fill light source size vs main light size

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by oleuncleted, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. oleuncleted

    oleuncleted Guest

    when using studio strobes does it matter that the fill light source is
    a larger one than the main light source as long as it is at less
    power ?.
    a larger softbox as fill vs a smaller softbox as main .

    im know the end result is that matters but what is the correct way ?

    oleuncleted, Dec 11, 2008
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  2. oleuncleted

    pawihte Guest

    Great answer. Just the kind that's destroying Usenet bit by bit.
    I find it hard to imagine the kind of excuse for a life jerks
    like you must be living.

    To the OP: Sorry I can't help you as I have little experience in
    that area. But don't be discouraged by idiots like this poster. I
    think I understand your position. You are willing to experiment
    but feel that pointers from those with more experience will be
    helpful. I hope you will receive more meaningful replies, like
    that by Allen Smithee.
    pawihte, Dec 11, 2008
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  3. oleuncleted

    Guest Guest

    Great response. Funny the trolls tend to attack the really good
    responses. Maybe they want everyone to lower themselves to their
    Guest, Dec 11, 2008
  4. oleuncleted

    oleuncleted Guest

    Do you have no creativity to be able to define your own
    you read way to much into my questions ,simple question .
    oleuncleted, Dec 11, 2008
  5. oleuncleted

    pawihte Guest

    Typical troll response - partial quoting and taking things out of
    context. It should have been obvious to anyone with a grain of
    intelligence that I was objecting to the gratuitous sarcasm and
    insults. There are much more civilized ways of advising someone
    not to rely completely on everything they read.

    Sure, go tell everyone to reinvent the wheel independently for
    themselves instead of learning from the experience of others.
    Sure, invent the digital camera all by yourself. Start by going
    to the beach, pick up a sack of sand, refine it into pure silicon
    and go on from there. Reinvent from scratch a method of grinding
    optical glass. Reinvent plastics and solidstate electronics.
    pawihte, Dec 11, 2008
  6. oleuncleted

    JC Dill Guest

    The size of the softbox doesn't change the amount of the light, it
    changes how "soft" the light is (how soft or harsh the shadow is). The
    choice of no softbox (e.g. reflector), beauty dish, small softbox, large
    softbox, strip light, reflector, etc. is made to create the type of
    light - hard light or soft light, crisp shadows or soft shadows, and
    this choice depends on what you are shooting - people, objects, glass,
    objects with shiny reflections (jewelery, polished metal items), etc.

    I'm assuming you are talking about using studio strobes to shoot
    portraits. If you want hard shadow lines for a more dramatic effect,
    your key light would be a harder light - the sun, a light with a small
    reflector dish, a beauty dish, or very small softbox set far back from
    the subject. You would typically then use a softer light (large(r)
    softbox or reflector) for the fill light. This way you get a "natural"
    sun-light type of shadow from the main light (key light or sun) but the
    shadows are filled in with some light so you can see details in the
    shadow areas on the person's face. If you want to minimize shadows then
    you would use a larger softbox (closer to your subject) on your key
    light. As a rule you wouldn't use a hard light as a fill light, because
    you don't want shadows from the fill to create a cross shadow on your
    subject. But you may use a hard light on a hair light or kicker.

    The light also becomes harder or softer depending on how close it is to
    the subject. A small softbox placed 2 feet from the subject is going to
    produce softer light than if you move it back so that it is 15-20 feet
    from the subject. This is how a "large" light source like the sun acts
    as a "hard light" and produces sharp shadows - it is a long way back
    from your subject. :)

    One of the best ways to learn studio lighting is to take a class where
    the lights and modifiers are provided as part of the class. Yesterday I
    just finished printing my final project for an Advanced Lighting class
    at CCSF (City College of San Francisco, one of the largest community
    college system in the US). This allowed me to play with all these
    lighting modifiers and learn how they work without having to buy them
    first. I'm *much* more confident with studio lighting now, and have a
    much better idea what types of lights and modifiers I want to have on
    hand for my own photography.

    Photography classes at CCSF are an *amazing* value. They have an
    amazingly well stocked issue room with cameras (up to 4x5), studio
    strobes, softboxes, etc. and a studio with 4 studio bays with light
    stands, shooting table, backdrops, etc. All for ~$100 per class.

    If you don't have access to a community college with an excellent studio
    lighting class like this, look for workshops at your nearest pro-level
    camera store. Calumet has workshops at most of their locations. IMHO
    camera store workshops are not as good of a value as a semester-long
    class - usually they are just 1 day for 2-6 hours, and you have limited
    time to play with the lights to learn how light modifier choices and
    placement affect the quality of the light and shadows on your subjects.

    JC Dill, Dec 11, 2008
  7. I second JC's points, and can recommend Berkeley City Colleges'
    offerings in Photoshop and printmaking. The intro to PS, which I took a
    few years ago, was outstanding.
    John McWilliams, Dec 11, 2008
  8. You boys are giving Trolls a bad name.
    John McWilliams, Dec 11, 2008
  9. oleuncleted

    pawihte Guest

    pawihte, Dec 11, 2008
  10. oleuncleted

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Ain't it the truth... Real kids get bored REALLY fast when it's time to set
    up lighting...

    As for the flash configuration, the fill doesn't effect the picture as much
    as the key light. With either box in front of the subject, you should get a
    nice even lighting which won't throw any shadows, so your shaded areas will
    look good.

    When it comes to the main, or key, light, you can really bring out your
    subjects best features by moving the softbox around. Try changing both the
    distance from the subject as well as the angle the light is offset from the
    camera / subject axis.

    Placing the light at about a 45 degree offset will give you a more
    traditional look, while moving it to about 90 degrees can give you a much
    more dramatic side-lit effect. Also, if you can get some height on the key,
    your pics will probably look a bit better.

    One thing you didn't mention is whether you will use a third flash to give
    your background a graduated appearance. If possible, try to put a third,
    smaller flash, behind the subject directed so that the brightest part of the
    light is down behind the subject, not really visible. Then, as the eye
    moves up the backdrop, it gradually gets darker. This can help add some
    separation to the image -- helping the subject to appear more naturally

    Lastly, try varying the lighting ratio, which is to say, setting the output
    of the key to twice the power of the fill yields a 2:1 ratio; if it is
    three times as bright, the ratio will be 3:1.

    Using a variety of ratios such as 3:2, 4:3, etc will also add some life to
    the image.

    Good Luck,
    Dudley Hanks, Dec 13, 2008
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