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postheadericon How to Fine Tune Incandescent Studio Lamps

Just as along with studio flash, incandescent lighting can be modified with some other attachments, although these must always be heat-proof and adequately ventilated. Every type of incandescent light housing incorporates some type of reflector behind the lamp. It is partly to make use of each of the light radiated and partly to manage the beam.. The deeper and much more concave the reflector, the more concentrated the beam. As it is more challenging to spread a beam which is already tight if this leaves the housing than it is to focus an extensive beam, most general-purpose housing has reflectors that provide a range which is between about 45 and 90 degrees. Light that provides tighter concentration is intended for more specialized use.

Many housings allow some switch to the beam pattern by moving the lamp in and out of the reflector, or by moving reflector doors. Barn doors designed for some housings have a slightly different effect: they cut the sides on the beam instead of concentrate it. The beam patterns from most housings show a fall-off from the center outwards; despite having a well-designed reflector, there exists still a powerful strength of light in the lamp’s filament. One way of reducing this fall-off within the design of the housing is to cover the lamp from direct view with a bar or a spiller cap. In the event the reflector dish is large as well, the result is a degree of diffusion. Even softer, but less intense light may be possible if the inside of the dish is finished in white instead of bright metal.

Used alone inside the studio, tungsten lamps simply need 3200K incandescent white balance. However, tungsten lights are used often on location, in interiors, and that is often in combination with existing lighting like daylight and fluorescent light. For that reason, lighting filters are usually employed for converting the colour temperature or for correcting the color to that of fluorescent lamps. You could use mixed lighting and post-production methods, but it is best to get it right on the shoot.

The most typical filters are blue, to complement daylight. Full blue is -131 mireds; half-blue is -68 mireds; and quarter-blue is -49 mireds. These filters are available as heat-resistant gels, glass and dichroic. Dichroic filters are partial mirrors, reflecting red back in the lamp and passing blue; they are not always consistent, and ideally needs to be checked before use with a color-temperature meter.

The reflector angle in certain tungsten lights where the lamp position is fixed allow a lens-precise control over the beam spread with hinged reflector panels. These are the basic configurations, but the hinges can be moved separately. Moreover, it is often convenient to filter each lamp instead of using a lens filter on the camera. Fittings vary, but usually you do not close the lamp to avoid over-heating. A universal fitting is an outrig frame, which attaches in front of the light. It is recommended to use purpose-made non-flammable filter material with any kind of lamps.

postheadericon Make Use of Incandescent Lights in Photography

 

Tungsten lights are actually incandescent. It is created by burning up a tungsten filament from a controlled rate in the enclosed transparent envelope. When made specifically for photography, the actual light output is high and the color temperature is managed at 3200K in just about any design. Some lamps have a blue coating on the glass which gives a shade temperature that approximates that of daylight. These are intended more to be used in mixed lighting conditions, such as joined with daylight, compared to straightforward studio use.

 

A lot more efficient version of tungsten lighting is the tungsten-halogen lamp. This uses exactly the same coiled tungsten filament but it burns at a much higher temperature in halogen gas. Consequently, these lamps maintain virtually the identical light output and color temperature throughout their life; they also last longer than traditional lamps and are smaller with regard to their equivalent wattage. Available wattages range from 200 to 10,000 and the most powerful are intended for cinematography; the highest normal wattage for still photographic lights is 2000. The light output is the same as that from a new tungsten lamp of traditional style with the same wattage.

 

The newer development, particularly relevant to photography, in which camera’s white balance settings may take care of color differences, is high-performance fluorescent. The lamps used are flicker-free, nearly as bright as tungsten, color-balanced for 5400K or 3200K, and cooler and less expensive to run.

 

The common types of incandescent light that are being used nowadays are: Ballancroft 2500-watt north light fitted with honeycomb or egg-crate, Lee-Lowell 800-watt Totalite with barn doors, Rank-Strand 1000-watt Polaris manual spotlight, 800-watt Arrilite, and Hedler 2000-watt videolux.

 

Tungsten light is easy to use, photographs the way it looks, and great for large and static subjects. However, it is extremely not bright enough to freeze fast movement and still needs blue filters.

