Oh my! Having fun in my lighting class

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Laird Knox, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2010
    I'm not interested in studio work but I've been having fun in the lighting class. Spent a few hours in the studio tonight. I'll post the resulting image after I get it off the camera. This is a phone pic of the setup.

    Attached Files:

  2. macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Photographers must live in poverty in order to purchase all that equipment!
  3. macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    Eh. It's probably no more expensive than any other hobby.

    ...so yeah, they probably do.
  4. macrumors 68020

    Apr 14, 2001
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Compared to cars or boating, it's a cheap hobby. (See, it all depends on perspective!)
  5. macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    The OP said he's doing in a class, so it wont be his lights.

    But actually there's nothing particularly expensive about whats there 2 head kit - 2nd hand about £200, DSLR which you'd have anyway if you like photography, the rest of it are just reflectors or paper essentially.

    This was just shot in my bedroom about 8 years ago with nothing more than a flashgun, a extended sync lead, my camera and 2 pieces of white card.

    Galileo thermometer by simbojono, on Flickr
  6. macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Yeah, there's a lot of nifty tricks when it comes to photography and lighting. Something like a light box with filters can do wonders.

    Always good to buy secondhand too. Everything. Lenses, cameras, etc.
  7. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    And hot rodders sleep in their garages...

  8. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2010
    Yes it was the school's studio in this case but no cheap setup. I was using an Elinchrome 3000ws pack with three heads and probably $1000 in C stands. The $5000 sitting on the tripod was my own. ;)
  9. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    It is easy to spend more than you should... :)

    And I wish more people understood enough about photography to do this...


    Regardless, the price to get started can be steep. You need good glass (too many people overbuy on their camera body and then have to settle for lower quality lenses - when it should be the other way 'round). And in this day you need some serious computing power to handle the files. But after that, there are a number of ways to save money. Too many photographers go out and buy an expensive brand name widget when they can often literally make it at home.

    Anyway ... this is turning into a rant, and off topic. So.... to the OP... looks like a nice setup...Post the shot later, eh? Studio work can be quite rewarding if you have good attention to detail. I happen to like studio work... I'm lucky enough to have mine at home, and I love being able to pad down the hall for another cup of coffee or a home baked muffin. Though having cat twining through your feet while you're trying to set up can be frustrating. :)
  10. macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Back when I was selling some art on-line I made up light boxes with old sheets and pvc pipe and took it outside in the sun, so much brighter than any lamps for sure, and made reflectors out of aluminum foil. Shot with my camera at the time, a Nikon P&S. Spent a good deal of time in PP!

    But, it wasn't bad in the end, actually had a good look for the subject.

    But, to really get an appreciation for cost is no object studio work, next time you are in a Dr waiting room check out the ads for luxury goods in the high-end magazines. Jewels, watches, Jaguars, etc all shot beautifully. Think about how they may have done that, what you would do if given the job.


    I think that is a great class, even if you don't want to do studio work. Bet any of us would benefit from learning about lighting as the same principles apply even outdoors doing landscapes or even casual photography of any sort.
  11. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2010
    Yes it is a fantastic class. The instructor had quite a carer photographing those luxury items you speak of. He brings a lot of real world knowledge to the course.

    The particular image I was working on was my own doing - I was combining two projects into one. The first was shiny metal and the second was black edged glass. I considered doing two setups so that I could get the wine glasses and silverware to look right. I managed to get what I feel was "good enough" in a single take. I'll know for sure this weekend when I pull the images off the camera.

    My comment about not doing studio work was more related to not wanting to start a new carer myself. I would much rather stay where I am until I can figure out how to travel and make a living off of my images. ;)
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007

    So so true!!!
  13. macrumors 65816


    Jul 7, 2012
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    I think this would be a fantastic class to take too.

    Just out of interest, is this a 4 light setup? One left, one right, one above and one below?

    Is the card on the rear right of the table blocking light or reflecting grey to the glasses for exaggeration of them? I saw that done in a utube video with glasses, reflecting light with grey card onto glasses that is.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    £600 each for those elinchrome heads..... Thats cheap for a studio flash

    Check out profoto kit ;) I learnt on that at one college and Bowens at another, the profoto kit was a cut above the rest.

    The photographic department I run now, we use gemini espirits, cheap and tough.


    Its because people don't learn on film any more imho. Learning to shoot in the studio on E6 film certainly made me slow down and properly think about what I was shooting and how I was lighting it.

    Before shooting the E6 film, I used to use a polaroid back to check what I was getting, but even then, at £1 a shot, you didnt want to waste them, and then with the E6 medium format film costing £4.50 to buy, £12 for a process only (you got 10-12 shots on a medium format film with the Mamiya RB67 i learnt with), you certainly considered what you were doing in the studio.

    Photographers these days dont know their born :rolleyes:

    Ironically I sound like im 80, im not, im 29 :D


    I cant tell too well, but I think its a 2 light setup.

    Large softbox on the right, shooting through that paper wall, and one underneath the table lighting the background. The paper wall on the left will reflect some fill in from the flash on the right, but I dont understand why they're shooting the flash from the right hand side through that other paper wall.

    The two things above it I think are small reflectors, probably to provide some fill for shadow areas on the object, or just to balance the light on top of the object a little.

    edit: just noticed the third light on the left.... be interesting to see the final result compared to what I think it would look like, I imagine it might be quite strongly backlit.
  15. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Thanks for the memories.... Though I suspect my school days were a little bit more in the past than yours .... ;)
    It's how I learned too.

