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Author Topic: Available light or Created light what is your favorite lighting style  (Read 7279 times)

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« on: January 31, 2009, 12:34 »
Hi All,

 I have seen more and more people starting to buy strobes and especially talking about buying some new strobes or lights. I was curious, how many of you depend on available light and how many of you create the light. Also how many of you go both ways or even better mix many sources. Any feedback would be great! Happy to share mine.



« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 12:35 »
I use two speedlights with mini softboxes. I really love the effect but they arent powerful enough im going to have to get some strobes one of these day

« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 12:53 »
I use different types of light depending on situation: studio with strobes; battery flash for some indoor pics (sometimes mixed with sunlight from a window); available light for outdoor pictures (sometimes mixed with battery flash).

Lately my personal preference moves towards outdoor shoots with sunlight mixed with additional light from flash (though I still need to practice that technique more). However it isn't always practical so I keep using all other kinds of lighting as well.

« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 13:54 »
I prefer direct flash right in the face or overhead sunlight in the peak of the afternoon.  The less details or harsher the shadows the better! 

Just kidding of course.  I don't care how I get perfect light as long as it is just that...perfect.  When shooting outdoors I usually use a combination of available light and between 1 and 3 battery powered flashes, usually with shoot through umbrella(s) or soft box to diffuse the light.  Sometimes, when it's that perfect time of day, no external source of light at all.

In the studio..OK, the downstairs of my house with seamless white or a backdrop I'll use whatever I've got to get the light the way I want it.  Sometimes just hot lights (Lowell Tota's), sometimes studio stobes (Elinchrome D), sometimes Canon Speedlights (550's, 580) and more often than not a combination of lights.  I am not scared to used mixed lights and have used the hotlights and stobes with cto gels along with a custom white balance set using Ed Pierce's wb target which works amazingly well no matter how different the temperature in light is many times (wow!  was that a run-on sentence or what?).

I guess in a nutshell my answer depends...depends on the situation, the look I want to achieve in my photographs and the light that is available to me at the time.  One of the advantages to living in the Seattle area is that it's almost always gray outside which makes light that I love available on a regular basis.



« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 14:20 »
I isolate on white cardboard with the simplest method known to man...
Gear....1 piece of white cardboard.
580EX11 Speedlight.
Off camera shoe cord( OC-E3).
Omni-bounce defuser.
Method. camera on tripod,two second timer.Speedlight on M 1/2 -0.7.Focus and shoot but i never direct the light directly onto the subject i bounce it of my room ceiling!
I am going to try painting with torchlight before this winters out...


« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 14:31 »
not sure if what i say matters, (my gal says nothing does  ;D)  but here's my two bobs' worth:
i prefer existing light as it's easier to model, you apply the reflectors, gobos,etc..
and it's right in front of you. no guesswork. you like what you see, you trip the shutter.
studio's lovely toosince there is a modeling light , for you to see the effect of placement.
speedlight, on/off camera, not a big fan. need lots of test shots, unless you're shooting empirically, and you know the constants.
there, my two bobs' worth. got to go back to my Guinnesses before the other blokes swipe them  :D

« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2009, 14:35 »
I like to play with avalable light, as we have big windows.  I don't have studio lights and off-camera flash, but I sometimes use lamps to add lighting for isolations and some stuff.



« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 14:52 »
I have to admit that for me, there is nothing lovelier or as Matt calls it "perfect" as natural light. Like if you have the time and patience to endure to wait for that specific elusive moment, I would take natural light anytime. Why? because no one can replay it and recapture it.
Studio lighting is convenient and you can shoot anyway, even in your pjs, but it is also easiest to replicate. So like many photographers will tell you, "no big deal, I can do that. looking at the hints of catchlights and shadows, you can all in most cases tell where the light sources are. And you recreate that.
Speedlight is popular, no doubt. It's affordable. But it's the least flattering light you can get. Unlike you bounce, diffuse,etc... and /or use a makeup artist and /or photoshop. It's quite unlikely you can do it all first take without retouching.

Woa, like vonkara said... snakes coming out of the computer..  ;D stop here.

« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2009, 14:58 »
Depending on what type of photography I am doing -- I use created light for studio photography. Since my understanding of light deepens, I enjoy exploring available light. Hopefully I will be able to do more studio photography with natural light.

« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2009, 15:37 »
I am an Available Light person.
I work in it 99.9% of the time.

« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2009, 15:41 »
I've just started playing with speedlights, strobist style. Lots of fun. Got shoot through umbrellas and just got black straws to make snoots. A few DIY sessions in perpective !
Tomorrow, I'll try to "shoot for stock" for the first time. Seemless white hanging from my mezzanine and my strobist setup. Hopefully I'll get one or two uploadable shots !

« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2009, 16:09 »
depends what you are shooting. With people, I love to use natural light.. softer and looks nicer to the skin and warmer. Shooting in the studio just does not compare although I own a studio... if it is warm enough.. I always encourage outdoor shots.

« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2009, 16:41 »
When available light is good it's hard to beat but it's also hard to dial it up when you want. I just bought a Chimera Octaplus 57. I've only been using the 5 footer so far and find it very pleasing. I've seen some really cool images from the  7 footer while using it like a ring light  standing right in front of it.



« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2009, 16:57 »
certainly as you already noticed, any photographer or painter worth his/her weight in salt and experience will tell you (unless he/she is fibbing) that natural light is unbeatable. From the old masters choosing to live in an attic with a skylight, it's no secret (psst, no rebellion here, no battle to fight today).
To be able to see the light, has been the first thing you are trained to do, whether you hold a brush or a view camera, a bronica, or your first leica rangefinder.
Artificial light is a convenience, if anything else. It's not the best light even if you mastered the works to modify it. If anyone says speedlite or studio light is better, I say you better stop sleeping in and sit up one morning, and/or skip filling up your face one evening to watch the light. Nothing replaces that which Mme Nature provides us can beat that.


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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2009, 17:06 »
Depends on what I'm shooting and when. I love available light but sometimes my schedule and the sun don't cooperate. Lately I've been using more available light plus a strobe for filling in shadows a bit.


« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2009, 19:30 »
Strobes if possible. Available light otherwise. Mixing is not good.


« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2009, 19:36 »
For outdoors (action) I use whatever is available.
For indoors (studio or setup) I use whatever is necessary.


« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2009, 20:44 »
I really prefer light I create.  Maybe I am not skilled enough at available light, but it always feels like a guessing game to me.  When it turns out right it's beautiful, but getting it to turn out right depends on so many variables like time of day, weather, etc.  Strobes are predictable and I like that. 

When I do shoot outdoors I use gobos, reflectors, and fill flash to modify or help out the available light. 


« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2009, 20:46 »
 HI All,

  Great feedback thanks for all your input. I always love the fact that we can all get from point A to B on so many different paths and still come out at the same destination of gratification. Myself I mix light all the time usually something between daylight strobes balanced to that same daylight as well as fluorescent lighting ( we gel all our lights so they are color balanced usually to match unless we want to maybe warm something up a bit or get a bit funky ). I still use a color meter when I am on location but I will say I love natural the most when it is right for the shot.
 The bigger the better for some of that natural especially, giant windows are wonderful. I have a 7 foot Pro Photo umbrella that takes a silk over the front and I shoot people with that puppy pushed right up against their face as close as I can without it being in the frame. Wraps them like babies skin by making that light appear huge in proportion to the subject like a huge window instead of just a 7' light. I also use it right behind the camera to evenly fill shadows nice and soft so there are no second shadows. ( I don't like second shadows most the time. )
 I also have several Kinos ( daylight balanced fluorescent lights that are in banks and produce a reasonable amount of light but never quite enough for heavy movement at 100 ISO ) as we get to go higher with our ISO I will probably use them more often they are lovely and soft.
 I have two large 15" theatrical Fresnel's that have been converted to strobes and if you put those outside a house on 20' stands you can make a living room look like a sunny day ( good in Seattle ) but they take a bit to set up and it can't really be raining.
 Use a ring flash on occasion for fill mainly but it kind of got over used there for a while so I have backed off. I love that someone mentioned light painting I used to love it and some day I will get my light painter back out and fire it up. You want to see a ring flash used well check out Dave Hill Photography, very cool stuff.
  With the exception of my large 7' umbrella I don't use umbrellas, just never feel I can control or contain the light. I prefer soft boxes and use them with egg crate grids all the time to control spill. Flags are great but they slow me down so I keep them to a minimum mostly for portraiture. Cinefoil and gaffers tape is a great quick way to get my strobes not to spill where I don't want them.
 Most of all the tools are just to help me create the light that I see in My mind. When I used to drive to photo school part of  my breakfast was an apple. When I would get to the next red light on my long commute in the early morning light I would hold the apple up and turn it and watch the different types of light at different locations along my way to school. That was the beginning of my own journey into seeing the light and 20 years later I still see some new use of light almost every day that make me go WOW! how could I make that happen later. Films are a great inspiration for me because if you have been on a film set they make it look so natural but it is all false and created and it stays the way they want for as long as they want if daylight is not a factor in the scene.
 But it all comes down to seeing as well as knowing where and when the light will be good. Open shade is much easier to work with than direct sun. Open shade on the edge of some sun hitting the ground is another great tool without even needing a fill card. Or in open shade and a soft fill card from a sunny location just outside the open shade area.
 Backed into an entrance so the light has to curve around the covered top and come more directly at the face is another great location especially during mid day when the light is harsh but you will probably need a tripod as it tends to get darker the further back you go but the further you go the more interesting the light. Think of light in a way like rain that is determined to hit you in the face. If you stand under it you get it all over the top of you at midday but if you step back out of the sun/rain into a door way the magic rain/sun still will find you but now it has to turn a corner and come in directly at your face. You just turned mid day sun into late afternoon just by standing in a doorway.
 I live in Seattle and there is a great deal of cloud cover here for a large part of the season, if we had to wait for the perfect light we would hardly ever shoot so I am a big believer in improving your lighting skills and understanding why light reacts the way t does. It is a science so once you know some of the tricks they never deviate they are a constant.
 I also believe if you are going to light a set with more than one light unless you have worked with your lights a great deal that you start with one and get it how you want it on the set then add the next and so on and so on. I often see people just flood a set and it gives the subject little dimension.
 One of my biggest goals is to take my two dimensional surface and transform it as much as possible to three dimmesions through the use of the lighting, what I saw in my mind when I was shooting, not what showed up later on the computer. Shape, Texture and Mood these are three things I think about when I am trying to light a subject.

Keep adding this great stuff I am inspired by all of it.

« Last Edit: February 01, 2009, 00:15 by avava »


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