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Lighting Techniques Chris Burfoot

Lighting Techniques Chris Burfoot

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Published by: edhykoes on Jul 28, 2009
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01/13/2013

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Your Guide To Better  Pictures......
In Association With:
Studio Flash Systems
Prolinca 
By: Chris Burfoot 
 A.M.P.A. A.R.P.S.
2003
C
 ....Lighting Techniques For Digital And Film
 
 A Simple Guide To Studio Lighting  Techniques 
By Chris Burfoot A.M.P.A. A.R.P.S 
.
What type of light? 
Traditionally, continuous lighting was alwaysused in studio situations. However, in morerecent years and in the vast majority of studios, electronic ash is now the norm.Tungsten (continuous) light has theadvantage of being a little less expensivethan ash, but unfortunately the many drawbacks out-weigh this.The main problem with tungsten light is that it generates more heat than light, the colour of the light it produces is very yellow 
and 
 it gets worse as the bulb ages. This meansthat you have to use either a tungstenbalanced lm or a lter on your camera tocompensate. There is also a very limited range of accessories. Anyone who has spent any time either sideof the camera with tungsten light will know all about the heat it produces. This canmake your subject very uncomfortable and due to the brightness, causes the iris of theeye to close right down. It is often the casethat eyes look more attractive with a larger  pupil.
With bright tungstenlight the iris closes right down.With studio ash the irisdoes not react fast enough to be a problem.
The disadvantage of using a standard on-camera type ashgun is that you can’t see the lighting until you get your photosback! Studio ash overcomes this problem by using a modelling lamp which should mimic the light produced by the ash tube. Thisenables you to set up your lighting with thecondence of being able to see what you are going to get! - WYSIWYG - What you see is what you get! However, various makes of studio ashhave modelling lamps which are not always equal. I have always used theProlinca/Elinchrom system because of the advantages they give me. Firstly the modelling lamp bulb is exactly inthe centre of the ash tube and almost the same size. This means that themodelling light 
is
virtually identical to theash - WYSIWYG!  Another big plus of this system is thehuge range of accessories, the secureaccessory tting and the performance of the ash. The ash duration is very fast,typically over 1/2000th sec. This meansthat not only will it freeze action, but there are no problems mixing the ashwith daylight, and using a fast shutter speed. Recycling times are also very fast, generally less than a second! SoI never miss a shot! Big problems canoccur if your shutter is faster than theash! 
What do I need to buy? 
You can start off with a very basic outt.Pictured below is the Prolinca HomeStudio starter set. It consists of a ashhead, a stand, a reector and a brolly.We will discuss the use of brollies later,but this will give you the basics to enableyou to produce very acceptable portraitsof your family or friends.This one head starter kit costs just over £200 + Vat.OK, lets have a brief look at how a studioash head worksand what you can dowith this outt.
1
 
 How does a flash work? 
If you look at the front of a studioash head you will see a ash tube -on this Elinchromexample, the tube isthe circular one witha modelling lamp inthe centre. (Thehigher output 250w Halolux is tted tothis head.)The modelling lamp provides a continouslight so that you can see the effect you are creating.The ash tube on the standard head ishorseshoe shaped with a terminal oneach end. The glass envelope is lled with a non-conductive gas and wrapped around this is a trigger wire. The ashenergy is stored in capacitors within themain body. Voltages are extremly highso never take one apart! When the ash is red a 25,000 volt charge is run through the trigger wireionising the gas. This allows the power to pass between the terminals and indoing so, energy is released in the formof heat and light. All this happens inaround 1/2000th second! 
Let’s take some pictures! 
I am sure that there are occasions whenit is very convenient to pop a ash ontop of your camera and yes, this isthe way camera manufacturers designthem to work. The trouble is that it’s probably the worst place to put it! Light from the camera position causesmany problems. Firstly you can seethe very unattractive “Red-Eye”. This iscaused by the ashreecting off the rear surface of the eye.Secondly it gives aheavy shadow onthe wall behind thesubject and thirdly it has produced a very at light that showsno shape or substance to the subject. Because theash is a very small light source it isalso a very hard light source. We will talk later of hard and soft lighting effects.By moving the light around to the sidewe can achieve two things very easily.Firstly we remove the shadow from thebackground and secondly we now havea “lit” and an “un-lit” side to Laura’sface.In this example we have also placed ablue background behind our model. Thecontrast is now far too high between thetwo sides of her face but it does tell your brain that she is a 3 dimentional subject rather than a cardboard cut-out! We could now add a second light fromthe left to ll those shadows. But wemust be careful, if our second light was set at the same power we would be back to at lighting and 
two
sets of shadows! So let’s leave our second light in itsbox for the moment and use a reector  panel.
Using a reflector panel 
In this example we have turned themodels’ shoulders away from the cameraand added a silver reector panel to theleft side. It is quite amazing how muchlight can be bounced back. We have still retained a difference in light levels onthe left and right of her face keeping the3D effect.
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