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Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


...What do you prefer or works best for you lighting wise, intricate set up every time, or simplistic set up every time ?, or do you prefer to dabble/ juggle both just because you like to.

Back ground: I become more interested in photography as time goes by, even though it's not my career. I haven't got access to a studio. My photo's are based on natural light (an experimentation with it) as you'll see if you happen to look at my photo's.

I guess people give varying degrees of thought, to the message they want their photography to give, I do kinda. But I wondered what message the light your using is giving if any.
Nov 01 12 05:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kev Lawson
Posts: 7,612
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


A M U L wrote:
...What do you prefer or works best for you lighting wise, intricate set up every time, or simplistic set up every time ?, or do you prefer to dabble/ juggle both depending just because you like to.

I think it depends on what look you are going for. There are times 1 monolight without modifiers works great if you want a harsh light:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121013/19/507a234a93054_m.jpg

Sometimes 2-3 setup with softboxes, octoboxes etc for soft light:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121009/19/5074ddc6ac3f3_m.jpg

Sometimes natural light with no reflectors or modification:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121010/16/507609ac119cb_m.jpg
this gives a very natural feel and look to the image.

Sometimes a reflector or two just to make sure the available light hits where it is needed in the image:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121011/06/5076c3436425c_m.jpg

So basically, it just depends on the look you are going for.

~Kevin

Nov 01 12 05:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chris Maxwell
Posts: 680
Sterling, Virginia, US


It varies from setup to setup.   I'll add lights as needed depending on the shoot.  Sometimes a single light will work, other times it may take 4 or 5.
Nov 01 12 05:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


Kevin, I love the e.g you have of just natural light, of the girl sitting on the bed, amazing, I love that light. Kevin I will look into those light's you talked about in you're paragraph thank you.

I agree with both of you.

smile
Nov 01 12 06:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


Whatever works for the image I have in mind.

I will use anything from natural light without even a reflector up to 5 or 6 strobes in the studio if that's the effect I want.

I generally go with 1-3 strobes in the studio but the number is irrelevant really. I just use whatever lights I need to get the image I have in my head, and if I find I need an extra light when I had initially thought I would be able to do it with two, then - as long as the result is satisfactory - I don't beat myself up about it.





Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com
Nov 01 12 06:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


Hi Brunesci,


That makes a lot of sense, I get a lot of bing moments, I'll create a studio image in my head, and I have no idea how I'd light it or how I'd go about it.

Can you suggest any articles, or books that tell you exactly how you light it, /// different types of light??

smile
Nov 01 12 06:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kev Lawson
Posts: 7,612
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


A M U L wrote:
Kevin, I love the e.g you have of just natural light, of the girl sitting on the bed, amazing, I love that light. Kevin I will look into those light's you talked about in you're paragraph thank you.

I agree with both of you.

smile

Just an FYI, if you want to experiment with studio strobes, these are in no way comparable to professional equipment, however they will do the job. See the thread by Jay here:

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=862018

In US dollars, you can get a 3 monolight setup for just over $100-150 then another $30 for the octobox umbrellas. Not sure how much that translates into in UK currency, but may be well worthwhile for experimenting with other than natural light.

~Kevin

Nov 01 12 06:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kev Lawson
Posts: 7,612
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


A M U L wrote:
Hi Brunesci,


That makes a lot of sense, I get a lot of bing moments, I'll create a studio image in my head, and I have no idea how I'd light it or how I'd go about it.

Can you suggest any articles, or books that tell you exactly how you light it, /// different types of light??

smile

The forum post I quoted above shows the setup Jay used in his living room.

Nov 01 12 06:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,729
Seattle, Washington, US


A M U L wrote:
...What do you prefer or works best for you lighting wise, intricate set up every time, or simplistic set up every time ?, or do you prefer to dabble/ juggle both just because you like to.

Back ground: I become more interested in photography as time goes by, even though it's not my career. I haven't got access to a studio. My photo's are based on natural light (an experimentation with it) as you'll see if you happen to look at my photo's.

