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Photography Question 
Heidi L. Lee

Two light studio setup

Could you explain a bit more about using a two light set up. I am assuming I will use one as a main and the other as a fill.
I am not sure, however, of exactly where to place them. I do not have a back light to light the background.

I need a subject to test it on but the way I have it set up now is:
Main light to camera left at 45 deg angle - F/8
Fill light to camera right, a little closer to subject 45 deg angle
I haven't metered the back ground

When I place a chair on my floor, with lights on, I get a shadow. Is that normal?

Any help would be great since I am very new to lights.

And by the way, what is the difference between strobes and floods? I have a Photogenics and an Alien Bee - what are they?

Thanks so much,
Heidi Lee

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4/7/2005 3:06:02 PM

Michael H. Cothran   While there is no "correct" way to set up your lights, I will give you a classic way to start.
Your fill light should be on the same axis as your camera, and slightly higher. NOT 45 to the side. This is a common, but erroneous placement. It should light the entire area seen in your viewfinder. The main light should be parallel with your subjects face, and high enough to throw the shadow below, and low enough to add a sparkle to the eyes. As the subject turns one way or the other, the main light should follow the face. If you are photographing objects, the main light can be placed at any angle which will most benefit the object.
In addition to your two lights, you could also benefit from a nice reflector to the opposite side of the main.
The key is the contrast between the two lights. The contrast you indicate above ( f8 for main, f5.6 for fill) is the minimum contrast you would want. This gives you a 2:1 lighting ratio, which is pretty flat. Making the fill 1.5 or 2 stops dimmer will give you a 3:1 and 4:1 ratio respectively. The latter two are usually considered more flattering.
Keeping the lights higher than the camera, and the subject a few feet from the background will help eliminate unwanted shadows.
As an alternative, you can eliminate the fill, and use it as a background light or hair light, and use a reflector with the main light.

If you want to learn studio lighting, especially for people, do a google on Monte Zucker, and read every word you can find on the man.

As to strobes/floods - a strobe is an electronic flash, and a flood is a continuous light source. Yours are strobes.
Michael H. Cothran

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4/7/2005 3:23:49 PM

Kerry L. Walker   Michael, Monte couldn't have explained it better.

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4/8/2005 6:38:09 AM

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