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Old May 30, 2006, 8:56 PM   #1
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I have an opportunity to shoot for a new hair magazine and need some lighting help.

I currently have two Alien Bee AB800's a large softbox a honeycomb, reflector diskand a couple photogenic umbrella's. Don't really like using the reflectors and want to replace this with another strobe. I also need a dedicated strobe for the backdrop. I want to blowout the white back drops or add color with gels to the black backdrop.

I don't have a lot of extra money to spend and although I would like to purchase two more AB800's can only afford two AB400's or maybe adding some hot lamps. My other option is only purchasing one additional strobe either another ab800 or ab1600.

I am leaning towards two ab400.1 ab800 as main with 1 ab400 as fill, the other ab800 for backdrop and the 4th ab400 for the hair light. I am just concerned the ab400's will not be powerful enough. I have noticed when I use a dark color gel like green or purple the ab800 doesn't really saturate the color on black backdrop. I would like to eventually upgrade both the ab400's to ab1600's later but think 4 lights now will give better reesults.

Here is a sample of the problem I am having using only two lights and reflector. The right side of hair is too dark and doesn't show any detail. Also would like more highlights in top of hair and a blownout backdrop soo creases don't show.
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Old May 30, 2006, 9:08 PM   #2
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Here is another sample of a shot that could have been better. Don't get me wrong, I did get some really nice shots with only two lights. But, many of them do not show detail like this one.

I thought I would get more wrap around lite with softbox but theface is too dark. The reflector isright infront of her face but has little effect. The second light ispartially on backdrop and partially on her hair from theside of model.

Plus the picture looks very flat. Theyemployer has requested brighter lighting on the hair face is not important.

Anysuggestions are helpful.
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Old May 31, 2006, 8:03 PM   #3
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Try removing the reflectors from the strobes & shooting using bare bulbs...it totally changes the way the lights react with the modifiers. Experiment.

The shot below was made with a bare bulb Norman head & a 60" Photogentic umbrella as the only lighting source.
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Old May 31, 2006, 10:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for the idea Kalypso, I have never tried that before. Makes a lot of sence thow because the light would spread wider and not be hot in the middle. I always use the 7" reflector when using the umbrella's but I will try taking that off and see what I get.

PS

I talked to Alien Bee's on the phone today. They also suggested I not go with the AB400's. So I purchased 1 AB800 to make three of the same powered strobes. I also got a boom arm and backlight standstand. I plan on moving my Giant Softbox above the models head using the other AB800 with 60" photogenic umbrell, (no reflector) as my main/fill and using the third light directly behind model on floor for backdrop lighting. I don't know yet if I will need to use the reflector disk or not. depends on how much light I get on face from softbox being above models head. I will eventually get a small softbox to put above models head and use the giant softbox as my main with fill card as fill. Hopefully using your idea of taking the reflector off and using large umbrella willl be enough for the front since shadows on face are o.k. as long as the hair is evenly lit from all angles.

Thanks again Kalypso for your help.

Patrick
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