    You forgot the bit about leaving the set-up in place until the film came back from the processor. When I set up my own little studio (in the basement of the house) I was lucky to have a 1 hr E6 lab just a few minutes from the house. Shoot, drop it off, have a coffee and read the paper. Check the film to make its fine before breaking the set down.

    That said..... I wouldn't go back to shooting commercially on film for anything. I have my camera tethered to a 32" TV screen of decent quality. I can see more detail on that thing than my client will ever see in the final shot. If focus is critical I can add some bright work lights and get a live view of the focus, and how it changes with aperture and focus adjustments. I can check the histogram with the SW that will be processing the image files (not the camera's histogram). If I'm shooting people I know when I've got the shot I want, or I can see when we were close and we can go back to that.

    Ironically, though, I still think like I have film. My first thought is not "I can fix that in post".... I try to get it right in the camera. However, I do consciously plan shots where I know I will be adding something in post rather than setting up another light and balancing it to the rest. It's the balance of time setting up or time posting it.

    I too learned on an RB.... lordy those were monsters. A classmate - a rather hefty fellow - loved those RBs. He put the handgrip on it and used it out and about, hand-held. It had so much mass, he could actually use quite slow shutter speeds with no or minimal shake. Personally, I went with the Mamiya 645. I loved the balance of film size to portability.
    And the ability swap film on the fly. A little B&W, a little slow colour, and and of course the grainy look with very fast colour pushed. Nothing like not having to make up your mind until you see the film. Still have that system, though the cameras don't get used much anymore.
  16. macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I didnt get the luxury of being able to leave stuff setup..... I use to write everything, measure distances etc etc...... but actually I never really had to reshoot.

    RB's were great, I would still quite like to buy one, but I just never have the money at the right time. :(

    This forum needs a film photography thread, I still shoot on holgas and 35mm when the fancy takes me
  17. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You should suggest it. Start a new thread in this forum to gauge interest, and to ask how to go about making a formal request if there is enough interest. You might be surprised.

    There are the RBs, then the RZs. I don't the think the cameras are too expensive if you can find a good 2nd hand one. But my impression is the lenses are harder to come by. Mamiya even made digital RZ for a bit.
  18. macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    The RZ had the built in light meter, the RB you needed a hand held light meter.

    Im pretty sure you can still get backs, they're made by Phase One who make Capture one as opposed to mamiya
  19. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I went from my Mamiya 645 to a PhaseOne camera/back... so I get to use all of my old lenses still. It tickles me that sometimes I am using lense that I bought used more than years ago on a fairly cutting edge digital system. I also have the basic focal lengths covered in modern glass, but sometimes those old lenses do the trick very nicely too. When the big shift from film to digital was occurring professionals were dumping their gear for a song, so I managed to get some very interesting speciality lenses for quite cheap.

    Now I just need to use it more.... I still love the way that the PhaseOne/Mamiya camera works for me.
  20. macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    To say im jealous of your mamiya and phase one would be an understatement.
  21. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2010
    Actually the school is quite well equiped. In the larger studio there are four bays, two with Elinchrome and two with Profoto. I think the smaller two bay studio is all Profoto.

    I'm not sure what the other campus has but it is closed down this semester for a remodel. That means I have to fight Vegas rush hour trafic to get to class after work. Can't wait for the closer campus to open back up. :)

    For no other reason than my inner geek I like the digital Elincrhome controls over the analog Profoto packs. Personally I am going to order an Einstein setup today. While I do like the studio gear I've been using I can see making use of the incredible flash speed on the Einsteins.

    I took a photo class in high school and one of our first projects was making our own pinhole cameras. I have two photos from all those years ago that I still really like the qualities of the image.

    CSN actually has a pretty full program. They even have a medium format class. Not only do the students have to learn how to use the camera but they typically only do it three pictures at a time. ;)

    Another class, Hollywood galmour I think, has one assignment that must be shot on an 8x10 camera. I started taking classes for my own enjoyment and have really been happy with the program.

    Yes it is a three light setup. The only reason I was using the softboxes instead of head with a reflector is that took the bay over from some other students. I told them not to bother breaking it all down. Even so it took over three hours to get everything done.

    The roles are Lee defusion - I forget the number offhand. We also have access to two rolls of vellum compliments of the teacher.

    There are five flags used in the setup. Three from the camera position of which two are 2' x 5' black flags used to control the highlights on the silverware and one white card to add highlights. From the back there are two more black flags used to define the edge of the glasses.

    It is a very unispired picture. This whole shoot was a technical exercise I did on my own. We had two assignments - one for shiny metal and the other for white edged and black edged glass. I decided to see if I could accomplish both in a single exposure. I know I could have easily done it in two shots and layred them in Photoshop but I wanted to give this a try.

    So yes, you are correct that the background is very high key. Again this was for the black edged glass look. I did lose the edge to the bottom left of the bell on the glasses so I could have placed the card a little better.

    Overall I was happy with the shot as it accomplished what I wanted. Otherwise it isn't a shot you would ever take as is. :)


    Edit: Oh yuck - the background looks even more awefull than it really was. On the print it looks much cleaner. The above image is actually hosted on FB so who knows what happened to it. It does look much more yellow on this computer. I am using a color managed workflow at home so I can tell you this is not how I see it. ;)
  22. macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2012
    Winwick, UK
    I think I woud have preferred a directly vertical view.
  23. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2010
    There is a lot I would do differently on this. :)

    For this particular shot I wanted to work on the technique for the glasses. So to do that I wanted both the edges of the glass and the full rim. I wanted to see the black highlight on all of the edges and only missed a bit on the bottom left.

    Otherwise I would have shot it much differently - maybe even would have had an interesting photo. ;)

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