At the beginning of last week we started a competition supported by solidcase. Honestly we hoped for a bit more atendence but we are happy with the result and now we have our lucky winner. Which ist...
Congratulations! We where impressed by your effort to find out the correct positions of the several lights. Let us show you how Marco figured out the mostly correct positioning of the flashes. He set up a simple remake of the setup at home and figured it out with simple lamps. Well done!
And here you can see the original setup where Marco's guess was the closest.
Thanks to the guys from "solidcase" we have our give away/contest.
The concept is easy:
I have taken a photo of a solidcase in the lightGIANTS studio, you have to guess how i did the lighting. How much flashes, which light formers, positions...
a iPhone 4 solidcase worth €98,- ... in fact its the one seen in the contest photo.
- The first correct answer is the winner.
- Members of the lightGIANTS, solidcase and family may not take part
- You may only have 3 guess per day
- You may ask yes/no questions, but they count as a guess
- When guess the lighting I will answer with no, close, very close, winner
- Each day the lighting isn't guessed I will give one clue
- Any winners from outside Germany my have to cover extra postage
- shipping within Germany is covered by the lightGIANTS
- lightGIANTS can not be responsible for any local taxes but the packet will be declared as a prize
- We can only accept answers in English and German
- We don't just want to know the position of the lighting but also what light formers were used
- The power settings of the lighting isn't relevant but if you think you know then you are welcome to guess
- Judges have the final say , and no correspondence will be entered into
That is enough rules just remember that this is mostly all just good fun with a great prize .... Here is the contest photo:
I have posted a larger version than normal so you can see a bit more detail in the lighting and here is the EXIF data to help get you started ....
Camera: Sony DSLR-A900
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Lens: 50 mm 2.8 macro
A long time ago when I (Scott) first started to take photos I was convinced it was the camera that could make me a better photographer. As my passion for photography grew, I immersed myself in countless photographic magazines and books. I studied the work from photographers like William Albert Allard, Mary Ellen Mark, and Gordon Parks, looking for information for insight into what camera gear they had used. My mistake was in believing that I have to use the same equipment at what they had if I wanted to take great photos. But even with all that great gear I found myself always coming back to the same camera and lens setup (An old Minolta SLR with a handful of lenses).... Why? Because it was a set up the worked for me. Many years latter Chase Jarvis coined the phrase "the best camera is the one you have with you". So basically it isn't that important what camera you use, what is important is how you use it. That said lenses do play a very important role but that is a topic for another day.
If you are using a modern camera, when you look through the view finder and press the shutter release button half way down your camera will make an exposure reading (as well as start to focus). In short it will look how much light is there available, this is called the EV (exposure value) and will be the basis for your photo depending on how you set your camera. The camera I use the most has 3 basic metering modes, naturally not every one uses the same Cameras as what I have so please refer to your camera hand book.
Your camera is only measuring the light that it can see, and may be fooled into measuring incorrectly in a variety of different lighting situations. The EV that the camera measures is also only a guideline based on the decisions made my an engineer in a lab somewhere, and my not be the correct value for the image you want to make.
The 3 aspects (settings) of your exposure are all in your control and changing any one will not only have effect the final image but also one or both of the other two settings e.g. I like to shoot with my cameras in A mode. I set the f/ (aperture) to the d.o.f that I want and I chose the ISO to match the lighting conditions (dependant on approximately what speed I want to shoot at) . If I adjust my f/ and leave the ISO where it was my camera will automatically compensate by adjusting the shutter speed. Remember you are taking the photo not the camera.
There are two great tools built into your camera to help you check and adjust your EV, the Histogram and the EV compensation both of which if used correctly will save you a lot of time latter when you are correcting/editing your images. Using the histogram can be overwhelming at first but is something that every photographer should understand to get the best results from their camera (and we will cover it at a later date)
1. A Broad vs Narrow light source
The broader the light source is the softer the light will be. The narrower the source is the harder the light will be. A broad light source lessens shadows, reduces contrast, suppresses texture. A narrow light source does the opposite. This is because, with a broad source, light rays hit your subject from more directions, which tends to fill in shadows and give more even “Softer” illumination to the scene.
