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Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 

New studio lights instruction


Mark, Jess, David, Lisa, etc- a continuation of our "I just bought studio lights, now what!" discussion on Jerrid's original thread :)


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12/20/2006 8:18:47 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  OK. So, ..."now what?"

I know....let's get some Black Forest Cake !!!! :>0))))
Mark
========================
Home of the one-[digestive] 'tract' mind.

Hey, does anyone care that I just bought a new SB800 from B&H along with a Quantum Turbo SC ?? This replaces my Vivitar 285HV and is more portable than my Quantum T-2 and the SC unlike it's bigger brother fits in my shirt pocket but does the same number of rapid cycling charges. This is gonna be GREAT !!! Anyone got an SB800? Like it?? Hey...anyone got a fork even a spoon would work?? LOL !!!
Mark


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12/20/2006 9:44:54 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  OH we CARE!!! We might not understand, but we care, lol.


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12/20/2006 9:55:09 AM

 
W.    AHA! Schwarzwälder Torte! Yummy!

I understand it will require superhuman restraint, but can you show us the cake BEFORE you attack it, Mark...?


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12/20/2006 10:04:00 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Oh Denyse, you apparently don't appreciate the fine points and portability of Nikon SB units. You studio shooters are all alike. LOL !!!

You mean I CAN have my cake and get to eat it too??? LOL !!! Costco has Moca Almond Chocolate layer cakes made by Just Desserts in San Francisco. [Faint...THUD !!!]
Anyone???
Class????
M
=========================
"I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date."


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12/20/2006 10:39:59 AM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Hi Denyse,

I haven’t been involved in the discussion so I probably shouldn’t, however, I sense that you are asking, “how/where do I place these new lamps and how do I determine exposure? If this is not your question, please restate. I for one will be glade to toss in my 2¢ worth. Most will tell you it’s not worth even that however I know better.

Best regards,

Alan Marcus
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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12/20/2006 10:42:54 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  ... said the white rabbit!!!

Man that cake sounds good, I'll have to make that one next, lol.

Hi Alan, we've been chatting away on another thread, first figuring out WHICH lights to BUY. Now Jess & I have both done that, and are entering the next phase. Mine are still in the box, but Jess has hers out & has been doing some test shooting. I don't have any actual questions at this point, not until I get them set up (which I'm afraid will be a whole project in itself, but I'm up for the challenge).

I have (2) 650 WS strobes (with modeling lights), and soft boxes. Stay tuned, I hope to get them up right after the holiday mayhem :)


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12/20/2006 11:41:40 AM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Hi again Denyse

Anyway first few tips!

Without much exception, good portraiture simulates old art masters as to lighting. Since we live in a world where most light comes from above, try to basis your pictures to appear as if illuminated by just one light the main coming from above.

Place main high and off to the side. OK to move it for effect. Watch the shadows.
Long nose subject – place for short nose shadow.
Short nose subject – place for long nose shadow
Fat face - light from far to left or right
Slim face - light more frontal.

Always high to simulate midday sun

Compose in viewfinder and then get back a little. Try to keep space around entire principle subject.

Place fill lamp close to a line drawn between camera and subject. Place at lens height. One of the biggest mistakes is failure to recognize you are filling from and only from the camera’s prospective.

Adjust fill to arrive at subject at half power i.e. one stop less energy than the main. This establishes the well accepted 3:1 lighting ratio. This is achieved by:
Both main and fill at same subject distance – fill set to ½ power.
Or both at same power but fill further back. Measure main to subject distance in inches and multiply by 1.4. This revised distance will set the fill further away and the light energy will arrives at ½ that of the main.

For exposure turn off main (this is true only for 3:1 set-up) and measure exposure only with the fill operational.

Next reduce fill power again by ½ by setting fill at ¼ power or moving it back to a position twice the subject to main lamp to subject distance. This set the fill at 2 f/stops less than main and establishes a 5:1 ratio. Exposure is measured with both main and fill operational.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Good luck,
Alan Marcus


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12/20/2006 12:07:24 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Ok, I made it!!! How about the fudge I made, or the PB with kisses cookies??? My daughter made a bunch more cookies today too!!

Alan, this is looking good! Just what we need. I need to spend some more time reading your post agian, but have to get going to a school concert.

Thanks Denyse for starting this...good idea. Be back later!


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12/20/2006 2:52:49 PM

 
David A. Bliss  
 
 
Ok, here you go, first picture post... unless someone else is doing this at the same time ;-)

This was shot on location at the clients house. This didn't leave a lot of room for moving the lights around. I'm trying to remember the settings. I had the 300 w/s head pointed away with an umbrella reflecting toward the subject (the umbrella has a removable black and silver lining on the outside which was on it for this shot). The 200 w/s head was, if I remember correctly, was pointed at the subject with the umbrella backing removed to shoot through, and the head was set to 1/4 power.

Main head (300 w/s) was at around six feet, the fill light (200 w/s) was at about 1.5 feet. They were at pretty much the "classic" 45 degrees, since that was all the space that was available. There is some PS work to blur the background (since there wasn't enough space between the subject and the background to do it in camera).


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12/20/2006 3:28:13 PM

 
David A. Bliss   BTW, when I said the main light was at six feet, I meant in the air, not distance to subject. Same with the fill light. Distance to subject was around ten feet.


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12/20/2006 3:30:55 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Just a quick point I may have made before: there are radio slaves on EBay for about $30. A pocket wizard, which does the same thing is more than $300. These do what your sync cord does, but with out the cord. One less thing to trip over, also no worries about too much voltage. These are built to work with the old style headphone or guitar plug jack that many strobes use. Good luck with all the new gear! John Siskin


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12/20/2006 3:42:10 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Sometimes David, when you work on location, you have to move stuff around to accomodate equipment and you as well. When you're shooting with older people, you should be talking with them, engaging them, not dinking with lighting or camera equipment. This too will come in time.

The shot isn't all that bad, but IMO not all that great either. Overall, while your frontal lighting strikes me as being very even, too even in fact without any depth, your bg light is a bit hot and overexposed by about 1 1/2 stops. It was too close, for one thing.

So, first, as I've been trying to say often around here, try working with a single light and a fill card. You can do a lot with one light. That will benefit you even more when working in a tight space. Also, with less light, you'll probably need to work at a larger f stop which will cause you to lose what....class???? Anybody...depth...of...what?? Class? Field. And with lost of DOF, you won't need to dull anything out in P.s. AND...think of it, even if you lose depth of field, throw the background into shadow and leave your subject highlighted. Whaddya think?

And, remember umbrella light is a bit less directional and harder to control than something that's either in a reflector or a softbox. So, unless you're trying to light up a small space entirely, don't use the umbrella for being that close. It's a bit much.
Using more than one umbrella to light this kid is waaaay tooo much. One light. Keep it simple. I know I know, you guys want to start using everything at once, but start with one light at a time, build your skills slowly, learn it from the ground up and you'll catch on in no time.

So, David, try it with the light and fill card. Even with an umbrella set at 300 w.s. Experiment with swinging it around a bit and moving that fill card which should be on another stand, btw, taped or clamped to hold it up at whatever angle you need it to be at.

Move the fill card around to reflect light back into your subject at different angles if you want to see how it looks. Experiment with this too.

And as I said yesterday and John also pointed out, radio slaves or even Infra Red triggers are great because they make the cords we all tend to do the two-step polka over, unnecessary.

Above all, while you may learn by duplicating what you've all seen come out of the photo studios like Olen Mills and the year book photographers, cookie cutter lighting approaches isn't what you're really after right? Be bold, experiment, be unique, original, dare to be different, and don't shop at Walmart until the trade deficit falls substantially. ;>)
Take it light.
Mark


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12/20/2006 6:14:44 PM

 
David A. Bliss  
 
 
You know Mark, I know this, but I just can't help using both lights and the umbrellas!! If I had two more lights, I would have used them, too!! ;-)

Seriously though, that's good advice. Since this shoot, one thing I have been thinking of doing is using the second light as a backdrop light, with a reflector for fill light. That will help bring the backdrop over by a stop to a stop and a half, which will keep it bright white and not show up so many wrinkles in the muslin. I was happy with this shot in that it is at least as good as a Sears portrait shot, but the clientele I am getting will want something better than a Sears shot, so I know I need to do better.

This shot was taken with one light, facing towards the subject, through an umbrella (I am going to invest in a soft box after the first of the year, for now all I have are the umbrellas). Again, on location in very close quarters, so the light was to my left about two feet. The white wall actually helped as a reflector, to keep even light across. This was a non profit shoot, with many children, and the prints came out of my pocket, so there isn't any but the most basic PS adjustments (a touch of contrast, and some sharpening).

BTW, very worth doing. I have already sold processed prints of this shoot, and have interest in setting up some more portrait shoots with some of the families that were there.


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12/20/2006 6:33:36 PM

 
Lisa Haskins
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/19/2005
  Just to say, I'm finding this and the last thread a total goldmine of information!

I really like Mark's advice to use one light and a reflector.....I've been trying to use both my bowen's 500ws lights and it's just too much to figure out at this stage.

I do have a couple of questions I hope someone can help me with. Does anyone know if you can use the Canon ST-2 wireless unit to trigger the strobes. I know its for the small flash units but I wondered if it would do the job. The other question is about the different uses for the umbrella that comes with the Bowen's kit. One part is a refector, I guess you shoot away from the subject into the umbrella and bathe the subject in reflected light. One part is semi transparent and I guess you shoot through this towards the subject to get a kind of softbox effect. Am I on the right track with this. They seem like stupid questions I know.

