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Lighting questions?!

Posted by on Sep. 28, 2008 at 8:40 PM
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I'm very new here and to studio photography, but i've had several people ask me recently if I would take some pictures for them so i'm trying to throw together a cheap, mini home studio.  Backdrops and props are pretty self explanatory, but i'm confused with all the lighting!  What's the difference between a softbox and reflecter, etc.  What do i use each thing for, etc.?  Can someone please give me a quick lession on studio lighting?

by on Sep. 28, 2008 at 8:40 PM
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cntrybumpkin
by New Member on Sep. 30, 2008 at 9:19 AM

A reflector is used to direct light back to a darkened part of your photo or a shadow to lessen the appearance.  If you are shooting without flash or strobes this is one of the handiest tricks you can have in your bag.  A diffuser (Softbox) does what it says it diffuses light so that it is not harsh.  This can be used for cutting harsh shadows causing them to softened.  You can also change the mood of a photo with a colored diffuser to add a diffuse colored glow into the photo.  Say you want a red tint diffuse one of your lights with a transparent red diffusion material now your photo will have a soft red tint to it.  Diffusers and colored diffusers can be extremely helpful in your studio.  I hope this help just remember they do what they say.  reflector: reflects light   diffuser: diffuses light


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SnoWhiteImages
by on Sep. 30, 2008 at 10:06 AM

Let me add to what the pp said just a little: A reflector is exactly that. Something that reflects light. It can be as simple as a piece of foam board like used for kids science fair projects. You can buy some wonderful ones in silver and gold. Gold gives a soft golden glow. Silver gives more contrast.
Softbox is part of a light unit. They are NICE to have! I'd have on in every size under the sun if I could. Huge ones for weddings and large events, medium ones for outside shoots here at the studio, smaller one for in the studio.
If you are working on the cheap for now, make your reflectors. Invest in one really good strobe at a time. If you want to teach yourself about lighting you can make a pretty darned good light set up from wal-mart and a couple of good photo flood bulbs. In the automotive department there are those shop lights that take a regular bulb and clip onto anything you can find to clip them to. They'll run you about $3 or $4. Pick up a couple. Then invest the $ in good photo floods to go in them. The bulbs willprobably have to be ordered from somewhere like adorama and they'll run you about $4 each too. You can use regular bulbs too, but your white balance will be harder to master. If you have a greycard and know how to use it-by all means use it!

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