Camera settings for studio photography - HELP!!!!

EbestEbest Beginner grinnerPosts: 8Registered Users Beginner grinner
edited June 20, 2012 in Technique
Hello to all....I just purchased my first studio kit and I am having extreme difficulty getting a good shot. All of my shots turn out completely white or my subject is completely fuzzy :cry . What are the ideal camera settings for shooting in a studio?? I have absolutely no idea :scratch . ANY assitance would be beneficial to me at this point. Thanks!

Comments

  • bartronbartron Beginner grinner Posts: 7Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited October 20, 2009
    Get a light meter. set the flashes up how you want them and take a measurement. The meter will tell you what settings you can use.

    if you don't have a light meter you can chimp it.

    Put the camera in manual mode and set the shutter to the cameras flash sync speed (usually 1/200 or 1/250...check your manual). ISO 100.

    If you're doing portraits, set your aperture to f8 or f11.

    set your flashes to around half power

    take a photo

    if it's too dark, increase power on your flashes. if it's too light, decrease power.


    what kind of photos do you want to take and what look are you after?
  • QarikQarik Krazy Korean Posts: 4,938Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 21, 2009
    Ebest wrote:
    Hello to all....I just purchased my first studio kit and I am having extreme difficulty getting a good shot. All of my shots turn out completely white or my subject is completely fuzzy :cry . What are the ideal camera settings for shooting in a studio?? I have absolutely no idea headscratch.gif . ANY assitance would be beneficial to me at this point. Thanks!

    The question is why have you bought studio kit for your camera when you clealy have no understanding of the basics of exposure. There is no such thing as an "ideal" setting. Please go read through your camera manual and a book on exposure. That should have been step 1.
    D700, D600
    14-24 24-70 70-200mm (vr2)
    85 and 50 1.4
    45 PC and sb910 x2
    http://www.danielkimphotography.com
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,927Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 21, 2009
    In the studio, you want your camera in Manual Mode, and a shutter speed of about 1/160th. No longer than 1/125th and no shorter than 1/200th or 1/250th depending on your camera's synch speed. Most studio strobes do not offer High Speed Synch, like some speedlights do.

    Quarik's question is relevant.

    A completely white image indicates over exposure - too large an aperture, or too high an ISO. Shutter speed really does not play much role in exposure with studio strobes.

    If your subject is completely fuzzy, you are probably out of focus, since the short burst of light from a strobe, does not lend to subject motion as an issue.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • EbestEbest Beginner grinner Posts: 8Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited October 22, 2009
    Thank you bartron & pathfinder for some VERY useful information! It helped alot. As for you Qarik, you wasted my time and yours posting negativity. Totally not needed.
  • bartronbartron Beginner grinner Posts: 7Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited October 22, 2009
    pathfinder wrote:
    In the studio, you want your camera in Manual Mode, and a shutter speed of about 1/160th. No longer than 1/125th and no shorter than 1/200th or 1/250th depending on your camera's synch speed. Most studio strobes do not offer High Speed Synch, like some speedlights do.

    This is true and I didn't take this into consideration.

    I usually shoot at 1/160 in the studio...any faster and I catch the curtain. An on camera speedlight however can usually go to 1/200 1/250.

    re: having equipment you don't know how to use, I have only 2 things to say.

    1) it's your money, buy whatever the hell takes your fancy.
    2) it's hard to learn studio lighting without access to studio lights. you have to start somewhere and owning your own is more convenient than renting.
  • dm50384dm50384 Big grins Posts: 32Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 22, 2009
    Hello Ebest,
    I shot family portraits in churches for over a year. I set the controls on manual- iso 100 - 1/125sec - f11. Move umbrellas to match settings using light meter to confirm. Also verify with histogram helps. After some trial and error you will be pleased with your purchasing strobes.I am using a novatron 600 watt 3 light system I bought on e-bay for $300.00 and it has made me $$$ that i wouldn't have made using camera mounted strobes.
    Hope this helps
  • marikrismarikris The Wannabe Posts: 930Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 22, 2009
    Also, search youtube for some videos on "how-to" studio lighting and metering. It's helped me a lot visually, even though I use speedlites.
  • Mark LedinghamMark Ledingham Tromso, Norway Posts: 104Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 23, 2009
    Yeah, I have to agree. YouTube is a great place for some good, basic tutorials.
    All the best from northern Norway,
    Mark Ledingham

