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Photography Question 
Tom Sheridan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/22/2004
 

Help with home studio portraits


 
  Portrait of Elizabeth
Portrait of Elizabeth
1/160, 7.1 Aperture, 2 strobe lights (main and background) and white reflector below and in front of subject
© Tom Sheridan
Canon EOS Digital ...
 
  Elizabeth with hat
Elizabeth with hat
1/160, 9 Aperture, 2 strobe lights (main and background) and white eflector below and in front of subject
© Tom Sheridan
Canon EOS Digital ...
 
 
I am a complete amateur, trying to improve my photography for my own (and hopefully my friends and family's) enjoyment.
I am just starting to try out studio lighting and backdrops on my own. I plan to take the studio lighting course here in the Fall but would like to practice a bit in the meantime. I am using a starter set of strobes 2( JTL 160's) umbrellas, reflectors, and backgrounds and I like what I see for the most part. I do not have a flash meter (yet) but have done some trial and error to set exposures during my practice sessions. One thing that has been inconsistent is the colors in my shots. I think I may have a white balance issue but would appreciate anyone's comments and suggestions. I am using a Canon Digital Rebel set to manual exposure, speed set to 1/160 or 1/200 and aperture as per my trail and error system (usually around 9). The attached were shot using awb settings and my daughter lost patience before I could experiment with customer wb or other exposures.
The first shot below seems to have a color issue (pink outfit, skin tones seem blue) while the second shot looks accurate. They were both shot at ISO 100, 1/160 and the first at an aperture of 7.1, the second at 9.

My plan is to keep reading about studio lighting techniques and continue practicing. I also know that having a flash meter is a must for consistency. Thanks in advance for any advice on what to try.


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8/5/2005 10:26:22 AM

 
Tom Sheridan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/22/2004
  A few corrections to my poor typing skills in the above...
"trail and error" is obviously "trial and error" system of exposure setting and I meant custom white balance, not customer wb...
The images posted on top of my comments instead of below as I thought they would, otherwise I think my question makes sense.


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8/5/2005 10:31:50 AM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  Thomas, please check out these threads. Debby Tabb has helped a few of us out A LOT on this topic! You may find a lot of your questions are answered in these threads. :)

http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=17534

http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=16984

Also, if you plug in "Portrait Lighting" into the search in Q&A, there are quite a few resources there, too.

Hope that helps a little! :)


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8/5/2005 10:39:30 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
 
 
 
as Laura said ,please start by looking at the thread she is referring to -we all had a lot of fun and saw quite a bit of progess(at the expence of one poor man,lol:-) ..)
lets start correcting the lighting and then move on to the framing and pose.
one step at a time an dwe get there quicker.
thanks ,
debby
i hope you have as much fun as we did-i know its long but if we keep it going others can see what we are trying to teach and help them with-other then bouncing thread to thread.


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8/5/2005 10:45:00 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
 
 
 
as Laura said ,please start by looking at the thread she is referring to -we all had a lot of fun and saw quite a bit of progess(at the expence of one poor man,lol:-) ..)
lets start correcting the lighting and then move on to the framing and pose.
one step at a time an dwe get there quicker.
thanks ,
debby
i hope you have as much fun as we did-i know its long but if we keep it going others can see what we are trying to teach and help them with-other then bouncing thread to thread.


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8/5/2005 10:45:49 AM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  LOL! Debby, you crack me up! :)


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8/5/2005 10:52:20 AM

 
Tom Sheridan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/22/2004
  Debby & Laura,

Thanks so much for the quick response. I was reading one of the threads you listed but missed the much longer one where you two cooked that poor man!

I do like your descriptions of lighting placement as points on a clock. I was close to the setup you described but I think I had the aim of the lights off a bit...
I have been using several lighting reference books, magazines, and internet discussions to get started.
I think I have the basics rolling around in my head but I need to sort out the right combination of settings, placements, and posings. I had to break down my "studio" in the living room for a few days (my wife is very understanding) but will be trying out your suggestions in my next session.

One question that I had that seemed to be answered in the threads above, can you combine strobe and off-camera flash without problems? I think the answer is yes based on a few of the things you tried but I didn't want to introduce another problem into my photos without knowing. I have a Canon 550ex flash with an optical slave I can use to trigger it from the synch-cord attached strobes. I was not sure if the temperature of the lights would be different and cause problems. My few trials with this setup were coming out too bright so I concentrated on just the 2 strobes. I was thinking about using the 550ex as a hairlight since I could easily place it behind the subject but would love to have your thoughts.


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8/5/2005 11:34:43 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  wow,
post examples on the other thread, so we can start with this type of lighting- as you can see from reading the thread-some thing will be personal to you and your equiptment.
the setting I was using on my D70-totally failed on Lauras.
I would have to have a idea of how much light an dwhere it's falling - but off the top of my head- I'd say test turning down the strobe to 1/2 power-or shoot your flash almost straight up to bounce off the ceiling.
see where that takes ya.
and let me know


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8/5/2005 11:44:52 AM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  LOL! Thomas, That was my husband we cooked! At least he agreed to let me buy a complete studio lighting set after that! The next set of test shots may be of him wearing sunglasses after I have my strobes going off in his face for hours! :) I can't really help with your additional question, (my insticts would say yes, too, though) I have no experience with strobes yet. Maybe YOU can help ME once I get them! :)


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8/5/2005 11:45:40 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  lol,oh yeah the question,lol
Laura, thank you.
the answer to your question is yes the can and will work together.


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8/5/2005 11:48:09 AM

 
Tom Sheridan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/22/2004
  Thanks both of you, I will try out my 3-light setup when I reclaim the living room with the arrangements in your posts and upload the results.

By the way, I was about to get into lighting using hotlights but one of the issues I thought I would have is what you had, too much heat while learning. I guess it is a little easier to learn with hotlights since you can see the light when you setup but I knew I would end up with strobes in the end so I decided to start there.

Also, I will post my next round to the "cooked husband thread" to avoid multiple threads on the same subject.

Have a great weekend.


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8/5/2005 2:10:32 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  LOL,LOL
LAURA LOOK TIM HAS A NEW NAME WE CALL HIM: CH


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8/5/2005 2:20:35 PM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  HA! HA! HA!! LOL! I love it here! :O I needed that today, Thomas and Debby! It's been a rough few days with the 2 and 4 yr old. I needed a laugh, and now that Tim's home, a glass of wine. :)


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8/5/2005 4:38:20 PM

 
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