Forums > Photography Talk > Constant lights + Strobe

Photographer

erasm roterdam

Posts: 636

Millbury, Massachusetts, US

Please share Analysis/Ideas. Images of using a Mix of constant Light + Strobes in studio.

Nov 17 22 02:59 pm Link

Photographer

Shadow Dancer

Posts: 9555

Bellingham, Washington, US

Simply a matter of testing until you find what you like.

If using both constant lighting and strobes, your variable will be the shutter speed of the camera.
At flash sync speed, you may not see much if any of the constant lighting.
At slower speeds, the light from the strobes will remain more or less identical to the results from flash sync speed but you will be allowing more constant lighting exposure. This will change the values of the strobe exposures to the extent that they are lighting the same areas. If they are lighting completely different areas then you'll still work by trying slower shutter speeds but you may not run into over-exposure of the strobe lighting, which is something that is likely to happen both types of lighting are illuminating the same areas and the shutter speeds get slow enough.

It's entirely possible but it may take some time to get things to look the way you want.

Nov 17 22 06:50 pm Link

Clothing Designer

veypurr

Posts: 447

Albuquerque, New Mexico, US

It's illegal in most states to use constant and strobe simultaneously.

Nov 17 22 06:59 pm Link

Photographer

The Other Place

Posts: 412

Los Angeles, California, US

erasm roterdam wrote:
Please share Analysis/Ideas. Images of using a Mix of constant Light + Strobes in studio.

Don't forget to match (as desired) the color temperature of the strobes and constant lights.

If you are using tungsten lights with the strobes, you might want to put a 1/2 CTB - full CTB gel over the tungsten lights, and balance your camera to daylight.  Or, even better, put a 1/2 CTO - full CTO gel over the strobe and balance the camera to tungsten.

Nov 17 22 07:50 pm Link

Photographer

Shadow Dancer

Posts: 9555

Bellingham, Washington, US

The Other Place wrote:

Don't forget to match (as desired) the color temperature of the strobes and constant lights.

If you are using tungsten lights with the strobes, you might want to put a 1/2 CTB - full CTB gel over the tungsten lights, and balance your camera to dayligt.  Or, even better, put a 1/2 CTO to full CTO gel over the strobe and balance the camera to tungsten.

Good call on the color balance. Lots of ways to go about it but an important topic!

Nov 17 22 07:55 pm Link

Photographer

Frozen Instant Imagery

Posts: 4112

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Or use daylight white balance constant lighting, preferably with a high CRI (some constant lighting has a lousy CRI. especially if you are using lighting that's not intended for photography - going to something like workshop lights can be a mistake!).

Or just use one or the other - sometimes it's just simpler.

Nov 18 22 12:51 am Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 11414

Olney, Maryland, US

You must ask yourself: why do you want to use mixed lighting? Then you can balance your lights.

I have taken portraits in window light with a touch of flash for fill. So the power of the flash is under the window light.

I have taken interior room shots and balanced the flash with the intensity of the scene outdoors so that it will not be washed out.

Nov 18 22 04:47 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3447

Kerhonkson, New York, US

Mark Salo wrote:
You must ask yourself: why do you want to use mixed lighting? Then you can balance your lights.

Maybe I like to control the background lighting and the subject/model lighting independently. Actually, I definitely like to control them independently when possible. Here are examples showing natural light in background with strobe(s) lighting the model. Working this way I can control the exposure on the model with f-stop and pick the balance I want with the shutter speed. Breaking apart the exposure triangle into the individual controls of the camera greatly expands the possibilities with photographic lighting and creativity.

https://www.danhowellphotography.com/OVERVIEW/53
https://www.danhowellphotography.com/OV … FASHION/22
https://www.danhowellphotography.com/OV … FASHION/25
https://www.danhowellphotography.com/OVERVIEW/KIDS/26

I do this all of the time on location. It is second nature to me by this point. I am also fortunate to have a studio that has large west-facing windows that can provide all the lighting required in some cases and benefit by mixing in strobe light in other cases. Having the knowledge basis to rapidly move from one approach to the other breaks down a lot of creative barriers.