 

Every incandescent light needs to be fine-tuned to have the best results. Usually, it carries its very own light housing that incorporates some kind of reflector behind the lamp. This is partly to make use of all the light radiated and partly to control the beam. The deeper and more concave the reflector, the more concentrated the beam as it is harder to spread a beam that is already tight when it leaves the housing compared to concentrate a broad beam. The most general-purpose housing has reflectors that give a spread of between about 45 and 90 degrees. Light that gives tighter concentration is intended for more specialized use.

 

Many housing allow some change to the beam pattern by moving the lamp in and out of the reflector or by moving reflector doors. Barn doors fitted to some housing have a slightly different effect: they cut the edges of the beam rather than concentrate it. The beam patterns from most housings show a fall-off from the center outwards; even with a well-designed reflector, there is still a powerful concentration of light in the lamp’s filament. One way of reducing this fall-off in the design of the housing is to cover the lamp from direct view with a bar or a spiller cap. If the reflector dish is big as well, the result is a degree of diffusion. Even softer but less intense light is possible if the inside of the dish is finished in white rather than bright metal.

 

Used alone in the studio, tungsten lamps simply need 3200K incandescent white balance. However, tungsten lighting is frequently used on location and in interiors. However, this is often used in combination with existing lighting, like daylight and fluorescent light. As a result, lighting filters are typically used for converting the color temperature or for correcting the color to that of fluorescent lamps. You could, however, use mixed lighting and post-production methods but it is best to get it right at the shoot.

 

The most typical filters are blue to match daylight. Full blue is 131 mired; half-blue is -68 mired; and quarter-blue is -49 mired. These filters can be obtained as heat-resistant gels, glass and dichroic. Dichroic filters are partial mirrors, reflecting red back to the lamp and passing blue. They may not be always consistent and ideally needs to be checked before use with a color-temperature meter.

postheadericon Studio Flash Equipment

Being able to draw continuous power at a significant level makes it possible to deliver light that can be diffused, reflected or redirected in all kinds of ways, and still reach the subject at a level that allows good depth of field. A mains flash unit works in the following way. As the power supply is in the form of an alternating current in a relatively low voltage, the first part of the circuitry is a transformer and associated rectifier (or more than one in the case of larger units). The transformer steps up the voltage and the rectifier converts the alternating current to a direct current (in other words, it converts AC to DC). This uni-directional high-voltage source then supplies the capacitor that stores the charge. On command, the high-voltage output in the capacitor is discharged through the flash tube.

Given the light output possible from just a single flash tube-and the fact that it is practically instantaneous-it is not surprising that mains-powered flash is the lighting equipment of choice in studios. Output is measured in watt-seconds, or joules, and typical units are between 200 and 1000 joules. To make use of the extremely high output of the mains flash capacitors, the flash tubes are much larger than in on-camera units. Instead of a short straight tube, the most common design for medium-power units is circular. High-output units may use spiral tubes. One result of the need for high output and larger tube size is that the peak flash duration is longer than that of an on-camera flash-sometimes as slow as a few hundredths of a second.

As with other photographic equipment, such as cameras, there are many competing systems, and these are often not compatible. This is particularly the case with mains flash, in which the power units, connectors, and flash-heads cannot normally be interchanged. Before buying anything, make all the comparisons you can, and anticipate your future needs. You might, for instance, eventually need several identical lamps, or a set of specialized lights-one for still-life main illumination, and others for backgrounds, and son on. Also if you expect to shoot on location as well as at home or in the studio, the weight and transportability of the equipment will be important.

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postheadericon Studio Flash

Mains-powered flash units offer the ultimate lighting control: a full range of light fittings and no problems with moving subjects. The real limitation of on-camera flash is that its full-frontal direction and harsh quality are rarely flattering-probably the last thing you would choose if you had control. The limitations of tungsten lighting are that it does not combine with daylight easily and that the great heat output limits the fittings you can attach. For the extra effort of planning and setting up lights, you can achieve a much wider range of effects with powerful, separately triggered flash heads. There are two kinds: high-output portable flash powered by rechargeable batteries; and mains-powered flash, which is normally used in studios. Both can be used with a variety of fittings, and it is these-the diffusers, reflectors, and spots-that control the quality of the light.

