balancing strobes with mixed lighting

Started Oct 20, 2004 | Discussions thread
triphong Regular Member • Posts: 158
Re: balancing strobes with mixed lighting

chasg wrote:

Hi All

I usually hang around the Fuji DSLR forum, hope you don't mind if I
drop in for a visit.

I have a shoot coming up where I will be using my studio lights
(three Bowens 500 monoblocs with umbrellas and a softbox) in a
mixed lighting environment. The main problem is that I don't have
more than a vague idea of how many different types of lights I'll
be dealing with: likely tungsten and daylight, plus my strobes.

I've experimented in the past with a borrowed gel on my on-camera
flash (Nikon SB-80) to balance tungsten lights, worked out ok, but
I was wondering about balancing my strobes.

Can I get gels for lights this big? (and how do people place the
gels anyways?). If it's practical, I'm going to go looking for
tungsten balancing gels, plus probably daylight would be a good
idea as well (or am I wrong?)

Sorry for all the ignorance, this is the first time I'm using my
strobes as anything as the sole light source :-/

Thanks in advance for any assistance,


is it interior shooting - if it is, then this may help:

1. your strobes are daylight balanced so you can use them together with daylight continuous light - no filtration needed.

2. tungsten is by nature warmer that daylight - a lot of us will not filter for tungsten on a daylight balanced support (film, cdd...).

3. think of your strobes as supplemental light. They should not be used in a dominant way, killing the natural athmosphere of the location where you're shooting. Use them soft - refelcted fropm umbrella or bounced from ceiling or apex.

4. As a starting point - put up your strobes so that they respect the natural angle of incidence of daylight i.e. close to a window. Put flashpower maximum. Take a reading from middle room or at a place where a significant object is first hit by the light. If your reading is i.e. f11 at 1/4sec - now put your camera at f22. Your flash output is now 1/4 of your camera f-stop setting. In order to keep the same amount of continous light at f22 you need to increase the exposure time 2 stops as well giving you 1 sec. This is your starting point for testing. f22 at 1sec. If you want everything brighter/darker open or close f - if you want stronger fill-in but same continuous light, open aperture and compensate with faster exposure time.

remember: continuous light is affected by shutter speed and f-stop - strobe lights are only affected by f-stop not by shutter speed.

if people are involved try to use higher iso - if shutter speeds do not allow you to make aperfect balance with daylight, you will just have to accept dominance of your strobes. With people shot close-up you should be ok.

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