Modeling Light ?

lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Phils ImagingPosts: 1,461Registered Users Major grins
edited April 28, 2012 in Technique
This week I have been preparing to take first holy communion photos. Testing light, setting up two flashes with umbrella and softbox, TTL vs Manual, Commander mode vs Triggers, etc.

One thing I have not figured out is how to get good focus on the subject when ambient light is poor prior to the flashes triggering?

15 young kids, indiivdually, will be posed about 4 to 5 feet in front of a beautiful stained glass window. There is a sizable overhang outside over the stained glass. The stained glass faces southwest. The time of the shoot is 3:00pm to 4:00pm. So light is not shining directly through the glass.

I have tested lighting and decided to use TTL and commander mode using two Nikon SB700s. The results look good, BUT I don't always get a real shart image on the test subject when the subject is in low light on a cloudy day.

So, do I use some kind of continuous light, like a 5000+K CFL bulb and direct it at the subject just to put a enough light on the subject so I can get a clear focus?

Is that a modeling light?

Thanks
Phil
http://www.PhilsImaging.com
"You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
Phil

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 18,880Super Moderators moderator
    edited April 20, 2012
    A "modeling light" is typically an incandescent light, positioned in the same fixture as the flash, which allows a modeling preview of the light and shadows as they fall on the subject. (You use it for positioning the flash.)

    A "focus assist" light is a light either built into the camera or built into an external hot-shoe flash, possibly also casting a pattern as well as illumination of the subject. The patterned light is extremely helpful with subject matter which includes curved surfaces (like human subjects) or flat and featureless subject matter.

    Depending on the Nikon camera body you may be able to enable the built-in focus assist lamp, but an external flash with a focus assist projected patterned light is much better. A Nikon SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander is another (relatively expensive) option for focus assist.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 20, 2012
    This week I have been preparing to take first holy communion photos. Testing light, setting up two flashes with umbrella and softbox, TTL vs Manual, Commander mode vs Triggers, etc.

    One thing I have not figured out is how to get good focus on the subject when ambient light is poor prior to the flashes triggering?

    15 young kids, indiivdually, will be posed about 4 to 5 feet in front of a beautiful stained glass window. There is a sizable overhang outside over the stained glass. The stained glass faces southwest. The time of the shoot is 3:00pm to 4:00pm. So light is not shining directly through the glass.

    I have tested lighting and decided to use TTL and commander mode using two Nikon SB700s. The results look good, BUT I don't always get a real shart image on the test subject when the subject is in low light on a cloudy day.

    So, do I use some kind of continuous light, like a 5000+K CFL bulb and direct it at the subject just to put a enough light on the subject so I can get a clear focus?

    Is that a modeling light?

    Thanks
    Phil

    No, it's called "AF assist" light.
    However, feel free to call it whatever you want, as long as it does what you want. However I would at least put it on a very low power, so it doesn't interfere with the beautiful ambient light from the tinted glass. Even more so, I would turn it on, focus, lock the focus, turned the light off, and only then shoot.
    And, IMVNHO, using any version auto TTL (whatever it is called) in your environment is a quick recipe for disaster. What you really want is full manual setup.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Phils Imaging Posts: 1,461Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 21, 2012
    Nikolai wrote: »
    No, it's called "AF assist" light.
    However, feel free to call it whatever you want, as long as it does what you want. However I would at least put it on a very low power, so it doesn't interfere with the beautiful ambient light from the tinted glass. Even more so, I would turn it on, focus, lock the focus, turned the light off, and only then shoot.
    And, IMVNHO, using any version auto TTL (whatever it is called) in your environment is a quick recipe for disaster. What you really want is full manual setup.

    Thanks for both your answers. I will try manual again. I had a difficult time in using manual in balancing the light so that it did not overpower the stained glass and provide sufficient light on the subject.