Thanks very much,
Lisa



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12/21/2006 2:49:12 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Lisa:
Yep, your Canon wireless unit should trigger the Bowens monolights. The receiver just needs a standard phono plug connection to plug into the back of the Bowens. Then try it by plugging the transmitter end into your camera and tripping the shutter or hitting the wireless test button. I use Pocket Wizards and they work fine on triggering just about anything.

Even if for some reason the ST-2 isn't compatible with the Bowens lights, for example because the Bowens has a higher voltage trigger circuit, it shouldn't harm the ST-2. But to be sure, either check the ST-2 manual or send an e-mail to Canon tech support.

Also, you should know that the Bowens units have built-in IR slaves to trigger themselves when one unit is fired, it'll trigger the other one.

Generally you rig a spill kill reflector on a lamphead and then the umbrella with its interior facing the subject. The spill kill allows you to adjust the umbrella so that you see the light flow up to the edge of the umbrella but not over it. That tells you the umbrella is at a proper distance from the lamphead. At least that's how I set them.

Personally, I think umbrellas make poor substitutes for softboxes because a softbox tends to soften and really diffuse the light more while allowing better directional control. My choice for those is Chimera. I rarely, if ever, shoot through an umbrella and almost never use one with a silver or gold fabric inerior because the light they produce just seems a bit harsh or too cool or even too artificial looking for my taste.

No, there are no stupid questions.
Stay tuned.

And DAVID !!!! You've got too many lights. Put some back in the closet for awhile, use one. Remember, the problem using a wall for a reflector is that if it's not pure white, you'll cast the color the wall into your subject and that's a real pain to deal with. Sure you can use a second lamp to light up the background but keep the power way down, to say 1/3 of your main's power setting and make sure it doesn't spill back toward the camera or subject unless you're trying to rim/edge light them which is ok if you're doing it deliberately with the right background.

And trust me on this: You don't want to be comparing yourself to Sears or any other loss leader photo studio. And I use the term "studio" very very loosely.

Mark


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12/21/2006 10:19:39 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  1st has does anyone else think that the Costco Brownie Bites must have some addictive ingredient.
I agree with Mark F. on the softboxes being better and softer than umbrellas (unless you've got really high quality strobes) that allow for 7+ stops and you can really crank + or - the light. I really love using my 22" beauty dish with difusser and its great for tight shoots.
Always load up on chocalate cake or brownie bits before the shoot and if the photos aren't that good just blame it on chocolate overload.


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12/21/2006 10:28:40 AM

 
David A. Bliss   Thanks Mark! The Santa shoot was what it was, I didn't have any control over the situation. I was actually pretty pleased with how the shots came out considering. Your right, I need to calm down with the lights. You know how it is, get new toys, you want to play with them! My next purchases are going to be a soft box and a couple of reflectors.

And trust me, I don't want to compare myself to Sears, I was just happy it was at least that good, since I am not really sure of what I am doing yet. ;-) I have been researching a lot of portrait photographers in my area, and some of the shots they have in their online portfolios are pretty bad.

BTW, in case you were wondering, I am currently snowed in, so that is why I have been posting so much!


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12/21/2006 11:37:15 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Look I know this is a minority opinion but I really like umbrellas and light panels. I don’t like soft boxes. This maybe because I have a half dozen of them that have color shifted so badly they can’t be used. Light goes in 5200ºK and comes out 3600ºK. I could be that they are a royal pain to set-up; I have ended up bruised from the darn things. Or it could be the expense, an extra large soft box is about $400 and a 60-inch umbrella is less than $40. I think that the real reason is those umbrellas are more suited to the way I use lights.

Umbrellas are the sawed off shotguns of lighting tools; they spread light everywhere. Well that is my main goal for a diffuser. They can be used as a reflector, which gives me some control over direction, or as a diffuser, shoot through, which spreads light EVERYWHERE, even behind the light! I like the fact that they are round because they make a round catch light in the eye. When I use the umbrella I have control of the size of the light source since I can mount the umbrella at different distances from the umbrella. Also umbrellas have a variety of surfaces, if I want a harsher light I can use a foil umbrella, for softer light use a satin. There are also gold and even blue.

I often use the light panel with the umbrella to make the light more act like a flat source. This means that you get stronger transitions from light to dark, the curved surface of the umbrella make the light wrap around a subject more. I can also use the panels alone to give me different levels of diffusion depending on light placement and the cover of the panel. Of course the panels can also be used for reflectors or even flags to control spill. I have an article here at BetterPhoto about using these tools to light: http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=129.

When you look at umbrellas you might want to look for what satin umbrellas with a removable black back. The back will help to keep light from spreading to the 180º you’re not trying to light. They also make umbrellas with covered ribs, these create a smoother reflection and they spread light more evenly!

Thanks, John Siskin


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12/21/2006 11:54:40 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  No David, you're not like Sears. You're much better than that and your potential is surely substantially greater. :>)

You know Oliver, I heard the naked brownie bits by themselves aren't addictive unless you take them in large quantities (2 or more) with milk could be very habit forming. And that with chopped walnuts and a side of chocolate covered bananna is sufficient to put me over the top of anything !!! WHOA NELLIE !!!!!

Oh and I agree John, but I figured they're trying to get a bit more control over these things than an umbrella might provide, but sure umbrellas are worthwhile modifiers.

BTW, if any of those softboxes are Chimera with color-shifted inserts, I think Chimera will replace them for nothing. Give them a call and ask.
Take it light.
Mark


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12/21/2006 3:11:25 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Actually the soft boxes are Photflex. In defence of the manufacturer they are pretty old, then so am I, and they did work welll for several years. Thanks John, oh and Happy whatever!


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12/21/2006 4:18:19 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  sheesh, you guys took off with this! when I got back home last night, it was late, and didn't get back on here.

I am probably not going to be able to do any more pics in my dining room due to lack of space because of the Christmas tree....sooo... will have to live vicariously through David for a while! I'm liking the posting here too!


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12/21/2006 7:19:45 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  John and Mark, I have the Potoflex 24x32" (i think that is the size, or therabouts) softbox, and it ws recommended by the online store to get the Westcot ring, which I did, but is it normal for ti to be SOOOO hard to take apart? We have to use an adjustable wrench to pull the softbox frame thingies out of the ring? any ideas about that?


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12/21/2006 8:07:29 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Yes this is normal. One of the reasons I am not so happy with soft boxes. They do work well once they are put together. Good luck! John Siskin


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12/21/2006 10:35:52 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Yes this is normal. One of the reasons I am not so happy with soft boxes. They do work well once they are put together. Good luck! John Siskin


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12/21/2006 10:35:52 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  I think we'll all be living thru David for a bit yet, lol. This thread is making me extra anxious to get going though.

I have soft boxes too- do I NEED something additional to use them (ie Jess has the wescott ring), or is that just an 'extra'?


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12/22/2006 4:59:27 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  And if I get a radio slave that John mentioned, I can skip the voltage protected sync cord all together?? Seems like the cheaper and easier way to go??

http://cgi.ebay.com/Digital-Radio-Slave-Flash-Trigger-16-Channel-Wireless_W0QQitemZ140066364655QQihZ004QQcategoryZ30086QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Something like this??


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12/22/2006 5:11:18 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Once in awhile, one of the flexible metal poles or sticks I have to use to put up my Chimera boxes gets jammed in the lamphead ring. I think it's because the heat from the modeling lamp causes the rod to expand a bit in its socket. But rather than using channel locks or pliers to pull it free, the easiest thing to do is as follows:

Take the assembled softbox and set it on the floor face down with the ring etc., face up. Gently, and I mean GENTLY, push down on the center of the ring with the palm of your hand to compress the whole rig slightly, and then pull pull one rod free of the mounting ring. With the downward pressure, that should release some of the tension on the rod and that one should just pull out easily.

Once one rod is pulled free then the rest will just pull free as well without much, if any, effort. It seems using tools to pull them apart makes the problem worse. Like smacking your keyboard when the computer refuses to do something and you're pressed for time. Try the compression trick. It should work. But remember, go easy. If you press waaay too hard, you'll damage the rods by bending them into a permanent position. You just need to compress enough with one hand while pulling the rod free with the other.

If it doesn't work, then maybe you need to check the method you assembled the whole rig. About 20 years ago, I realized that the (then old-style) Chimera softbox poles had one end that was proper to insert into the ring and the other which was the right end to insert into the corner of the softbox interior. If you mixed them up and they weren't clearly marked, it was a real pain trying to pull them loose because one tip was slightly bigger than the tip at the other end. Chimera since fixed that but I don't know about other manufactuers.

Also, you should be able to leave the rods in the softbox insert sleeves when you store them. That makes assembly easier and much faster to set-up.

As far as softboxes, or any light modifier like an umbrella color shifting, yeah it happens, especially over a long time and it's so subtle you may not even notice it by looking at the fabric but rather the photos show it and you know it's not your flash tube power output.

I don't know how Photoflex handles the problem. If it happened under warranty, I'm sure they'd replace it regardless of the cause. Wescott, same deal. But Chimera, 22 years after I bought my 3x4 foot box, removed and sewed in an entire new front panel without charge. THAT sold me forever on the guys at Chimera. Must be the altitude where they work LOL !!
=====================
Denyse, yeah, if you use a radio slave you don't need any devices to protect your camera because all it's attached to is the radio slave and not the potential high voltage source of your lampheads.

