Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 69,752   Posts: 1,515,899   Online: 1055
      
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    211
    Images
    28

    Newbie Lighting confusion

    Well, I just picked up my very own first 35mm SLR. I'd taken courses in highschool on photography (before the advent of digital photography) and it really grabbed a hold of me back then. Unfortunately, I didn't have access to my own SLR at the time, and we did NOTHING when it came to artificial lighting in the courses I took, it was all using natural light and concentrated on artistic composition.

    Now that I have my own camera, I'm wanting to experiment a bit with lighting but I don't know where to start. I have an old Minolta XG-9 (yeah, I know, old, but it's got all the settings I'm familiar with from those old courses).

    I've found while using my digital camera which has a built in flash that the flash tends to wash everything out, and destroys any of the subtle shadow effects that I was really after when setting up the shot.

    My question is, where would you all recommend I start when it comes to looking at lighting packages that will work with older 35mm SLRs that won't wash images out. Also, I'm on a rather tight budget, so an eye towards inexpensive is good.

  2. #2
    blansky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Wine country in Northern California
    Posts
    5,029
    It depends on what your goal is. As you have found out, on camera strobes are not very flattering and the only thing they have going for them is convenience.

    If you plan on doing portraits of people with strobe then you should check the archives here on lighting. There are about three types. The portable kind that have no modelling light. These are essentially like the on camera strobes except you usually mount them on a stand and try to use at a roughly 45 degree angle to the subject to get a flattering light pattern. You usually have figure out the output needed and set the dials and fire away. A modelling light is a constant light that the more expensive units have that show you the lighting patterns and help you do good portraits.

    The types with the modelling lights, there are a couple of choices. Powerpack with a certain number of heads. And monolights where the powerpack and the heads are all one unit. Monolights are my preference but many others like the powerpack and heads.

    These two are lights that can easily accept umbrellas and softboxes and are really the only choice if you are learning lighting and planning on doing any serious types of portraits.

    MIchael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  3. #3
    rbarker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2,222
    Images
    2
    FWIW, Michael and I are of similar minds when it comes to lighting and a preference for using strobes that can be modified/controlled. There are dozens of choices, and the best choice for you depends strongly on your personal objectives. Your basic question, however, is one that faces virtually every photographer interested in making portraits.

    The universal problem we all face, however, is not knowing enough about what we really want before we go looking for it. Thus, before delving into actual product choices, you may find doing a bit of reading to be helpful. Although not specific to portraiture, the best book I've found on general lighting is Hunter and Fuqua's book, "Light - Science and Magic". It will help you to understand the underlying nature of lighting, and how different surfaces (subjects) require different types of lighting. From there, a book on portrait lighting will help focus your personal choices. There is no single solution that meets everyone's objectives.

    Additionally, there are numerous previous threads on this general subject here on APUG. Reading those threads may help narrow your choices, as well.

    Although portrait lighting can be accomplished on a tight budget, I think you'll find that doing so is frought with compromises. You can, for example, start experimenting with two or three $10 shop lights from the hardware store. Or, you could opt for inexpensive strobes ($100 or so, each), or even multiple battery-operated electronic flash units (e.g. several Vivitar 283s linked together with sync cords). All of these choices have trade-offs in the nature of the light they output, the quantity of output (i.e. the exposure values associated), and how convenient they are to use - both for you and your subjects.

    One important point with all of these choices - they will all work with virtually any camera capable of manual exposure control - as long as the camera or lens has a sync connection. The wrinkle is that you'll need to have a flash-capable light meter, so you can set up the multiple lights properly and determine the resulting exposure. (The alternative is to calculate exposure based on guide numbers, which gets complicated with multiple lights.)
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    211
    Images
    28
    ah, so a light meter is an invaluable item to get for using strobe lighting?

    Thanks to both of you for the responses. I've been trying to read up on the ins and outs of the various kinds of lighting, and it's really been a bit on the overwhelming side.

  5. #5
    rbarker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2,222
    Images
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by AeisLugh
    ah, so a light meter is an invaluable item to get for using strobe lighting?
    Yep. That investment will save money in the long run, as well as preserve your hair line.

    Quote Originally Posted by AeisLugh
    Thanks to both of you for the responses. I've been trying to read up on the ins and outs of the various kinds of lighting, and it's really been a bit on the overwhelming side.
    Yes, the choices are pretty overwhelming. That's why I suggested doing some reading beforehand, so you can get a better sense of the nature of lighting, such as the range of difference between "point" light sources (e.g. undiffused small electronic flash units) and large diffuse light sources such as large soft boxes. Looking at examples of different types of lighting will help you decide what styles of lighting you like best, so you can make personal choices accordingly. Hopefully, that will help you to avoid false starts and wasted money in the process.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    211
    Images
    28
    avoiding wasted money is certainly a big factor at this stage of the game lol. I'll look into that book you mentioned. I'm really anxious to start geting the equipment I need. I love working with shadows, so directional light sources are going to be a must.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Shooter
    Large Format
    Posts
    299
    Another thought to firm up your idea of what you want and to avoid wasting money is to enroll in a 1 to 3 day workshop that is specifically focused onportrait and/or figure photography, etc. Such a sworkshop will give you the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of equipment. Additionally, if you are in a major metro area, there should be several opportunities to rent lighting gear for a day for you to experiment. If you let us know where you live we can likely recommend one or more choices in your area ...or send me a PM if you don't want to broadcast personal info.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    211
    Images
    28
    I have no problem mentioning the city I'm in. I"m in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Italia
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,680
    Don't know about Kitchener but if you can handle Toronto.

    http://www.vistek.ca/rentals/

    http://www.headshotsrentals.com/rentals.htm

    http://www.filmplus.ca/rentallist.html

    Headshots weekend rate seems like a good deal.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    211
    Images
    28
    I have no real way to get to Toronto, I don't own a car, and the bus trip is kind of ridiculous.

    I do know there is a studio in Cambridge (easier access for me) that will allow me access to his darkroom (B&W work only), and I THINK he might actually rent studio time, so I can always look into that

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin