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28

Buckle in for a long answer. There are three primary advantages that "studio" flash have over hotshoe flashes. The first, and most obvious is power; even the lower-powered "serious" units (we're not talking about AC-powered lightbulb-shaped slaves) tend to start at at least the equivalent of 2 "full-sized" speedlights (of the Nikon SB-910/Canon 600EX-RT/...


28

Let's look at the last picture. If you want a black background, you need to be careful not to spill light. It's relatively easy to control in a large studio, it's almost impossible in a small room. You need a background which is far away. You could even shoot outside at night if the weather allows it. You need some continuous light to show the trajectory. ...


14

The setup is relatively simple but to do this as one shot you will need space. An awful lot of space. Doing this indoors in a regular sized house is not going to work, the walls/ceiling are going to reflect light back filling in the shadows and you wont get the fading-into-black effect. The easiest way to shoot this (short of renting a studio) would be to ...


13

I recognize this exact picture - I've seen it before. There are two photography magazines that I read that showed how to do this exact type of family portrait. This was done in a home with a simple black background. One article uses a softbox slightly off to the side and behind the subject. The other article uses a speedlight with a simple grid straight on (...


11

Note: the content originally written for Stack Exchange is also published on my own website photo.pelicandd.com. Although the content is the same, the website contains interactive illustrations which enable to see what each light adds to the setup, as well as the list of books which served as sources. The lighting setups shown below describe different ...


8

To me this looks like a composite - the family members look too close together to not be clashing shoulders. If it is a composite then you can use the trick @Math-grum mentions of using a smallish softbox very close up on each person in turn and you'll need much less space for the light to drop off to black. It will also be easier to get a shot where ...


8

Tethered selfies are easy to setup, or you could give a try to an "Hair Styling Head" even though that could feel creepy. My solution to this was to do party photography at a local bar to try new techniques and light modifiers. Everything had to be quite portable, but as everything i used was DIY i could deal with it and not be afraid of having it damaged. ...


8

Most commercial photographers who use smoke a lot buy a commercially made "fog machine" that converts a fluid into dense vapor. The fluid is primarily made of water and glycerin. The machine simply heats the fluid in a semi enclosed space, producing the fog/smoke. You can create such a machine yourself easily. You just need something that can hold the fluid ...


7

Garbage-In, Garbage-Out A big problem with using DSLR photos as "ground truth" for the improvement of cell-phone photos is the assumption that DSLR photos are necessarily better than cell phone photos. It is possible to make a DSLR photo that closely matches a phone photo by closely matching the FOV and DOF. The lenses you will be using have relatively ...


6

Your main issue is that you are using different temperature lighting between the three lights. Don't do that. Go buy 3 bare bulbed workshop lights from the hardware store. Soften them with sheets or fabric from the fabric store(yes, it's that easy). You should come in way under $40. You could even get some nice daylight temperature bulbs and still hit your ...


6

Find a stock background image that has the look you're after. Shoot your model on a plain background. Make sure the direction and color of the light matches as closely as possible extract the model from the background. Using a dark green background might make the masking easier. -or- shoot in a park or backyard with lots of greenery, using a shallow DOF ...


6

Neutral, usually black or white depending your needs. Assuming that your backdrop will be separate (paper roll). White: Walls can be used as reflectors. But, can be difficult to control stray reflections when you don't want them. Bright and cheerful for your subjects. Black: Allows more control of light. Reflectors, if you need them, will need to be ...


5

You might consider a hybrid of the two options you have set out in your question. You could buy a basic kit that contains elements that meet some of your requirements and then supplement such a kit with additional piecemeal purchases. What you don't want to do is buy an ultra-cheap kit in which most if not all of the items aren't up to the task for you nor ...


5

Simple You will probably want to think about 3 things (assuming you have a camera already!) I'm concentrating on low-cost options. Background A white-painted wall is a great start Lights A single strobe with a stand and a shoot-through umbrella is a good start here. You will need a way to trigger it - a cable is functional and cheap. Props Something ...