2. A Close vs Distant light source
The closer the light source is the softer the light will be. The farther the source is the harder the light will be. As you move a light closer, you make it bigger (that is, broader) in relation to your subject. Move it farther away, and you make it relatively smaller and therefore narrower.
Diffusion scatters light, basically making the light source broader and therefore softer. On overcast or foggy days, the entire sky, in effect, becomes a single very broad light source—nature’s softbox. Materials such as translucent plastic or white fabric can be used to diffuse a harsh light source. You can place a diffuser in front of an artificial light, such as a strobe. Or, if you're in bright sun, use a light tent or white scrim to soften the light falling on your subject.
4. Bouncing light
Bouncing light acts like diffusion. Aim a narrow light source at a broad, matte surface (such as a wall, ceiling, or matte reflector) and it not only reflects the light but also diffuses it by scattering it over a wider area. If you use a shiny reflector, though, and the light will stay fairly narrow on the bounce. The most extreme type of shiny reflector is a mirror it will keep the light focused pretty much as narrowly in the refection. Bouncing like off coloured surfaces may change the colour balance/temperature of your image.
5. The inverse Square law
The inverse Square law (in relation to photography) states “The farther the light source, the more it falls off” i.e. your subject will be dimmer. The rule says that light falls off as the square of the distance. That sounds complicated, but isn’t really. If you move a light twice as far from your subject, you end up with only one-quarter of the light on the subject.
In other words, light gets dim fast when you move it away. Also remember that bouncing light (even into a shiny reflector) adds to the distance it travels
You can use your lights to vary the relationship between your subject and your background. If you place a light close to your subject, the falloff from the subject to the background will be more pronounced. Move the light farther from your subject, and the background will be relatively brighter, as more light spills over from the subject to the background.
The same is true for side lighting. With a light close to the side of your subject, the falloff of light across the frame will be more pronounced than if the light is farther away.
7. Frontal lighting
Front lighting will de-emphasises texture. Lighting from the side, above, or below will emphasises it. A portrait photographer may want to keep the light source close to the axis of the lens to suppress skin wrinkles, while a landscape photographer may want side lighting to emphasise the texture of rocks, sand, and foliage. Generally, the larger the angle at which the light is positioned to the subject, the more texture is revealed.
Shadows create volume and depth to in image. Lighting from the side, above, or below, by casting deeper and longer shadows, creates the sense of volume. Still-life, product, and landscape photographers use angular lighting for this reason. Position a light high above and slightly to the side of your subject, angled down, but not so much that the shadow of the nose falls more than midway down the upper lip.
9. Back light
Backlighting can be used as a highly diffused light source. A person with his back to a bright window will have light reflected from an opposite wall falling on them. Someone standing outside with their back to bright sunlight will have light falling on them from the open sky in front of them. If you use a bright light source as your back light and reflect the fall off back onto your subject you will deemphasize facial texture.
Light has colour, even though it my look “white”. This is called colour temperature, and our brain is very good at adjusting our perception so that we hardly notice it. Digital and film cameras, may record colour casts that our eyes didn’t see. The colour of early morning and late afternoon sunlight is warm in tone, while open shade at midday can be quite bluish. Tungsten light bulbs cast very yellow light. And any surface that light bounces off can add its colour. With digital cameras, you can change the white-balance; to neutralise colour casts or to emphasise them e.g. add a warmer tone to a landscape or portrait.
Putting these tips into practice
Once you have used studio lighting a few times these tips will start to make a lot more scene. For example one of the things that a lot of people don't realise the first time they are in the studio is .....
The Studio flash normally has 2 lamps in it, one modelling lamp, and one strobe. These lamps may have different colour temperatures. As you set up your lighting the modelling lamps will show you the falloff, you will see your shadows, and get an idea how hard or soft your light is. But when you fire the strobes they may have a different colour temperature to what you saw when setting your lighting. If your photos have a strange colour cast it may be that you set your camera to “Auto White Balance” (AWB). Your camera measured the white balance of the modelling light which is a much warmer light than the strobe.