I'm going bargain hunting, looking for oatmeal cookies with nuts and starting my long weekend NOW !!!! Latah gang.
Mark


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12/22/2006 8:55:45 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Denyse,
I checked the link on EBay and I have almost the same thing, except mine only has 4 channels. These things are an amazing deal! You can use optical slaves to trigger any other lights in your set up. Get either a wireless back up or a wired back up for this unit. Sync is so critical to a shoot that you need a back up. Although if you are only using one light as Mark suggests this will not be a problem. Mark, it really sounds as though the Chimera boxes have much better manners than my old Photoflex. It scares me but these boxes are from the mid eighties, so I don’t expect that they would be covered by any warranty. I think the reason they have such a large color change, and it is very large, is some kind of flame retardant on the fabric. I have umbrellas older than this (I never throw any thing out) that do hot have any color shift. Remember the old Larson umbrellas with only 4 poles? I have one of those that must be close to thirty years old, color is right on the money when measured with the Minolta color meter. Happy Holidays All! John Siskin


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12/22/2006 9:18:54 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Ok, thanks, for the $30-ish I think I'll go for it. And I will try Mark's suggestion of shooting with just one light to start. Now I have to figure out the reflector part...

MARK- I found a recipe for the Almond Mocha Brownies. YUM!!! I want to try those in the next few weeks. Man, it's a wonder I'm not 400 pounds with the way I bake and eat, lol.


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12/22/2006 9:31:34 AM

 
W.    Hey! Anybody got a good recipe for pecan nut coffee cake? The kind you can top with sweet whipped cream, or, even better, hot vanilla sauce! I'm dying for some of that. Well, actually... a lot of that!


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12/22/2006 10:31:25 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Darn, sorry, I have a lot of great recipes but no pecan nut coffee cake!!

I bought the radio slave. yeah!


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12/22/2006 10:36:13 AM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  I got my light meter today! five days from Fl to NY! but I got it before Christmas, which is a good thing. It's a Christmas present to myself!

Sorry guys, I'm not much of a nut lover, except for my hubby of course....

Mark, I figured that out the day I bought the softbox. To press down lightly upside down, but those rods were stuck, and I just figured it was because it was new. My hubby is my roady now, so he gets to get them unstuck for me! The Westcott ring has specific holes numbered 1-4 around the ring, and it isn't square obvioulsy, but they are set up with a rectangular shape. There are also holes for a strip lightbox. Anyway, I hope it gets easier to take this thing apart, as it loosens up.

Denyse, the light ring is what hooks your softbox to your flash unit.

BTW, does ice count for snow?????We are going to have a green Christmas, but right now it's raining, and the trees and weeds by the roads I came home from work on, are all frozen up, and there was a tree down already. Bummer!


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12/22/2006 2:26:03 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Jess: If they don't loosen up try putting some beeswax on the ends. You can usually buy it in a hardware store. Works good to unstick zippers and sticky drawer slides. :>)

Looks like we're going to have a green x-mas again too but might rain. 62 degrees right now. No snow in sight. But I think ice is along the same lines as snow. Works for me.
:<(0
M.


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12/22/2006 4:28:18 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  It just so happens my dad is a beekeeper, so beeswax is no problem. This light meter is pretty cool. It can do alot of things. It'll take forever to learn all that it can do, but basically, I can leave it to the studio light settings, as that is primarily what it's going to be used for. Denyse, the manual is pretty easy to get through fortunately, and the meter can be usede either in the cord mode for me, or if you get the wireless transmitter, you use it in the non cord mode. I can't wait to get playing with this!

I need to leave this guy a rating on ebay, but am happy it came pretty fast, and no problems. I even had to steal a battery out of hubby's little work flashlight to play tonight!


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12/22/2006 5:15:14 PM

 
W.    On the subject of sticky drawer slides I recommend candlewax. It's in fact the stearine that's in the candlewax. Cheaper and more readily at hand than beeswax.


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12/22/2006 7:05:23 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  help please....ok, was playing with the lightmeter and using it on the Christmas tree. I don't have the reflected light adapter, so can you use it in the incident mode in this situation? I would think with all of the light behind the meter, it wouldn't be accurate. Anyway, I played uping and lowering the aperture. and changing the settings some, to see the effects on the histogram. Man, can't imaging doing this if this was film! Mark, is this the right way of using the meter for tree lights?


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12/22/2006 7:39:02 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Jessica,
With film we learned to make good guesses and to read Polaroids like a gypsy reading tea leaves.

It would be hard to get a good exposure for Christmas tree lights with the meter so use it on incident to find the exposure for the strobes. Change the shutter speed to capture the tiny bulbs. This will work better if you turn off all lights in the room but the tree lights, that includes turning off your model lights. This will also be easier if you turn down the power on the strobes, that way your lens will be at a wider aperture. This will give the light from the tree an easier time getting through the lens.

May all your strobes sync in the New Year!
John Siskin


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12/23/2006 1:27:30 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Thanks John, but I didn't mention that I wasn't trying to use flash, just ambient light with no flash, on a tripod. That info would have helped! I had someone else tell me to expose for an ornament, not the lights themselves, or say, a child's face lit up.

All good info though, thanks.


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12/23/2006 2:55:51 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Jess: Take an incident reading of the available light falling on the tree, set your camera to that and let the lights on the tree go where they may in terms of exposure. Should be fine. If you want, bracket by a 1/2 stop or two either way.
Mark


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12/23/2006 4:08:52 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  That is to say, measure the light falling on the scene with the incident dome pointed back toward your camera position. Ok?
M


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12/23/2006 4:10:16 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Wishing everybody here a wonderful holiday today and tomorrow!

If I have people sitting in front of the Christmas tree, with a sm amt of room light, and I want to use on board flash, I know to power that down about 2 stops, and shoot on slow synch, how does the meter play into this? Or does it in this case? Just thought I would ask before tonight.

Again, Happy Holiday.


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12/24/2006 5:21:51 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Start by getting a couple of readings of ambient room light, no flash. Just available light like you were outdoors. Then decide whether you want the flash as main light or fill. With ambient light as the main, remember it's going to likely be color-shifted because of the color temp of incandescent lights (assuming they are incandescent). But set your strobes to be below the illumination level of the room light. Probably pretty low output.

Another way to use strobes as fill is to wash the ceiling with them which bounces light back into the scene. This is what I prefer to do with architectural views to enhance the basic room lighting. Bounce it at an angle off the ceiling and measure it that way. This will tend to clean up the color-shifting and just add overall brightness to the scene.
Same deal. Stand at the subject, point the meter back toward the camera position, not at the ceiling, make sure you don't cover the meter dome with a hand or arm and test fire your flash from a couple of positions.
Average the readings and there you have it. Try two stops below your ambient light, although chances are that's going to put you at a pretty slow shutter speed if you're working at ISO 100. If it does, try boosting your ISO to 400.

To use the flash as main, just get a reading that works at your camera's shutter speed and the f-stop you want to be at for depth of field. The room lights will go wherever they're at so you don't really need readings for them. Remember that chances are anything outside the flash zone will probably be on the darker side of the exposure, which can be cropped out of course on printing or ps'd if you've got that kind of time.

Ho ho hoooooooooooooooo
Mark


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12/24/2006 11:50:33 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Well, rather than calling them main and fill lights, I should refer to them as primary and secondary lighting sources. Sorry. Guess I had too much eggnog. :>0) [Maybe not enough??? LOL] !!!!

Any way, you know what I mean..... ho ho hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !!!! again.
Mark


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12/25/2006 10:24:14 AM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  apparently, I didn't have enough eggnog! I still am not happy with the turn out of the pics, and was too lazy to off load them so I could post them here. The night tree shots were still overexposed, even without the flash. I like the flashmeter for sure, and it is very helpful, but even with playing with the settings, I didn't get the pics I had hoped for.


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12/25/2006 12:07:46 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
At least you're playing Jess, I haven't even turned my meter ON yet...

It's frustrating when you have a specific vision in your head and it doesn't turn out that way in the shot!

Take a break & have some cake! lol (clearly I don't have a career in food photography OR chocolate drizzling ahead of me, hahaha. but man was it tastey!) Hope everyone had a good one!!


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12/26/2006 4:45:33 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
At least you're playing Jess, I haven't even turned my meter ON yet...

It's frustrating when you have a specific vision in your head and it doesn't turn out that way in the shot! Did you record any settings? Can you try again & make adjustments accordingly? I have little patience for that but when I was in classes here Bryan used to have us do that & it did help.

Then take a break & have some cake! lol (clearly I don't have a career in food photography OR chocolate drizzling ahead of me, hahaha. but man was it tastey!) Hope everyone had a good one!!


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12/26/2006 4:46:58 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Guys, I need MAJOR help, and can't find it ANYWHERE on the net! How in the world do you set a custom white balance using strobes?????

I know how to do that without being synched to the lights, but how do you do it with the lights??? No one specifically states how to do it on any forums, and since themodelinglights are tungsten, it won't be accurate. I did read thatleaving the camera on Auto WB, sin't right either.

Denyse the cake looks good, and last night I finally got pics of one of my fav ornaments, that looks pretty good.


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12/26/2006 4:56:57 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
 
 
  tree ornament
tree ornament
f 2, 50mm, 1/2 sec, manual mode
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
here's a nice pic from the tree.
Manual mode, 1/2 sec, 50mm, f 2.0


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12/26/2006 5:16:45 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
 
 
  Leila amongst the gifts
Leila amongst the gifts
50mm, f 2.0, 1/8sec, handheld, daylight
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
this is Leila, our pretty kitty guarding the presents. Actually she kept moving them arund trying to get comfy!