I guess people give varying degrees of thought, to the message they want their photography to give, I do kinda. But I wondered what message the light your using is giving if any.

i like diffused natural light (think cloudy in seattle).  i use two big white sheets of foam as reflectors. i like simplicity.

http://archives.marklaubenheimer.com/image.php?image=/models/2012/08-13-2012_Kele_Lavery/keleweb04.jpg&quality=70&width=600

Nov 01 12 07:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Stephen K Photography
Posts: 144
Sacramento, California, US


1 light is best, 2 lights is okay, more than that I'm too broke for.
Nov 01 12 07:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


Thank you Mark, nice naturalness, really rings with me smile


Thank you Stephen, I love you're images, especially the b/w top half ones.
Nov 01 12 07:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,548
Salem, Oregon, US


there are so many variables. hair color vs. background color. on-black vs. on-white vs. on-gray. do i want a hair light. i'll use anywhere from 1-5 strobes in the studio. for art nudes it's more like 1 but for airy, on-white sometimes it takes 5.

i have a big standing reflector panel and use that a lot as well.

it's a nice thought to just use one light but for me that doesn't always give me the look i'm after.
Nov 01 12 08:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


A M U L wrote:
Can you suggest any articles, or books that tell you exactly how you light it, /// different types of light??

Light, Science and Magic is good for the basics.

For any more than that it's pretty much a case of trial and error, or maybe a workshop or some tuition if you want to progress a bit faster smile




Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

Nov 01 12 08:06 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,548
Salem, Oregon, US


seems like everybody has their own favorite way to do it. peter hurley (and others) use big banks of fluorescent lights.

for guys especially back lighting is popular where the shine spills onto the sides of the face. but that can be hard to control. it gets to be a lot about fussily controlling the light.

on most of my shoots the models move around and so fussy lighting doesn't really work. i need a broader pool of light for them to work in otherwise i'm constantly adjusting lights. so when i'm doing on-white i like using umbrellas which spill light everywhere.

part of our style is our lighting choices. so i'd say get at least one light and a reflector and then some different modifiers (umbrella vs. strip box. vs soft box vs. gridded 7" reflector bowl) and play. rim/back lighting is very popular (check out the first dance at wedding receptions for example).

and then there's the whole outdoors thing where flare seems to be everywhere right now.

what i've found is when i go on location i have to think on my feet because you never know what the weather will be like and it can change every few minutes around here. so you can't just have one plan and alway stick with that. and if i spend all my time thinking about lighting i won't be directing my couple and the pics will be well-lit but will also suck because the poses/expressions didn't get my attention.

the other thing is you have to think about what you're going to do in-camera vs. photoshop. so much of it is done in photoshop now.

A M U L wrote:
Can you suggest any articles, or books that tell you exactly how you light it, /// different types of light??

Nov 01 12 08:20 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D-Light
Posts: 615
Newcastle, Limerick, Ireland


I mix it up, one light up to five or six lights, depends on the look I want.
Nov 01 12 08:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kaouthia
Posts: 3,152
Lancaster, England, United Kingdom


A M U L wrote:
...What do you prefer or works best for you lighting wise

Whichever gets me the shot.  Sometimes it's a single speedlight in whatever modifier, sometimes it's a dozen speedlights and studio strobes lighting different parts of the scene.

Sometimes it's just the ambient with or without a reflector or two.

Nov 01 12 08:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dark Shadows
Posts: 2,269
Miami, Florida, US


I use available light whenever possible. It's not always possible, but it's my preference.
Nov 01 12 08:48 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kaouthia
Posts: 3,152
Lancaster, England, United Kingdom


Dark Shadows wrote:
I use available light whenever possible.

Me too, I make sure at least my SB-900s are always available. smile

Nov 01 12 09:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Yen Studios
Posts: 780
Memphis, Tennessee, US


Nov 01 12 09:20 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


thank you everyone for you're personal input.


Most of all thank you Yen for you're massive contribution, so appreciated seeing what different lighting can do, but I agree my favorite is still natural light, available light can be awesome also. Like the girl you lit with a street light at night, amazing smile
Nov 01 12 01:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DAN CRUIKSHANK
Posts: 1,786
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


I tend to keep it pretty simple, I shoot with what the sky gives me smile
But that is because I am poor. One day I will have lights to play with!
Nov 01 12 01:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Wye
Posts: 9,838
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Simple as it can get for me.

One light.. sometimes a reflector or two.
Nov 01 12 01:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fotografica Gregor
Posts: 4,119
Alexandria, Virginia, US


Most of my portfolio and published work was shot with one light.   

Much was shot with two lights.

A very few images were shot with more, but I do have a few images that were shot with six strobes and two hot lights.....   but each was tightly controlled and had a specific purpose.

quite often there are many more flags and gobos and reflectors in use in my work than lights....



the bottom line is this-  if you are not *controlling* the light but just letting it spill all over the place, additional lights are not going to do anything for you.