5

If you're on the way to school, you should avoid overspending before you know what's needed in your individual classes. You'll certainly be told what you need as you go. That said, the nice thing about this style of photography is that it's not very demanding on the camera body itself. You'll want a reasonably large sensor, but, honestly, anything above a ...


5

I'm sure there will be very comprehensive answers to this well-structured question, this one is just from the perspective of someone who doesn't own anything more powerful than a speedlight. Besides the ability to pop flashes brighter/farther/faster/longer (nothing I need for my modest purposes), what seems like a game-changer to me is the point where a ...


5

The advantages of studio strobes over speedlights for off-camera lighting is not as much like getting a dSLR over a P&S, as it is like getting full frame over crop. While the advantages are there and undeniable, speedlights may actually be sufficient to your usage, especially in these post-Strobist days as a lot of speedlight-specific gear is hitting ...


5

That's fairly obviously a single hard light (no modifier) directly above the optical axis of the lens. The flash could either be a significant distance above the camera or it could be a camera mounted flash bounced off a neutral colored ceiling. It looks to me to be the former, but if it is the latter then a flag (an opaque object used to block light) was ...


5

Any zoom lens with a 7.5X or 10X or greater ratio between the minimum and maximum focal length is going to compromise optical quality in several areas to get to that focal length flexibility. These include overall sharpness, geometric distortion, vignetting, sharpness at certain focal lengths, narrower maximum apertures, etc. While it is true that many of ...


5

I wonder what would happen if, in addition to the steps offered by this excellent answer, you would use a long enough exposure (say 5-10 minutes) for the length of the pendulum's travel to decay appreciably while using a very dim constant light source? (Or even two, one from above and one from below so that you could flag both of them from shining towards ...


5

Consider adding a light source to the bob itself, such as an LED. Set your exposure for several periods of the pendulum, and flash your external light source at the extremes. This attached light source should trace a clear path, and the flashes should illuminate the extremes. LEDs are fairly directional, so you should be able to control how much light leaks ...


5

[We don't do answers as comments, but this only addresses one small part of the setup] If you're going to be eliminating the background & desk to black, why not give yourself a head start & use a black backdrop & another covering the desk. You may get some shine/light patches on the desk covering, but the background should be easy to knock back ...


5

Another method of producing "smoke" is to dump some chips of dry ice (frozen CO2) in water (hot water will produce more "smoke" more quickly, but dry ice is cold enough that the water usually won't stay hot very long). About the only danger I can think of is that the dry ice is cold enough you normally want to wear gloves when you handle it. In gaseous form,...


4

The light tent/cube isn't really a product that will help you extend your photographic skill. It's designed to make the process easy and make anything look pretty good: just put the object inside the tent, position the lights around so that the whole tent is lit, and take a photo. The tent won't allow you to add a hard light for an accent, for example, ...


4

If you just need to power a light that's normally intended for a permanent installation, there's not much too it. For ease of use, I'd just recommend some wire-nuts: And a cut-up three-prong extension cord. The actual wiring depends a lot on where you are located. I can tell you the color-coding for USA wiring off the top of my head, but I don't know UK ...


4

If the purpose is to decode barcodes, I would suggest looking into webcams. The HD cams are pretty good these days and cost next to nothing. Some come with stands, and that should solve your "tripod" issue as well. You could even use Blue Tack as additional stabilizer. The webcams come with capture software too. I don't know anything about the decoding ...


4

The general consensus on patents.SE is that this patent should never have been issued and will not hold up in court because the technique it describes is both obvious and has prior art in spades. Of course, going to court against Amazon's lawyers is something that a private person or small business simply cannot afford (at least in the USA), even if they're ...


4

@Jasmine - I just read the patent and here is my opinion. (I'm not a lawyer, but they worked for us and I used to have to do a lot of patent related work as a research engineer - a very long time ago). You are perfectly safe ... Unless you plan to open a studio that uses their specifically prescribed and fairly detailed set up e.g. 10:3 ratio of light ...


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