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Old Oct 30, 2009, 9:20 PM   #1
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Default Help with continuous lighting please

I have a sony a300 with external flash hvl-f42am. I usually take indoor pics of my kids. I love photography but right now I just want to have good quality pics of my kids so its basically a hobby of mine. I'm very dissatisfied with the lighting. Today I had to shoot with ISO 400 even with my flash and the noise is killing me. I was using the flash to bounce off my ceiling so that I don't have harsh shadows.

Since i'm working with my kids its usually a very quick shoot (less than an hr), they're young and don't have much patience for me and pictures.

I'm looking for ideas on continuous lighting, I would rather avoid flashing if possible and think if I have adequate lighting then I won't need the flash at all. Good idea?

Ideal lighting would be portable, inexpensive, lightweight. I shoot in my almost empty family room so its not a huge space.

I appreciate any advice. I tried reading some of the posts on lighting and i'm so lost.

If you have suggestions on other options i'm open to those also.

Thank you.
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Old Oct 31, 2009, 4:22 PM   #2
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Portable, inexpensive, and lightweight. It can be done, if you or someone else is handy. (the inexpensive part is the hardest) Pick up a couple 4 foot, 4 lamp fluorescent fixtures, and use full spectrum lamps. Make up vertical holders, and use as is, or with diffusers as needed. Lots of light without the heat and power use of tungsten lighting.

brian
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Old Nov 7, 2009, 10:35 AM   #3
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VTphotog thank you for the suggestion, i'll look into getting these made but do you think they sell them already made on ebay? If it was close in price as making them then I would definitely buy them.

I havent had the time to go out and look at the fixtures yet but i'm guessing this is something I can find in like lowes or something like that right?

Thanks again, I appreciate the info.
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Old Nov 7, 2009, 10:41 AM   #4
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what do you think about something like this?

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Full-Spectru...item414a5615c5

I have no idea if this would work out, just found it after typing in full spectrum lamp.
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Old Nov 7, 2009, 3:17 PM   #5
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That is a nice task lamp, but won't have enough light output for your purpose.
Fluorescent lamps make about 3-1/2 to 4 times the amount of light per watt as incandescents. You want to have the equivalent of about 1000 to 1200 watts for good portrait lighting. 8 four foot fluorescent tubes (at 40 watts each) wil give you the necessary light. Such things are available, and there are CF fixtures also, some made specifically for photographic work. Check B&H Photo for examples. As you said you were looking for something inexpensive, I didn't think to mention them.

The fixtures can be found in most any home or hardware store. Lamps also, but be sure you get either full spectrum or daylight lamps. You can use others, but will probably have to set a custom WB.

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Old Nov 9, 2009, 8:43 AM   #6
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Thank you once again VTphotog. I had hubby look at what you wrote and we did some research on what the light looks like etc and he says he can do it for me. He's very handy and knows electrical so now just to get everything we need and get it done.

I was rethinking the portable part, meaning maybe not having a stand. I was thinking that if the light came from above i wont have much shadowing and it will be more even. Do you think that would be the case?

It would be a temporary overhang only for when i do pics in that room but would it work out better on top rather than behind me? I'm just trying to avoid shadows and get the best lighting possible from this setup.

Any advice?

Also how would you diffuse a lighing system like this? Fabric?\

Thank you!
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Old Nov 10, 2009, 10:11 PM   #7
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Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but it's been a busy couple days.
Overhead lighting might work, but I think you would be better off with the fixtures leaned back about ten or so degrees off vertical, and able to be moved to or away from your subjects. You will probably want them raised a foot or eighteen inches from the floor. Think of the lights and subject as the points of a triangle, with you taking the picture from somewhere along the base of the triangle (or behind or in front of the base as needed) With the light coming from both sides, the chances of awkward shadows are really reduced.
Fluorescent tubes produce a pretty diffuse light to begin with, and a 4-lamp fixture has a very broad pattern. A lot of the fixtures come with diffusers, as well. Think of the drop ceiling office lights. Home lighting is similar, and you will probably have a choice of the clear, patterned diffuser or translucent white. You may even find that none at all is best. It may take a bit of experimenting to find just what you like.

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Old Nov 11, 2009, 4:46 PM   #8
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Thank you for the response.

My mom had a 4' 4 lamp fixture and she gave it to me and today I went to the home depot and bought 2 fixtures, I bought 2 4' 2 lamp ones to go along with the 4' 4 lamp one I got because I figured I can have a bit more control over positioning & I can still put the 2 2 lamp ones together to make it 4 lamps. We'll see how it works out, havent had a chance to try them out yet.

Mom also works in the electrical dept and said that the daylight bright white fluorescent bulbs are full spectrum so I got those bulbs.

I cant wait to try it out and see how it goes.

Thank you so much, it was very inexpensive especially getting 1 fixture for free, hope i'm satisfied with the results.

Thank you so much for all your help, i'll try them out soon so I can give some feedback.
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Old Nov 13, 2009, 12:02 AM   #9
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Hi Debbie,

I just came across this thread and would love to know how this turns out. I am looking at doing something similar in my basement.

Andy
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Old Nov 15, 2009, 7:27 PM   #10
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Will let you know soon Andy. I was going to try to get some shots for christmas cards today but my little one woke up sick and he hates taking "formal" pics to begin with so I didnt even attempt to set up.
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