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Photographer
Roxi Dlite Photography
Posts: 51
Windsor, Ontario, Canada


I'm trying something new with mixed lighting. I shot last night and tried various things but I find the images are still too dark.

I used two Bowen's strobes on the sides with one blue and one pink gel. In front I used a speed light Nikon SB800. I shot with my Nikon D90. These are all of the lights I currently own. I am willing to purchase another light if needed as I am determined to get this shot, however my budget is somewhat limited. (not to mention we spend $50 on cream for the shoot which we have to purchase again as we need to re-shoot as I am unhappy with how these images turned out.

I tried taking the speedlight off of the camera and put it on a tripod and used the pop up flash on the camera as well but that still wasn't enough light, and if we turned it up it was too harsh, even with a dome on it.

Below are screen shots of the RAW images so you can see what I was trying to achieve and what was produced. I plan on re-shooting and adding some smoke in the background as well. I find the colour lights are too harsh, and not enough fill light in the middle. It creates some bad shadows on my face where I'm just looking for a bit of coloured contour on the sides of my face, hair and body.

Is it possible to add another strobe with a softbox on it? Would that not work? Would that be too much light and cancel out the coloured lights on the side? Or is there something better you could suggest?

The below screenshots of the RAW images have not been fiddled with in Photoshop yet, I tried to lighten them up but it looks too forced and there is very little detail in my eyes or hair still.

We have plans to re-shoot Monday. Hope to make this next shoot a speedy successful one.

Hope to find some help here.
Jan 11 13 11:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Roxi Dlite Photography
Posts: 51
Windsor, Ontario, Canada


http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/3643/screenshot20130112at221.png

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Jan 11 13 11:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Roxi Dlite Photography
Posts: 51
Windsor, Ontario, Canada


http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/4352/screenshot20130112at150.png

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Jan 11 13 11:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kaouthia
Posts: 3,152
Lancaster, England, United Kingdom


Set your key light up (the speedlight, presumably), and get your exposure looking good with just that.

Once that's setup, turn on one of your gelled lights, and get that balancing with your key light.

Once both of those look good together, turn on your third light, and then get that balancing with the two pre-existing lights.

Don't just turn them all on at once and start playing around.  Build it up one light at a time, and get each one perfect before you add another.
Jan 11 13 11:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Roxi Dlite Photography
Posts: 51
Windsor, Ontario, Canada


So the lights I currently own should do the trick? No need to purchase another flash? Thank you for your advice. xx
Jan 11 13 11:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 9,734
Santa Ana, California, US


Basically the above ^^^
But if you're using some kind of ttl auto-mode to set the exposure of your speedlight, hard telling what it's reading. But what do I know, I don't use any of the auto-modes or speedlights.
Jan 11 13 11:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gallery de Aphrodite
Posts: 328
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Not that I have a lot of experience with lights ... and I'm sure mixing 2 different kinds of light makes it even harder to manage. But think about it this way … your speed light is the main light here. This light needs to output more power then the 2 strobes on the sides.

Adding a 3rd strobe would make it easier cause then you will measure the output the same way. (unless you are using a lightmeter)

My suggestion would be to add a 3rd light but with a bigger softbox (octagonal would be better).

And I agree with Kaouthia … setup your main light first. Once that works that’s when you add the other lights.

hope this helps. good luck.
Jan 11 13 11:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mortonovich
Posts: 5,233
San Diego, California, US


Agree with the above but also keep in mind that when you bring up the key light, you are essentially going to wash out the colored lights. (If you look at a lot of other gelled light set ups, they tend to look kinda dark.)

So maybe grid that speed light and have it aimed very selectively.
Jan 11 13 12:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hero Foto
Posts: 878
Phoenix, Arizona, US


IMHO ... -.-

... the model is the "subject" light her first
... then add the 2 rim lights
... THEN gel them and bump them up a notch or 2 to get your color ...
Jan 11 13 12:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
me voy
Posts: 955
Amherst, Massachusetts, US


Make sure all your lights are set to manual, use a hand held light meter and you should get it right.
Jan 11 13 12:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mask Photo
Posts: 1,382
Fremont, California, US


ChiMo wrote:
So maybe grid that speed light and have it aimed very selectively.

this, but grids are expensive (usually as much as or more than the softbox they go in).

Because you're budgeting, get a roll of black cinefoil and wrap it all around the softbox, clipped to the edges, with a generous amount hanging off the dront. now you have a snoot/barndoor that you can use to control the light shape. As you power the light up, you can keep it from spilling onto the background. You shouldn't need much; just a stop and a half, at the maximum, i'd think.