    Thanks again, Phil
    http://www.PhilsImaging.com
    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
    Phil
  • lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Phils Imaging Posts: 1,461Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 21, 2012
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    A "modeling light" is typically an incandescent light, positioned in the same fixture as the flash, which allows a modeling preview of the light and shadows as they fall on the subject. (You use it for positioning the flash.)

    A "focus assist" light is a light either built into the camera or built into an external hot-shoe flash,

    Thanks, I have done some more research - reading. Modeling illumination will work when the flash is on the camera but not when using my triggers - Phottix. I assume it does not work with triggers or I need to find a compatilbe trigger.

    Thanks
    Phil
    http://www.PhilsImaging.com
    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
    Phil
  • lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Phils Imaging Posts: 1,461Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 23, 2012
    Shoot Results
    The photo shoot went well. I ended up using manual. Two flashes - one with umbrella, the other with an octodome. And I added one CFL 5500k light on an old tripod as hair light - amazingly that worked well.

    I reread through my flash user manuals and figured out a few things - like Zoom, which I had not used before. That was a big help and I reconfigured my settings on my Nikon so my AF Assist would work - that was a big help.

    I have some more processing to do and then I will post one of the photos.

    Thanks again for your support guys. Big help.
    http://www.PhilsImaging.com
    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
    Phil
  • angevin1angevin1 Performs as designed Posts: 3,403Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 23, 2012
    The photo shoot went well. I ended up using manual. Two flashes - one with umbrella, the other with an octodome. And I added one CFL 5500k light on an old tripod as hair light - amazingly that worked well.

    I reread through my flash user manuals and figured out a few things - like Zoom, which I had not used before. That was a big help and I reconfigured my settings on my Nikon so my AF Assist would work - that was a big help.

    I have some more processing to do and then I will post one of the photos.

    Thanks again for your support guys. Big help.


    Nice! Can't wait to see your result~
    tom wise
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 27, 2012
    Below is the photo that I like the best from the First Communion session.
    No image ne_nau.gif
    Please consult with http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=18703 about how to attach/embed images correctly.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Phils Imaging Posts: 1,461Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 27, 2012
    http://www.PhilsImaging.com
    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
    Phil
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 27, 2012
    You probably disabled sharing in your SM gallery.deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Phils Imaging Posts: 1,461Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 27, 2012
    Nikolai wrote: »
    You probably disabled sharing in your SM gallery.deal.gif

    Unfortunately, I did because there are young kids and unless all the parents give permission i hesitate enabling it.
    http://www.PhilsImaging.com
    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
    Phil
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 27, 2012
    Unfortunately, I did because there are young kids and unless all the parents give permission i hesitate enabling it.

    Understandable.... I suggest creating a copy with faces blurred or blocked and share that...
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Phils Imaging Posts: 1,461Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 27, 2012
    Nikolai wrote: »
    Understandable.... I suggest creating a copy with faces blurred or blocked and share that...

    I removed the photo after being reviewed and given valuable comments.
    http://www.PhilsImaging.com
    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
    Phil
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 27, 2012
    Lighting's fine, kid's cute, but your vantage point is no good:-(
    You're *way* too close to your subject... Her supposedly teeny-tiny-girly palms look gargantuan compared to her face.
    In portrait photogrpahy, unlike street/urban/landscape, the rule of thumb is "if you don't like what you see, you're too close"... deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
    Star*Explorer: on Dgrin, home; Master Class: open;
    Class is in session, My Facebook, @DarthSLR, #NiksTips
    member: NAPP, PPA, partner: Adobe
    Comprehending life, universe and everything - one pixel at a time
  • lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Phils Imaging Posts: 1,461Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2012
    Nikolai wrote: »
    Lighting's fine, kid's cute, but your vantage point is no good:-(
    You're *way* too close to your subject... Her supposedly teeny-tiny-girly palms look gargantuan compared to her face.
    In portrait photogrpahy, unlike street/urban/landscape, the rule of thumb is "if you don't like what you see, you're too close"... deal.gif


    Good points. Thanks, I will keep that in mind for my next one.

    Phil
    http://www.PhilsImaging.com
    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
    Phil
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