ten to 15 inches long will work fine when used close up and just out of the frame. You must be careful not to allow the hair light spill, to high lite the ears, or fall on the models shoulders. D Peterson and Max Munn Autry used to say that the hair light
(Kicker in their words) should be on the same side as the main light. I have seen it done both ways but prefer Max and Don's method. My earliest Winona classes encouraged setting up the hair and back ground lights first
with no other light on the subject, then bring in the main (key) then the fill.
It all seemed to work for us way back when.
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It is a matter of ratios.
If your main light is f/8.0, then your hair light needs to be stronger, say f/8 1/2 or f/11. If you find your hair light to weak, then by using the inverse square law, the hair light either needs more power than the main light, or the hair light needs to be closer.
If your hair light can't get anymore power and can't be moved any closer, then you must reduce the exposure of the main light.
It's best to do as Charlie Webb recommended, build your light backwards. Background, hair or kicker lights, then the main followed by your fill.
Personally I think it has to do more with the angle of the light than the volume. Certainly volume matters but the angle dictates volume. The size of the light source is really irrelevent. Though care should taken not to get light in places you don't want spill I/E cutters and gobos. I've never really cared for spots and grids for hair light simply because of the quality. Have used half domes or umbrellas pointed away from the back ground. In terms of comparitive values it really depends on Hair value as juxtapposed to the backgroud and what the sitter is wearing. My hair or seperation lights have never exceeded the value of the driving light. In fact are usually at least 2/3 stop down. I would rather spot the background and bring up its value to give separation than creating an hard hair spot effect that as the sitter moves the light may or may not be in the right spot.
Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!