Lighting techniques and education

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by clark_king|4, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. I have two lights with shoot through (2) and reflective umbrellas (1), i would like to know how to shoot where my background is completely black. I do not currently have a background to use or could possibly be on location for this. Can i do this with two lights i have 580's. I was wondering if a cross lighting technique may work for this? I dont have any flags that i could use to avoid light spilling onto the background.
    Now obviously i am new to lighting so can someone offer a link or two about learning about lighting and lighting techniques? I have been reading the strobist blog and find it all very useful, but are there any others that you can suggest?
    Thank you
  2. I suggest you start by reading the "Portraits" and "Studio" topics on the Learning tab at the top of this page. That'll be a good place to begin.
  3. Joe McNalley, James Schmelzer and David Ziser all have good speedlight tutorials at @ $25/month.
  4. Many of the lighting and light modifier manufacturers have videos in their sites showing techniques. I have also found the videos at to be very helpful for folks starting to learn techniques.
  5. You've mentioned flagging to control spill onto the background. Perhaps the most important consideration when attempting to obtain a black background however, is control of fall-off. To achieve this affect with almost any background (even white!), you need to get your light source close to the subject and your subject as far from the background as possible. The ratio of distance from light-to-subject and subject-to-background is crucial: the greater this ratio, the darker the background. It is easy to test this by setting up a light, starting with the light say, further from the subject than the subject is from the background and noting how little fall-off there is from subject to background, and then gradually moving the light closer, re-meter, keep taking pictures and observe how the background is getting darker.
  6. Umbrellas tend to spill more light then softbox. Simply move you subject a bit forward and add a black paper to prevent some light goes to your background. You can cover part of your umbrella with black fabric also.

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