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 Post subject: Super Cheap lighting
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:57 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
In response to my first Craigslist ad I got my first 'gig' coming up next week--portraiture work. I have always used natural light for pretty much all my images. But I felt I needed to get some lights for these pictures. However, being a college student, I'd like to put any extra money towards another lens. So lighting isn't a high priority. So, I attempted to experiment with off-camera lighting for less than $20.

I purchased two clamp lights and a couple 100W light bulbs. I clamped them onto my two microphone stands, which I thankfully already owned (works perfectly). Then. for a soft-box effect to diffuse the light, I paper clipped, yes, paper clipped sketch-pad paper in front of the light. Haha, can it get any more bootleg than this? :lol:

I know, the kit is quite ghetto, but I'm not too disappointed with the results. Editing the color temperature / white balance is a must, however. All in all, the results are satisfactory--very doable for a college student's budget. I took some self portraits, remote controlling the camera via my computer by using my wireless mouse across the room :lol: . And my wife was very cooperative to be my subject for some shots too. All shot with Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 See images below.

I later purchased two sheets of poster board paper. They're bigger and white, as opposed to the cream/off-white sketch-pad paper. I have yet to test its diffusion and reflection capabilities.

So, since I am a complete noob to lighting, what are some additional problems I may encounter with this set up that I may not be aware of?

And do you have any more super cheap improvements to this set up? (i.e. the paper clips, they're not too stable at all. Or my light bulbs? 100W too much? Anything else I'm overlooking?)

Your comments, advice, and critiques are genuinely welcomed.

Thanks,
MrKman

Image

Image

Image

Image

Here I used a key light with neither diffusion or filler light.
Image

Same set up
Image

Here we have diffused key and filler lights
Image

And lastly, key and filler light not diffused
Image

These were all PP. Color temp, tint, some cropped, slight contrast and vignetting.

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MrKman | website
Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:47 pm
Posts: 202
Location: Osijek
hey, very nice experiment, i like the last photo most..

just a noob question: diffuse the light? what does that mean.. i think im gonna do similar thing here...

and i don't know much bout this but would the 200W bulb illuminate the wall behind you guys rather than it being little shadowy?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:14 pm 
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Bakica,

Light Diffusion is when you soften light by making the light source larger. Consider this: how does direct sunlight affect outdoor photos compared to a overcast, cloudy day?

I don't quite understand you last question. Are you wondering why the background wall isn't lit up as much as you thought it would be? If so, I directed the light more towards the subjects, whom were significantly distanced from the wall. Hence, the wall isn't illuminated as much. In addition, I did add slight vignetting effects in PP.

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MrKman | website
Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:47 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Bilbao
While I'm not very fond of continuous light, you've achieved very impressive results for only 20$. Have you considered going the small flash route? Yongnuo makes very nice and cheap flashes and radio-triggers. For 100$ you could have a two light setup to use as key+fill, or key+rim, or whatever you want. This also gives you more flexibility as you are no longer bound to rooms with wall outlets :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:57 pm
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Timmy, thanks for the tip.

I guess reason why I went the continuous light route was (well it was cheap), but because I'm not familiar with flash.

Please, tell me. I am not too educated on flash at all really. I do not know how the technology works for off-camera flash. For on-camera, all I know is you pop it into the hot shoe, and bounce flash to your heart's content.

What are the off-camera flash possibilities? What do you mean by "small flash"--NOT speedlites? I quickly browsed their products, but I'm confused on what I would need to get, if I were to get anything.

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MrKman | website
Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:47 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Bilbao
Small flashes are speedlights, yes. For starters, you would need a flash unit, and a transmitter-receiver pair. You can get a YN460 (40$), which is a really basic speedlight but it does its job. The YN560 is a more advanced unit but you probably won't regret the purchase even when its twice the price of a 460. Pair this with a cactus v4 transmitter-receiver set from gadgetinfinity.com or a yongnuo rf-602 and you are good to go.

Set-up is fairly simple. Slide the transmitter in to the camera hotshoe, the flash unit into the receiver hotshoe, turn everything on and shoot-shoot-shoot. If you want more info on applications of off-camera flashes, Strobist's Lighting 101 is a very complete guide

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:19 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Just be careful with the continuous lights, we don't call them "hotlights" for nothing. ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:47 pm
Posts: 202
Location: Osijek
MrKman, you explained it all, i am actually used to seeing this type of portrait pictures with walls lighten up by those strong umbrellas and stuff so when i saw your photos it seemed odd to me until i got used to it..

ps vignetting fits images very nice..

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nikon d90 --->af-s dx 18-105mm; tamron 90mm macro

add me up on:

flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakica/

deviant art:
http://tbensic.deviantart.com/

----:>bakice ce vladati svjetom<:----


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:08 pm
Posts: 99
Location: Salisbury, MD
The main advantage to strobes is that the flash bulbs are day-light balanced, allowing you to filter them to correct for other natural light sources, or leave them be for generally color-accurate images (depending on the tone you are going for).

Being a college student myself I can sympathize with you on the budget. I personally opted out of drinking and eating ramen for about 6 months to afford my studio equipment, also charging for images, weddings, 2 jobs, etc, but anyway.

Instead of paperclips, I would suggest you get some heavy duty clamps from home depot or similar store, they will be much more reliable and useful to you in the long run. I use them to hold gels onto the reflectors of my studio strobes. http://www.toolstation.com/images/libra ... /14106.jpg

In place of poster board, I think you will find you have much more control using cloth- white sheets, or thin white curtains- double up for more diffusion. You can build frames for softboxes and diffusion walls out of PVC pipe, cardboard box frames, etc.

Use large panels of plywood or cardboard to block and direct light (for example, off of the backdrop, off part of the model, etc- I can post set up shots if you are not sure what I mean.

Once your light is diffused, 100W won't be much. I would suggest at the very least 250W for continuous lighting (with portraits anyway). You could wire dimmers into the switches to allow you to balance your light, not too hard to do even for the amateur electrician.

Reflectors are one of the most important pieces of gear in artificial lighting. Bouncing light from below to fill in shadows, add catch lights to glow eyes, etc. Cardboard and aluminum foil will go a long way. I myself used a piece of cardboard and the interior of a toner-bag (shiny) with ducttape. $2-3 vs $50-$150 for the real deal.

but all in all, great results for under $20! Seriously! Keep at it!

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Sony A850 | Sony Battery Grip | Carl Zeiss 24-70 Vario-Sonnar T f/2.8 | Sony 70-200G f/2.8 SSM | Lensbaby Composer Pro | Sony HVL-F58AM

Alienbees B800 (x3) | Alienbees Cyber Commander | CSR+ Receivers | Grids, Softbox, Gels, Manfrotto/Century/Avenger stands

www.flickr.com/frankiewithers
www.fkwstudio.blogspot.com
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