    Please visit Mark Ledingham Photography ...You might just like it!
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Posts: 6,524Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2009
    As a starting point:
    • Set camera to Manual mode - anything else and the camera computer tries (and fails) to provide "appropriate" exposure settings.
    • ISO: Whatever is your camera sensor's "native" sensitivity. For most Canons, it's going to be 100.
    • SS: between 1/160 and 1/200 or 1/250, depending on your camera's x-sync speed (read your owners manual for more on that if you need to).
    • Aperture: between f/5.6 and f/11, depending on the size of your group and your distance from your subject. The more people you have, the greater will be your need for greater depth-of-field.
    • Focal Length: 50mm to about 200mm, depending. The longer the focal length, the less will be the perspective distortion. But, too long and you can get some extreme flattening of your model's features.
    • Strobe Power setting: 1/4 power is usually a good place to start. Try it there and look at your histogram (not the image) in the LCD. Anything blown? Then turn down the power or close down the aperture on the lens. Did you under-expose the shot? Then turn up the power or open the aperture. Remember that moving the power from, for example, 1/4 to 1/2 is an adjustment of 1 stop.
  • Art ScottArt Scott Have PASSPORT will TRAVEL Posts: 8,957Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 26, 2009
    What equipment are we actually trying to discuss here:
    CAmera/lens models
    brand/model of flash units
    type and size of diffusers....You are using diffusers?
    and the actual set up....how far is the lighting from the subject...how afar is subject from background and is there a background, and hair light...any modifiers besides diffusers....

    Good books are vols 1-3 of Scott Kelby's "The DIGITAL PHOTOGRAHY BOOK(s)".......He has tons of training dvd's at Kelby Training.......Lynda.com has some great training videos also
    "Genuine Fractals was, is and will always be the best solution for enlarging digital photos." ....Vincent Versace ... ... COPYRIGHT YOUR WORK ONLINE ... ... My Website

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  • JohnBiggsJohnBiggs General grins Posts: 841Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2009
    May as well take that camera off of AWB too. Set the white balance to flash.
    Canon Gear: 5D MkII, 30D, 85 1.2 L, 70-200 2.8 IS L, 17-40mm f4 L, 50 1.4, 580EX, 2x 580EXII, Canon 1.4x TC, 300 f4 IS L, 100mm 2.8 Macro, 100-400 IS L
    Other Gear: Olympus E-PL1, Pan 20 1.7, Fuji 3D Camera, Lensbaby 2.0, Tamron 28-75 2.8, Alien Bees lighting, CyberSyncs, Domke, HONL, FlipIt.
    ~ Gear Pictures
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Posts: 6,524Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 27, 2009
    JohnBiggs wrote:
    May as well take that camera off of AWB too. Set the white balance to flash.
    15524779-Ti.gif nod.gif Or anything other than AWB - this will make correcting WB in post a bit easier. Oh, and shooting a gray card at the start and at the end of the studio session is usually a good idea - for the same reason, setting the WB in post.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,927Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 27, 2009
    For studio work, I cannot think of a reason not include at least one frame of white or grey as a known neutral to use for white balance, either, Scott.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • Tim KamppinenTim Kamppinen Major grins Posts: 816Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 28, 2009
    So, I noticed the OP never described what kind of lights are being used. Everyone kind of assumed they're strobes, but given the "fuzzy" images problem it's possible that they are hotlights. So which is it?
  • D'BuggsD'Buggs Here for the learnin' Posts: 958Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 30, 2009
    Ebest wrote:
    Thank you bartron & pathfinder for some VERY useful information! It helped alot. As for you Qarik, you wasted my time and yours posting negativity. Totally not needed.

