Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space

Started May 30, 2012 | Discussions
andrewbdub
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Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space
May 30, 2012

How much ambient light is too much in a studio?

I've recently moved to a house that has a room big enough to hold a home studio. However, the room does have a reasonable amount of ambient light, about 90% of which comes from West-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. I could get some dark curtains or external shading for these windows, but would still be left with some light coming in via a skylight, up a stairwell and through a small side widow.

I don't want to buy a set of lights, backdrops, etc only to find that I need to restrict my shooting to after sunset. Any advice, thoughts, input would be greatly appreciated.
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kgbruce01
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Take a shot at max sync/lowest ISO - is it black? Good. (nt)
In reply to andrewbdub, May 30, 2012

andrewbdub wrote:

How much ambient light is too much in a studio?

I've recently moved to a house that has a room big enough to hold a home studio. However, the room does have a reasonable amount of ambient light, about 90% of which comes from West-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. I could get some dark curtains or external shading for these windows, but would still be left with some light coming in via a skylight, up a stairwell and through a small side widow.

I don't want to buy a set of lights, backdrops, etc only to find that I need to restrict my shooting to after sunset. Any advice, thoughts, input would be greatly appreciated.
--
andrew
http://www.andrewbottphoto.com

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Don89
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Re: Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space
In reply to andrewbdub, May 30, 2012

Like KG Bruce said. Take a test shot and see.

I had a client who was concerned his factory would bring too much ambient light in and influence the flash photos. I simply turned off all the flash units and shot a few frames of the setup and also turned around and shot the factory floor at the settings I was using for the shoot.

No light showed at the shutter speed and aperture I was using for the flash photography.

You could try 1/200 and 1/250 second light at f8 and see if ambient shines through. Test again from 1/60 through 1/250 at f8, then again at f5.6, 2.8... until you see the ambient. You'll see the limits and influence of ambient to your arrangements. Some ambient might be acceptable - depends on your needs. Also - ambient only might look good too - depending again on your setup.

f-stop controls your flash and shutter speed controls ambient.

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space
In reply to Don89, May 31, 2012

Don89 wrote:

f-stop controls your flash and shutter speed controls ambient.

It isn't quite that simple.

ISO, aperture, and flash power control the flash exposure.

ISO, shutter speed, and aperture control the ambient exposure.

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Don89
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Re: Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space
In reply to Sailor Blue, Jun 1, 2012

it is that simple.

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andrewbdub
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Re: Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space
In reply to andrewbdub, Jun 1, 2012

Thanks Don, Sailor Blue and KB
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Barrie Davis
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It's curtains for you!
In reply to andrewbdub, Jun 1, 2012

andrewbdub wrote:

How much ambient light is too much in a studio?

I've recently moved to a house that has a room big enough to hold a home studio. However, the room does have a reasonable amount of ambient light, about 90% of which comes from West-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. I could get some dark curtains or external shading for these windows, but would still be left with some light coming in via a skylight, up a stairwell and through a small side widow.

I don't want to buy a set of lights, backdrops, etc only to find that I need to restrict my shooting to after sunset. Any advice, thoughts, input would be greatly appreciated.

There is too much ambient light in there for you to do controlled lighting with artificial lights. Even if an 'X' sync test yielded a black result, the high level of ambient contamination would mean your flash modelling lights were more or less useless....

.... which would make them hard to use, and even harder to learn with.

You need to install full blackout blinds or curtains (drapes) throughout, or give up on the idea of working by PLACED lighting until after dark.

However, even as an ambient-only work space you would still need some control over the light sources... for which curtains/blinds are the only practical solution.
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"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space
In reply to Don89, Jun 1, 2012

Don89 wrote:

it is that simple.

It is simple, but it isn't THAT simple!

  • Shutter speed controls ambient, independantly .

  • Flash power+distance controls flash, independantly .

  • Aperture controls flash AND ambient, together and in step .

  • ISO also controls flash AND ambient, together and in step .

Some people find it helpful to write/print the above on an index card to then keep with their kit.
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"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

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kgbruce01
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Re: It's curtains for you!
In reply to Barrie Davis, Jun 1, 2012

Barrie Davis wrote:

, the high level of ambient contamination would mean your flash modelling lights were more or less useless....

People still use modeling lights? Funny.

