Truth be told, I'd never thought of photographing a makeup color chart, but that makes obvious sense.
Black lipstick is getting a little passe in New York, but it still seems to have something of a market among the goth types. They must sell it at Ricky's (a NYC costume and novelty shop) or some such place.
Sanders McNew refered me to this fascinating and informative thread from one i had started over at Model Mayhem -- http://www.modelmayhem.com/posts.php?thread_id=142953
i already have Roger's and Christopher's excellent book, and am finding it a fascinating read. really great "detective work" on their part.
(however, i must add, having had experience as an editor in law, medicine, and finance, it is quite unacceptable for graphic designers to change the substance of an author's tables, charts, and other graphics in any way. to add the qualification, "do your own tests" would cause a scandal in any of the aforementioned professions. that it seems to be a universal mantra in analogue photography may have something to do with the flight to that other format.)[/end of rant]
for the purpose of doing my own tests, i can cheaply purchase shop lights at Home Depot. (i have no problem investing a few thou in lighting once i know what i'm doing; but i'd rather not spend that kind of dough on stuff that turns out to be unsuitable to my goal of Hollywood-style glamour effects using continuous lighting.)
between this thread and the referenced thread on MM, there seems to be sharp disagreement as to whether 1k or 2k Watts are the minimum required, or more than 300W is way too much, or whether 50W will do nicely.
since i can just as easily get 100W, 150W, or 250W, or 2x250W (ie, 500W total) halogen bulbs, is there any consensus on:
1. how many lamps i should start out with?
2. what wattage they should be?
(sorry to be so cranky this morning, but i'd like to avoid "buyer's remorse" if possible -- not so much as to money (although that is a factor), as much as wasted time on disappointing results, going back and forth, etc.)
The wattage you need depends largely on what f:stop you want, which depends on the format you're shooting, the film you like, the look you're after, how steady your subjects are, and such.
that's the parameter on which i'd very much appreciate some sort of rule of thumb, before i make a purchase.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
"The wattage you need depends largely on ... the look you're after, ...."
Originally Posted by guy catelli
What makes it especially difficult in advising you here is that you're asking for one light source which will work for any number of unknown portrait situations! Sure, it's possible to use a multi-purpose lightsource, however, don't forget that the placement (vis-a-vis your subject) of lighting for Hollywood and 50's "commercial" portraiture is not as forgiving as using a softbox or umbrella. A cheap fresnel source would be ideal, in your situation.
These are usual available as second-hand theater lighting.
Anyway, assuming you want to shoot heads only, I'd recommend starting with relatively weak wattage —such as 150w— and just move the lamps closer, as you need. If that isn't enough, um... change your bulb! It's as David well points out, it depends!
You have to realize that —especially with this type of lighting—, every parameter becomes variable depending upon the result you want to obtain . Please excuse me if this seems too obvious.
Will you be photographing tight close-ups? Head-and-shoulders? Three-quarter views? Couples at three quarter? Couples, close-in? Groups? Even without taking into consideration your personal lighting style, each of these situations will necessarily require different distances and lighting dynamics (for example, if you want to achieve the same Rembrandt lighting on a group as you've obtained on a single head, you'll probably need a larger and/or stronger light source).
In other words, in spite of your aversion to testing, you'll perhaps understand why it's necessary (as in with any art form... not just photography ... that's why God made sketch pads and Polaroid film!). Testing isn't a "chore", it's a necessary and, I'd say, desirable step!
Hope this helps you out.
Last edited by Christopher Nisperos; 05-10-2007 at 03:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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Guy, greetings. As Morpheus said: Welcome to the real world. :-)
I think this is why they put dials on strobes. So you can adjust :o Ducking now
Guy, what I did was buy a couple of 650 watt hot lights at a used sale, cheap, and then just start shooting (key & fill). What I've ended up with is a bit more distance than I had originally anticipated, but more wattage on a hair light than I expected (shop-light type reflector).
If you just go ahead and start with something, it becomes obvious in which direction you will need to go. Once you have the basic exposure in hand (distance & wattage), development will show up as the next challenge. Christopher's advice about everything being a variable is good. Just remember to limit the changes until you have a working system for exposure and development. tim
thanks to all for your responses. i realize there is no "one" answer to my question. but, on the other hand, i'd rather not just start buy lighting wearing a blindfold, so to speak.
Chris, i'm surely going to try to shoot single portraits before i try groups. and, i've found that very few faces are flattered by close-ups that are too close. from head and shoulders to 3/4 is where i'd like to start.
would it make sense to start with 3 lamps (key, fill, and hair) with a 100W, 150W, and 250W bulb? or would some other combination of wattages be better? or should i get 3 lamps and 3 bulbs of each wattage, just in case?
btw, fwiw, my primary shooting space is 23 feet in length (over 25, if i move some stuff out of the way), 11 feet in width and 12 feet in height.
What format are you shooting and how much DOF do you like? 6x6cm and tip of the nose to the earlobe for a tight head and shoulders portrait? 8x10" and you want everything in the picture sharp from front to back, or 8x10" and it's okay if really just the eyes are sharp and everything else fades off into the fuzz?
If you're shooting 35mm or smaller (we won't ask if film is involved), then you can keep the lights fairly small. If you're shooting LF, you'll want more.
I'd probably start with three lamps of the same wattage, just because it's easier to conceptualize a hollywood setup that way, where the power of the light is controlled mainly by distance from the subject.