Also, try some softboxes on the colored lights (or perhaps brolly boxes, so you still get some spread, but from a wider source to tame some of the shadows.

Finally... $50 on cream? holy cow! Try some almond milk thickened with corn starch. It's already fairly thick so you shouldn't need much. Also, i'm not a Dr. but it's got to be better for your vag than sitting in a bowl of cream (yeast infection risk)

edit: also, try shooting "to the right". digital sensors capture light in values from 0 to 255 (simplifying raw files for now). But this means that the brightest stop of your image has almost half the image data (from 128 to 255), and the darker 6-8 stops of your image have to fight over the rest of the tonal information (the second darkest stop gets the next quarter of data, the 3rd darkest stop gets the next eighth, etc).
But if you nudge your histogram to the right more while you're shooting, you're putting more information in the part of the histogram that holds the most data.
Don't blow it out; get your lights balanced to where you like them, then overexpose a little, until you get close to having blown highlights. This will let you bring it back down in post, and you'll have creamier shadow detail and more texture to work with.

BUT PRACTICE THIS FIRST before you spend $ on props and try to shoot again.

Jan 12 13 03:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
My name is Frank
Posts: 552
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Ha, when I read mixed lights, I thought you were working strobes and hots.

Just looks like you need to open the lens up maybe 2 stops. That, or get the lights you have set up closer to the model.

That should open things up for you.
Jan 12 13 11:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Studio MD - Casting
Posts: 1,207
New York, New York, US


Kaouthia wrote:
Set your key light up (the speedlight, presumably), and get your exposure looking good with just that.

Once that's setup, turn on one of your gelled lights, and get that balancing with your key light.

Once both of those look good together, turn on your third light, and then get that balancing with the two pre-existing lights.

Don't just turn them all on at once and start playing around.  Build it up one light at a time, and get each one perfect before you add another.

THIS!
If you WANT to add another light on a softbox to try, then do it to see what happens
I'd suggest doing some test shots with the smoke and a friend before you bring the model back in... save the model, client, hair, makeup and stylist the headache of watching you learn.

Jan 12 13 11:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,023
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


What was your exposure?

With my Nikon D3X, when the exposure looks right on the LCD (when shooting RAW), the photo is actually one to two stops underexposed. I would guess that your D90 is the same in this regard.

Rather than go by what the photo looks like on the LCD, either meter, use the histogram or tether your computer to a laptop and see what the photo looks like in LR on the computer monitor.
Jan 13 13 12:28 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Loki Studio
Posts: 2,878
Royal Oak, Michigan, US


A challenge of working with gels is that the effect is only visible at lower light levels or else the high light power simply overpowers the color. 

You can experiment with light levels with a fake subject-such as a pillow or a bucket upside down on a light stand.  Your strategy should be to keep things very simple, change one light at a time, use only the 2 strobes to start, and constantly recheck the results.

1) Start with 1 main strobe light on your subject- start at around ISO200, f4, 1/125th.  Get the exposure right on subject.
2) Tape the get tightly to the edge of reflector on the second strobe.  I usually use 2 sheets of gel taped together.  Aim the light at the background so it doesn't hit the subject.  Start at the lowest power setting, then slowly raise the power until you see a colored light effect on the background.  Experiment to get the useful power range where you can see strong colored lighting.  When you bring it up too high, you will eventually see just white light with no color.
3) You may be able to add a flash with gel after you get the strobes right.

-Scott
Jan 13 13 07:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,522
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


Kaouthia wrote:
Set your key light up (the speedlight, presumably), and get your exposure looking good with just that.

Once that's setup, turn on one of your gelled lights, and get that balancing with your key light.

Once both of those look good together, turn on your third light, and then get that balancing with the two pre-existing lights.

Don't just turn them all on at once and start playing around.  Build it up one light at a time, and get each one perfect before you add another.

this pretty much said it all. but for future reference, when you want to ask questions like this, it's best to upload an image that still has EXIF data so we can say "go to f8 instead of f11" instead of " open it up a bit" or 'get the key light right first". yes you need to get it right but we can be more specific about it if we know EXIF. Also there is no such thing as too much cowbell but there is such a thing as too much pink. the light on the right is too strong in the first example.  this is what fools the exposure a bit. if you turn down the pink you suddenly realize its generally underexposed and then you know you have to do something.  Once you know you have to do something, you naturally go for increasing the key light.  You have the visual cues in the images.  Just learn to understand them.

Jan 13 13 09:27 am  Link  Quote 
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