On or off camera lighting and things

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Location
Los Angeles
Real Name
John
An informal place to post portraits, products, and practice with all things flash.
Techniques, modifiers, gear, etc.

Please join me with your thoughts, tips and creations.

My dad.
An exercise with my new to me V-flat.
In this case as a small footprint, easy to up and down black backdrop - I like it!
XH1/35 1.4. F5.6 1/250.
One light with a godox V1(1/2 power) and Buff 64" silver PLM.

No retouch - pop is looking pretty good for four days away from 85. Although new stay at home measures have postponed his haircut. ( :
pop.35.64plm.resize.jpg
 

Apollo T.

Regular
Location
NJ
@mnhoj
I’ve admired quite a few of your portraits, both color and B&W, for a while.
How large is your ‘studio’?
Are your B&Ws usually shot that way or do you convert from color?
Flash appears to be camera left, but fairly close to you. Do you recall how high?
Thanks for this thread. It’s already a go-to!!!
 

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Location
Los Angeles
Real Name
John
@mnhoj
I’ve admired quite a few of your portraits, both color and B&W, for a while.
How large is your ‘studio’?
Are your B&Ws usually shot that way or do you convert from color?
Flash appears to be camera left, but fairly close to you. Do you recall how high?
Thanks for this thread. It’s already a go-to!!!
Thank you very much.
I have a 8'x15' space in my garage that I use for full length shots. The space is a bit tight for that but I'll use a little bit wider than traditional focal length and be careful of distortion.

More often it's tighter shots in a portion of the living room.
Today's shoot was done in a very small space(4'x8') in my dad's living room with the V-flat.
Previously I'd been using a light stand with an expandable reversible backdrop.
I plan on trying it leaned against one side of the V-flat for a fill panel.

Black and white's for me are sadly usually always an afterthought and converted. I use a desaturated Capture One raw conversion. Classic chrome of late that looks nice to my eyes.

Camera left and about 6ft. high since he was sitting. Easily clears the low ceiling even with a 64" modifier. If he was standing, maybe not.

Here's a comparison between a 28" white folding beauty dish with diffuser and the 64" parabolic light modifier a.k.a. PLM.
The 28 shot was at less than 1/2 power but was slightly less exposed so I probably can't answer a question about the efficiency difference.

Personal notes: I think both do well for subjects like my dad but will likely opt for the larger for ladies. The smaller modifier needs care in aim while the large easily covers Bob. For this crop I'll probably opt for something in between for size.
A grid on the 28" might be a nice option next time to increase focus and contain spill light.
These were taken about 10 minutes apart. 28" on the left.
28vs64.2.jpg
 
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This is for people starting out, or people working on a budget.

Lighting is a Godox TT850 in a Neewer 47" octobox. It was mounted on a C stand with boom. Placed directly in front of and above the subject. Aimed with bottom of the octobox just over the top of the subject feathering the light. This light kit including C stand and boom arm would cost you roughly $330 to put together on Amazon including the godox light trigger.

_PRO8300-L.jpg
 
One of the most important things in portrait lighting that no one ever told me. Is that light placement is one of the most critical aspects of lighting. Once I learned this, it completely changed my portrait shooting. My godox speedlight and $30 Amazon octobox suddenly became capable of really good images.

With all that said. My opinion is that one of the very first things you should put money towards is a good light stand and boom arm. These days, a very sturdy C Stand/turtle base stand with a boom arm can be had from Amazon or Adorama in the $120-$140 range. I have used a very cheap pair of ankle weights for counter weights since I started working with lighting. I paid $10 for those as opposed to a minimum of $20 for a photography weight bag which doesn’t even come with weight in it.

With a C Stand and boom, the versatility of your light placement opens up your lighting to many different looks with the same light and modifier.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
One of the most important things in portrait lighting that no one ever told me. Is that light placement is one of the most critical aspects of lighting. Once I learned this, it completely changed my portrait shooting. My godox speedlight and $30 Amazon octobox suddenly became capable of really good images.

With all that said. My opinion is that one of the very first things you should put money towards is a good light stand and boom arm. These days, a very sturdy C Stand/turtle base stand with a boom arm can be had from Amazon or Adorama in the $120-$140 range. I have used a very cheap pair of ankle weights for counter weights since I started working with lighting. I paid $10 for those as opposed to a minimum of $20 for a photography weight bag which doesn’t even come with weight in it.

With a C Stand and boom, the versatility of your light placement opens up your lighting to many different looks with the same light and modifier.
What did you use as your background? I'd like to get some better pics of some of the instruments I've built, using something other than my battered workbench or the hardwood floor in my TV room.
 
What did you use as your background? I'd like to get some better pics of some of the instruments I've built, using something other than my battered workbench or the hardwood floor in my TV room.
I started off with cheap back drops. Then discovered Kate backdrops, which are still in the low cost range.

For what you want to do, I recommend getting a backdrop stand. Which can be had on Amazon these days in $20-$30 range for something which will suit your needs. Then get a few rolls of seamless backdrop paper in different colors. 53"x18ft usually runs $35. That way you can have the backdrop under the guitar as well as behind with no sharp angles in the backdrop. With what you're doing you can roll the paper back up after you shoot since no one will be standing on it.
 

CraigC

Veteran
Location
Toronto, Canada
Real Name
Craig
I started off with cheap back drops. Then discovered Kate backdrops, which are still in the low cost range.

For what you want to do, I recommend getting a backdrop stand. Which can be had on Amazon these days in $20-$30 range for something which will suit your needs. Then get a few rolls of seamless backdrop paper in different colors. 53"x18ft usually runs $35. That way you can have the backdrop under the guitar as well as behind with no sharp angles in the backdrop. With what you're doing you can roll the paper back up after you shoot since no one will be standing on it.

Agree with everything Bobby had outlined. Spot on.

Here’s an example from a shot I took about 8yrs ago for my wife’s side business making cakes.

Seamless grey paper backdrop, c-stand with boomed octobox overtop, shoot thru umbrella out front left, reflector on right.

Setup shot:

3912D577-7154-461C-B2F0-5E92F8757B0F.jpeg


Result:

EE66BBEB-DC17-4A98-ADAB-722BE3CED00B.jpeg
 

CraigC

Veteran
Location
Toronto, Canada
Real Name
Craig
@Craig C Thank you for posting that. Perfectly shows what we are talking about. Also shows what can be accomplished in a small space. You could shoot portraits on that set up.

Yep, for sure. This was in our old house where I basically had a very small space in an unfinished section of our basement. You can see our hot water tank and laundry tub in the back left side. Lol
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
I started off with cheap back drops. Then discovered Kate backdrops, which are still in the low cost range.

For what you want to do, I recommend getting a backdrop stand. Which can be had on Amazon these days in $20-$30 range for something which will suit your needs. Then get a few rolls of seamless backdrop paper in different colors. 53"x18ft usually runs $35. That way you can have the backdrop under the guitar as well as behind with no sharp angles in the backdrop. With what you're doing you can roll the paper back up after you shoot since no one will be standing on it.
I ordered a black Kate backdrop plus the smallest portable stand on Amazon. The smallest backdrop they had was 5x7. I would have liked to have gone a little narrower, and I looked at black window roller shades, but they were a lot more expensive than the Kate backdrop.
 
I ordered a black Kate backdrop plus the smallest portable stand on Amazon. The smallest backdrop they had was 5x7. I would have liked to have gone a little narrower, and I looked at black window roller shades, but they were a lot more expensive than the Kate backdrop.
I love Kate backdrops. You'll probably find that you like the extra working room the 5x7 gives you. Too tight on the sides and things can get difficult in composition.
 

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