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by Lars Kotthoff

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From simple to complicated setups, if it involves the techniques and equipment necessary to artificially light objects or people within the studio environment, it is generally considered to be studio lighting.

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70
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1answer
8k views

In portrait photography, what is 'broad' lighting? What is 'short' lighting?

What are 'broad' and 'short' lighting when it comes to studio portraiture, and when should I use each?
54
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4answers
42k views

What is Rembrandt lighting, and when do I use It?

I often hear studio photographers talk about 'Rembrandt Lighting' when they're setting up lights and doing studio portrait photography. What is Rembrandt Lighting, and when do I use it?
25
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3answers
3k views

What are the best techniques for making great photographs of LEGO creations?

There are better and worse photos of LEGO creations out there. What techniques give better photos? It seems hard to photograph LEGO blocks because they are shiny.
19
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3answers
11k views

What is butterfly lighting, and when do I use it?

I often hear the term 'Butterfly Lighting' used when discussing high-fashion and glamor photography. How do I set up Butterfly Lighting, and when do I use it?
17
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5answers
1k views

How can I photograph a reflective convex cylindrical trophy without reflections?

What I need to do: Take a standard "Product Shot" of an old trophy/cup with writing on that doesn't look a complete mess thanks to reflections What I have available to do it: Two radio triggered ...
16
votes
2answers
8k views

What is a kicker?

In lighting, what is a kicker and when should I use it? (And is it any different from hair light?)
16
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2answers
4k views

What is “feathering” a light?

When I read instructions about lighting setups, I often see reference to to "feathering" this or that light. I have some ideas what that means: for example, I imagine taking a flashlight and ...
14
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1answer
8k views

What is split portrait lighting?

Ok, so I got interested enough in the other lighting setups, what is split portrait lighting and when is it appropriate to use?
13
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5answers
932 views

What are the pros and cons of using an optical trigger for external lighting?

I have been reading up on the different kinds of lighting kits out there. I read about using optical triggers for external lighting kits. This would allow me to use my on-camera flash (or a mounted ...
12
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1answer
8k views

What are standard lighting setups for 2-3 people?

What are some standard lighting setups for two or three people in a group? I just can't think of non-complicated setups that would apply some previously discussed (short, broad, butterfly, split, ...
11
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3answers
871 views

Why do hotshoe flashes use fresnel lens, but studio strobes do not?

I notice that hotshoe flashes (e.g. Nikon SB-800) typically have a Fresnel lens system to focus the light, but studio strobes (e.g. Photogenic Powerlight 1250) do not. What's up with that?
11
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2answers
2k views

What lighting equipment do I need for a high contrast portrait photo?

I am an amateur photographer, and I have little to no experience in shooting studio photos. There is one subject in particular that interests me more than others in that area - high contrast portrait ...
10
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2answers
2k views

What is a cyclo wall?

I've read photographers write about using a cyclo wall instead of a seamless background. What is a cyclo wall?
10
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1answer
3k views

What lighting effects do the various surfaces of a 5-way reflector produce?

I have a '5 Way Reflector' that I want to use in my photography, which includes the following 5 options: Gold reflective Silver reflective Gold/silver alternating pattern reflective White ...
10
votes
2answers
329 views

Does this RGB-patterned reflector have benefits for digital photography?

B2Pro has announced a parabolic umbrella reflector for photographic lighting. The surface of the umbrella is printed with a hexagonal array of red, green, and blue spots: The manufacturer makes the ...
10
votes
4answers
700 views

Having difficulty lighting various reflective product packaging- use dulling spray?

Beginning photographer, first post- I'm trying to merchandize and shoot a product composition with a lot of beef jerky packages. The crinkly reflective packaging is proving really difficult to light. ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

What software can I use for 3D lighting simulation?

I've got a shot in mind that's going to require precise lighting (sources & angles). I'd like to do a lighting simulation. I want place objects & light sources in some sort of 3D virtual ...
10
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1answer
937 views

What is the difference between active and passive fill light?

What is the difference between an active and a passive fill light? I have an assignment that states to "use active or passive fill light" in a picture, but I need some clarification to understand what ...
9
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5answers
5k views

What should I consider when choosing continuous lighting vs. strobes for studio photography?

If one were to want to get started with studio photography (I'm thinking things like portraits, headshots, perhaps pets, etc) what would be the considerations in choosing whether to go with continuous ...
9
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1answer
460 views

What are the difference between using a pack and head system versus monolights?

Among mains-powered lighting systems, you can either get a kit with a central power pack, and attached heads, or monolights, each with its own power supply. What are the advantages and disadvantages ...
8
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1answer
284 views

What is lighting ratio?

What is lighting ratio and how is it calculated?
8
votes
4answers
486 views

To take my portrait photography to the next level, should I get a second flashgun or a monolight?

I am a hobbyist and using a Canon 600D with 50mm f/1.8 and 18-135mm lenses. I bought 430EX-II flashgun, and it works great as off-camera flash with the 600D's built in transmitter. I also have a ...
8
votes
1answer
435 views

How do I compare these two lighting systems?

I'm looking into getting a light system. I have been reviewing the light packages on the Elinchrom website, and mostly looking at the D-Lite 4 vs the Quadra Ranger. Besides the price, I would like ...
8
votes
5answers
238 views

How does TTL flash work when there are multiple flashes?

I've been watching a lot of deconstructing videos on how the light is setup. Often times there are 2-3 flashes at the studio. The photographer will say that they are all set to TTL. But how does that ...
7
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5answers
8k views

What's the technical difference between artificial and natural light?

