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Photographer
Guiler Photography
Posts: 16
Beverly, Ohio, US


I am new to studio lighting and I am wanting to learn how to turn white vinyl to black with 3 lights.

Backdrop Lights
2 Alien Bee 800's bare bulb full power

Main Light
Alien Bee 1600 with 47 inch octabox at full power at 45 from model

Shooting Space
roughly 24 from Backdrop

Camera Setting
180, f11 at iso 100
May 20 13 09:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
OTSOG
Posts: 141
Benicia, California, US


Don't light the backdrop. Expose the subject so that its deepest shadow is about 2+ stops brighter than the background.
May 20 13 09:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
joeyk
Posts: 14,573
Seminole, Florida, US


I would use 4 stops difference to make a white background appear black, but yeah, just don't light it...
May 20 13 09:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ernest Sambrano
Posts: 107
Payson, Arizona, US


It would be cool if you have a darker background (seamless / material etc.) to start with. However, if all you have is white and depending on the amount of room you have in your home studio, pull the subject away from the white background, bring down the ambient light in the room, shoot at your max sync speed and flag / direct your main light so as not to spill light onto your background, those are some suggestions that should do the job.
May 20 13 09:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Barely StL
Posts: 754
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Don't place the model(s) any closer tothe background than you have to.

Strip lights with grids work well and will help you limit the directionality of the light. Needless to say, you don't want any lights pointed at the background, i.e., no frontal lighting of the model from the camera position.
May 20 13 09:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Guiler Photography
Posts: 16
Beverly, Ohio, US


I got the model about 10ft from background, lighting modifiers I have are my octabox, beauty dish, then I got shoot thru umbrellas with black coverings that can go on them, does it matter what light modifier I use
May 20 13 09:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Charlie-CNP
Posts: 2,556
New York, New York, US


gobos or foam core are also your friend to block the light spill from any back drops when you set up as mentioned above.
May 20 13 10:04 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,193
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Learn to love inverse square law.

http://d2f29brjr0xbt3.cloudfront.net/336_inversesquare/1.jpg

The below was shot on white seamless paper:

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/kassandra_flower_5.jpg

Shot with a 22" BD about 24" from the model, she was about 12 feet from the paper. Due to ISL, by the time the light from the flash hit the paper, it was so weak as to not register in the final image. f/8 at 2 feet is less than f/1.4 at 12 - 5 stops.
May 20 13 10:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Good Egg Productions
Posts: 15,077
Orlando, Florida, US


Guiler Photography wrote:
I got the model about 10ft from background, lighting modifiers I have are my octabox, beauty dish, then I got shoot thru umbrellas with black coverings that can go on them, does it matter what light modifier I use

It's not going to be easy with that limited space and the lack of directional modifiers. I'd go with your beauty dish very close to the model, as far away from the background as possible.

Angle the light sideways to keep as much of it from hitting the background as possible.

You could maybe put a flag (just a black poster lard or foamcore board) just behind your light to further keep it off the background.

Best of luck. It's possible, but will take some trial and error.

May 21 13 01:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


Also, you only need to get the area directly behind the model black.

I have a couple of shots in my port that look like a black background, but they're in my living room and aren't even on paper - just keep the lights close to the model.

There were little things that didn't go black - some LEDs and reflections off of glass. A little burning in fixed that.
May 21 13 08:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Toto Photo
Posts: 2,361
Belmont, California, US


-JAY- wrote:
Learn to love inverse square law.

http://d2f29brjr0xbt3.cloudfront.net/336_inversesquare/1.jpg

The below was shot on white seamless paper:

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/kassandra_flower_5.jpg

Shot with a 22" BD about 24" from the model, she was about 12 feet from the paper. Due to ISL, by the time the light from the flash hit the paper, it was so weak as to not register in the final image. f/8 at 2 feet is less than f/1.4 at 12 - 5 stops.

