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Photography Question 
Benjamin A. Leonido
 

flash vs constant light


i was wondering why flashes are used more often over setting up a shot with constant light. I work in theatrical venues and am exposed to lighting designers and have wondered why photographers do not approach a shot the same as a designer approaches a scene.


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6/16/2005 9:10:50 PM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  Continuous lights can get very hot. If you're photographing people, they can get uncomfortable, sweaty, etc.


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6/16/2005 9:26:28 PM

 
Michael H. Cothran   In addition to the heat, which Chris referred to in the previous response, there are also other important features of flash/strobe light to consider -

1. Most importantly, strobes are much more powerful in their light output, allowing the use of smaller f-stops.

2. The extremely short burst of light is so fast, that it allows the use of any shutter on leaf shutter lenses, and up to 1/250th sec on many focal plane shutter lenses.

3. The color temperature of strobes is constant, while tungsten/incandescent lights constantly change their color throughout their lives.

4. Strobe lights are balanced to daylight (anywhere from 5000K-5800K).
Tungsten/incandescent lights are much warmer (2500K-3000K), requiring special film.

Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net


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6/17/2005 5:45:51 AM

 
Benjamin A. Leonido   thank you for your replies, they answer my question quite thoroughly.


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6/19/2005 6:12:11 PM

 
John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  Benjamin,
"I work in theatrical venues and am exposed to lighting designers and have wondered why photographers do not approach a shot the same as a designer approaches a scene."

Photographers do, but when working with studio lighting, it's easier, more comfortable for all involved, and safer to work with strobes. That's why decent strobes have modeling lights . . . so the photographer can see what the strobes will create. A fully outfitted stage has many more lights than all but the largest and most expensive studios for which they would choke and gag on the hourly rate of something resembling a "sound stage" for cinema work (into which one can roll automobiles and larger objects for advert work). Your theater buddies are also setting up lighting for a performance that will be repeated (hopefully many times for a successful run).

Many photographers with small studios work with only two lights. Some use three. I've never seen more than five, and likely one if not two of them are almost superfluous (key, fill, back, hair and kicker). If subject material is being thoroughly studied, they are often set up for only a few shots, then moved as subject and camera perspective are moved and changed. Unless one is working with essentially the same perspectives of nearly the same things, it can be a very temporary lighting setup.

-- John Lind


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6/19/2005 7:56:11 PM

 
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