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12/26/2006 5:23:00 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Jess, the ornament one is GREAT, you gotta be happy with that one!!!! I can see it on a xmas card...

And I have a soft spot for silly kitties, she's a cutie.


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12/26/2006 5:28:48 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Jessica,
Tell me what camera you have. I'll get back to you tomorrow on white balance options. Thanks, John


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12/26/2006 5:35:04 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
 
 
  overexposed light
overexposed light
.
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
ok last one, and this is the one that I need the most help with...what in the world was I doing wrong???


this was f4.5, 4 sec, 22mm, on a tripod, and a small table lamp to the right, not in the pic. I tried a ton of defferent settings. Many of them purposly underexposed, but how do I get rid of all of that brightness? I metered from just in front of the tree.


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12/26/2006 5:35:48 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  John, I have a Nikon D70, two photogenic lights, using a synchcord. thanks. Jess


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12/26/2006 5:37:54 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Jess,
This will probably take multiple posts, please be patient with me. There are several ways to color balance a camera with strobes. Roughly speaking these include having a preset balance for your strobes stored in camera memory; this is what I generally do. Balancing the strobes to a sample shot with a grey card after the shoot, either in Photoshop or in a proprietary program. I do this when I need maximum accuracy for instance for copying artwork. Finally you can do this using a sample shot and the image on the camera back. I don’t do this; it’s too hard to pick the right area. The camera you have doesn’t seem to have a practical version of this feature.

The first thing that we will need is an accurate sample. Although we generally refer to this as a white balance it is better to use a grey sample. Grey is better because there is more color information in a grey sample than a white sample. I have a Greytag/Macbeth ColorChecker that is my favorite grey sample, because of its accuracy. I also have some very large grey plastic material that I use when the Greytag image would be too small to use. It is terribly important to use an accurate grey sample or else all your images will be precisely wrong. For this reason I do not use the Kodak grey card, while it has a precise reflectance, it does not have precise color. If you balance your images to this color they will be off color. There are many grey samples on the market now, unfortunately I am not familiar with all of them and so can’t recommend a particular product other than Greytag/Macbeth.

I am going to begin by discussing how to use a Photoshop CS2 subprogram called Bridge to use a sample shot at the shoot to balance a group of images shot in raw. I want to start here because anybody who can shoot in raw can do this, whereas other methods are particular to your camera Nikon D70, and software for that camera.

First shoot a file with the grey sample in it. This file has to be shot with the light you will use or have used for the rest of the shots. Be sure the grey card is large enough to find in the shot. The card needs to places where the subject will be was or is. Clearly it doesn’t matter what order you do this in. You must shoot in RAW. Second we confront an annoying problem with bridge. When you open a group of raw images in Bridge (you get to Bridge by going to browse under the file menu or you can open bridge directly) the program will automatically reset the color and density and other aspects of each shot. This means if you meant the shot to be dark it won’t be. We have to tell Bridge not to do that. Since I have already posted a tip on BetterPhoto about how to do that I m just going to copy it here:
1. Viewing Raw Images as Shot in Camera
I had a problem with Bridge, in Photoshop CS2. I want to edit in Bridge as I do in the proprietary program from my camera. In order to edit I want to see images as shot in camera on the Bridge browser. Unfortunately the browser shows the images with an automatic correction, not as shot in camera. Command U does not change the images back to camera settings in the browser. For those of you without Photoshop CS2, it helps to know that there are now multiple programs in Photoshop: Bridge, Photoshop, Camera Raw and Image Ready. I found a way to cause the Bridge browser to display the images as shot in camera.
1) Open images in Bridge
2) Select one image and open in Camera Raw. On the right side of the screen you will see Settings followed by a menu box. The box will say Camera Raw Defaults and just past this is an arrow. Press on the arrow and a dialog box will open.
3) Click use auto adjustment to off. The dialog box will close.
4) Reopen the dialog box and click Save New Camera Raw Defaults.
If everything went well Bridge will now display the shot as the camera took it.


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12/27/2006 3:21:19 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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  Once you have set up Bridge to do this trick open the files from your shoot in Bridge. You can either choose which files you want to balance or you can choose all the files. Either way be sure to choose the test file. This will bring up the camera raw part of the program. Find and open the image with the grey sample on the left side of the screen and open it. Click the select all box above the thumbnail images on the left side of the screen. Use the white balance tool (picture of an eyedropper next to the hand/move tool) and click on the grey card. This will make the card neutral grey and apply the same correction to all the other files you selected. This will be much simpler the second time you do it. There is a second eyedropper tool next to the crop tool above the main image this is a color sample tool, it does not do a grey balance, but will give you information about color in specific part of an image. Don’t forget to save the images or the color balance will be lost.

Your Nikon camera will only memorize one preset color balance. This is annoying, since it is extremely useful to have preset for various flash units you might use.

Even more annoying is reading a camera instruction book and starting on page 48. The instruction book is unclear on whether the strobes are triggered when you do a custom color balance. I think this is why you are asking the question. I am unable to fully understand the options in the instruction book with out an actual camera available, but if the camera triggered the strobes when setting a white balance it would do it the same way it does with continuous light. Since you said you have done this successfully I wonder if the camera does trigger the strobes. That leaves us with one other option setting the color balance from an image already on your memory card. For reference this is discussed on page 54 and 55 of your instruction book. I would certainly look at that in addition to what I am writing here.

This is how I think this works. Take a picture of the grey card in which the card fills the frame. Be sure the card is in the strobe light you want to balance for and that you are not shadowing the grey card. Obviously a large grey card will be easier for this. The grey card does not need to be in focus, you can set your camera to manual focus. Go to the white balance menu on the back of your camera. Highlight the PRE/Preset line on your menu. When you engage this by using the 4 way control in the back of your camera you will get two choices: Measure and Use Photo. Go to Use Photo. Hopefully the image of a grey card you just took will be displayed. (If not there are about 5 more steps to find it- I would try to find out how to display the image I just took, it must be easier.) Highlight the image of the grey card and press This Image>Set. When you press set the images you take should be balanced to the grey card. This is annoying and inefficient. This might be easier the third or fourth time you do it.


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12/27/2006 3:22:43 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  I suspect that there is a way to do a color balance on a group of images in the proprietary software similar to what can be done in Photoshop. I will continue to examine this problem; if I find a more comprehensible answer I will certainly post it.


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12/27/2006 3:23:43 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  wow, John, that was exhaustive! Thank you for your time writing that.

Two things though: one, I do't use CS2, I use PSE3.
second: My camera won't fire for a preset WB with the synchcord attached to the strobe. So if I have the modeling lights on, I still can't get the camera to fire the strobe.

Neil from planetneil.com suggested in an email to me last night to use the preset daylight, and that should be close.

Why isn't this addressed in any lighting articles anywhere? I've searched high and low online, and I do know that my WB was off on one of the shoots I did, because the little girl had cool skin tones, and I had to use the remove color cast, which worked.

I do know of the options in the camera menu, you are talking about. But never thought about using them. But again, I can't take the pic of the gray card using the actual strobe light.

Thanks again JOhn. Do you think the daylight preset would work?


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12/27/2006 3:48:40 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  I was concerned that you may not be able to use CS2. If you have the Nikon View software there is a way to do the batch grey scale in there. Neil is right that daylight preset should be close. According to the manual you can further refine the daylight white balance through an on camera adjustment. Also you might want to check and see if you can get the camera to fire a strobe on the hot shoe when you are set to do a white balance. If any strobe at all fires then you could use a radio slave to fire your strobes for a white balance.

I do not know why this isn’t addressed, if this is the way things are on all Nikon D70 cameras it should be making many people upset. I would suggest that you post on Dpreview (www.dpreview.com/) I believe they have a board for your camera. I hope that someone has more information regarding this problem. Thanks, John Siskin


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12/27/2006 4:46:33 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  My studio is ready and I finally took my lights out of the box and set them up!! Hopefully tonight I'll take my first test shots... by time I got them set up yesterday I was too exhausted to play.

I tested the lights & everything to make sure they work and all seems well. Good kit, comes with EVERYthing you need.

Jess, I see what you mean about needing a "roadie" to tear down & set up... now that mine are up, I don't ever want to do that again, haha. I don't think mine are going to travel much.


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1/2/2007 5:21:03 AM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  YOu go girl! I did 4 20 yr old girls yesterday....my daughter and three friends! 2 hrs, and 200 pics later. I got rid of alot of duplicates, as I took more than I needed, but at least we got to pick out the best shots.

YOu have mucho fun tonight, and be sure to post!

BTW, I finally used my meter with my lights yesterday. With the tree up, I didn't have enough room for it all, so shooting had to wait! I found the softbox about a consistant three feet away worked very well, but I still don't think I have it at the right degree from the nose. The nose shadows are still funky in some. Keep your eye out for that, and watch where your catchlights end up. The softbox needs to be higher than you think, but not over the top, obviously. This is still a definate learning period of time.


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1/2/2007 2:26:32 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Jessica, if you're shooting close up and one subject a beauty dish with diffuser is perfect. I'd check into renting and trying it for a test drive. I use a 22" White Lightning and its great for fashion shoots. I'm shooting for a TV show and Magazine in Laguna Beach for the next two day (they film my shoots and show them on TV because i'm funny and shoot attractive models) and the Dish is key on fashion shoots because it gives such a COOL look on the models face and is great on the cloths.(it also is good in tight locations compared to a softbox).