This may be the most complete, appropriate, well illustrated response I've ever seen to any post. OP: Study this illustration and add some flagging or start at f/5.6 to make up for the two feet you don't have that Jay did. And, no, it doesn't matter what light modifiers you start with, they all fall off at the same rate.

May 21 13 03:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,266
Glens Falls, New York, US


There you go.  As long as the distance between the model and the background is 4-8 times the distance between the model and the light, the backdrop is essentially unlit.  If you have at least 15 feet to play with, this should be easy for head shots.  For an image like Jay's, you'll probably need a little more space.
May 21 13 08:24 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,193
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Zack Zoll wrote:
There you go.  As long as the distance between the model and the background is 4-8 times the distance between the model and the light, the backdrop is essentially unlit.  If you have at least 15 feet to play with, this should be easy for head shots.  For an image like Jay's, you'll probably need a little more space.

I had about 18 feet or so. All the images in this 18+ art series  were taken in this 12x18 living room (minus the couch I was sitting on) It's manageable with grids and vflats.

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/workshop.jpg

May 21 13 08:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Feliciano
Posts: 486
New York, New York, US


Guiler Photography wrote:
I am new to studio lighting and I am wanting to learn how to turn white vinyl to black with 3 lights.

I highly recommend you read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Light-Science-Mag … +and+magic

May 22 13 11:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,164
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Toto Photo wrote:
And, no, it doesn't matter what light modifiers you start with, they all fall off at the same rate.

no they don't.

May 23 13 01:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sedition
Posts: 273
Buffalo, New York, US


-JAY- wrote:
Learn to love inverse square law.

http://d2f29brjr0xbt3.cloudfront.net/336_inversesquare/1.jpg

The below was shot on white seamless paper:

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/kassandra_flower_5.jpg

Shot with a 22" BD about 24" from the model, she was about 12 feet from the paper. Due to ISL, by the time the light from the flash hit the paper, it was so weak as to not register in the final image. f/8 at 2 feet is less than f/1.4 at 12 - 5 stops.

Ok, that image makes me want to just quit what I'm doing!

May 23 13 01:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caradoc
Posts: 19,485
Scottsdale, Arizona, US


Michael Broughton wrote:

no they don't.

It's not the Inverse Square Guideline, or the Inverse Square Good Idea. It's the Inverse Square Law.

If you are exposed correctly at X' from the light, you will be two stops under at 2X', and two stops over at .5X'.

May 23 13 01:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,164
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Caradoc wrote:

It's not the Inverse Square Guideline, or the Inverse Square Good Idea. It's the Inverse Square Law.

If you are exposed correctly at X' from the light, you will be two stops under at 2X', and two stops over at .5X'.

yes, it's a law. shame you can't be bothered to actually learn how it applies to real world light sources before lecturing others about it.

May 23 13 02:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caradoc
Posts: 19,485
Scottsdale, Arizona, US


Michael Broughton wrote:

yes, it's a law. shame you can't be bothered to actually learn how it applies to real world light sources before lecturing others about it.

By all means, demonstrate.

May 23 13 03:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


Michael Broughton wrote:

no they don't.

He's saying that all light FALLS OFF at the same rate. Which, of course, is a fact.

Maybe your confusing that statement with, "all modifiers produce the same amount of light."

But, regardless of what modifiers are used, the light produced (though not the same amount) WILL indeed fall off at the same rate. Therefore, the only thing that matters is the ISL, not the modifiers that are used.

May 23 13 03:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,164
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Caradoc wrote:
By all means, demonstrate.
M Pandolfo Photography wrote:
He's saying that all light FALLS OFF at the same rate. Which, of course, is a fact.

Maybe your confusing that statement with, "all modifiers produce the same amount of light."

