How to set up lights for shoot...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by acearchie, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    This weekend I have offered to set up a mini photobooth for a school party.

    There is no money involved so I have no stress of ensuring success. I am also confident that the pictures will be better than the P&S cameras that people will bring to the party.

    I have been given quite a small room and have asked for white banquetting roll to be used as the background.

    I have two 75w lights (rated at 5500K I think) quite bright and they would probably be the only source of light (unless I can figure out a way to use the room's halogen to my advantage)

    How would you recommend that I set up the lights? To the left and right of the tripodded camera? One beneath one above? One at camera distance and one underneath the people being photographed?

    Any help would be much appreciated!
  2. ComputersaysNo macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2010
  3. tekmoe macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2005
    I definitely need to learn more about flash. I avoid it like the plague because I don't know enough about it.
  4. stagi macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2006
    I would set them up to the left and right fairly high (about 45 degree angles). Move one light a little farther back so the light isn't totally flat and you will get a little shading to that side of the face. Then experiment as much before as you can :)
  5. acearchie thread starter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I wont be using flash. These are constant lights which are always on.

    @stagi and @ComputersaysNo thanks for the tips. I will try these out tomorrow in a test before the event on saturday!

    Also I have the options of using a 18-55mm or a 55-200mm since I'm having a white background no need for the depth of field with the telephoto right? Also the aperture for the 18mm lens is 3.5 wide open whereas the other is only 3.5 at 55 so the 200mm at 5.6 may be unusable in the light anyway?

    Should I try and get more light?

  6. vizfxman macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2010
    Los Angeles
    If you can get your hands on a white foam core board, you can use that as a bounce card, essentially giving yourself a third light source of sorts. You can pick one up at Staples or Office Max for pretty cheap.
  7. acearchie thread starter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Thanks, I forgot to mention that I do actually have a lasto light reflector which is gold on one side and white on the other!
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    you have continuous lights. get a model, set up your lights, and put them wherever you want. you'll see exactly what you get in-camera. no one can tell you exactly where to put your lights.
  9. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    75w isn't very bright, so you'll want to make sure you have enough light by testing them first- make sure your len opens up enough for the level of light you'll have.

    The closer the lights are to the subject, the softer the light will be- though modifiers like softboxes or umbrellas also help to produce softer light that wraps around the subject due to decreased directionality.

    For two lights, generally you want your primary light as the key, off to one side or the other at about a 45 degree angle, then the other as your fill light, as close to the camera axis as possible. Then you set the power levels to achieve whatever lighting ratio you like- I'd start at around 3:1. You'll have to play around with height by paying attention to the shadows, especially the one under the nose.

    White backgrounds don't work particularly well with hair lights.

    Generally speaking, the more separation you have between the subject and the background the better.

    Be careful of cords, hot bulbs, things touching the lights, etc. Especially if you don't have insurance to cover any accidents.

  10. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    Are these just 75w bare bulb lights? If they could bounce off an umbrella, that would be better. Or drape a white silk sheet in front of them (though not touching... far enough away so they don't burn it).

    Ideally, you want your main light about eye level or slightly above, in-between the nose and shoulder space. This will give the portrait the best illumination.

    The closer it is, the faster your shutter speed will be, so the darker that white backdrop will be. If you are fine with it going gray, then put the other light directly to the other side of the model, lined up with their shoulder and pointing at the side of their face. Have its distance 2-3 times further away from the model than the distance the main light is from the model. This will create a 1:2 or 1:3 contrast ratio.

    If you want the background whiter, move the second light in closer to the backdrop. Have its height around the same as the model's head, and point the light more to the backdrop. This will cause a darker shadow on the opposite side of the model's face, though.

    Maybe start with this diagram and play around a bit. See what's working and what isn't.

    Also keep in mind that since these are continuous lights, ambient light around you will also affect your exposure.

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