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1/2/2007 2:45:14 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  HEEEELLLPPPP!!! Ok, so I'm all excited to get shooting, I've got my big teddy bear model in his wicker chair and everything (lol) and I hit a roadblock already!! I get my radio slave to sync to my camera... hmm, the connector doesn't fit into my camera!! So I get out the sync cords that came w/ the strobes- same exact head. (the radio slave has to go in the hot shoe AND plug in to the camera right??)

I have the Rebel XT- Jess, what are you shooting with and did you have this problem? (if so, how do I get around it??)

The girls must've had soooo much fun with their shoot yesterday, can't wait to see your favorites!! (I'll go check your gallery in case you loaded some).


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1/2/2007 4:12:38 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Oh Denyse, what a bummer. I'm not using the radio transmitter. I'm actually connected to the strobe, through the synch cord. My adapter fits in the hot shoe, and it has an opening in the front for the synch cord. I'm NO help on this! Try to get a real person tonight though, tedy bears won't leave the right kind of shadows...been there! I never did buy one of those wig-face/head thingees, I just plead my way through people.

Keep us posted. I didn't add any from last night yet, but will.


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1/2/2007 4:22:15 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Darn... I have a sync cord (came w/ the strobes) but it doesn't have a hot shoe adapter, just the end that plugs into the strobes, then another plug-type end that I can only assume is supposed to plug into my camera, but I don't have the right ports. (they look darn close, but it just doesn't plug in there!)

I'll surf on the forum and see if anyone else has had this problem w/ this camera.

I can't get a person until tomorrow night, so I guess it's no huge loss at the moment anyways. Bummer tho, I was ready to get testing. Thanks for the tips on the softbox height, I'm sure I have mine too low.


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1/2/2007 4:31:10 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  How annoying, the darn camera doesn't have the proper ports!! WHY would canon do that.

Anywho, this seems to be the general consensus from a few of the reliable guys on here: 'A simple hotshoe PC sync adapter is all that's needed. Err on the side of caution and get one that sheilds the XT from high trigger voltages, such as the Wein Safe Sync.'

Another $50 and a week of waiting for me...


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1/2/2007 4:57:25 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Denyse, I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I have just the regular adapter, and didn't buy the Wein safe. I posted three pics from last night, and if you look at the nose shadows, you'll see what I mean!

Anybody? Can you offer any suggestions on how to fix the nose shadows on my first three pics in my gallery? Thanks.


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1/2/2007 5:01:51 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Hey, it's all part of learning, right!

I'm paranoid, I bought the voltage safe one, $59.29, just cashed out at B&H. 3-5 days for delivery. If I'm lucky, I'll have it by the weekend and will have plenty of live models then, lol.

I'm going to check out your new pics now...


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1/2/2007 5:06:39 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  I gotta tell ya, I don't see any nose shadows!!! MAYBE on the 2nd one a little, but only b/c I'm staring at that area looking for it. I would have never noticed otherwise. Your lighting looks good & even to me!!!!


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1/2/2007 5:39:57 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  I'm concerned about hos the shadow goes downward, into the mouth area. I don't think my light was far enough to the side of the subject. It was more over them. I actually had some butterfly lighting in some of my pics.


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1/2/2007 6:50:31 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I don't get what all the hub bub is about. You guys aren't practicing on those styrofoam heads I suggested you practice on...are you.....hmmmmmm???? Ok, let me know if we have any medical students in the crowd. Just raise your hands ...class......anybody....

Even teddy bears can run out of patients... Ahem..

So, if you were using that styrofoam modeling / wig storage head and you set your first light with the modeling lamp on and no others, you'd probably see the shadow you mentioned. AND by lowering the lamphead, you'd see it go away as the lamp became more at the subject styrofoam head's eye level. :>)

Oh, and happy new year.
M.


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1/2/2007 7:14:29 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Denyse, did you get your cordage problems straightened out?

You should be able to work from some kind of hot shoe adapter that fits your Canon??? and lets you run a PC cord off the hot shoe to the radio slave, maybe using a mini-plug. John I think, may know because I think he's familiar with the slaves you bought.

If they're Pocket Wizards, a PC from the camera to a mini-plug is probably what you need. And on the receiver end, a mini-plug into the receiver and a standard phono plug into the Bowens lamphead. That's the set-up I use to my monolights from my cameras, Nikons, Leicas and view camera lenses.

Your Photoflex spec sheet should specify what type of plug the lamp head takes from the sync cord. And either the slave spec sheet or direct to the camera (or indirect to the Paramount fused cord) should tell you what type of plug that end needs. Yes?
Mark


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1/2/2007 7:48:20 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Mark, I only used one light for those three new pics in my gallery. so are the shadows really bad? I thought I had the lights at the right height, catch lights are ok, aren't they? Give me your honest opinion of how they look. also how do you feather the lighting with a softbox, up or downward?


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1/2/2007 8:20:47 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Denyse you do not need to have both the hot shoe and the sync cord plugged in. The wireless sync will work when you seat it on the camera hot shoe. You do not need a PC outlet at all. The PC adapter comes with the wireless unit to adapt it to cameras that do not have a hot shoe. You do not need the Wein adapter. I hope you will still be able to do some work tonight. Happy New Year & Happy Shooting! Thanks, John Siskin


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1/2/2007 9:15:58 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Mark- I did buy a hot shoe adapter last night, guess I don't need it, but maybe I'll keep it b/c then I'll have a back up (using the sync cords that came with the strobes)

John- thanks so much, that's what I thought when I bought them, but then it wasn't working and there was this cord, so I figured I must need it!

I'm not sure why it wasn't working... I put the wireless sync in the hot shoe. And plugged the receiver into one of the strobes. That's all I need to do, right? I wonder if the batteries were low on the receiver!! I'll try that tonight, see if that was my problem. Boy will I feel dumb if it was :)


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1/3/2007 5:57:19 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  There is an on off swith on my reciever and the reciever and the sender need to be set to matching frequencies. The frequencies are set with the tiny switches on both units, rather like a garage door opener. Thanks, John


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1/3/2007 7:45:28 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Thanks John- I'll double check those things as well, I thought I had it On, and both set to the same frequency, but maybe I didn't. I got brand new batteries, I'm hoping that's all it is.

Jess- I still don't see ANY bad shadows, just the kind that make the face have depth. Maybe Mark can give you his EXPERT opinion :-)


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1/3/2007 7:57:17 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  No Jess, I don't think the shadows are bad at all. If you want to feather the light for one person laying on the floor, first, take the box off the lightstand and lay the thing on the floor, then get some screen at the local hardware store. You can get standard screen door screen, lay it across the bottom part of the softbox, tape it or clamp it to the fabric and see what you've got. If you want to cut the light down even more, add another piece of screen, etc.

Sorry Denyse, I haven't a clue as to the equipment you bought in terms of radio slaves. Like I said, I use Pocket Wizards.
Latah gang
M


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1/3/2007 9:18:54 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Mark- I love someone who lays the cards on the table like you do! (ie, other thread)

Anyways, it seems the batteries were possibly dead or I didn't have something switched on because now the strobes fire!!

Soooo much to learn now! I'm getting a cold and didn't have the patience to play much beyond getting a few test shots off tonight. But you're right Jess, they had to be up pretty high or it was real shadowed. I don't have my backdrops up yet to practice with- what do you use to mount them?? Mine came with some big clamps, but I'm not sure what the thought on that is. Screw them to the wall somehow, maybe?

I've been noticing dark spots in pics lately, I have to take my camera apart piece by piece and do a light cleaning. Always something!!


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1/3/2007 5:34:40 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  I am so glad the radio slave is working. I love these things. Hope you feel better soon. Upload a picture of the background stuff. That will make it easier to know how it fits together. Thanks, John Siskin


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1/3/2007 5:51:04 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Oh brother, huh Denyse...now a cold? when will you ever get to play with your new toys??? I am very glad you figured out your problem, and that it was very simple.

My backdrop stand came about totally by accident. Eventually I'll make a real one, but this fine for now, and now one would even know what was behind the fabric.

Do you know the portable clothes stands, on wheels, and it has the bar across the top? Well, I hinged two 3"x3 ft boards, end to end, and wrap multiple velcro strips around both the board and the bar, so now the board is 6 ft long, and attached to the bar. Then I use clamps from Walmart to attach the fabric over the top.

When the fabric is up, no one ever knows. Plus the height is adjustable too.


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1/3/2007 6:02:58 PM

 
Linda Buchanan   For a backdrop stand you could use two light stands (maybe find them used on ebay) and a length of pvc pipe from Home Depot. You can drill a hole in each end to fit the light stand top and then clamp your backdrops to the pipe. I have a backdrop stand but I am not happy with the cross bar, it is unstable. I did this with pvc pipe and have been very happy with it. Good luck.


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1/4/2007 10:17:21 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  I've been pondering this whole backdrop situation, and you both have good ideas but I don't need anything portable, so my finace had an idea pop in his head last night, I think we'll do this- the backdrops came with these insanely sturdy clamps, and he's going to get a 2x4 and nail it to the wall, then mount the clamps on it. In the next few days we'll get that done, then I can get back to playing!!

I've been studying lighting diagrams- Jess you only use one light, right? And a reflector for fill? I know that's what Mark has been recommending, but since I don't have a reflector and DO have a 2nd light, I'm going to try that but power it way down.

I know, diagrams for lighting are cookie cutter but I have to start somewhere and learn from there I'm thinking.