One light well controlled will accomplish more than four lights "spraying".
Nov 01 12 01:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
liddellphoto
Posts: 1,801
London, England, United Kingdom


Almost everything I shoot is one light with a beauty dish at different distances. Not a fan of overlit shots.
Nov 01 12 02:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Terrell Gates
Posts: 1,042
Santa Fe, New Mexico, US


I have the most minimal lighting set up ever... It consists of my chandelier + a flood light clipped to it.. and some available light from my studio windows... I shoot with black sheets as a background and floor...

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120218/14/4f402b92a8801.jpg
Nov 01 12 02:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David Kirk
Posts: 4,490
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


When shooting models I tend to use 3 strobes - sometimes less, sometimes more.  Very recently I seem to have have been working with 2.

When shooting my children I prefer to use natural light and no reflectors because they tend to be much more relaxed and have more natural expressions than when I put them into a complicated lighting setup.

I like both methods and I would like to work more with natural light when shooting models, but my availability for shooting models tends to be weekday evenings and where I live at this time of year it is already too dark for that by 5:30 PM.
Nov 01 12 02:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leighthenubian
Posts: 2,943
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


A M U L wrote:
...What do you prefer or works best for you lighting wise, intricate set up every time, or simplistic set up every time ?, or do you prefer to dabble/ juggle both just because you like to.

Back ground: I become more interested in photography as time goes by, even though it's not my career. I haven't got access to a studio. My photo's are based on natural light (an experimentation with it) as you'll see if you happen to look at my photo's.

I guess people give varying degrees of thought, to the message they want their photography to give, I do kinda. But I wondered what message the light your using is giving if any.

That question has too many moving parts.

The real questions is " do you have the skills and experience to light a composition based on your vision".

Depending on what you are doing there may be a need for 1 or 100 light sources. If you consider yourself an artist, only the end result matters. The lighting flows from that. If you are a business, the lighting flows from what is necessary to get the project done.

Nov 01 12 02:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David Kirk
Posts: 4,490
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Illuminate wrote:

That question has too many moving parts.

The real questions is " do you have the skills and experience to light a composition based on your vision".

Depending on what you are doing there may be a need for 1 or 100 light sources. If you consider yourself an artist, only the end result matters. The lighting flows from that. If you are a business, the lighting flows from what is necessary to get the project done.

While this is certainly true, I do think different people tend to be biased in the way they visualize (and therefore realize) images.  Also, it is sometime not practical (budget, time, skill etc.) to achieve what you have first envisioned and you are therefore constrained to work within certain limits.  That's not to say you can't be very creative within those limits, but many times selecting anywhere from 1-100 lights is simply not realistic regardless of what you envision.

Nov 01 12 02:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,472
Paris, Île-de-France, France


I tell myself before starting every time, less is more.

Find the light, find the shadows, put both together and watch the lines.

My fav pix are daylight. Simple, elegant. When the light is complex they can be impressive, yet they hit you hard where as simple let's you breath with the picture.
Nov 01 12 02:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leighthenubian
Posts: 2,943
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


David Kirk wrote:

While this is certainly true, I do think different people tend to be biased in the way they visualize (and therefore realize) images.  Also, it is sometime not practical (budget, time, skill etc.) to achieve what you have first envisioned and you are therefore constrained to work within certain limits.  That's not to say you can't be very creative within those limits, but many times selecting anywhere from 1-100 lights is simply not realistic regardless of what you envision.

I hear what you are saying but disagree. Consider this: People tend to expand their lifestyle based on how much money they have at their disposal. Photographers are pretty similar. When funds are limited and you have a camera and 1 maybe 2 lenses and a flash...you figure out ways to create images that match your vision using the tools you have at hand.

Add some cash and all of a sudden people start posting on here asking which camera to get and how many lights...as if what they were using prior didn't get the job done.

The number of lights is kinda secondary to the vision, no?

Nov 01 12 02:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Britton Photography
Posts: 64
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


A M U L wrote:
Hi Brunesci,


That makes a lot of sense, I get a lot of bing moments, I'll create a studio image in my head, and I have no idea how I'd light it or how I'd go about it.

Can you suggest any articles, or books that tell you exactly how you light it, /// different types of light??

smile

check out strobist.com for different light setups and how to achieve certain lighting.  that's how I learned.

