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Lighting issue

20 Jun 2008 3:37PM
I am expreimenting with some Portaflash 336V studio lighting that I have been lucky enough to purchase at a great price! Now I am not expecting high quality studio finished photos but I am having a problem with the images I am getting. I have read an artical about the best setting to have the camera on which is ss:125 ap:F8.0 and ISO100 wb:Flash and angle the lights about 5' away frm the subject and at 45 degrees angle either side of photographer. Done this! I am at the moment practising on still life subjects and this issue I am getting is that the white back ground I am getting comes out not white! the upper part of the photo comes out very blueish and the background is more grey colour and I have to adjust the exposure after to get a crisp white bg.

Any ideas guys!?


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Simon_P Plus
9 487 4 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 3:52PM
From what you have said, I suspect that there is light fall off toward the background.
To compensate for this you need to light the background seperatly, to have it pure white you need to over expose the background by 1-2 stops and have your subject far enough away (5-6 feet from background) to prevent light spill on the subject.

Shutter 1/125 OK
Aperture f8 OK (depends on if you want a shallower/deeper depth of field) adjust and meter as required.
W/B, flash, probably OK, custom W/B better and more accurate, also more faffing about, but can be worth it sometimes if shooting Jpeg, if shooting RAW you can alter it later if itís a little off.
20 Jun 2008 4:22PM
Try using one light on the background, as Simon say 1-2 stops brighter than the light on the subject. Use the other light on the subject (stick with your 45 degrees) and then use reflectors to fill the shadows, a sheet of white paper or card will work fine. Card covered in foil also works as do mirrors which give a much harder light.

20 Jun 2008 5:01PM
The article you read gives terrible advice. Ignore it!

There is only 1 sun outdoors so why would anyone want to put 1 light each side of the subject, creating the effect of 2 suns?
And setting a light at 45 deg (or any other position) is just a starting point, the correct position is wherever it gives the result you want.
And a distance of 5', even if you are using a large softbox, will produce pretty harsh shadows - experiment with different modifiers at different distances, don't work to any kind of formulae.

As Simon says, your background is underexposed because less light is reaching it than is reaching the subject, so put one light on the background, a bit brighter than on the subject.
Use the other light on the subject and use a reflector if necessary, at the camera position, to fill in shadows.
takui neko 12 849 11 Spain
20 Jun 2008 5:49PM
Or put the light faaaar away from the subject and change f and speed to get correct exposure. Light will fall off more evenly and subject and bg should be equaly lit. :o)
20 Jun 2008 5:54PM

Quote:Or put the light faaaar away from the subject and change f and speed to get correct exposure. Light will fall off more evenly and subject and bg should be equaly lit. :o)

That's right in theory, because the distance differential between subject and background will be less, so the level of underexposure on the background will be less too - but changing the distance of a light should really only be done to make the light larger or smaller in relative terms, because it affects the hardness of the light.
And anyway, I doubt whether Portaflash lights have enough power to give acceptable exposure at a distance.

Going back to the OP, there's no reason why you can't get good quality results with these lights, as long as you work within their limitations. You'll just have to work harder than you would if you had better lights, with more power, more accessories and more adjustment
takui neko 12 849 11 Spain
20 Jun 2008 5:58PM
I do that with Nikons sb28 and it works well... :o)
HelenO Plus
9 46 1 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 6:04PM
I have the same lights and the simplicity of them suits me well!! Smile

At first, I was having problems with getting the pure white background so I purchased a second set (v cheaply) on ebay. Now if I want the white background look I point two of the lights at the background and use one front light with a reflector.

Another thing that helped me a lot was beginning to shoot in RAW. I have save many a dud shot with this! Smile

Janey x

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