It is more rare that I work mixing strobes with tungsten lights in studio (though I do it frequently on location), I did do this shot where we created a red carpet set using velvet ropes and dj lighting (PAR cans) in the background focused towards the camera and lit the model with strobe. I suppose I could have lit the model with tungsten from the front but making micro adjustments to the exposure balance is difficult using all constant fixtures compared mixing strobes and constant. I can make 1/3 stop adjustment in camera or 1/10 stop adjustments on the strobe pack quickly.

https://www.danhowellphotography.com/OV … FASHION/76

Nov 18 22 05:26 am Link

Photographer

Warren Leimbach

Posts: 3219

Tampa, Florida, US

Short answer:  Yes.  We do it all the time.

For example, you might have a campfire or candle flame or a desk lamp adding light to the shot.

You need to match a good exposure from the ambient source with an appropriate flash output.

The continuous light, since it needs more time to "burn in",  gives more chance for motion blur, camera shake, etc.  which you may find pleasing.
A strobe, since it has an extremely short burn time, will freeze movement and tend to make things crisper, which you may like for different reasons.
Combining the two can give opportunities to do things like say make the subject very sharp, but the surrounding objects soft and dreamy.  We recently shot meat on a barbecue with flames beneath it.  The meat is crisp and shiny,  The flame tips are blurry.  etc.

Nov 18 22 12:29 pm Link

Photographer

Weldphoto

Posts: 746

Charleston, South Carolina, US

veypurr wrote:
It's illegal in most states to use constant and strobe simultaneously.

Please give a source for this. I have never heard anything like this.  I think you are very wrong, but I am not a lawyer.

Nov 19 22 07:42 am Link

Photographer

The Other Place

Posts: 412

Los Angeles, California, US

veypurr wrote:
It's illegal in most states to use constant and strobe simultaneously.

Weldphoto wrote:
Please give a source for this. I have never heard anything like this.  I think you are very wrong, but I am not a lawyer.

Whoosh!

Nov 19 22 08:09 am Link

Photographer

Studio NSFW

Posts: 519

Pacifica, California, US

It’s against the laws of science and nature.

(It was obviously a joke and a lesson why Model Mayhem is probably not the best resource for legal advice.   I prefer the Buell motorcycle forums (badweatherbikers.com) for legal advice. These forums are best used as a resource for DIY outdoor plumbing advice)

The last sentence was ALSO a joke. 

In all seriousness…it is almost never a bad idea to mix strobe and available light…outdoors, the brighter the sunlight, the more you need to fill the shadows with either reflector or strobe to prevent harsh, unflattering shadows.   This is one of the main reasons I use cameras with leaf shutters, so I don’t bark my shins on sync speeds on bright days.

When doing this, I select aperture based on the flash output(or vice versa if I am going for a shallow depth of field) then select shutter speed to bring the ambient light exposure to the desired level for that aperture. Generally I will have ambient a half stop under the strobe exposure but that’s not a hard and fast rule,

In the studio,  my current “Smoke and Mirrors” series requires almost a full second exposure for the continuous light of the lasers to burn in, but the strobe pop freezes the subject and renders them sharp, maybe with a bit of organic halo if the subject moves a bit during the long ambient exposure.

Of course, in the studio, mixing flash and tungsten light makes for color balance complexity. Hooray for daylight balanced modeling lights!

Nov 19 22 08:15 am Link

Photographer

Jim Lafferty

Posts: 2122

Brooklyn, New York, US

I love it. I’ve shot stuff using 1k Moles as well as 300w LED, and then I color balance the strobe to match. Far easier to do with the LEDs, but the Moles have some magic that, until recently, the LEDs couldn’t match (color rendition of reds). Now we’ve got Full Spectrum LEDs that are for the money really good, and the FL-20G fresnel is really nice if you want to chase that hot light look.