Nov 01 12 02:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


Illuminate wrote:

David Kirk wrote:
Consider this: People tend to expand their lifestyle based on how much money they have at their disposal. Photographers are pretty similar. When funds are limited and you have a camera and 1 maybe 2 lenses and a flash...you figure out ways to create images that match your vision using the tools you have at hand.

Add some cash and all of a sudden people start posting on here asking which camera to get and how many lights...as if what they were using prior didn't get the job done.

^^^^ So agree smile

Nov 01 12 04:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


Britton Photography wrote:

A M U L wrote:
Hi Brunesci,


check out strobist.com for different light setups and how to achieve certain lighting.  that's how I learned.

thank you kindly smile

Nov 01 12 04:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fullmetalphotographer
Posts: 2,771
Fresno, California, US


It all depends on what I am shooting. I feel comfortable with any light source, especially environmental because of years of photojournalism.
My personal approach to lighting is fairly simple I start with one light and build out from that.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2545/4017195222_b6aee839fc_m.jpg
GlamShoot25121608 by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3434/3245697075_46e2641f43_m.jpg
GlamGroup by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2486/3748951688_5f18ccd7a8_m.jpg
JillClean by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2625/4012981119_60cc4ab9e4_m.jpg
reflector by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3290/3059367050_0b179b8111_m.jpg
cindiBW by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3244/3065265816_69f27948ef_m.jpg
Paramount lighting Ring by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2577/4026757045_dd2f2999ee_m.jpg
EmilyJoDerderian37101809 by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2786/4026757169_c1328bcdbc_m.jpg
Ring Flash by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3104/3096682471_915abd8075_m.jpg
davidfix by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2254/3643692410_3779d2f8c0_m.jpg
Rembrandt by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2064/2282784127_3dd1733f2a_m.jpg
rock012 by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2454/4012960229_5aac9f0c23_m.jpg
fill by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr
Nov 01 12 05:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R Michael Walker
Posts: 11,986
Costa Mesa, California, US


I light as I see fit in each situation. My favorite is simple set ups that produce complex looks. I use a LOT of on camera flash and Ring light in my work...and it usually looks like neither.

On camera flash, tripod and available light..18+
http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/30035016

Same location with a ring flash and tripod to soak in the available light. Also 18+
http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/30185909
Nov 01 12 05:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jim Lafferty
Posts: 1,946
Brooklyn, New York, US


Simple is best. Natural light without bounce or fill. Or, feathered single light with or without bounce (usually without). Or single strobe mixed with ambient. Or... fun, seemingly silly stuff like mirrors and found light on location... I shot nudes recently that were lit by a MacBook and a TV and all done at ISO 6400 and they look fantastic   big_smile
Nov 01 12 07:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JAE
Posts: 2,139
West Chester, Pennsylvania, US


I usually try and keep it fairly simple if I am outdoors.  Carrying equipment sucks, so I usually just bring one strobe if I need some fill.

In studio I shoot with 1-3 strobes and reflectors.  It really depends on what I am going for to decide how many I use.
Nov 01 12 07:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kevin Connery
Posts: 16,875
El Segundo, California, US


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
Light, Science and Magic is good for the basics.

I'd say rather that it's good for the concepts. With that underpinning, designing new setups--simple or complex--is simple. With most other lighting books, you'll get some recipes which work great for what they do, but generally the books don't explain why they do something, leaving only a cookie-cutter set of answers unless you explore a lot on your own without decent guidance.

Nov 01 12 11:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


fullmetalphotographer wrote:
It all depends on what I am shooting. I feel comfortable with any light source, especially environmental because of years of photojournalism.
My personal approach to lighting is fairly simple I start with one light and build out from that.




Thank you kindly for taking the time to share with us, how you see light, I love the last photo's the shape the model makes, what the light is doing, the fact it's on location, I'm not a big fan of swim wear shot in studio it seems kinda false, even though I respect other people will feel different.

Nov 02 12 02:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 818
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


Kevin Connery wrote:

I'd say rather that it's good for the concepts. With that underpinning, designing new setups--simple or complex--is simple. With most other lighting books, you'll get some recipes which work great for what they do, but generally the books don't explain why they do something, leaving only a cookie-cutter set of answers unless you explore a lot on your own without decent guidance.

Preach, agree, it's not just about the lighting itself, I am interested in what triggered that recipe, I find that very intriguing, is that called, the psychology of photography? hehe.

Nov 02 12 02:43 am  Link  Quote 
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