Basic Newbie Studio Lighting Questions


Dec 11, 2015
Bennymiata said:
Personally, I don't like using flashes with babies.
Babies don't like flashes and it's bad for their young eyes too.

Try using natural light or continuous lighting.

One or 2 flashes and most babies will get upset, and unless you are looking for photos of crying and cranky babies, don't use flash.
UV light emitted by a strobe's bare bulb is bad for anybody, not just babies. Just use the strobes with UV glass covers. A UV dome on a strobe + a large surface modifier will have less impact than normal sunlight.


Nov 25, 2014
Thanks for all of the helpful info and replies!

I finally am borrowing and testing some lights and am hoping someone can give me some info to get me started. I'm using two identical Hensel Integra 500 lights and have a tether cable connected from one of them to my 5DM3.

I have never used lights before so I am not sure what I'm supposed to be setting them to. There is a button when pressed lets me choose a value in increments from 5.0 - 10 and when I press the button again it lets me change the settings in increments that ranges from 0-90. Since I'm just starting, I will not be using a light meter, instead I'd like to use the histogram of the camera, if possible. How should I adjust the value on the lights?

Thank you and pardon my ignorance!


Oct 1, 2015
I think it is helpful to use a light meter. (strobe meter for flash) to get ratios where you want them. especially with different modifiers on your lights (a soft box or umbrella can cut 2 stops) it can get confusing and require a lot of tests. or use one key at first with a reflector for the fill (with or without a back/ hair light). and use a gray card if you are using strobes with modeling lights, with those on and the strobe set for low power you can get a mix of color temperatures (3400 for the modeling lights and daylight for the strobe flash) (and side note, love beauty dishes)


Dec 20, 2012
Southeastern USA
You are going to have to make decisions for your settings. If you want your images to use light only from the strobes, not ambient, ISO 100 is a good place to start. Then you have to decide how much depth of field you need; f/5.6 is another good starting point.

As for shutter speed, I would go to 1/200th, the max sync speed on the 5DIII.

I'm not familiar with your lights, but I see from the B&H description, and your plan to tether one, that they can be set to optical slave mode. So why are you tethering instead of just using any speedlite to trigger both lights? (Of course if you have no speedlite, that's the answer.)

And for the light power settings, rule of thumb is to start in the middle and just go up or down until you have a good exposure. It helps to change only one variable at a time until you nail the exposure.

Once you have a proper exposure, you'll be able to see how the power settings on the light correspond to your camera settings, so if you know you want, say, a tighter aperture, you can go to f/8, and you'll be able to know exactly how much to increase power on the light to keep the same proper exposure. The lights you are using allow for 1/10th stop changes, so, if like most photographers you change your camera aperture in 1/3 stop increments, you just have to match that to 3 increments on the light.

Get a stand-in person or a big doll or a mannequin to use for practicing exposure and where to place the lights.

It is all very simple once you know how! Truly, it isn't complicated. You seem to know your 5DIII quite well, now just work with the lights.

For a crash course that is very thorough and FREE, check out Christopher Grey's MASTER LIGHTING GUIDE video. (I have the book too.) It's here on YouTube:


How can you stand out, if you do like evrybdy else
Mar 25, 2014
I am not familiar with that strobe but if you go to Youtube two links below should help.

Usually, one knob is for the strobe and the other one is for modeling lamp.
It should have an option of same power (or I don't know the actual name in English) when the brightness of the modeling lamp is associated (proportional to) with the strobe.
I would put it in that configuration so your modeling lamps will tell you visually about the lighting ratio.

It was very important that you specified that you are not going to use a light meter as that is very crucial in your getting ready.

Let me start with the basics (sorry that I assume this just to be sure - no offense intended)

1 - Light power (brightness).
Your F stop depends on the distance of the lights to the subject, the modifier (umbrella) and the total of lights. The law of light is called inverse square law.
For example if you put one light at 5 feet using an umbrella at lowest value (5), by moving the light further, twice the distance - 10feet, you loose 2 stops of light.
Without changing the config of your camera, you will need to increase the power of the light by 2 stops, which is (7).
If your light is at position (5), you take a test shot and gives you F8, if you move your light doubling the distance and without changing the power, your new F stop will be 2 less, which is F4.
(Full F stops are: 2.8; 4; 5.6; 8; 11; 16 and so on.)
If your light is already at right position (with right height and umbrella), you take a shot and it shows 7.1 and you want to shoot at F8, that means that you need to increase the power (if only one light) by 1/3rd of stop. Since the light is using a 1/10th increment, you will need to increase it from (5) to (5.3)
Hope that explained the power.

As a result, when using a strobe without light meter, the best approach is to position your lights where you want them (see below), measure the light power (F stop), put markings on the floor (or don't move the lights anymore) and when the subject shows up you just put the lights back where they were.
when the subject is really there, you take your test shot and adjust it to taste. If the subject moves towards the light, whether you move the light away of the same distance or change the F-stop (or ISO).

2 -Now the look. This is why you need modeling lamps. You move them around until you get the look you want. If they are proportional to the strobe, the final photo will look exactly the same.
But don't forget, when the subject is actually there, you might adjust the position then you need to adjust as well the power as described above.

3 - finally: two lights. The easiest way is to put them on a 2:1 ratio. Which means that if you position them equidistant from the subject, one is at power position (5) then the other one is at (6).
If (6) gives you F5.6, with the addition of the other light (at half power (one stop less)) you will be most likely around F6.3 or F7.1 and no longer F5.6 nor F8. That's because they superimpose.

With the 5D III I would use a shutter speed of 1/160th and activate as well the blinking highlight on top of the histogram (when I shoot I tend to forget to check the histogram but I chimp and the blinking highlight is there for safety.)

Hope that helps.


Nov 25, 2014
Thanks everyone for the amazing info! I'm experimenting with placement and trying to incorporate it all.

1.) Based on my available space, if I am to use the continuous KNO lights, should I consider using one as the key and the other KNO as the fill? OR one for the key and a piece of foam core or a reflector for the fill? How would you approach this with KNO continuous lights?

2.) I have access to two 4-banks

and two Divas

Would you try to use the 4-bank or Diva for the key/fill? Would you also use the others to light the background? I am just using a solid white collapsible background.

Thanks again!