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Photography Question 
Tammy Aurand

Still Life/Studio Portrait

Which type of background and lighting source would be appropriate for shooting still life? Also I am needing to do a Studio Portrait project and was needing to know what is the best type of background as well as lighting? I don't have the Lighting Equipment necessary for this,all I have is the built in flash on my Minolta Max 5 and just a lamp pole that has three adjustable lights.Can I use this as my light source?What would be the best film to use for Studio Portraits if you don't have studio lighting available? Is there ways I can make my shots turn out as if it was done in a studio by using resources I have?I was looking at a seamless background paper that was a studio blue,would this be acceptable? Any help out there from Pro's that can shed some "light" on this subject for me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tammy

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3/11/2006 6:41:00 PM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  This lamp pole might be of some use if it's what I think it is. Is this the kind of light that would normally be used an a house or apartment, with say, 3 incandescent 60watt bulbs or something? Then you can move those around a little?

Another question I have, are you using black and white film, or color? If you are using color film, you probably won't be able to use the flash along with the three lights on the pole because they are different "color temperatures." You might be able to get something pleasing out of the flash along with the three lights if you're using black and white film but you'll have to use a longer shutter speed to be able to expose for those three lights since they are probably quite a bit dimmer than the flash. If you have a little bit of money to spent, I might recommend going to a place like Home Depot or Menards and buying a large garage light. Basically a big aluminum dish that holds a lightbulb up to 250 or 500 watts. Then, I might suggest that you either bouce the light off of something white, or if you can get a roll of tracing paper, you could use the tracing paper to diffuse the light so it's not as harsh.

Hmm, that seems like a big jumble, but I hope it helps a little bit.

Oh, also, Kodak makes something like Portra 100T or something that is color bananced to be used under tungsten/incandescent lights. Otherwise, you'll need to get a blue filter at a camera shop that's made to correct the color cast (yellow/orange) cast from those light bulbs.

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3/11/2006 9:35:57 PM

Tammy Aurand   Thanks Andrew.The pole is a three 60 watt bulbs that I was refering to .I would be using color film(required) however I do like black and white.If I use say a garage light,what type of light is this? Am I understanding you correctly that if I use a garage light then I won't need the flash?As far as the tracing paper to diffuse the light how would I do this?Am I aiming the light at the tracing paper?If so where do I place the paper?I am new to this so I am learning all I can.Where can I get this Kodak Portra 100T film? Asking alot of questions I know I just want to be sure I do this correctly.After all this is how we all learn,right? Thanks again. Tammy

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3/12/2006 9:19:54 AM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Ok, the big issue will probably be with color temperature and color casts. If you are aware, different kinds of artificial lighting give off different color casts. Those 60watt bulbs, with normal processing and printing, will give the whole shot an orange hue. If you used florescent tubes, they would most likely make everything look greenish. Like a pail green. Then, natural light is actually kind of bluish and flash is even very slightly blue'er. You can see the blueness mostly when you have snow next to snow that is in shadow. The snow in shadow looks a little blue. This means that if you mix those 60watt bulbs with your flash, the face of the subject will probably be exposed alright, possibly a little over exposed, and places where the flash didn't get to will appear orangish.

Does this HAVE to be in a sudio setting? A large amount of professional "street photographers" actually take portraits in a person's natural setting like a living room or something.

So, unless you have some way to print the photos yourself or scan the film and control color casts, you might want to go with this kind of film...

or you would need to get an 80a filter to screw on the front ofyour lens if you have an SLR.

I suggested tracing paper because I have used it as a diffuser one time. You could probably use any other thin, similar material though. This would probably have to be held by somebody else about a foot infront of the lightbulbs. It helps diffuse the light. You're pretty much filtering the light through the tracing paper. If you contact me through my gallery I can probably send you a quick pick of my "garage light" and stuff.

If you use a garage light and just tungsten lighting, you'll probably end up having a relatively long exposure time. You might possibly be better off going with a faster film (higher ISO) and using on of those 80A filters.

If you can't order anything from the internet at this point, check out local camera shops. If they don't have the film, hopefully they'll at least have an 80A filter.

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3/12/2006 2:38:41 PM

Tammy Aurand   I can take the photo anywhere in doors,it just needs to be a studio portrait(shoulder&head) shot.I was actually looking at getting three filters UV, Polarizer, and the warming filter I believe is the 80A you are talking about.I prefer using the Kodak Professional 400 film,how would this work for doing the studio portrait using the garage light without a flash and diffusing the light source a bit and using the 80A filter? What would my end results be like?Or do I still need to use the film you suggested? As far as my background ,what color would be best to look at getting?

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3/12/2006 6:14:53 PM

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