Help getting started with Studio Lights

kat.hayes

EOS T7i
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
I'm completely new to studio lighting and am using a single monolight, softbox and a reflector, along with a 5DM3, 70-200 and a Sekonic L-478D along with a synch cable for the monolight and meter.

I'd like to shoot f2.8 in order to create blur to the background, though I am confused by the process I should be going through. I have the modeling light turned on, I connect the synch cable to the meter and I take a reading. I'm able to go from 5.0 lowest power up to 10.

1. Does shutter speed even matter? I want to take photos of kids and I usually use 250 in natural lighting. What should I use with the studio lighting?

2. My meter with the studio light setting does not let me dial in F stop, just ISO and shutter. How do I figure out my desired F stop?

Thanks in advance.
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,508
118
kat.hayes said:
1. Does shutter speed even matter? I want to take photos of kids and I usually use 250 in natural lighting. What should I use with the studio lighting?
If your studio lights are flashes, usual rules apply. Shutter speed will matter only if you're mixing flash and ambient light. Take into account some studio light flash have a flash duration longer (and a "flatter" emission curve) than a hotshoe one, and may be better to use a speed a little longer than the max X-sync speed. Some units, with dedicated transmitters, can sync at speed faster than the X-sync (but power may be reduced), useful to use flashes in daylight, or to freeze actions which the flash light alone can't.

kat.hayes said:
2. My meter with the studio light setting does not let me dial in F stop, just ISO and shutter. How do I figure out my desired F stop?
Set your shutter speed and ISO, start with a reasonable (experience will help) flash unit setting and take a reading. Than decrease/increase the unit power (usually one unit is one stop, but check your manual), until you get the desired aperture.
Remember incident readings don't take into account subjects colors and reflectance (it's like rading a 18% gray card), so you'll need to adjust your settings for that. If you subjects are children, you should usually expose for pleasant skin tones.

Some units may be powerful enough it could be difficult to get f/2.8, even at min power, depending on the light distance (remember the subject-light distance - and light size - influence the "kind" of light, softer or harder). You may need ND filters.
 

kat.hayes

EOS T7i
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
A bit more info:
- The strobe is a 500w light with a 24x32 softbox attached to it, and positioned very close to the subject
- I am not trying to mix or am I concerned with ambient light
- When I push the button on the meter the studio light fires (as long as I have the synch cable connected to the light)

1. The two main controls I have for the light are intensity with a range from 5.0-10, and another setting that goes from 0 - 90, though I am not sure what this is, or how I should set it. I did read the manual, though it is very brief and not very clear.

2. Should I even be worrying about the modeling light? Is the modeling light intended for taking a meter reading or just to see how the light might look?

3. With my light set at 5.0 and 90 (whatever 90 is) I meter my subject by retracting the lumisphere and pointing at the light/softbox and have 1/250, ISO100, F4.5

I now point the retracted lumishphere towards the reflector (opposite to the light) and its getting a reading of about 2.0, which seems to be creating enough shadow on the fill side.

I now take the lumishphere out and put it right under my subject's chin while pointed towards the camera and get 4.5. Is this just the final setting I put into the camera 1/250, ISO100, f4.5? Does this whole process sound correct? Am I missing anything?

Thanks!
 

Jim Saunders

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 9, 2012
1,125
14
hhaphoto.com
1. What brand is it? My best guess is that the 0-90 is either fine control of the flash or perhaps adjustment of its white balance.

2. The modeling light is for seeing how your light will fall on your subject primarily and it helps for finding your way around a dark studio also.

3. That should work; I'd just leave the lumisphere out though for the sake of simplicity. Try the photo both with and without the reflector; adding or removing it shouldn't make much difference to your exposure on the side facing the light.

Jim
 

Jim Saunders

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 9, 2012
1,125
14
hhaphoto.com
The easiest way to dim at light is to move it back; you'll be surprised at how little you have to move it to drop a whole stop in your exposure. You could use an ND or a polarizer (or another layer of diffusion material on your softbox) if the shape of the light dictates where you want to put it.

Jim
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,508
118
kat.hayes said:
1. The two main controls I have for the light are intensity with a range from 5.0-10, and another setting that goes from 0 - 90, though I am not sure what this is, or how I should set it. I did read the manual, though it is very brief and not very clear.
Well, it would be nice to know :)

kat.hayes said:
2. Should I even be worrying about the modeling light? Is the modeling light intended for taking a meter reading or just to see how the light might look?
The modeling light is just to see how the light and shadow looks, and with more than one light with proportional modeling lights, to give a good approximation of light ratios. Usually a modeling light don't interfere with metering, but it can be turned off if necessary.

kat.hayes said:
I now point the retracted lumishphere towards the reflector (opposite to the light) and its getting a reading of about 2.0, which seems to be creating enough shadow on the fill side.
From the subject position, and in area that gets light from the reflector only? If so, it's OK, it will tell how much light comes from the reflector, and compared to the main light reading will tell you the lightning ratio.

kat.hayes said:
I now take the lumishphere out and put it right under my subject's chin while pointed towards the camera and get 4.5. Is this just the final setting I put into the camera 1/250, ISO100, f4.5? Does this whole process sound correct? Am I missing anything?
This is the "starting" setting - as I wrote before, you're basically taking a standard 18% gray readout. If you're shooting people, light skin tones will be 1/2-1 stop above, dark skin tones 1/3 or so below. If other colors/surfaces are important in the final image, you'll have to evaluate that as well.

