Studio Lighting newbie looking for guidance before purchase

Started May 11, 2014 | Questions thread
Brooke Meyer Contributing Member • Posts: 652
Re: Studio Lighting newbie looking for guidance before purchase

Just finished annual recital photos for a small, local dance school. We simply use four days of scheduled classes. My well used Photofllex background support & a 9x20 ft Savage Vinyl background fit in their studio.

Students range from 3 year olds to HS Seniors. Posing is a joint effort with the teachers and since I shoot a lot of dance, its a productive relationship. They give me a lot of freedom so even with the little ones, it's sort of a portrait session. Spontaneity is encouraged. There is a lot of jumping, pirouettes and tom foolery. It is not the typical recital photo session. Mom & Dad order what they want. Its worked out well for all.

There isn't a lot of time to get fancy with lighting so a pair of AB 800's, generally about 1/2 & 1/4 power into 64" PLMs with diffuser socks. Single PT-04 trigger with freshly charged Powerex batteries didn't miss a beat for 4K exposures. Base exposure is about f10 & 1/125 at ISO 400. I shoot DNGs I have some exposure latitude. If needed, I'll vary power levels for highly reflective costumes, change ratios around or feather for more grey background on white costumes.

A small studio, I mainly used a 17-70 on one body and a 50-135 on the other. I've stopped a lot of jumps with monolights ay 1/125 & 1/160. This years galleries are here.

Bravo Annual 2014

Studio setup looks like this :

If I'm working with a studio for promo photos or a workshop where we have time to try things, the Socks & PLMs go away and reflectors with grids and maybe a speed light on background is added. With the same setup, it can look like this:

The key thing is, think in lighting ratios and poses, put light where you want it and take away where you don't. It will take some time to "see", there are no shortcuts. Learning about dance is another topic that takes time.

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