Best thing I’ve found is to lead with the LEDs as your baseline, key light exposure, then fill with strobe. Get comfortable with 800-1000 ISO and you’re good. This means using an e.g. 600ws strobe at 1/64th or 1/128th - really flexible and you can fill big spaces. Or of course, you can drop back to a compact 300ws strobe and be just as comfortable and more nimble.

Nov 19 22 11:11 am Link

Photographer

Frozen Instant Imagery

Posts: 4112

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Studio NSFW wrote:
It’s against the laws of science and nature.

(It was obviously a joke and a lesson why Model Mayhem is probably not the best resource for legal advice.   I prefer the Buell motorcycle forums (badweatherbikers.com) for legal advice. These forums are best used as a resource for DIY outdoor plumbing advice)

The last sentence was ALSO a joke. 

In all seriousness…it is almost never a bad idea to mix strobe and available light…outdoors, the brighter the sunlight, the more you need to fill the shadows with either reflector or strobe to prevent harsh, unflattering shadows.   This is one of the main reasons I use cameras with leaf shutters, so I don’t bark my shins on sync speeds on bright days.

When doing this, I select aperture based on the flash output(or vice versa if I am going for a shallow depth of field) then select shutter speed to bring the ambient light exposure to the desired level for that aperture. Generally I will have ambient a half stop under the strobe exposure but that’s not a hard and fast rule,

In the studio,  my current “Smoke and Mirrors” series requires almost a full second exposure for the continuous light of the lasers to burn in, but the strobe pop freezes the subject and renders them sharp, maybe with a bit of organic halo if the subject moves a bit during the long ambient exposure.

Of course, in the studio, mixing flash and tungsten light makes for color balance complexity. Hooray for daylight balanced modeling lights!

Mixing flash and sunlight is generally pretty easy because they have very similar colour temperatures (NOT by accident!)

As you say, mixing tungsten and flash is more difficult because of the widely different colour temperatures.

Nov 19 22 07:01 pm Link

Photographer

erasm roterdam

Posts: 636

Millbury, Massachusetts, US

Appreciate the tips and ideas.

Nov 23 22 04:38 pm Link

Photographer

RosaErotica

Posts: 59

Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur, France

Wedding photographers do that all the time... They have to use harsh, 12 o'clock sunlight, candlelights, halogens or fluorescent lights as an ambient light and speedlight as fill-ins. And well, sometimes they get good results.

I just read yesterday this article from MM : https://www.modelmayhem.com/education/p … -outdoors, I think the key here is when they write that you first need to set your camera for ambient light then adjust your strobes accordingly.

Nov 24 22 01:03 am Link

Photographer

ImageMakerStudio

Posts: 2

Bloomington, Illinois, US

I have both and use both. I seldomly mix them, but it is necessary on occsaion. When mixing be mindful of color temps (as stated before, good advice). I shoot quite a few portraits of people with their horses. Horses don't like to be surprised by strobes so I use my flood lights in those situations. They work great, plus I can very simply meter TTL, just like out in the sunshine.

I use my flashes in studio situations. It usually takes me two or three test shots to get the exposure where I want it, but shooting digitally that's simple enough. For still life / tabletop work I do have a couple of 3' LED lightbars that work great. Variable color temp and luminosity, you can really dial them in for effect on small object photography. I've even put them under a plexiglass plate with a red gel and black fish tank gravel to simulate lava flowing under a watch.

Dec 06 22 12:19 pm Link

Photographer

Sablesword

Posts: 366

Gurnee, Illinois, US

veypurr wrote:
It's illegal in most states to use constant and strobe simultaneously.

Using constant lights and strobes simultaneously is protected by the First Amendment. However, at least two major religions consider doing so a blasphemous sin, and WOOPS (World Organization Of Primate Selfies) has put out a non-white inclusiveness paper claiming that it's a form of animal cruelty.

Dec 06 22 03:49 pm Link