Studio Lighting, Photography & Filming
Studio Lighting in Depth
In the past, studio photography is something only professionals can do. But with the proliferation of pre-packaged kits in the market, just about anyone, enthusiasts or otherwise, can set up their own home studio. If you are planning to do the same thing, it is best that you fully equip your own studio. From flash heads to power packs, your shop must have all the necessary tools and equipment, most especially the studio lighting.
A studio light has two main options: continuous and strobe. The former comes in two varieties, namely tungsten and fluorescent, but a photographer’s choice usually depends on personal preference. The main benefit of continuous lighting is that instant feedback is provided, allowing you to adjust the angle and intensity of the lighting in studio photography. The only downside is that a continuous light produces more heat than light. If studio sessions would take a long time to finish, the entire shoot would become a hot and uncomfortable ordeal.
Studio strobe lighting, on the other hand, is a more popular choice as it allows you to precisely adjust the intensity of the light and the option to sync at faster shutter speed. With this combination, you will be able to easily capture subjects in motion. The quality of this feature though greatly depends on the cost of the equipment which means that cheaper kits are likely to be slower but not as powerful as the expensive kind.
With that in mind, you should not settle for anything less than an item made of the highest standards and priced competitively. When you go shopping for studio strobes, there are certain considerations that you have to make. The price, for one, is a major concern for most photographers, especially those that are just starting out. However, if you really want to take great pictures, then you should not scrimp on your purchase. It will be worth it, anyway.
Another feature to look into is expansibility. Find out if the strobe kit you buy will work seamlessly with additional strobes, regardless if it comes from the same manufacturer or not. Then, there is also the matter of power. While your choice depends on the type of service you provide—100 watts or less for single or small group portraits, for example—it is best to choose a studio light with variable power settings. You should also purchase modeling lights to go with studio strobes.
Now that you have the tools, it is time to familiarize the essential studio lighting tips and setup. The first thing that you need to do is to position a light stand at the right distance and angle from the subject. Then, you would also need to add two flash heads, complete with a flash tube, modeling light, and switchable slave.
Now, to get quality studio photographic pictures, you will also need an umbrella or brolly where the flash is directed so that the light will be reflected back on the subject. You also need to supply a softbox, snoot/honeycomb, and a reflector, which is very essential in a studio lighting setup.
With these tips in mind, setting up your own studio will be easier. Just make sure that you buy strobe lighting from a reliable provider so that you can capture impressive studio photographic images. There are some great tip and tutorials at http://epfilms.tv that show you how to lay the lights out.
Appreciating the Role of Light in Photography
A picture done using techniques in light photography is often mistaken to be computer-generated due to a display of lights that is nothing short of amazing. What most people don’t know, however, is that lights, when used strategically, create different effects. To give you an idea why professional photography relies greatly on lighting kits, do read on the interesting facts listed below.
Broad and Narrow Light
A broad light source produces soft light, because it reduces contrast, suppresses texture, and lessens shadows. A narrow light source, on the other hand, creates an effect opposite of everything broad light does. It is up to you which type of lighting kit you use in photographic studio. If you prefer more illumination in a particular portrait, for example, your best option is broad light because it will hit the subject on more directions, filling out shadows.
Photography light can be harsh or soft, depending on the equipment used. If what you only have is a broad light source, you can soften it up by moving it close to your subject. The problem with this option, however, is that the heat coming out of the light will make the entire photo shoot uncomfortable and hot. This is especially true if you use continuous lighting. A better alternative is to use a diffuser to scatter the light. You can use a white fabric or translucent plastic as your diffuser.
In professional photography, two of the essential elements that can make or break an image are the light and background. It then follows that playing with the relationship between these two can also create a different image. If you put a strobe too close to your subject, for instance, the falloff between background and subject will be more pronounced. If you move it further, the opposite effect takes place. Depending on the image that you want to produce, it is important that you choose the position of your lighting kit appropriately.
It used to be difficult to imagine a 3-dimensional picture, considering that a photo is often flat. But by positioning lights in different directions, shadows are cast which gives a sense of seeing an object in space. To achieve this, there should be lighting on the side, above, and below to cast a deeper and longer shadow. This then creates volume. If you want to mimic a so-called Hollywood lighting to produce a dramatic portrait, you should position a light high above, angled down, and slightly to the side of your subject.
Frontlighting and Backlighting
As previously mentioned, the position of lighting kits can affect the outcome of a particular photo shoot. Placing a strobe in front of a subject for one can de-emphasize texture. Therefore, if you want to suppress a subject’s skin wrinkles when doing photographic studio portraits, you should keep the light source close to the axis of the lens. If you want to bring out the texture of a subject, however, then you should angle the frontlighting for more emphasis.
Backlighting, on the other hand, is not exactly the opposite of frontlighting but it does create pure silhouette because of the light reflected on the opposite wall, which falls on the subject. To get the best picture, you would have to increase exposure in order to capture the light falling on the subject.
And, because light has color temperature, it is no doubt that it makes for a great light photography, even if it is just appears to be white to a spectator’s eyes.
The Best Studio Lighting and Stobe Setups
The first thing you need to do when creating your own studio strobes lighting for photography is to plan. You need to have a good look at the area you are working with and try and imagine where everything is going to be . Be aware of windows and any place where natural light is, look at the floor and check where the cables are going to lie. Once you have assessed the situation you can then setup your studio and see how it looks. At this point its important to test out all sorts of scenarios and make sure that the studio can accommodate whatever you may need to photograph. There is nothing worse that creating your own studio only to find out there is not enough room or height.
One of the most important things are the stands for the studio lighting, the last thing you want is for your expensive Studio lighting to fall over and become damaged or unusable. The best way to secure your stands is with bolts straight into the floor but this causes another problem, the stands cannot be moved easily. An alternative to this is to place Sandbags on the bottom of the stands. Its also vitally important that you and other people do not all over on cables. It’s a very good idea to get some Gaffer tape to cover the cable or one of those ready made cable hiders. Once you are happy that you have the setup you want its now important to check your studio lighting is in the correct place and provides the right amount of light. The best way to do this is to use a LIGHT METER . A light meter will allow you to adjust and tune your lighting so you can gain the best out of your photography. This step is often overlooked by many amateur studio photographer but is a important step. Another thing to consider when moving your studio strobe lighting around is the shadows that an object creates. This is a very important step in how the picture comes out and again it will take a little bit of playing with to get things into the position you want. When using lighting its always best to use as little as possible. When you start with a new scene or object try starting out with one light only, it may be that one light actually looks far better in some situation.
We will doing some demos of the latest video camera’s recommended by epfilms. We already have 3 of the one on their site in the video camera reviews section. We will be bringing you our take on them over the coming weeks.