Comments like this one got me wondering... Assuming two light sources of equal size and relative intensity (let's say as an example monolights and the sun) and assuming that you're shooting raw to ...
7
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4answers
8k views

How can I get a pure white background in studio photography?

I am a natural light photographer that is venturing into studio/backdrop portraits at the request of some of my clients. I have a portable studio for my needs with a white muslin backdrop. I am ...
7
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3answers
4k views

What is clamshell lighting, and when should it be used?

I've heard of Clamshell Lighting. What is it, and when should it be used?
7
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1answer
1k views

High-Key Image Processing

I just came across a great photographer on Facebook and I was literally stunned when I looked over his albums. He had some portraiture work that I would call as "Freaking Awesome"! Here's the gallery: ...
7
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1answer
510 views

How can I light someone to make him look evil or Machiavellian?

What would be the best way to use light to make someone's face look evil, creepy or Machiavellian?
7
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2answers
717 views

What does UV coating do for a flash tube?

For studio portrait lighting, is it better to have a UV coated flashtube, or a clear flashtube, and why? Does it make a difference what ambient light there is?
6
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4answers
1k views

How do you set the power for a flash in manual mode?

How do you calculate the flash power fraction, assuming you want to keep constant the other variables of ISO, aperture, and distance from subject to flash? The Guide Number formula for a flash ...
6
votes
5answers
789 views

How do you light the background for chroma key work?

How do you use flashes to achieve an even, well-lit background when photographing a subject against a green or blue chromakey background? One flash, two? What position? What about light modifiers, ...
6
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3answers
320 views

Home Studio Exercises/Studies?

I have a basic home studio setup now, and I want to get better at using it. So far I've just been shooting away at the dog, and a couple stuffed animals. I really don't have any feel for lighting ...
6
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1answer
312 views

What are some precautions to consider when using HMIs?

What are the dos and don'ts of using HMI lights? For example, I've heard you're not supposed to "hot strike" them. Is there anything else I should know about?
5
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5answers
644 views

How can I shoot in a studio at the widest apertures?

I ran into a limitation while shooting a newborn baby this weekend. I was indoors next to a set of windows. I was also using an off camera flash on a stand through an umbrella. The flash was a Canon ...
5
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3answers
630 views

How would I setup a portrait of a boxer like these?

A friend of mine has asked me to do some promo shots for a boxer he knows. It's not usually my style, but I have been researching types of shots and wondered how to go about getting these types of ...
5
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1answer
213 views

How to get beautiful even and soft lighting on face?

How do I get bright even and soft light on a face like this? Image taken from this link I got the exact same equipment but I wasn't able to reproduce the result. First I tried lighting it from ...
5
votes
2answers
305 views

Small Studio/Objects Containing White : Getting A Pure White Background

This is a question that pops up occasionally, and I wanted to ask it a bit differently because this is an issue 1) that lots of people have; and 2) is a bit different from working with clearly defined ...
5
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3answers
4k views

How do I decide what strobe wattage to get?

There are a couple of strobe packages on Ebay that I'm looking at. We have a budget, but don't want to have buyers remorse either. The question is between getting three 250W strobes or three 180W ...
5
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5answers
686 views

How can I set up studio lighting when I'm constrained by low ceilings?

I want to open my own portrait studio and of course money is tight considering I still need to buy light equipment. Now, I am trying to use what is available to me and I can't afford to rent a ...
5
votes
2answers
802 views

What is the impact of light-tent size?

In choosing a light-tent for product photography, I noticed the cost difference between various sizes is only a few dollars, so I started considering a larger tent than I presently need. The question ...
5
votes
2answers
286 views

Flash gun or some other light source?

I'm looking for some piece of advice from more advanced fellow photographers with regards to the artificial 'daylight' sources. I'd like to be able to some pictures of kids at home. Unfortunately the ...
5
votes
1answer
141 views

What is the prop setting on studio flashes?

I'm looking into some studio strobes and I came across the Impact Two Monolight Kit, and for the model lamp switch, those lights have "Full", "Off", and "Prop". What does "Prop" mean/do? I can't seem ...
4
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2answers
194 views

Advices for a good studio lighting photography book?

I'm new to studio photography. I have at home a little studio to shoot macros and portraits. I'm equipped with strobes and a macro ring flash. I'm now looking for a beginner/intermediate studio ...
4
votes
2answers
618 views

How do I achieve glossy/reflective, textured skin lighting effect?

Below is the example of a photograph that I found that has the studio lighting effect or the quality of light that I'm talking about, and I wonder how it is achieved As you can see in this shot, ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

What equipment should I use for a studio photoshoot (24-70 f2.8 and Nikon D90)?

I just bought a 24-70 f2.8 which i will be using with D90 (normally it is not for D90 but i am planning to buy a D3 So i bought it in advance). And next week i have a studio photo shoot(this is my ...
4
votes
3answers
462 views

What type of lighting would provide slightly more contrast than a softbox for product photography?

I am a self-trained amateur and shoot product photography for my clothing company. My typical set-up is 2 500-watt continuous softboxes, lighting a product from above with each light just to the left ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How much distance between subject and backdrop?

When photographing a subject in front of a backdrop, how much distance should there be between the two? Just wondering if there is standard rule (I've heard some say at least 6ft) or if it's ...
4
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2answers
219 views

Photographing & cutting out white powder

I need to photograph white powder in a circle shape and still retain the shadow. I've tried photographing on different coloured backgrounds as shooting on white is too tricky to cut out. The ...
3
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2answers
368 views

Does Amazon's patent of the photography studio have any meaning for us?

Amazon patented the photography studio with a trivial setup. This is an example of patenting something everybody knows about, which the patent applicant did not invent, and which is in use in lots of ...