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kgbruce01
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Re: Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space
In reply to Don89, Jun 1, 2012

Don89 wrote:

it is that simple.

Only in your head, because you are soooooo aew-sum at it.

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Don89
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Re: Existing Ambient Light in Potential Home Studio Space
In reply to kgbruce01, Jun 1, 2012

So, in summary,

f-stop controls your flash and shutter speed controls ambient. I really like using flash outdoors. Keeping ISO the same, I alter for taste using aperture and Shutter speed. If not tasty enough, I'll use an ND filter.

So we all forgot ND filters, but that does not add to complexity, just control. That might be a consideration as well for an over-ambient situation. Just be careful of the ND filter. Some really impact sharpness.

Sorry, did not realize this was not simple control of the photog's environment. Read up. Plenty of sources out there to study. Simple as Barries extended efforts.

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Barrie Davis
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Modelling lights.
In reply to kgbruce01, Jun 1, 2012

kgbruce01 wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

, the high level of ambient contamination would mean your flash modelling lights were more or less useless....

People still use modelling lights? Funny.

Yes, especially as modelling lights are now becoming increasingly accurate in coverage, AND relative brightness... the Einsteins being a case in point (diffuser dome over lamp and tube.)

And anyway, what's the point in carefully observing in the viewfinder how the light and shadow falls across the model as she takes up different poses, and timing your shots accordingly, if the light you see does NOT reflect the light you're gonna get?

Are you saying you don't work that way. Funny.
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Baz

"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

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kgbruce01
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Re: Modelling lights.
In reply to Barrie Davis, Jun 2, 2012

Barrie Davis wrote:

Are you saying you don't work that way.

Barre, I can work all day long without modeling lights, and get exactly the outcome I envisioned in my head. Exactly, every time. That's how familiar I am with my equipment, and how confident I am in using it.

Funny.

Yes, yes you are.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Modelling lights.
In reply to kgbruce01, Jun 2, 2012

kgbruce01 wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

Are you saying you don't work that way.

Barre, I can work all day long without modelling lights, and get exactly the outcome I envisioned in my head. Exactly, every time. That's how familiar I am with my equipment, and how confident I am in using it.

It seems to me your confidence is misplaced. You are not even making an attempt at observing or controlling the interaction of light with your subject...

... and yet seem to believe this is some kind of achievement!

You are like one of those people who sees what they get when the shoot was over, and THEN decide it was what they "wanted."

You might fool yourself, but you're not fooling me. Funny.
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Baz

"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

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Klaus dk
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Re: Modelling lights.
In reply to Barrie Davis, Jun 2, 2012

Barrie Davis wrote:

kgbruce01 wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

Are you saying you don't work that way.

Barre, I can work all day long without modelling lights, and get exactly the outcome I envisioned in my head. Exactly, every time. That's how familiar I am with my equipment, and how confident I am in using it.

It seems to me your confidence is misplaced. You are not even making an attempt at observing or controlling the interaction of light with your subject...

... and yet seem to believe this is some kind of achievement!

You are like one of those people who sees what they get when the shoot was over, and THEN decide it was what they "wanted."

You might fool yourself, but you're not fooling me. Funny.
--
Regards,
Baz

"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

Ahh Barrie... the thing is, kgbruce01 is not just an ORDINARY photographer! Take a look at his posts across the forums, and you will se how far above the rest of us he is. And incredibly modest and generous, too.
--
Less is more

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Modelling lights.
In reply to Klaus dk, Jun 2, 2012

Klaus dk wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

You might fool yourself, but you're not fooling me. Funny.
--
Regards,
Baz

"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

Ahh Barrie... the thing is, kgbruce01 is not just an ORDINARY photographer! Take a look at his posts across the forums, and you will se how far above the rest of us he is. And incredibly modest and generous, too.

Gosh! Yes. I see what you mean... Thanks.

I also note how he likes to rubbish respected posters' advice, without offering the slightiest justification, OR anything to replace it.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1055&message=41664753
--
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Baz

"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

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kgbruce01
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Re: Modelling lights.
In reply to Barrie Davis, Jun 2, 2012

You might fool yourself, but you're not fooling me. Funny.
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Baz

Gosh bare, so jealous of my superior photo skills... One day Barre, one day you will be good too. Just not yet. poor, poor Barre.

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