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1/9/2007 9:43:43 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Denyse, if you want a reflector you can get them on EBay really cheap. I bought all 3 of mine there and my 5ft one was only $45 after shipping (5 coatings) but you can use one light as a hair light with a 20degree filter from the rear w/5or 7inch can. The other in front about 8ft with 11inch or larger can with difuser and the reflector below bouncing the light up under the chin. It works great. As for the backdrop I've used 2 extra sturdy light stands but it helps to buy the real stands and there on EBay for a reasonable amount.


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1/9/2007 9:55:28 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  You might want to try light panels for diffusers and for reflectors. This article details how to build one: http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=156. Maybe you or your fiancé might want to build one, or two or five. Thanks, John Siskin


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1/9/2007 10:08:13 AM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
 
 
  Ruby
Ruby
Manual mode, f11, 1/60th, main light, reflector for fill.
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
Hi denyse, I am posting this other pic that I love, of Ruby. This is also done with one light. I have to admit, learning how to light with one light IS more important than learning two right off the bat! I am just using a standard foam core board propped against a chair in her picture, and you can get them in craft stores. I would like to have a 5 in 1 reflector with a stand.

I have used the second light two times, but am going to concentrate on only one for awhile. I am finding lighting groups of 4 to be difficult!

also take your measurement of light off of your person's brightest point on their face


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1/9/2007 3:16:44 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Howdy Denyse. Ummmmm...first the reflector panels. Just get a sheet of fomecore, either 4x4' or 4x8'. You can get black on one side, white on the other. Cost ya about 10 bucks, tops. Then just lean it up against something, like your fiance (they're good for something anyway. ), and have him position it where you want it while you look through the viewfinder.

As to the backdrops, the 2x4 is a good idea but maybe rather than clamps, rig a couple of small closet pole brackets and poles, drape the bg's over those and attach them with clothes pins. That might allow you to hang a couple of bg's at once and not have to keep taking them down to change them all the time, just stack one behind the other for storage. Justathought.

Nice work Jess, btw. I don't see a problem at all with your shadows or lighting I think it's quite good.
M.


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1/9/2007 5:37:22 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  YES! I got a thumbs up from Mark!! woo hoo! Actually, this shoot on Sat, I was quite pleased with my own work. It felt like things were coming together, and this little one was quite fun to work with. Like I said though, 4 people and two lights.... more difficult.

So what is the key, to get good lighting, when you can't keep your lights as close to a group like an individual person?


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1/9/2007 6:45:03 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Ok, I'll give the foam board a chance, I think I've got $10 still left in me...

I think the lighting is very interesting on little Ruby there, good work Jess!! It's not boring ol' flat studio light, the shadows add alot of depth to her. How old was she? My mom watches a little one and they're waiting for me to get settled to do shots with her. I've never done babies before! Just wondering what age they prop up like that...


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1/9/2007 7:08:43 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  She's seven months old this week. I'm going to send you an email too Denyse.


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1/9/2007 7:16:46 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Well Jess, now that I looked at the larger version and read your specs, I see you used one light and a fill. :>))) Nice. Very nice. Yep, I'm proud of ya. Notice the catch lights. One in each eye. I'll bet ya that if you had a large print, say 11x14 or so and put it on the wall, the eyes would look as though they're following you around the room as you moved. That's essentially "Rembrandt Lighting".

I don't quite understand your question, lighting a group of one??? When you can't get lights in close enough, either diffuse it more or bounce it off the ceiling. Also, unless you're going for a single type of lighting appearance to get a consistent look for a single piece, say a program booklet or something like that, then light each shot individually, starting with the main and then a fill card, and then a second light if you really feel it's necessary.

What I like to do is experiment or play around with the fill card and might use the dark side of the panel to just deaden the lighting on a side instead of bouncing it back in to the subject. In essence, your lighting should become like a philosophy for you to use in order to bring out the individual qualities of the person you're photgraphing (or kid).

Hey Denyse, are you still looking for an adjustable posing stool, like one without arms or that has a platform that will raise or lower for leaning arms on? Lemme know.

M.

I'm cooking tonight so gotta fly.
Later


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1/9/2007 8:07:54 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
 
 
  couples
couples
.
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
BAD LIGHTING! I think this may have had levels done to it, but nothing else. I don't think it looks that great. But this is what I meant about a group of 4, how do you light this evenly, with two lights, but they have to be back far enough so you don't get the softbox or umbrella in the shot?


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1/9/2007 10:15:42 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Mark- yeah, I still need a posing stool and/or platform. Got one in mind??

Jess- did you send me an email, I didn't get one...

I don't think your light is bad on the group of 4 at all, they actually look nicely lit. I think what you're seeing is the shadows on the backdrop?? They look almost pressed right up against it, can you move your whole set up back so they can be a few feet in front of the backdrop??


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1/10/2007 8:50:46 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  7 months- ok I think the baby i'll have is about 6 months. I'll be testing out the donut baby poser!!

Hey- where did you get your backdrops? Or did you make them? I've bought a few on ebay from silverlake photo, they're nice... usually they go for big bucks but i've lucked out twice and gotten them for like $60-70 with shipping.


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1/10/2007 8:53:07 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hi Denyse: My own preference is either using wooden bar-stools even if they show in the shot, say 3/4 length, or wooden cane back chairs, like the old-fashioned kind with rounded backs.

For something a bit fancier, there's architectural drafting stools made of metal that you can buy used for about 15 bucks each at any used office furniture store, or if you get even fancier, pneumatic stools on a piston with or without arms, also from used drafting equipment or office equipment stores. OR....B&H (of course) and here's the link to Delta which is pretty good stuff. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=search&Q=&b=148&mnp=0.0&mxp=0.0&cmpsrch=&cltp=&clsgr=&shs=posing+stools&ci=1&ac=&Submit.x=6&Submit.y=8

Mark


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1/10/2007 10:22:03 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
Hey gang, I FINALLY got my backdrops mounted today... we just finished at 10pm, so I could only get my guy to sit for a few lame shots so I could test out the light, lol. (He made me promise no one would ever see them, and I couldn't pose him since they were just "test" shots. It's our secret :)

For these shots I was using both lights (Mark, don't cringe). In the upcoming days & weeks I'll try the one light & reflector set up, I bought a 32" x 40" foam board.

Now on the close up one, I think the light looks even. (ok, maybe boring, but even) But on the far away one, is it dark to the left of him??? Backdrops are tricky because of all the colors, it's like is that a shadow or part of the backdrop design!

I had my camera at 6 o'clock, my main set to full power to my immediate right, so around 5 o'clock, and my fill set to 1/2 power at about 8 o'clock.

Suggestions??? WHERE should the soft box heads be pointed? AT the subject, or into the corners?? How high up should they be? My room is only 8' tall so I pretty much went to the ceiling.

I learned that the 10'x 20' backdrops are reallllly long for my space too. I'll have to start going with the 10' x 12' in the future.


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1/20/2007 7:34:18 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
It crashed when I was trying to load photos... let me try again. If it fails, I'll load them in the morning.


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1/20/2007 7:39:41 PM

 
Suzzy M. Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/16/2006
  I've got one more day here at the SPA convention in SanAntonio, Texas. There are about 300 photographers here. It mostly deals in studio and senior portraits. The best looking thing was the photoprojected backdrops. You can buy the stock they sell ($249) or make your own. Not sure, but I think the best projecter was about a grand. The best results were with combination of lights and reflectors.


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1/20/2007 11:44:16 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Well, there's really nothing wrong with them. I mean they're not awful or anything. My prefrerence is to put the softbox, even my large one, level with the subject and for starters, at about a 45 degree angle to them. Depending on how you place it, it can or can't be use to throw light on the background. It also depends on how close your subject is to the bg and you need to look as to whether it starts casting shadows back there. Sometimes you can crop the shadow out in the camera by moving closer or swinging to one side or the other.

Other times, you need to move the light. It depends on your set-up and how close or how far you can move your lights and where they're positioned. My guess is your left-side shadow was produced by your left light being swing to the right leaving a dead spot on the bg which is fine if you just crop it out as I said.

Also, my opinion is better to have too big a background than one too small. You can always use clamps or clothespins or gaffers tape to drape it, fold it, gently though or the creases may produce harsh shadows depending on how your lights are positioned. OR, just fold the thing in half and work with it that way.

If you point both lights at the subject, chances are you'll be cross lighting them which produces harder rather than softer illumination, kinda of what you've got here.

Set ONE light at a time. Once you've got what you consider your main set, THEN do any fill or secondary lights by first looking at where the modeling light on the main is going, then turn on the modeling light for the second light and seee where THAT one is casting light. OR if you're using a fill card of some kind, do that second instead of the second light. Place the fill card and THEN if you want additional light, turn that one's modeling light on, one level up at a time, and place that one.

Piece-o-cake, yes? See if John's around and what he thinks. As I said Denyse, lighting is personal preference as is the technique for getting to where you want that preference to be.

Now....let's see, where did I put your fiancee's phone number...........................
M.


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1/21/2007 9:40:27 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Ok Mark, I'm heading down to try your suggestions, thanks as always. Hadn't thought about how I was cross lighting by directing them at the subject.

Jess, how's it been going for you??


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1/21/2007 10:35:16 AM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Hi Denyse, I've been following, just it's such a pin to log on here, scroll down to the bottom, to respond, wait for that page, then scroll down to the bottom again to type. I'm just lazy!

I've been spending a lot of time working on my Winklet template, for my webpage. It's not been easy, so I just keep pluggin along. I did send you an email, that night, but it was a long one, and didnt' feel like retyping it. :)!

