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Author Topic: Mixing lights in portraiture  (Read 2824 times)

NigelC

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Mixing lights in portraiture
« on: December 19, 2012, 02:34:55 PM »

Help! Portraiture is not something I do much of at all but need to do some family stuff for Xmas. Haven't got the time to hire studio lights so will have to codge something up mixing bounced flash as main light and continous lighting. The non flash will probably involve a Kodak carousel for a directional/rim light and a halogen worklight with a home made softbox to light the background. I'm not sure whether its best to try to set a white balance on capture or just find the best compromise in ACR. If I have a dig i might just find a small 85 conversion gel to go over the projector lens in which case i should be able to get something like a consistent colour temperature on the face.

Any advice welcome
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 02:41:26 PM »

If most of the lights are ~3200K (halogen, tungsten), I'd put a Full CTO filter over the flash, and set the camera's WB to Tungsten. That'll get them in the ballpark, and shooting raw will let you tweak it later.

That said, I've shot a lot of portraits with a single flash shot through a medium white umbrella. Works well for a small group, too. Adding a big piece of white foamcore on the opposite side, or shooting next to a white wall, will open up the shadows. And the background just does whatever it wants. Rim lights are often more trouble than they are worth for multiple subjects.

Often I'll drag the shutter a bit to get the background to open up, but you have to be careful about it -- window light behind them is good, fluorescent not so good.

Good luck.
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NigelC

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 04:30:07 PM »

If most of the lights are ~3200K (halogen, tungsten), I'd put a Full CTO filter over the flash, and set the camera's WB to Tungsten. That'll get them in the ballpark, and shooting raw will let you tweak it later.

That said, I've shot a lot of portraits with a single flash shot through a medium white umbrella. Works well for a small group, too. Adding a big piece of white foamcore on the opposite side, or shooting next to a white wall, will open up the shadows. And the background just does whatever it wants. Rim lights are often more trouble than they are worth for multiple subjects.

Often I'll drag the shutter a bit to get the background to open up, but you have to be careful about it -- window light behind them is good, fluorescent not so good.

Good luck.

Good idea to convert flash to tungsten but only gel filters I've got lying around are an old Ilfochrome set - is there some combination of CMY filters that = daylight to tungsten conversion?
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2012, 07:15:08 PM »

Don't think so.

If you PM me your address, I'll drop you some filters in the mail (if you're in the USA.)
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NigelC

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2012, 07:50:27 PM »

Don't think so.

If you PM me your address, I'll drop you some filters in the mail (if you're in the USA.)

Thanks for the offer, but no, not in USA
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2012, 09:02:16 PM »

OK, too bad. Wouldn't get overseas in time for the holiday :)

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erstwhile

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2012, 09:43:23 AM »

You may have already taken this into account, but just a friendly reminder to please watch out for fire hazards with the halogen + DIY softbox combo.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 05:03:58 PM »

Quote
The non flash will probably involve a Kodak carousel for a directional/rim light and a halogen worklight with a home made softbox to light the background.

 Rather than put together a home made softbox a better solution is to build a frame out of wood or PVC piping and stretch a thin but translucent material across it. Frosted plastic shower curtain will work in a pinch especially if you keep your quartz-halogen back from it so air can circulate and keep it from getting hot.  Also unlikea softbox you wont have to center the light source behind this scrim.  This will create (depending on how physically large the source is relative to the scrim) a pleasing graduated lighting effect.
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Ellis Vener
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Sheldon N

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 06:17:22 PM »

You could just gel the flash as key light and use the ambient tungsten light of the room as your base/fill.  That's what I did for this year's Christmas photo of the kids.

Ambient light from the tree/room/lights/fireplace, key light was a 600EX in a small 24" square softbox with a full CTO gel. The ambient was pretty low level, so I bumped the ISO and used a tripod to balance the light. Flash was ETTL from camera left.

Rob C

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 12:17:30 PM »

Nice photograph and good little models! They look sort of, well, patient... used to it.

;-)

Rob C

Sheldon N

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 11:23:26 PM »

Thanks Rob! :)

K.C.

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Re: Mixing lights in portraiture
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2012, 02:25:49 AM »

I find the image unfortunate at best.
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