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Photography Question 
Cyndee Wanyonyi
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/7/2005

How to use barndoors effectively...

How do you use barndoors effectively. I have a four-light system that I have been using and the only way I know how to use the Barndoors is by opening them all the way. If I keep just a couple doors open, the light has edging. I would like to learn how to only get light behind the subjects head. Is anyone able to help me out?

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12/9/2005 1:03:16 PM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
the back light doors can be angled back and fourth to let out as much light as you wish to use.
with all doors open half way you should get the spot effect you are looking for.
You will probubly have to use the light on half power(1/4 if it has it)
then you can raise it to about mid back and angle 45 degrees toward the background and behind the subjects head. for that haloed head shot.
I hope this helps.

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12/9/2005 8:58:14 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Cyndee. Barndoors can be used either nearly fully shut, allowing a very narrow shaft of light, or, as you know, wide open.

Part of the solution depends on whether your barndoors are the 2 or 4 door models. It sounds like you have the four-door models. If so, then try turning off all the other lights other than your barndoor light and with the light positioned to about where you want it, open one door, a little at a time, move the light back and forth as necessary until the light falls on where you want it. Then add one door at a time, again, if necessary, until you get what you're looking for. You don't need to have all doors symmetrical to one another to use a barndoor.

If the barndoor is somehow creative excessive spill, say on the background or the subject, try adjusting one door flap at a time to eliminate the spill. Or, you can place a reflector card or something adjacent to the light to block the spill. A flag, a cutter, or a gobo type of device. Anything that will work to block the spill or just diffuse the spill to get the effect you need. Then go ahead and set the rest of your lights.

Barndoors, of course, come in different sizes. If yours are 10" or larger with two vs. four doors, then you might consider getting a smaller set, say 6" four doors models on a smaller reflector to provide you with better control. Also, you might prefero using a reflector with a flat as opposed to a bright metallic finish.

BTW, you can make a set of barn doors for a softbox by using pieces of fomecore or even just black cardboard and some gaffers tape.

Most manufactured barndoors are attached to a metal ring that rotates 360 degrees around the reflector and thus the light source. You don't need to use the lights square to the subject but can rotate them on the ring to get the effect you want.

Take it light.

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12/10/2005 11:19:53 AM

Kerry L. Walker   I can't believe the answers you got from these tyros on how to use barn doors. Using barn doors is very simple. In the morning you open them to let the horses out to pasture and in the evening you close them to keep them in for the night!

(I think I need another cup of coffee.)

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12/12/2005 7:33:47 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Now WHY on earth didn't I know that?? Hmmm, maybe being raised in Chicago had something to do with it. Meanwhile, I again stand corrected Kerry. Thanks !

Hey, is someone raising cattle around here?? I smell bovenis excrementis.
LOL !!

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12/12/2005 11:30:42 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Who? Me?

Helps to have been raised in the country. LOL

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12/12/2005 12:50:20 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Kerry -

I was just browsing this part of the Q&A anf ound you'd almost stolen my response. It was going to be, "Lock it, after the horses have been stolen."


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12/21/2005 6:32:06 AM

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