I've had the same problems about the dark area o the background, and I know it's all about the lighting! Next Sunday, I'm doing a three and five yr old bro and sister, and then another couple's photoshoot. I'm going to be more in tune about where my lights will be. I can't wait for the kids! I have some V-Day props that I got, and then today, I bought a BIG antiqued frame, that I'll take the pic out of, so I can have the couple hold it in front of them. I've seen this somewhere, and think it looks really cool. Keep playing with your lights, you have a good start!
J.


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1/21/2007 5:06:30 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
Ok, more practice this afternoon.... still having some trouble with the one dark area. I moved my lights up, down, over, tilt more, less, one light, two lights, didn't seem to affect it. I'll keep at it!!

Here are some from today...

I have dial-up still, so I hear you on hating to wait for the thread to load!! Bummer I didn't that email, I swear sometimes servers just eat stuff.

Looking forward to seeing shots from your next shoots. Sounds like you have some fun ideas lined up.


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1/21/2007 5:27:51 PM

 
Who Me? 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/19/2007
  how often in studios do I see the backround look unatural. Why would you pay for something like that? It looks corny and then you ad a totally posed person in front of that and it looks even worse. I guess if the people don't know whats out there, they think its great.


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1/22/2007 9:33:04 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Denyse !! I think you're on the right track. Look at the difference between the shots from the day before and these new ones, particularly shadows and details in the shadow areas. It looks a bit underexposed, maybe by 1/2 - 3/4 of a stop. And, you could arrange your set-up to pump more reflected light into the left side of the scene, (your left, not theirs). All that takes is adjusting the reflector and like making a pool shot, bouncing the main light into the reflector to reflect more into the subjects without turning up the brightness level. Moving the reflector closer or further back will help you too, and as you move it, look at the results in one dark area of your subjects to watch it brighten as you change the reflector position or angle.

Okie dokie?
M.


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1/22/2007 9:39:34 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Thanks Mark, I thought these were an improvement from the day before. My left side is definately the trouble side... I also thought they were underexposed but I had a hard time not OVERexposing if I opened my aperture up more. I'll keep working with the reflector, that should fill my shadows w/o overexposing the subjects, gotcha.


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1/23/2007 7:13:31 AM

 
Lisa G. Bennett   Looking good doll! Have you had time to adjust your reflector yet? I am curious to see the difference. Good luck!


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1/23/2007 2:21:20 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Denyse, these definately look much better. Mark, which 5 in 1 brand and stand do you recommend for the reflector? I've looked at a few online, but haven't bought any.

Derek, I wanted to respond to you yesterday, but chose not to. Since you have just recently signed on here, you could choose your words a little more wisely. Coming off as a jerk, isn't going to win you any awards. If you have something constructive to add, then do, if not, then don't.


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1/23/2007 2:39:12 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Thanks Lisa... no time yet, stuck at the office all day, that pesky job that pays for all this fun stuff, haha. And no models around tonight :( Probably this weekend I'll take another crack at it. Glad you've joined us again!

Jess, when you put reflector on the chair, how high was your light? When I tried the reflector on saturday maybe I had it to low and it wasn't getting the light, hmm, I'm not sure. What kind of angle should it be at? Probably depends on the angle of the light I suppose... dumb question denyse, lol.

Anyone (Derek) who doesn't post pics can't possibly be taken seriously.


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1/23/2007 3:45:24 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Hey there, I know what you mean about the working bit!

My reflector was propped against the chair, since I was working with Ruby on the floor. I have the regular sized craft store foam core, and just propped out of view of the camera. It worked pretty well too.


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1/23/2007 3:52:23 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Ok maybe I was just too low with it then... if you had her on the floor it would be above her. I had mine about even level with my models. Soft box was about even with them & tilted down 45 degrees.

Are you getting this weather?? It's miserable from Buffalo to here at least, and usually you guys in the east get hammered.


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1/23/2007 4:01:22 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  My husband is up in Watertown area tonight, and he called and said they got about a foot of snow, in a few hours, we're only at a couple of inches here. Roads are slick though. He may not get home tomorrow, if it keeps going, as they are having blizzard conditions that come and go, and they're on Tug Hill Plateau.
My softbox is always higher than the person, but I'm going to try the bouncing the light into the reflector more, haven't done tha specifically yet, on purpose.


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1/23/2007 8:08:46 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  My boss is headed up to Tug Hill today, snowmobiling, he heard the snow was hitting there.... Hope you husband stays put until it clears up. Driving in this stuff is the worst!!

I guess I'll just practice with different angles and heights of both the light and reflector to see when it casts the light where I want it. Digital is soooo great for this, we would all have gone broke in film by now.


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1/24/2007 4:57:12 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
 
 
  Camio A. with Blue Gel
Camio A. with Blue Gel
I used a blue gel on the background. I think it is a little bright. I should have added some neutral density gel to tone it down. It certainly shows how much color you can get with this set-up!
© John H. Siskin
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
 
 
Hi folks,
I’m sorry I haven’t been able to drop in here for a while. I’ve been shooting actual jobs! I wanted to let you know about my blog here at BetterPhoto. I just put in some material on backgrounds that I think applies to this thread. There will be a second installment about making backgrounds next week. The link is http://insights.betterphoto.com/ or you can find it at BetterPhoto > community > BetterBlogs > Instructor Insights. I hope you will find this useful information.

Also, I don’t know if anyone near Hollywood, CA is watching this thread but I am giving a lecture/demonstration at Freestyle Photographic on February 10. This is a free event. If you would like to get a seat you need to reserve one by calling Mike Tullberg at (323)660-3460 ext. 121. This will happen at 2pm. Let me know if you have any questions. I hope to see some BetterPhoto people there.

Thanks,
John Siskin


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1/26/2007 5:56:24 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
 
 
  Sarah
Sarah
in a Valentine's tutu
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
  baptismal dress with a straight face!
baptismal dress with a straight face!
she had just woken up, and we couldn't get her to smile for anything with this dress on.
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
hey Denyse, Mark, et all: how you doing? I had a 8 month old shoot on Sunday, and thought I would share:


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2/1/2007 9:10:20 PM

 
David A. Bliss  
 
 
Ok, it's been awhile since I posted on this thread, thought I would jump in again!

This is a test shoot with a model I found on another forum for TFCD. I was experimenting with using two lights *sorry Mark, I guess I just can't help it ;-)* and my new reflectors. I had one light high and behind for a hair light, one to the right of the model (frame left), and the reflector to the left of the model (frame right).


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2/1/2007 9:28:05 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Hi David. That's a cool environmental shot. What is TFCD? I just thought I would share one thing though, I "believe" the hair light is supposed to be on the opposite side of the main, to help lighten that side, but sheis well lit.


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2/2/2007 4:36:29 AM

 
David A. Bliss   Thanks Jessica! You are right, I believe, as well. The kicker is generally supposed to be on the opposite side as the main. But for this shot I was trying to get a natural light feel, like it was coming in through a window. Don't know if I succeded... ;-) Next time I will try it the "correct" way! ;-)

TFCD (time for CD) comes from TFP (time for print). Generally, a photographer is testing or experimenting, and finds a model who needs more shots for their portfolio and is willing to pose for portfolio shots.

What the internet has done for amateur photographers it has also done for amateur models; meaning there is a lot more of them with the ability to display their work without an agency. This has made the TFCD a very common "internet" payment. It can be very useful when practicing new lighting techniques and not having to use money out of pocket to hire a model.


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2/2/2007 12:20:57 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Jess, David, John, Denyse, other distinguished members of our congregation.

Ummmmmmmm...David, whatever works, but it looks like your background light got cropped? What happened?

Jess: You're a quick study. I would have thought you'd be asking how to use that new light meter. Nice work kiddo. How many lights? [I had an eight month shoot one night when I spent a week in Bethel Park, PA. I KNOW that feeling.]
Mark


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2/4/2007 10:18:55 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Hey everyone! Looking good Jess! Did you vignette that one of her sitting in the dress? How was it with shadows, any trouble? Is it getting easier?? Hey David, welcome back.

I won't be in my studio again until later this month. Superbowl parties, wedding plans, skiing, family obligations, you know how it is... Plus this darn single digit temps & negative windchills makes it coooold down there until the heat runs are finished!


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2/4/2007 11:44:23 AM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Hi guys. Thanks Mark. I think it is easier right now. These are my settings: f/11, 1/60th, main at about three feet camera right, and set at about 1/8th power, and fill, at 1/16th, right next to the camera.

I did burn in around her sitting on the stool. I have a bunch more, and some of them are really cute. I may post one that I really like, but I have to resize it first.

Mark, the light meter, other than the Christmas tree questions, hasn't been an issue. I got the manual with it, and it's very easy to use. I occ have to look back at it if I switch between ambient light settings, and cord settings. Not too bad though. I really am glad that I bought it, and don't see it as a waste of money at all...would highly recommend one!

Denyse, can't wait to see more. good luck on the heat issue.

Jess


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2/4/2007 1:22:12 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Heh heh heh...I've always said f/11 at 1/60th cures a multitude of sins. LOL !!!

Glad to hear you and your meter are getting along well Jess. I can't remember, is it the Flash Meter IV or IV-F? Denyse got the same one right?
Anyone else need a manual for these things. Oh, and yeah, gotta keep an eye on the ambient switch. You're right J. It's really a good meter.
Latah. I'm building a pot of soup. Cold here. Must be around....55. Shooting the AT&T this week, btw.
M.


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2/4/2007 1:53:56 PM

 
Lisa G. Bennett   55? It was 6 when I got in my car this morning! Gotta love the good ol' midwest! Good luck with the AT&T shoot and stay out of the "cold"...poor thing! Ha!


