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I have studio lights that I need/want to learn how to use to take portraits. Can anyone offer some advice? Or can anyone recommend a good book on studio lighting? I have studied photography but didn't think to learn studio lighting. Thanks.
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You tube is a very good source, and it cost nothing, start with basic single light setups and as your knowledge and learning progresses gradually add more lights.
Get your self a mannequin head, there don`t get feed up or tired like people.
Invest in a flash meter, there not only useful for working out exposer levels. there also a good learning tool as well.
As Paul says, good starting point and I think he may have meant a light meter or am I wrong? Anyway, try this link, which I'm sure you will like, Sekonic, where they cover lighting and all sorts of webinars on photography and using light meters. Try Panamoz for your light meter, they're a very good company to deal with and I got my Sekonic L758DR from them at really good price. Hope it helps.
No, Paul means a flash meter. Different beasts, though you can get combined ones.
With a flash meter, you fire the flash and the meter remembers the reading so you can set the aperture on the camera for optimum exposure. Shutter speed has little to do with studio flash as long as its below the flash sync speed and high enough to eliminate ambient light, so a normal meter reading wouldn't necessarily work.
The Sekonis L308s is a very good meter for both natural light and flash, good value at around £130 ish
Quote: No, Paul means a flash meter. Different beasts, though you can get combined ones
I`m still using the original Polaris from about 20 years ago, wex were selling the Mk11 for a while, I could never see any difference between the two versions.
Light meters are a good investment, they will last years, most cover flash and ambient and there pretty cheap (no need to buy the dearest and most complicated)
Thank you so much guys!! Info extremely helpful.
To chip in a classic lighting setup to start you off with 2 lights is both at 45 degrees to the subject and one light (main light) to be 1 stop more powerful than the fill light. so one on f11 and the other f8. Measured with a flash meter as Paul says. That will get you a starting point. If you add a third light it is often a hair light set at, about f13 or f16 depending on what colour the hair is.
And Paul is right the only difference that I have ever found between expensive and cheap flash meters is one costs more money than the other.
I found "Light: Science and Magic" a really useful book when I was learning studio light. Book on Amazon
It enabled me to get through the studio lighting module on my photography degree without any useful teaching by the 'tutor'.
Starting with a few basics even though you have a degree in photography.
Do you also have trigger cables or wireless triggers to fire the studio flash's?
You'll want to set the camera to Manual, Say ISO100 or ISO200, choose a shutter speed of say 1/125 sec - then adjust the aperture and the studio head power to get a good exposure on the subjects.
For a good author and the whole process I'd recommend a book from your US's own - Scott Kelby.
"Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It: Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image"
I just posted this up, worth checking it out
Also have a good look at feathering techniques, great for single light setups, off camera strobist type flash and so on, you don`t even need studio lighting.
Just a single camera flash fitted with some pretty basic modifiers.
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