Author Topic: Light forming  (Read 4755 times)

monoceros84

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Light forming
« on: December 20, 2009, 06:47:41 pm »
I decided to present myself with some light equipment. It's Christmas and I got my first salary in the new job :)

I already purchased an older Nikon flash. And I am just awaiting the wireless trigger.

Now I wrapped my mind around light forming but couldn't find all information I wished. Maybe first of all: I buy this stuff mainly for portrait and people photography. And it has to be portable and light - no energy plugs or heavy batteries. I want to go outside. Short to say: a classical strobist equipment.

I decided to avoid a softbox since it is big and hard to move.

I already own a white diffuser umbrella for my first flash. Now the actual question: should I buy another shout-through umbrella or better a reflecting one? And why? And should it be white or silver? What is the difference between a white and a silver reflector?
Or are there any other recommendations?
Cheers,
Mathias

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monoceros84

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2009, 09:07:27 am »
No experiences here?
Cheers,
Mathias

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Rolf

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2009, 01:22:00 pm »
I can only point to the Strobist website, but you know that already.

monoceros84

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2009, 01:39:31 pm »
I can only point to the Strobist website, but you know that already.

Yes, thank you. I have already studies that and got a lot of useful information from it. But I could not answer my specific questions...
Cheers,
Mathias

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Kevin

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2009, 01:58:40 pm »
I have no personal experience to share, but this conversation on DPChallenge might help a little, or maybe add to the confusion  ???

http://www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=694489

monoceros84

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2009, 02:43:45 pm »
I have no personal experience to share, but this conversation on DPChallenge might help a little, or maybe add to the confusion  ???

http://www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=694489

Thank you. I guess I can read there that a silver umbrella is more efficient than a white one. Ok, I can understand that shoot-through must be white because silver reflects too much. But why aren't all reflective umbrellas silver then? And which disadvantage have silver surfaces compared to white?
Cheers,
Mathias

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Kevin

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2009, 03:28:46 pm »
I think that silver reflectors will give a harder light - with more defined shadows, compared to the more diffuse light from a white reflector.

I have a white/black/silver/gold reflector at home, so I'll try an experiment this evening and post some pictures later, but I'll apologise now as they will probably be self-portraits  :o

monoceros84

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2009, 04:41:48 pm »
Self-portraits would be cool! ;)
Only ensure that you keep a constant distance and angle to the reflector as well as a constant camera exposure setting an equal strength of light. Otherwise the result would tell us only few...
Cheers,
Mathias

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Kevin

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2009, 05:01:04 pm »
Yes, I've already thought of that - everything on manual including the flash-gun.

Kevin

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2009, 06:18:21 pm »
Here we are:



And the test set-up:


Obviously this is quite an extreme test as all the light is being bounced off of the reflector, but it does show the difference between the surfaces quite well.

Rolf

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2009, 10:00:35 pm »
I see no quality difference between white and silver, only a step up in intensity.

Kevin

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2009, 10:16:58 pm »
I see the difference in the shadows, or rather the edge of the shadows. If you look at the shadow line on my neck, in the silver image it's quite a well defined line, but in the white image it's more blurred.

Also the shadows on the dark side of my face aren't as dark.

monoceros84

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2009, 10:39:40 pm »
Thank you so much!
You really see a difference. Sure, not that heavy - that's the reason why you don't find too much information about this and why you can buy almost the same equipment in silver and white simultaneously.
But you see it in the dynamic range. Silver produces more contrasts, the shadows are deeper and the lights are brighter. And the edge in between is more defined. A logical result from this is that white produces softer light - less skin details as e.g. wrinkles.
Thus, I would abstract: white for main light, silver for hair- or highlight - if you need any reflector at all in these situations.

So I am still questioning myself: should I buy another white shoot-through to be able to produce real real soft light (say two main lights) if I should need that or should I go for reflective silver for situations that may require an umbrella for side lightning...
Cheers,
Mathias

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tbransco

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2009, 03:04:13 am »
I'm just starting down the strobist path myself and wondering what gear is best to start with.  I've read that silver emphasizes contrasts (and wrinkles), so it's more appropriate for portraits of males, whereas your female subjects would likely prefer to be shot with a warmer, softer light.  There will be exceptions to any "rule", so that's why I think the best solution is to find a product that offers you a choice of light qualities, so you can experiment with a variety of outcomes.  I don't own one yet, but am thinking hard about the Photek Softlighter II because of its versatility, and apparent build quality.  It can be used as a silver reflector, a near-white shoot through, and a combination of the two.

At any rate, any product that gives you some options is probably better in the long run.  Trouble is, of course, options are (usually) extra!

Terry

monoceros84

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Re: Light forming
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2009, 06:48:02 am »
I'm just starting down the strobist path myself and wondering what gear is best to start with.  I've read that silver emphasizes contrasts (and wrinkles), so it's more appropriate for portraits of males, whereas your female subjects would likely prefer to be shot with a warmer, softer light.  There will be exceptions to any "rule", so that's why I think the best solution is to find a product that offers you a choice of light qualities, so you can experiment with a variety of outcomes.  I don't own one yet, but am thinking hard about the Photek Softlighter II because of its versatility, and apparent build quality.  It can be used as a silver reflector, a near-white shoot through, and a combination of the two.

At any rate, any product that gives you some options is probably better in the long run.  Trouble is, of course, options are (usually) extra!

Well, I have started with a white shoot-through umbrella and a silver/gold reflector and am very happy with them.
The problem with those versatile equipment is that the build quality is usually far below of those specialized things. If you take approx. equal expensive stuff. Very often that I read about people complaining when they bought a cheap all-in-one and then the zipper broke, the foils ripped or at least crunched etc. And around 60$ for this "Photek Softlighter II" seem to be very cheap. So are you sure the quality is high enough?
Cheers,
Mathias

Visit this site about my photography, my experiences in Norway and my blog:
http://www.gedankenquirl.de (German language)