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Old Jun 29, 2003, 6:27 PM   #1
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Default Another amateur lighting question......

My wife and i have been experimenting with semi-nude to nude "playful" pics in our home. I want to start playing with some studio lighting a little and need some suggestions. Here is what we have: Olympus C-5050, 10'x20' backdrop, 42" 5 in 1 reflectors. The room is 14'x16' with neutral colored walls. 8' ceiling. We don't want a full extreme studio set-up, just something to add a little punch to her pics. I was thinking of getting a softbox and using the reflectors, but that may not work as i have no experience in lighting. Please help us out. Open to all suggestions. Also, if the strobes or softboxes are the way to go, then what else would i need to hook them up and trigger them with the 5050? Thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 30, 2003, 9:43 AM   #2
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You probably need the following:

1 to 2 monolights rated @ 160 to 320 w/s with 2 umbrellas and two light stands (air cursion). Later you can add more light as needed for the back ground. You can also go with one monolight and use it in combination with your reflector.

nikon AS-15 PC/ hotshoe converter to convert your hotshoe to PC socket and connect the PC cord to you monolights (work with any camera with hotshoe, better quality than any other brands), about $19.

flash meter to determine the correct exposure. Sekonic 398 is a good and affordable (flash analysis is a very userful tool which built in this flash meter), read both ambient and flash light, the 508 and 608 have spot meter built in.

you must use manual mode (M), set the shutter speed at 1/60 and the f-stop as whatever the flash meter recommends, also remember to set ISO manually also, start at ISO 100.

check out the lighting section at bhphoto.com

I have taken over hundreds of photos with my 5050Z via tha AS-15 connect to my 2 monolights (640 w/s) and slave for the back ground, and the results are excellent.
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Old Jun 30, 2003, 8:01 PM   #3
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tuanokc speak heap big truth. About all I can add is that 160ws will be entirely adequate for your C-5050. I never need more with a Dimage 7 and only use a 640ws unit when shooting medium format or 35mm film and need small apertures. If your budget allows a couple of Alien Bees B400s would do nicely.

I like my large softbox but you can get a lot done with 45" or 60" umbrellas at a fraction of the cost. That's always something you can add later as you grow.

I think tuanokc meant Sekonic L-358, not the L-398. The 398 is the clasic studio deluxe. A terrific meter that doesn't need batteries but it doesn't do flash. The L-358 flash master is an excellent flash meter but a big investment if you're just doing it for fun. If you're in this for the long haul the L-358 is an excellent tool.
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Old Jul 1, 2003, 9:09 AM   #4
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Padeye is correct, it's is the Sekonic L-358, great flash meter and very affordable.

The 640w/s monolights that I mentioned are mainly use with my SLR film and digital camera systems, but I used with the Olympus for the fun parts, they work very well, I have to reduce from the full power to 1/4 power on both lights, on the Olympus, the max-minimum aperture is F/8, you can't not use any aperture smaller than F/8.

I didn't mention softbox which is a very useful tool in term of more pratical and mobility, but for starters, it's better to use umbrella, cheaper and more pratical, you can always soft-box later. For people photography, I always prefer to use umbrella.
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Old Jul 15, 2003, 1:03 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, you both have been a great help.
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Old Sep 12, 2003, 10:01 AM   #6
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Hi,
I was following your posts, my wife and I are into the same thing taking pics, and we're also in the market to move up from our Dimage 7i's stock flash. Right now we basicly shoot in out living room (21 x 24) or our bedroom (small 15 x 15) We originaly were going to get a Sigma flash for the camera, but now are looking into studio lighting. Since our "shoot time" is limited with two kids, we were thinking studio lighting just may be too involved, moving from one set up to another. We're afraid going the studio flash route may take the "Fun" out of it, but don't want to waste money on the Sigma flash if it isn't going to give us the results, although it would almost eliminate any "set up" time. the pics we take inside just come out dark and grainy. We also do occasional portrait shoots for our business.
We were also recomended to look into these three different options:
http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?o...457&sku=SVK61U
http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?o...57&sku=NR51500
http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?o...1457&sku=PFSK3

We'd be interested in hearing what you decided to do, right now we just end up playing with Levels in Photoshop to help the pics, but it's just not giving us the results we're looking for. I tried to email you directly but couldnt, you can reach us at [email protected], we wouldn't mind sharing a pic or two fresh from the camera, and a version after Photoshop to get your feedback on the lighting issue
Thanks,
Todd & Jen
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Old Sep 6, 2004, 2:13 PM   #7
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I shoot with one Aileen Bee B800 and an umjbrella. I use the Sekonic L358 light meter with a canon digital rebel and get great exposures.I have not had a need for a second light in my apartment as the one light fills the whole room. I did not have success with using the Canon 420EX flash to trigger the strobe. The E-ttl system gets ev erything all mixed up. I am bulding my system arounf 800's because I wish to do outdoors lighting also. If you want two lights get the Digibee kit. Either of those combinations and a light meter will give you great shots.

I like using umbrella's over softbox. I havethreekinds, siver and white revesable bounce, gold and white reversable bounce and translucent Shoot-through umbrellas. I think this will give you more looks with existing reflectors. You will need a meter that can do both Ambient light and Flash in one reading. But I never use reflectors with srobe I can barely handle one light source.
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Old Sep 7, 2004, 10:15 PM   #8
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I have a canon digital rebel also, and I had trouble tring to fire a studio lite because of the E-ttl. I ended up with 2 550s, but I would like to know how you fire your alien bees???
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Old Sep 7, 2004, 10:41 PM   #9
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If you have the 550EX, you can put this flash on manual by hitting the 'Mode' key -> this will disable the E-TTL mode and will only fire a single burst (ie no-preflash), to trigger the photo-eye sensor on most studio strobes (including the Alien Bees).

Once in the 'M' mode you can hit SEL/SET and then +/- to increase/(decrease) the ratio output of the 550EX so it can contribute/(non-contribute) to the output of the main flash... @ 1/4 power or less for example you can shoot as fast as you can and still keep up with the Alien Bees.

FYI http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...96&forum_id=54
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Old Sep 8, 2004, 2:08 AM   #10
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Thanks NHL, I had forgotten about that thread you referenced. I feel I have come some far since then. As illustrated I have had terrible success in trying to mixCanon flash withmy bees. I gave up on that and purchased a PC to hotshoe adapter and a light meter.

I can not put my 420EX flash on the camera when the PC converter is in place. I do not think you will get good results with the 550EX either. How would you trigger 550EX flash to meter the light? I really like being able to have my light come from a different direction than my camera location. It gives me so much more freedom and variations to my shots.

I would sell one of the 550EX and buy two AB400's. By the time you purchase a tripod, umbrella, sync cabels, etc. you will have spent more money and still won't have the power, diffuser capabilities or control of a studio strobe.

Plus batteries oops... :|

PS more power is better. I set up a shoot recently where the model was standing out doors on a balcony. In order to be able to see the city lights behind the model and yet keep her well lit I had to increase power and distance from model. Other wise the night air and scenery behind model was completely black.The strobe was positioned behind the glass I shot throughthe open side of door.I shot the photos with the 50 1.8 about 6 feet away strobe was maybe 12-15 ft away behind me.

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