But, regardless of what modifiers are used, the light produced (though not the same amount) WILL indeed fall off at the same rate. Therefore, the only thing that matters is the ISL, not the modifiers that are used.

i'm not the one who's confused here. light from a POINT source will illuminate a subject four times as brightly at half the distance. HOWEVER, bounce that light off a parabolic reflector and you can create a collimated beam of light that illuminates a subject roughly equally brightly at 10', 20' or 40'. focused to a point, a parabolic reflector can even illuminate a subject more brightly at 10' than at 1'. another example: will a subject 4' from a 10' softbox be four times as brightly lit as one 8' from the softbox? no, because she's half the distance from the middle of the softbox, but not half the distance from the outer edges. the larger the diffuse light source, the less falloff there is at close distances. a third example: the spot from a properly focused laser pointer is not 1/4 as bright at 10' as it is at 5'. the size and shape and various optical properties of reflectors and diffusers and grids and fresnel lenses, etc. have a huge impact on falloff. don't talk about laws or facts when you don't know them.

http://www.portraitlighting.net/inversesquare_law.htm
http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=553136

May 23 13 05:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Warrenjrphotography
Posts: 67
Hammonton, New Jersey, US


Just select your model in PP and make your backdrop any color that you want to in PP.

If you're shooting a blonde shoot a black backdrop, shooting a brunette choose white, select model in PP and change your backdrop to your hearts content = problem solved.

You can even do it really quick in lightroom using the brush tool to underexpose the background.
May 23 13 05:33 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caradoc
Posts: 19,485
Scottsdale, Arizona, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
i'm not the one who's confused here. light from a POINT source will illuminate a subject four times as brightly at half the distance. HOWEVER, bounce that light off a parabolic reflector and you can create a collimated beam of light that illuminates a subject roughly equally brightly at 10', 20' or 40'.

I admit that I assumed you were limiting your statement (as I was limiting mine) to those instruments the OP listed as using. Even his 47" octabox has a difference in distance of only 30% at 23.5" from the center of the box vs. the edge, with the difference decreasing according to the distance from the center of the softbox to his subject (ignoring feathering for this case) - for his purposes in making the background go to black, entirely neglible.

At ten feet from the 47", the difference is only 2.25". At the 24' mentioned, it's less than one inch difference.

If he sets to proper exposure on the subject/model using his 47" octabox centered on the subject/model and puts the background 4x further away, it will be four stops below "proper" exposure. If he puts the background 8x further away, it will be six stops under.

Given the original question, it seems disingenuous to bring collimated sources into the discussion.

May 23 13 07:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,164
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Caradoc wrote:
I admit that I assumed you were limiting your statement (as I was limiting mine) to those instruments the OP listed as using. Even his 47" octabox has a difference in distance of only 30% at 23.5" from the center of the box vs. the edge, with the difference decreasing according to the distance from the center of the softbox to his subject (ignoring feathering for this case) - for his purposes in making the background go to black, entirely neglible.

At ten feet from the 47", the difference is only 2.25". At the 24' mentioned, it's less than one inch difference.

If he sets to proper exposure on the subject/model using his 47" octabox centered on the subject/model and puts the background 4x further away, it will be four stops below "proper" exposure. If he puts the background 8x further away, it will be six stops under.

Given the original question, it seems disingenuous to bring collimated sources into the discussion.

my initial comment wasn't directed at the op and wasn't about his lights. in fact, none of my comments were. it was a reply to a false general statement about light sources. your reply to me wasn't about the op or his equipment either. it was about your misunderstanding of the inverse square law. and don't you dare accuse me of being disingenuous for mentioning a collimated light source as just one of multiple examples i gave to prove my point, which you specifically asked me to do.

May 23 13 08:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caradoc
Posts: 19,485
Scottsdale, Arizona, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
bullshit. my initial comment wasn't directed at the op and wasn't about his lights. in fact, none of my comments were. it was a reply to a false general statement about light sources. your reply to me wasn't about the op or his equipment either. it was about your misunderstanding of the inverse square law. and don't you dare accuse me of being disingenuous for mentioning a collimated light source as just one of multiple examples i gave to prove my point, which you specifically asked me to do.

