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
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 thecondence 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
virtually identical to theash - 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 theash!
What do I need to buy?
You can start off with a very basic outt.Pictured below is the Prolinca HomeStudio starter set. It consists of a ashhead, a stand, a reector 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 studioash head worksand what you can dowith this outt.