    I got to this post and HAD to chime in.... I haven't read further.


    Ebest, your troubles are vast and Qarik offered you some valuable info... Buy a book on exposure. Leave it in the bathroom. After about 2 visits, you'd be on your way.

    That is,,,,,,, if ya splurge and buy a light meter. thumb.gif
  • EbestEbest Beginner grinner Posts: 8Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited October 31, 2009
    So, I noticed the OP never described what kind of lights are being used. Everyone kind of assumed they're strobes, but given the "fuzzy" images problem it's possible that they are hotlights. So which is it?


    Tim, they are strobes, purchased in a kit from ebay. To everyone, thanks for chiming in!!! You have all been a great help.
  • Joe DukovacJoe Dukovac Major grins Posts: 213Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 4, 2009
    I'm surprised that no one recommended studiolighting.net, or maybe I simply missed it. Ebest, I think all of us were in your shoes at some point or another, and we all had to learn somehow, right? Anyway, one resource which helped me out when I started, and I even check it out now and again is www.studiolighting.net. They have some very nice video tutorials which will help you out with setup, metering, and more.

    Also, www.webphotoschool.com is another resource that may help you out. They have some free lessons you can look at, and then if you like it, you can pay a monthly or yearly subscription to access all lessons which cover the gambit from posing to lighting.

    I hope this helps you,
    Joe
    Joe
    North View Studio
    http://www.zoradphotography.com
    Montreal, Canada
  • D'BuggsD'Buggs Here for the learnin' Posts: 958Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 7, 2009
    studiolighting is a good resource.... They'll even tell ya that a light meter is essential.
  • ZufbarZufbar Beginner grinner Posts: 1Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited March 22, 2011
    Qarik wrote: »
    The question is why have you bought studio kit for your camera when you clealy have no understanding of the basics of exposure. There is no such thing as an "ideal" setting. Please go read through your camera manual and a book on exposure. That should have been step 1.

    I found the other comments on this site extremely useful. I am a technician filling in for a photography technician at my college. I had to help students set up a studio with very little knowledge of how to do so. Perfect example of why posting helpful answers is a good idea. The students learning was not interrupted.

    Share the knowledge, one day you will need a fast response from someone else on a forum.

    Jamie
  • PhotoedPhotoed Beginner grinner Posts: 1Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited June 17, 2012
    Right on about queerp. Most of us are interested.
    Ebest wrote: »
    Thank you bartron & pathfinder for some VERY useful information! It helped alot. As for you Qarik, you wasted my time and yours posting negativity. Totally not needed.

    This stuff is hard to learn in the beginning and your question helped me as I am also new to using studeo flash. clap.gif
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 13,927Super Moderators moderator
    edited June 20, 2012
    The beauty of studio strobes is that the light output never varies unless you dial it up or down on the strobes themselves. Once you are getting a good exposure the easiest thing is to simply move the lights fore and aft from the subject.

    As you move the lights from 2.8 feet to 4 feet, the light will be halved. Move again to 5.6 feet and the light drops by 1/2 again. Move to 8 feet and the light is halved once more. Note that these ratios are the same as the aperture numbers on your camera. Opening your aperture from f5.6 to f4.0 and you double the light your camera will receive. F2.8 doubles it again. ISOs are similar, 100, 200.400, 800 each step reducing the light needed by 1/2.

    As I said earlier, shutter speed really does not affect your exposure due to strobes, unless they are just barely brighter than ambient, and usually one plans on the strobe output to be 3-5 stops brighter than ambient, which means ambient has no effect in the mage whatsoever.

    I do agree that studio strobes may require slower shutter speeds than battery powered speed light, but it does depend on the brand as well.


    The beauty of strobes is that once you know the needed aperture, ,ISO, and shutter speed, it never varies, so you can plug those values in Manual Mode and devote your attention to composition and lighting.

    If you move the lights or vary the output, then you must determine your exposure again. You can do this with trial and error, but a good flash meter is much, much faster - One pop and you are ready to rock again.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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