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Thread: Lighting setup help for portraits

  1. #1
    Senior Member Photog82's Avatar
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    Lighting setup help for portraits

    Hi, I'm looking to light up a background enough behind the subject to create the effects seen in the linked photos.

    Here's what I have for lighting now:

    2 Impact Octa boxes - florescent light - no grids, just defused
    1 26" Westcott Rapid box
    2 Canon 600EX-RTs

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    I'm wondering if a Cowboy Studio 22" beauty dish and grid would have that affect?



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  2. #2
    Senior Member iND's Avatar
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    If I understand your question you are asking how light up the background?

    I use a flash on the floor, a small stand, or a short light stand, directly behind the subject probably at or below the waist.

    I use manual flash and and take several test shots to achieve the desired effect.

    I may use max power if I want to white out the background.

    You can use a gel if you want to create a color change to the background.

    You can also focus or spread the beam by its distance from the background or changing the flash setting.

    These also look as if they have a hair light in which case you might want to use a grid on those to keep them from spilling onto the background.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    I use the following grids for highlighting the background (like the top image above) as well as for hair lights (to keep the light from bleeding onto the background).

    Opteka OSG14 1/4-Inch Universal Honeycomb Speed Grid
    Opteka OSG18 1/8-Inch Universal Honeycomb Grid

    The best strap I've found for attaching the grids is the Honl Photo Speed Strap. I definitely prefer the Honl strap to the LumiQuest UltraStrap. The Opteka grids above are basically clones of Honl's grids, but they are significantly less expensive (I own both brands and there's no appreciable difference between them).

  4. #4
    Senior Member Photog82's Avatar
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    Sean, will the rectangular grid produce a circular lighted background like the first example?
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  5. #5
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photog82 View Post
    Sean, will the rectangular grid produce a circular lighted background like the first example?
    Yes. It's the size and shape of the cellular parts of the grid that matter most, I think. Check out this comparison (click for larger view).

    Attachment 2382

    As you can see, the 1/8" sized grid produces a smaller spotlight while the 1/4" grid produces a larger spotlight. The distance from the flash and the wall (and the wall to the camera) remained constant between these two tests. The only thing that changed was that I rotated the flash very slightly to better center the 1/8" test result. Otherwise, everything is exactly the same between the two aside from the different grids.

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