Lighting in a controlled environment is the essence of studio shooting, and digital cameras take this to another level of ease and convenience. Many models, and particularly prosumer ones, allow the camera to be operated directly from a computer. Once the camera is locked on the tripod and the lights are in position, you can simply sit down with a laptop and shoot from the comfort of your keyboard and mouse.

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postheadericon Making More of Flash

With the addition of the ambient light instead of totally replacing it, on-camera flash can achieve interesting effects, and even subtlety. Experimentation is less complicated than ever before with digital camera models.

While on-camera flash works well enough as the no-frills light that at the least helps you to capture a recognizable image, it totally changes the view of any scene, usually dropping the backdrop straight out of sight. Approaches of working around this, however, including diffusing the light and employing it combined with an extended exposure. Modest number of diffusion is achievable by fitting a translucent attachment into the flash head, but you will find physical limits to this particular because the diffuser attachment has got to sit through the lens. More usual in interiors with low, domestic-style ceilings is by using bounce flash, swiveling the head upwards in order that the light spreads by reflection (simply with white or pale ceilings).

Contributing to the ambient light, however, is among the best reasons like on-camera flash, and there are a couple of variations from it. The first is shadow fill. This is especially useful shooting towards light and detail in objects facing the camera is frequently lost in shadow. All digicams have got a setting for this, where a smaller dose of flash is boost the longer exposure to be able to provide a balanced combination. The other variation is streaking with rear-curtain synchronization. In this particular, the exposure and flash output are similarly balanced, however the flash is timed by the end of the exposure. If you experience movement, in the subject or because you slowly move the camera, you’ll encounter trails of light terminating in a sharply frozen image.

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postheadericon Incandescent Lights

Photographic tungsten lamps and also the newer high-performance flicker-free fluorescent lamps have the edge over flash that one could work by eye, whilst they are not as good at stopping movement.

Tungsten lighting is incandescent, created by burning a tungsten filament in a controlled rate inside a sealed transparent envelope. When designed specifically for photography, the light output is high as well as the color temperatures are controlled in just about any design. Some lamps can be obtained having a blue coating into the glass, giving one temperature that approximates that relate to daylight. These are generally intended more for use in mixed lighting conditions, which includes put together with daylight, compared to straightforward studio use.

The more efficient sort of tungsten lighting is the tungsten-halogen lamp. This uses a similar coiled tungsten filament, however it burns for a much higher temperature in halogen gas. As an outcome, these lamps maintain virtually the same light output and color temperature throughout their life; in addition they last longer than traditional lamps and so are smaller regarding their equivalent wattage. Available wattages range from 200 to 10,000, although the strongest are meant for cinematography; the highest normal wattage for still photographic lights is 2000. Light output is similar to that from a new tungsten lamp of traditional style of the identical wattage.

A newer development, particularly highly relevant to photography, where the camera’s white balance settings can take care of color differences, is high-performance fluorescent. The lamps used are flicker-free, nearly as bright as tungsten, color-balanced for 5400K or 3200K, in addition to being cooler and less expensive to run.

The orange cast of domestic tungsten lamps, which happens to be far more obvious for the camera than to the attention, needs white balance adjustment, although not always on the maximum.

Tungsten lamps are the standard, traditional kind of lighting for domestic interiors, and that is in which you are possibly to get them. Outdoors, as well as in large interiors made use of by the general public, they may have mainly been substituted with fluorescent and vapor lighting. A tungsten lamp is incandescent-that is, it shines by burning-and its brightness depends on the amount where the filament is heated. As this therefore depends on the wattage, you will get a concept of the brightness, as well as the color, from the rating of your lamp. The colour range, which can be between orange and yellow, depends on the colour temperature.

Color temperatures are perhaps the first thing to consider when shooting by available light in houses. If you enter a shuttered, tungsten-lit room directly from daylight, you can immediately notice how orange it seems. Usually, however, we view tungsten light during the night, and it also does not take the eye long to adapt and to notice as almost white. However, photograph a tungsten-lit interior uncorrected-that would be to say, that has a “daylight” white balance setting-and you might be astonished at the orange cast, which will not be everything you remembered. The color temperature values to the usual ratings of domestic lamp are lower-that is, redder-than the 3200K rating for traditional “incandescent” white balance correction, therefore will still appear rather warm despite this setting, although normally this really is quite acceptable. Much like so many things in photography, the complete solution is not a purely technical one. The ultimate criterion is what looks right, not what measures perfectly.

