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Photo Craft Technique Camera settings for studio photography - HELP!!!!

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Old Oct-20-2009, 02:10 AM
#1
Ebest is offline Ebest OP
Beginner grinner
Sad Camera settings for studio photography - HELP!!!!
Hello to all....I just purchased my first studio kit and I am having extreme difficulty getting a good shot. All of my shots turn out completely white or my subject is completely fuzzy . What are the ideal camera settings for shooting in a studio?? I have absolutely no idea . ANY assitance would be beneficial to me at this point. Thanks!
Old Oct-20-2009, 02:48 AM
#2
bartron is offline bartron
Beginner grinner
Get a light meter. set the flashes up how you want them and take a measurement. The meter will tell you what settings you can use.

if you don't have a light meter you can chimp it.

Put the camera in manual mode and set the shutter to the cameras flash sync speed (usually 1/200 or 1/250...check your manual). ISO 100.

If you're doing portraits, set your aperture to f8 or f11.

set your flashes to around half power

take a photo

if it's too dark, increase power on your flashes. if it's too light, decrease power.


what kind of photos do you want to take and what look are you after?
Old Oct-21-2009, 01:32 PM
#3
Qarik is offline Qarik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebest
Hello to all....I just purchased my first studio kit and I am having extreme difficulty getting a good shot. All of my shots turn out completely white or my subject is completely fuzzy . What are the ideal camera settings for shooting in a studio?? I have absolutely no idea . ANY assitance would be beneficial to me at this point. Thanks!
The question is why have you bought studio kit for your camera when you clealy have no understanding of the basics of exposure. There is no such thing as an "ideal" setting. Please go read through your camera manual and a book on exposure. That should have been step 1.
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Old Oct-21-2009, 01:58 PM
#4
pathfinder is offline pathfinder
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In the studio, you want your camera in Manual Mode, and a shutter speed of about 1/160th. No longer than 1/125th and no shorter than 1/200th or 1/250th depending on your camera's synch speed. Most studio strobes do not offer High Speed Synch, like some speedlights do.

Quarik's question is relevant.

A completely white image indicates over exposure - too large an aperture, or too high an ISO. Shutter speed really does not play much role in exposure with studio strobes.

If your subject is completely fuzzy, you are probably out of focus, since the short burst of light from a strobe, does not lend to subject motion as an issue.
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Old Oct-22-2009, 02:18 AM
#5
Ebest is offline Ebest OP
Beginner grinner
Thank you bartron & pathfinder for some VERY useful information! It helped alot. As for you Qarik, you wasted my time and yours posting negativity. Totally not needed.
Old Oct-22-2009, 03:47 AM
#6
bartron is offline bartron
Beginner grinner
Quote:
Originally Posted by pathfinder
In the studio, you want your camera in Manual Mode, and a shutter speed of about 1/160th. No longer than 1/125th and no shorter than 1/200th or 1/250th depending on your camera's synch speed. Most studio strobes do not offer High Speed Synch, like some speedlights do.
This is true and I didn't take this into consideration.

I usually shoot at 1/160 in the studio...any faster and I catch the curtain. An on camera speedlight however can usually go to 1/200 1/250.

re: having equipment you don't know how to use, I have only 2 things to say.

1) it's your money, buy whatever the hell takes your fancy.
2) it's hard to learn studio lighting without access to studio lights. you have to start somewhere and owning your own is more convenient than renting.
Old Oct-22-2009, 04:21 PM
#7
dm50384 is offline dm50384
Big grins
Hello Ebest,
I shot family portraits in churches for over a year. I set the controls on manual- iso 100 - 1/125sec - f11. Move umbrellas to match settings using light meter to confirm. Also verify with histogram helps. After some trial and error you will be pleased with your purchasing strobes.I am using a novatron 600 watt 3 light system I bought on e-bay for $300.00 and it has made me $$$ that i wouldn't have made using camera mounted strobes.
Hope this helps