(Shrug)

I admitted my error in assuming the scope of your statement. Since you want to make unfounded assumptions about my knowledge of optics, I think we're done.

May 23 13 09:15 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Giacomo Cirrincioni
Posts: 20,904
New York, New York, US


Warrenjrphotography wrote:
Just select your model in PP and make your backdrop any color that you want to in PP.

If you're shooting a blonde shoot a black backdrop, shooting a brunette choose white, select model in PP and change your backdrop to your hearts content = problem solved.

You can even do it really quick in lightroom using the brush tool to underexpose the background.

Conversely, one could could also just learn the craft of photography and then you wouldn't have to do it in PP.

And I'm not down on PP, I do a lot of it.  Tonight I had to turn a woman into a stone bust for a magazine editorial.  We could have done it all in post, but it wouldn't have looked as good.  Hired a great SFX Makeup artist, who casted prosthetics, shot it properly and are then using PP to refine.

You use it when you need to.  But if you need to rely on it because you simply don't understand the most basic of lighting principals, that's another matter entirely.

May 23 13 09:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Warrenjrphotography
Posts: 67
Hammonton, New Jersey, US


Giacomo Cirrincioni wrote:

Conversely, one could could also just learn the craft of photography and then you wouldn't have to do it in PP.

And I'm not down on PP, I do a lot of it.  Tonight I had to turn a woman into a stone bust for a magazine editorial.  We could have done it all in post, but it wouldn't have looked as good.  Hired a great SFX Makeup artist, who casted prosthetics, shot it properly and are then using PP to refine.

You use it when you need to.  But if you need to rely on it because you simply don't understand the most basic of lighting principals, that's another matter entirely.

Well for me personally I prefer to shoot on a white background or black background and change the color of the background as need be or add in a color to the back drop if need be.

It's also super easy and sure you can make the argument that one can learn how to get it right in the camera but if you're shooting in tight quarters like I am even utilizing the inverse square light law to your complete advantage won't help.

Getting it right in camera is easy, but once that you understand how to get it right or need to utilize other methods that's when PP comes into play.

May 23 13 09:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MKPhoto
Posts: 5,664
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Well, JAY cheated a bit, because his light is definitely not pointing at the backround...
May 23 13 09:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caradoc
Posts: 19,485
Scottsdale, Arizona, US


MKPhoto wrote:
Well, JAY cheated a bit, because his light is definitely not pointing at the backround...

How is that cheating? One way to make anything black in a photo is to make sure no light falls on it.

ETA: that was sarcasm, wasn't it? I'm not good at reading sarcasm.

May 23 13 09:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MKPhoto
Posts: 5,664
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Caradoc wrote:
How is that cheating? One way to make anything black in a photo is to make sure no light falls on it.

ETA: that was sarcasm, wasn't it? I'm not good at reading sarcasm.

Yes, and the best way is to backlight the model and do not use any front fill. Then there is no light to be "ISL"ed onto the background. His pic illustrates one way of not lighting the background but it is not ISL at work.

May 23 13 09:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,164
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Caradoc wrote:
(Shrug)

I admitted my error in assuming the scope of your statement. Since you want to make unfounded assumptions about my knowledge of optics, I think we're done.

i've made no unfounded assumptions. you made a snarky and demonstrably false comment about the inverse square law and i demonstrated that it was false. now we're done.

May 23 13 10:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hero Foto
Posts: 878
Phoenix, Arizona, US


May 23 13 10:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Caradoc
Posts: 19,485
Scottsdale, Arizona, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
i've made no unfounded assumptions. you made a snarky and demonstrably false comment about the inverse square law and i demonstrated that it was false. now we're done.

Yep. You win an Internet. Have a nice evening.

May 23 13 10:21 pm  Link  Quote 
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