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postheadericon On-Camera Flash

Whether built into the digital camera body or attached by way of a hotshoe connection, basic flash units were designed as convenience for getting the shot without any other useful light. In the variety of photographic lighting, on-camera flash is primarily a convenience, and it’s important to comprehend its limitations. Most on-camera flash units are built-in (some pop up on demand), however some are detachable and fit over the camera’s accessory shoe. All these units are prepared for compactness and user friendly set up within these as priorities, quality and selection of lighting take second place. Even if this kind of flash have their own uses on location, it doesn’t have nearly as many advantages as its manufacturers would love you to believe. Nevertheless, the subtle metering and exposure control from a digicam makes it possible to mix flash with existing lighting for a lot of dynamic effects.

Flash units work by means of a capacitor charged by battery. When triggered, the capacitor releases its full charge instantaneously via the flash tube, ionizing the gas inside. Intensity of the light output varies according to how big is the capacitor additionally, on the square in the voltage that the unit operates, and is normally quoted as a guide number.

The limitations of full flash illumination are those of frontal lighting. Put simply, lights is practically shadowless and it also falls off in proportion to the distance from the camera. A common purely flash-lit photograph has a tendency to feature flat illumination around the main subject plus a dark background. The outcome is clear, sharp, and with good color separation, but is generally lacking in ambiance. Typical good purposes of full-on flash are close-ups of colourful subjects, simply because these can usually benefit from the crisp precision and powerful colors afforded by flash illumination.
One of many special challenges in altering the style of light digitally is to create the effect of bright, sharp sunshine, but there is however software available that will aid. One of several fundamental question in image editing is how far you should go – that is certainly, how long you need to move away from the original since it was shot. In principle, anything and everything could be changed; in reality, it depends that which you personally feel is acceptable and on the amount of effort it is worth to you personally.

With daylight photography, the major hurdle is bringing sunshine into the picture. If you’ve ever waited for the break in the clouds to brighten up the scene, you will understand that there is a interest in this – also to a degree this can be accomplished digitally. The challenge, that you can check by comparing two versions of the identical view, overcast and sunny, is usually that sunlight affects everything and in many ways, right down to tiny shadows plus the glow reaching into shadows from sunlit surfaces.

Although clouds reduce brightness when they block sunlight, the quantity depends very much to the kind of cloud. If the clouds are indistinct and spread all over the sky, the light loss is on the simple scale from the light haze through thin high stratus to dark gray, low clouds. With distinct clouds, however, such as scattered fair-weather cumulus, light levels can fluctuate rapidly, particularly over a windy day. Light, white clouds usually cause a simple fluctuation approximately 2 stops as they pass in front of the sun from bright to shade in one step. Dark clouds with ragged edges, or two layers of moving clouds, cause more problems, as the light changes gradually and often unpredictably. In the 1st case, two light measurements are typically that’s necessary – one in sunlight, the additional as a cloud passes – as soon as this is done, you can just change the aperture in one to another, without having to take much more readings. When it comes to more complex moving clouds, constant measurement is essential, unless you watch for clear breaks and apply only these.

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postheadericon Photographic Lighting

What sets photographic lighting apart from other light sources is that it is designed specifically to work with cameras and certain popular kinds of subject. On-camera flash is a standard does-everything light., but has serious limitations when it comes to creating a carefully arranged, imaginative set-up. In professional photography, particularly in studios, lighting is a specialized, important, and costly concern. This has always been the case, but as pro-lighting manufacturers improve their equipment, the range increases and can cope with more and more specific lighting situations.

If you were planning to cover the full range of lit studio and location photography, you would eventually find a use for all the sources of photographic lighting covered here-and their even greater number of attachments. However, for cost, if nothing else, most photographers commit themselves to one type of lighting, at least to begin with.