Last edited by dm50384; Oct-22-2009 at 04:24 PM. Reason: wrong name
Old Oct-22-2009, 06:43 PM
#8
marikris is offline marikris
The Wannabe
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Also, search youtube for some videos on "how-to" studio lighting and metering. It's helped me a lot visually, even though I use speedlites.
Old Oct-23-2009, 02:28 AM
#9
Mark Ledingham is offline Mark Ledingham
Tromso, Norway
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Yeah, I have to agree. YouTube is a great place for some good, basic tutorials.
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Old Oct-26-2009, 03:12 AM
#10
Scott_Quier is offline Scott_Quier
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As a starting point:
  • Set camera to Manual mode - anything else and the camera computer tries (and fails) to provide "appropriate" exposure settings.
  • ISO: Whatever is your camera sensor's "native" sensitivity. For most Canons, it's going to be 100.
  • SS: between 1/160 and 1/200 or 1/250, depending on your camera's x-sync speed (read your owners manual for more on that if you need to).
  • Aperture: between f/5.6 and f/11, depending on the size of your group and your distance from your subject. The more people you have, the greater will be your need for greater depth-of-field.
  • Focal Length: 50mm to about 200mm, depending. The longer the focal length, the less will be the perspective distortion. But, too long and you can get some extreme flattening of your model's features.
  • Strobe Power setting: 1/4 power is usually a good place to start. Try it there and look at your histogram (not the image) in the LCD. Anything blown? Then turn down the power or close down the aperture on the lens. Did you under-expose the shot? Then turn up the power or open the aperture. Remember that moving the power from, for example, 1/4 to 1/2 is an adjustment of 1 stop.
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Old Oct-26-2009, 07:38 AM
#11
Art Scott is offline Art Scott
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What equipment are we actually trying to discuss here:
CAmera/lens models
brand/model of flash units
type and size of diffusers....You are using diffusers?
and the actual set up....how far is the lighting from the subject...how afar is subject from background and is there a background, and hair light...any modifiers besides diffusers....

Good books are vols 1-3 of Scott Kelby's "The DIGITAL PHOTOGRAHY BOOK(s)".......He has tons of training dvd's at Kelby Training.......Lynda.com has some great training videos also
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Old Oct-26-2009, 09:40 PM
#12
JohnBiggs is offline JohnBiggs
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May as well take that camera off of AWB too. Set the white balance to flash.
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Old Oct-27-2009, 06:13 AM
#13
Scott_Quier is offline Scott_Quier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBiggs
May as well take that camera off of AWB too. Set the white balance to flash.
Or anything other than AWB - this will make correcting WB in post a bit easier. Oh, and shooting a gray card at the start and at the end of the studio session is usually a good idea - for the same reason, setting the WB in post.
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Old Oct-27-2009, 03:19 PM
#14
pathfinder is offline pathfinder
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For studio work, I cannot think of a reason not include at least one frame of white or grey as a known neutral to use for white balance, either, Scott.
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Old Oct-28-2009, 07:30 PM
#15
Tim Kamppinen is offline Tim Kamppinen
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So, I noticed the OP never described what kind of lights are being used. Everyone kind of assumed they're strobes, but given the "fuzzy" images problem it's possible that they are hotlights. So which is it?
Old Oct-30-2009, 01:15 AM
#16
D'Buggs is offline D'Buggs
Here for the learnin'
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebest
Thank you bartron & pathfinder for some VERY useful information! It helped alot. As for you Qarik, you wasted my time and yours posting negativity. Totally not needed.
I got to this post and HAD to chime in.... I haven't read further.


Ebest, your troubles are vast and Qarik offered you some valuable info... Buy a book on exposure. Leave it in the bathroom. After about 2 visits, you'd be on your way.

That is,,,,,,, if ya splurge and buy a light meter.
Old Oct-31-2009, 01:52 AM
#17
Ebest is offline Ebest OP
Beginner grinner
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Kamppinen
So, I noticed the OP never described what kind of lights are being used. Everyone kind of assumed they're strobes, but given the "fuzzy" images problem it's possible that they are hotlights. So which is it?

Tim, they are strobes, purchased in a kit from ebay. To everyone, thanks for chiming in!!! You have all been a great help.
Old Nov-04-2009, 07:40 AM
#18
Joe Dukovac is offline Joe Dukovac
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I'm surprised that no one recommended studiolighting.net, or maybe I simply missed it. Ebest, I think all of us were in your shoes at some point or another, and we all had to learn somehow, right? Anyway, one resource which helped me out when I started, and I even check it out now and again is www.studiolighting.net. They have some very nice video tutorials which will help you out with setup, metering, and more.

Also, www.webphotoschool.com is another resource that may help you out. They have some free lessons you can look at, and then if you like it, you can pay a monthly or yearly subscription to access all lessons which cover the gambit from posing to lighting.

I hope this helps you,
Joe
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Old Nov-07-2009, 08:53 AM
#19
D'Buggs is offline D'Buggs
Here for the learnin'
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studiolighting is a good resource.... They'll even tell ya that a light meter is essential.
Old Mar-22-2011, 06:08 AM
#20
Zufbar is offline Zufbar
Beginner grinner
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qarik View Post
The question is why have you bought studio kit for your camera when you clealy have no understanding of the basics of exposure. There is no such thing as an "ideal" setting. Please go read through your camera manual and a book on exposure. That should have been step 1.
I found the other comments on this site extremely useful. I am a technician filling in for a photography technician at my college. I had to help students set up a studio with very little knowledge of how to do so. Perfect example of why posting helpful answers is a good idea. The students learning was not interrupted.

Share the knowledge, one day you will need a fast response from someone else on a forum.

Jamie
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