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2/4/2007 2:08:56 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
 
 
  Sarah seated
Sarah seated
still no expression!
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
  heavenly!
heavenly!
happened to catch her at the wrong(?) moment!
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
  valentine heart
valentine heart
cute
© Jessica  A. Eiss
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
ok, here are three more pics, then I won't bore you... What's the AT+T? Do you have a shoot for their company?


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2/4/2007 3:24:00 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Yeah Lisa, hate getting out the ole mucklucks at 7 to be on the first tee at the lodge by 7:30. LOL !!!

Hey Jess....you're stylin' kiddo !!!! Kind of puts someone else we know in....well....never mind. Great work. I mean it. Keep it up. When are you going to start teaching YOUR first class??? [Seriously] Why don't you set up some diagrams and talk a bit about your exposures and how you measured them. I think that'd be useful for a lot of people here.
M/


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2/4/2007 5:13:32 PM

 
Lisa G. Bennett   Nice Jess! You truly are getting better doll- I nned to take some lessons myself!


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2/4/2007 6:10:15 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Thanks Mark and Lisa. Teach....don't think so! Not yet, maybe not for a long time! I'd have to work on building a diagram from scratch, I guess. I really can't wait to get outside and try some new ideas, this spring.

Talking about temperatures....single digits, with wind chill in the subzero teens this week!

Thanks again. If you want to look, here's my website, where you can see a variety of work, not just portraits:

www.creativeinspirationsphotography.com.

Jess


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2/5/2007 4:43:31 AM

 
Lisa G. Bennett   Thanks Jess! I am excited to check you out. I am at www.thepicturepatch.com but I am portraits. Feel free to give me a buzz though. have a great week and it sounds like you may want to invest in some good hot chocolate! Stay away from the Swiss Miss extra marshmellow. Total rip off!


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2/5/2007 8:35:15 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  MARK, I feel for you in that BITTER 55 degrees, lol. I blame my parents for settling in the Northest.

Light meters... I Jess has the IV and I have the IV-F. I finally TURNED MINE ON this past weekend, but haven't cracked open the manual yet. I'm slow!! I'm glad Jess is finding it easy to use, that renews my interest a bit more. I have a wedding outdoors at sunset in July and want to be used to using it by then.

Jess the new pics look great, I think the heavenly was a GREAT candid catch. Those can be the best. It's interesting that you're shooting at f/11 & 1/60, I'll have to try that out. I was like f/20 & 1/200 on my tests.

Stay warm everyone!!


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2/5/2007 5:25:41 PM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  I think that's what Deb recommends, the 1/200. But I don't want the background in sharp focus, so using a larger aperture is good. Give it a try and see how it looks. I finally changed my music on my website tonight, so now it's done till I get more pictures to post. My neighbor is due with her baby anytime now, so I'm hoping to be doing newborn pics soon.

weather report: high winds/snow/LOW temps. totally bumming in near whiteout conditions!


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2/5/2007 5:58:18 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
Hey everyone, how's it going? Jess, any new studio work?

I was practicing on my cat the other night, using ONE light. I moved everything back to get further from the backdrop & it seems to make a big difference on the look of the shot. I still was underexposed & had to adjust the levels. I couldn't remember what settings you were using and I was too lazy to log on (I have dial up, it's sooo slow). I'll practice again this weekend using your settings to see if that helps my exposure issues.


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3/13/2007 6:26:29 AM

 
David A. Bliss   Denyse, I like how the light looks in these. Of course, we'll wait until Mark weighs in... ;-)

It is a very subtle light, but yet the cat is nicely lit. There doesn't seem to be any harsh or blown out areas, and the head has nice separation from the backdrop. On the full body shot, it does seem like there could be a bit more fill on it's back, but it could have more to do with how close the cat's colors match the backdrop. Looks like you are getting pretty good with the lights! I need to get some practice in to catch up!


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3/13/2007 10:30:31 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Hi David! I agree on the full shot, he's lacking light on the back... I can't get the hang of the reflector yet, I think if I had an actual stand it might help. When I put it on the opposite site of the light, I don't see a difference, I must not have it in the correct place for the light to hit it & reflect back....

Yeah, jump on in to catch up. I love seeing everyone's progress.


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3/13/2007 10:40:38 AM

 
David A. Bliss   The reflector has been getting me as well. Again, a stand designed for the reflector could help! ;-) Right now I am using a mic stand!

BTW, I have to say it is pretty impressive the way you were able to get the cat to pose for you!


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3/13/2007 10:57:10 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  I'm just using a chair, and it really limits the tilting capabilities!

haha, thanks, that's my only male cat (I have 3 total, plus my fiancee has 1) and he is quite good about posing. The girls won't sit for a second!


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3/13/2007 11:05:35 AM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  HI Denyse! Missed ya! I haven't done anything new. I have to go before the planning committee so I can start advertising locally. Everything had been by word of mouth up until now. The codes person lives a half hour away, and is not very responsive.

I tried contacting you through your BP contact button, and it got bounced back.
Can you email me or contact me through mine?

These pics look good. I like the barrel.


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3/13/2007 2:46:57 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Well Denyse, from my monitor, the kitty pix look a tad underexposed. But aside from that, I like them a lot. The reason I say a tad under, is because I think if they went to a commercial printer, like for a greeting card, they'd have to bump the brightness level somewhat to get them to reproduce better on the press.

So Denyse, you liking those lights? Any problems with them? A bit better than Briteks eh?

Oh, I forgot to ask: did you bracket your exposures? [An old film technique, but also one that applies to digital as well.]
You guys should take a look at my thread on copyright for the disinterested. I'll get you a link if you can't find it close by here.

Hi Jess.
Be well.
Mark ;>)


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3/13/2007 9:41:59 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Hi Mark- I agree, both were VERY under exposed at first and are a little still... I was tending to over expose so I guess I went a little the other way, lol.

I didn't bracket, although that's a great suggestion. In this case I only got one shot each time before he jumped down but I'll do that on this weekends tests shots. Maybe I will find my perfect exposure there. I find it more difficult since I can't use my camera's meter, and haven't figured out my light meter yet. Pathetic, I've had it for months and still haven't used it!!

LOVE the lights, no problems at all. Very easy to use!!


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3/14/2007 5:04:33 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Bracketing has saved my life or at least my business on more than one occasion.
Thanks, John Siskin


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3/14/2007 9:03:10 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  I need to use the light meter to bracket with strobes, right? I mean right now it's just a crap shoot for whether my exposure is right to begin with...


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3/14/2007 9:14:45 AM

 
David A. Bliss   Since you have invested in the light meter, you should probably get used to using it ;-)

Since I am now shooting digital, I actually use pictures for metering. I realize it is not the best way to do it, but until I get a meter, it works for me. I set the camera (on manual) to the settings that I come up with from light power and distance to subject, then take a shot. I look at the picture and the histogram to see if there are any adjustments that need to be made. It usually takes about 2 minutes to get the settings right. I bracket when I am shooting a subject (model) that is willing to stay posed for 3 shots. For children I tend to "spray and pray" because you never know when a kid will give you a great expression!

BTW, on kids... Have one of the parents stand behind you just off your shoulder (whichever parent attracts the most attention from the child), and the other to the side of the frame. That way when the child focuses on a parent, they will be posed for a shot. Learned that the hard way!


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3/14/2007 9:31:22 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Howdy. Bracketing is a good way to get "lucky" so-to-speak if you've got a problematic exposure situation and probably more useful when you don't have a meter to really zero it in. OR, I suppose I've done my share of bracketing when I have used a meter as well, just to nail the exposure. I guess it's a matter of preference, how precise you're trying to be and how much time you've got to make the shot. Studio or location work with view cameras can be pretty tedious and involved especially if you have to consider things like "bellows factors" to calculate exposure when you're doing table-top shots for catalogs and things. Bracketing AND a meter really help with that. But you guys aren't into that kind of stuff...yet.

I also like using a Polaroid back on medium or large format cameras, but that's my equivalent of a digital camera to check exposures. It takes me less time to shoot and process a roid some times than to dink around with a meter, although sometimes you just have to bracket, as I said, depending on the complexity of the scene you're shooting.

The color checker cards that John mentioned are extremely useful for labs in printing your work or to include in a reproductive art-work shot, say for a catalog or brochure.

Ok so Denyse, so I'm glad to hear you're loving your lights, but your assignment for this next two weeks is to gently bond with your light meter. Your mantra should be "My light meter is my friend" and take it with you wherever you go. Talk to it, don't yell, and let it look out the window in the car. Don't let your lights or meter get jealous of each other. Tell them to share your time and learn to play well together.

Take it light gang ;>)
Mark


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3/14/2007 7:56:06 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Oh- BTW mark, I DID read your "copyright for the disinterested" post before you mentioned it... always a wealth of knowledge & thanks for sharing!!

MY LIGHT METER IS MY FRIEND AND WILL COME OUT OF THE CASE TOMORROW!!!!!!


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3/16/2007 9:36:31 AM

 
Jessica  A. Eiss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/6/2006
  Mark, you're such a ham! I'll have to find that thread, as I haven't read it yet. I need to find me some people to shoot! Just kidding of course.


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3/16/2007 4:46:31 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings:

Yes, your light meter is your buddy. LOL !!! Take care of it and it'll take care of you. :>)

Here ya go Jess, the link you'e been waiting for: http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=28009

What if we only got one shot to shoot a portrait in?? Whaddya think?
Have a swell weekend !!! Guess you're right Denyse, your family should have settled in California.
Mark


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3/16/2007 4:54:13 PM

 
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