While most of this applies to digital photography as much as to traditional film photography, digital capture is creating some major changes, albeit quietly and even a little subversively. Much of the effort that has gone into pro-lighting in the past has been to cope with the limitations of film. This applied especially to high-powered studio flash, where the systems developed in the 1960s and 1970s were designed for exact color fidelity and motion-stopping output. Digital, however, is much more flexible than film in its response to color, as well as being, in most cameras, more sensitive (the standard high-quality ISO setting is higher than traditional ISO 50 of fine-grained emulsions). A standard digital camera simply does not need the precision and power of expensive studio lighting. This may be heresy to the purists, but is good news to photographers with smaller budgets. You can use almost any sort of illumination, and the digital sensor, with the help of a good white balance menu, will generally cope with it. For example, if you have a light box for viewing transparencies and are wondering whether to moth ball it as you shift to digital photography, try using it as na area light, or for backgrounds. Never mind about color balance-the camera will take care of that.

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postheadericon Neon Lighting Displays

Outdoor lights as subjects rather than illumination need more careful exposure to preserve color shapes, while fireworks are a special case that calls for anticipation. Although these are fluorescent lights, the colors typical of fluorescent lighting, and the white balance rarely needs to be accurate. Most displays are high up-well above street level-and the easiest technique is usually to stand back, across the street or further, and use a telephoto lens. For one exposure, use the fluorescent white balance setting, just to be able to see what difference it makes. Apart from this, take a series of different exposures, starting with meter reading and increasing the exposure from that. If you are using a tripod, there will be no need to increase sensitivity, and in any case you will need to keep the shutter speed at 1/30 second or slower to compensate for the tendency of fluorescent lamps to pulsate.

Which exposure looks best is usually a matter of taste, and the range of what is acceptable is quite wide. When comparing the results later, you should notice that short exposures give more intense colors, reproduce the tubes as thin lines, and show nothing or very little of the surroundings. Longer exposures give a thicker appearance to the display, which appears paler in color also. If you use a tripod and so have perfectly matched frames, it might be interesting to take two different exposures and combine them in a single image in Photoshop, keeping the color saturation of the darker frame.

Firework displays, like lightning, make their own exposure. Light intensity apart, there is little point in trying to use a fast shutter speed; the effect of a bursting firework is created by the streaking of the lights, even to the eye. A short exposure simply shows less of the display. Conversely, provided that the sky is really black, leaving the shutter open will not cause overexposure, but instead add more displays to the image. Two things to be careful of are the clouds of smoke from the fireworks that sometimes drift across the view, and the lights of the building s if you include the setting in the shot. Both of these set limits to the overexposure.

For the best effect of the bursts, exposure times are usually between half a second and four seconds, but you can judge this for yourself by watching the initial displays and timing them from the moment the rockets reach their bursting height. There is no need to switch to a higher sensitivity: f4-f5.6 is a reasonable aperture with ISO 100-200. In any case, the exposure is not critical: try making a variety of exposures to determine this for yourself.

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postheadericon Composing Photo with Street Lights

Downtown street lighting and display lighting continues to get brighter and more colorful around the world, and is perfect material for digital shooting. The light sources available outside at night are the same types as those that we have just looked at, but in different proportions. Vapor lamps are used much more extensively outdoors than indoors, because of their higher output; this is particularly true of street lighting and floodlighting. Tungsten as street lighting is increasingly less common, but can be seen in shop and other windows, and as car lights. Overall, entertainment and shopping districts in cities are getting brighter and more interesting.

Although the light sources are the same as those used to illuminate interiors, their effect is very different. The scale of the usual type of outdoor shot is greater, and the surroundings do not give the same degree of reflection as do interior walls and ceilings. As a result, there is much more pooling of light: in a typical scene there are any lights, and they are localized. Only very rarely are there enough lights in a concentrated area to give the impression of overall illumination. This happens, for instance, in the busiest part of a downtown night-club district; at some open-air night-markets; and, as you might expect, in sports stadiums. A general solution to this is to shoot at dusk, when there is just a little residual daylight.

In most night-time city views, however, there is either one well-lit area, such as a floodlit building, or a pattern of small lights. In many ways, this type of light causes fewer difficulties than an interior, and there are fewer occasions when you might need to decide on the principal light source and correct the color. The impression of a color cas occurs when most of the picture area is affected; when there are other lights in the image, color balance becomes a much less important consideration.

The localization of the light sources makes measurement difficult. Use it as a guide rather than as a completely accurate recommendation, and bracket exposures around the figures given. For many night-time scenes, the accuracy of the exposure is not, in fact, very critical. Overexposure often does little harm, as it opens up the shadow areas in a scene. The best answer is to experiment, which is of course what digital cameras allow.

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