PS: the 5D3 X-Sync IIRC is 1/200, not 1/250.
 

Valvebounce

EOS 5D SR
Apr 3, 2013
4,093
91
52
Isle of Wight
Hi Kat.
Well, the manual is helpful isn’t it, no mention of the second adjustment (that I could see, man looking?), just the 5 to 10 which seems rather random too. (1-5 anyone?).
It would be useful to know what it controls, it would make setting up much less confusing.
Really can’t add more, but I am following with interest as I’m trying to make more use of my lights than just lighting my handywork for a timelapse for customers.

Cheers, Graham.

kat.hayes said:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/894452-REG/Hensel_7048815en_Integra_500_2_Mono.html

What do I do if I want to open up wider than f4.5, maybe 2.8? Currently I have the light set at the lowest setting of 5.0. I'm still not sure what the other setting is. What is the best approach? Do I need an ND? Move the light/key light farther away? Raise it higher?

Thanks!
 

kat.hayes

EOS T7i
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
I read another source and it seems the setting from 0 - 90 is the amount of time to set before the modeling light dims to save the life of the bulb.

1.The only reason I have the soft box so close to my subject is because I was trying to get a very soft look, and figured this sized softbox is not considered large so it needs to be close. I’m still getting my eye for lighting, generally, how far back with this sized soft box should I be able to move it back while keeping the same quality/softeness of light? It still seems soft moving back a few inches, though again, my eye is not that great for lighting yet.

2. “This is the "starting" setting - as I wrote before, you're basically taking a standard 18% gray readout. If you're shooting people, light skin tones will be 1/2-1 stop above, dark skin tones 1/3 or so below. If other colors/surfaces are important in the final image, you'll have to evaluate that as well.”

LDS, I thought the whole point of using a meter was it would accurately read skin tones so I didn’t have to make any further adjustments based on skin tone? OR am I misunderstanding you?

3. Does it make a difference for accuracy whether holding the meter vertically under the subject's chin or horizontally?

Thank everyone!
 

Jim Saunders

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 9, 2012
1,125
14
hhaphoto.com
kat.hayes said:
I read another source and it seems the setting from 0 - 90 is the amount of time to set before the modeling light dims to save the life of the bulb.
The wonders never cease, but it sounds like a good idea.

kat.hayes said:
1.The only reason I have the soft box so close to my subject is because I was trying to get a very soft look, and figured this sized softbox is not considered large so it needs to be close. I’m still getting my eye for lighting, generally, how far back with this sized soft box should I be able to move it back while keeping the same quality/softeness of light? It still seems soft moving back a few inches, though again, my eye is not that great for lighting yet.
You might find it starts to make a difference when the softbox is more than it's own width away from your subject. (Or its diameter for an umbrella, etc.) The easiest way to tell is to shoot at various distances and see how the shadows look.

kat.hayes said:
LDS, I thought the whole point of using a meter was it would accurately read skin tones so I didn’t have to make any further adjustments based on skin tone? OR am I misunderstanding you?
Your meter will give you *consistent* readings, even if they don't translate directly to camera settings. In Lightroom go to the develop module, right-click on the histogram, select "show LAB color values" and mouse-over one of your photos; Caucasian skin should be around 70% mainly, obviously higher at highlights and lower in shadows. The last time I used a meter and manual lights the meter settings directly gave me that 70% figure consistently.

kat.hayes said:
3. Does it make a difference for accuracy whether holding the meter vertically under the subject's chin or horizontally?
None whatsoever. I mean if you balance more on your right foot than your left the white balance might go off, but the exposure will still be ok.

Jim
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,508
118
kat.hayes said:
LDS, I thought the whole point of using a meter was it would accurately read skin tones so I didn’t have to make any further adjustments based on skin tone? OR am I misunderstanding you?
Sorry, I was wrong, with incident reading it should be OK without corrections.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,275
550
I'd expect that the meter will soon be of little use, and you can adjust the settings from experience and be right on more than you are with the meter.
 

Geaibleu16

I'm New Here
Nov 18, 2015
14
0
Here is an excellent guide provided by Elinchrom:

https://www.elinchromus.com/articles/one-light-felix.html?utm_source=maropost&utm_medium=eblast&utm_campaign=felix-kunze-one-light
 

pwp

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 25, 2010
2,517
7
Mt Spokane Photography said:
I'd expect that the meter will soon be of little use, and you can adjust the settings from experience and be right on more than you are with the meter.
...useful though when you're trying to quickly get ratios right with a multi flash setup. But reality is I do use the flash meter a lot less than I used to.

-pw