Hi Steve

At last I have had some time to play with the new flashes

I was happy with this one except for the light box reflection in her eyes

Is there any sort of general rule when positioning lights to keep reflections like this out?

Rod C.

 

 At last I have had some time to play with the new flashes

 

Hi Rod –

What you’re seeing is called a “catch  light” and is generally considered desirable as they bring the eyes alive.  There is an art in the positioning of the catch lights and its well beyond and email.  You’ll want to buy a good book on studio lighting.

“Generally” studio lights should be at 45 degrees for the most attractive catch-light.  To eliminate them you’ll need to totally diffuse the light through soft box baffles (available on very expensive soft boxes), bounce, or directional lighting.

Now that you know what they are, and that they’re desirable, go look at a bunch of portraits.  It should soon be obvious which type look the best.

Steve

 

Steve

Some more

Rod C.

 

What you’re seeing is called a “catch  light” and is generally considered desirable as they bring the eyes alive.  There is an art in the positioning of the catch lights and its well beyond and email.  You’ll want to buy a good book on studio lighting.  

Now that you know what they are, and that they’re desirable, go look at a bunch of portraits.  It should soon be obvious which type look the best.

 

Rod C;

I like the one of the dog..

Portraits aren’t that easy.. be patient and keep trying.. it will take you YEARS just to develop a style and to learn to duplicate it.

The other day it was 12-15f outside and I had no studio.   A mother of a Marine comes to me and asks for “special” pictures.  All outside is dirty white leftover snow.   How do we make her the great portraits she wants? (You’ve seen the marine/mom pic on my site? )

 

The other day it was 12-15f outside and I had no studio.   A mother of a Marine comes to me and asks for “special” pictures.  All outside is dirty white leftover snow.   How do we make her the great portraits she wants?

 

Middle of the day, very bright sun..  What’s a guy to do? As a pro you need to produce those special shots in any environment on a moments notice.

In this case I simple made it dark outside..  Eh?  Yep, using manual mode I decreased the exposure until the background and all around them was dark like it would be dark at dusk.  Everyone standing in the bright sunlight had no clue.

Then.. using two Quantums in manual mode..  I adjusted the two key lights from 45 degrees on each side.. got them to pose.. and that’s the finished shot.

Could they have been better?  Of course.  They were missing a subtle backlight. Blacklight is the food of Gods and I’m missing it.   Just sitting a T5RD mounted on a Compact battery on the ground behind them.. that’s all I need to make it perfect.

Steve

 

Hi Steve

I love your pics of the Marine and mother.  Such important photos if he is on his way to Iraq or Afghanistan.  A responsibility you would understand more than I.

I had no idea about catch lights but I’m starting to learn.   Unfortunately my model now has 2 jobs and is hard to pin down for a photo shoot.  I’ll catch her soon though.

With the shoot I showed you,  my main problem was trying to understand how to compensate for the flash.   It  was all a bit hit and miss.   I had my Quantum trio in QTTL ratio mode.   I had the camera in manual but the light metre was off the register in the negative ISO 200,  F4.5 and 1/15th of a second but when I shot the first shot it came out ok not great but ok .  I took some shots adjusting the flash and moving the flash.

I changed to my 85mm f1.2 I got the light meter to register a couple of stops below zero and the photos were over cooked.  Very white.

I think I need to get a light meter and change my flash setting to manual to get an accurate result. I don’t like this take a photo look then adjust, take another photo adjust more etc.

The other thing on my shopping list will be umbrellas and a bigger octagonal light box.  The small light box gives very shitty square cgv catch lights as you have seen.

I have included a photo of W from this part of the shoot

85mm f2.2 iso 200 1/125

It was still over exposed in editing I have taken it back 2/3 of a stop along using a lot of recovery and some fill light.

Rod C.

 

With the shoot I showed you,  my main problem was trying to understand how to compensate for the flash.   It  was all a bit hit and miss.   I had my Quantum trio in QTTL ratio mode.   I had the camera in manual but the light metre was off the register in the negative ISO 200,  F4.5 and 1/15th of a second but when I shot the first shot it came out ok not great but ok .  I took some shots adjusting the flash and moving the flash.

 

Hi Rod –

Lighting is a complex task and its’ very easy to feel lost.  Sometimes it’s better to start with a known good setup that will get you to a starting point, preferably a starting point which will always produce satisfactory result.  Here is your starting point.

5d2/24-105  (leave the 85/1.2 in the bag until you gain more experience, only by knowing what the 24-105/4 can do will you know when the 85/1.2 is doing it better, and because the 85/1.2 is a specialized lens it actually performs worse for most tasks than the 24-105)

5d2 settings:   Manual, F5.6-8, 1/160th shutter speed. ISO 100.  Now, as you look through the viewfinder adjust your ISO for 1-2 stops BELOW.  This means 1-2 big segments in the left of the center.  Again, press your shutter release halfway to take a reading, make the adjustment, double check..

Depending on the available light you might end up with your ISO from 100-800.. the point is to keep the 1/160th shutter speed and the F5.6-8 aperture.  You’re using your ISO to effect adjustments . This is it. Y our camera will now be in manual, have a shutter speed of 1/160th, an aperture of F5.6-8, and an ISO of 50-800.

Quantum/Strobe/Flash settings:  Manual, half power.  Make sure any wireless settings for your model of light are activated and tested.

Flash head placement:   Start with a single light 45 degrees from the subject and 7-10 feet from the subject.  If using two lights or three.. still start with just one.  Make sure the wireless controls are set, and tested.  For now, start with a bare bulb positioned so it points up.

Adjusting flash power:   Shoot an image and look at your LCD.  Your background should be 1-2 stops less than the ambient light you see around you.  You want the subject ideally exposed.  If they are not, adjust the light heads output power up/down from its ‘half power’ setting.   DO NOT touch any setting on the camera.   ONLY adjust the power setting on the flash.

If a factory speedlight you’ll need to press a sequence of keys on the flash itself to do this for each adjustment.  If you’re using a Quantum Pilot or Trio, you can press just a few keys on the Pilot or Trio which will send these settings wirelessly to your flash head.  If using a Quantum Co-pilot you’ll only need to turn a dial.  The dial is calibrated in stops.   I greatly prefer the co-pilot.

Using your LCD to view the exposure adjustments dial in the best setting.  You can easily get to within ½ stop this way.  If you have a light meter you can get a bit closer.  ½ stop is fine, you can post process within that range and achieve a high quality image.

If everything is done right at this point you’ll see an image on your rear LCD that shows the background to be 1-2 stops lower than ambient, a subject whose face is exposed correctly on the side where the light is located, and darker on the other half.  This is a classic Rembrandt lighting style..

Let me know when you achieve this.  From here you can add a second light, a third background light, try different modes (automatic modes, ETTL modes, etc), re-position lights, all kinds of things.   But until you have a base mode you know front to back and can troubleshoot, then you don’t have a starting point and you’ll be frustrated forever.

Steve