Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-02-2019, 10:32 PM - 2 Likes   #16
Pentaxian




Join Date: Nov 2013
Photos: Albums
Posts: 942
Keep it simple. A couple of plain vanilla Godox monolights would cost less than an AD200 and you can run all day without concern for batteries and recycle time. Put them with a pair of inexpensive and versatile convertible umbrellas on your light stands. Way cheaper and easier to manage than soft boxes.

Consider a roll of 53" white seamless paper or 3 yds of 60" micro fleece and an inexpensive background support instead of the pop up which will show wrinkles and be hard to hang flat. Once you set your exposure and light power, its off to the races. Put one at half power and the other at a quarter up at 45's and you've got a very forgiving, soft, diffuse 2:1 commercial portrait ratio. Put a flash up for rim if you wish, just need a light stand.

I'm in the US so I favor Paul C Buff products, especially my Einsteins for freezing action with dancers. But I lived on a couple of 320 W/S AB800's doing these for years. These shoots would go for 4 hours + for four days, maybe 1,200 frames a day. Zero battery management worries. Just tape down the cords with kids around. Same with light stands, should have sand bags on. A business liability policy isn't a bad idea.

Not against speed lights, have a bag of five, routinely use for head shot sessions. Six staff in a dentist office or the typical commercial or theatrical head shot, no problem. Same umbrellas or umbrella based octabox used with mono lights.

Plan and use the minimal amount of stuff but backups for all.

01-03-2019, 05:15 AM - 1 Like   #17
Pentaxian
Wasp's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Pretoria
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 743
I couldn't help wondering how well a typical speedlight will handle being powered up for hours on end and being fired hundreds of times during that period. A quick web search revealed that overheating of flashes is indeed an issue. Here is an example:

burning out / melting your speedlights & flashes - Tangents

Taking 800 shots in a single day using speedlights could end in tears.

PS: In my part of the world, one can rent a dual studio flash setup (Profoto D1 Air 500 WS Twin Light Studio Kit) for about 50 USD per day.

Last edited by Wasp; 01-03-2019 at 06:51 AM. Reason: Fix my grammar
01-03-2019, 06:35 AM - 1 Like   #18
Pentaxian
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,494
It's a real case for making a positive choice on the RF60x Cooling Mode setting!
01-03-2019, 07:15 AM   #19
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Photos: Albums
Posts: 10,829
QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote


Thanks for that, you are echoing my inner thoughts in most of your comments (except the part about 'ditch the zooms' lol, I pretty much have only primes hehe). Part of the problem here is that I never intended to do school photography, I was/am a hobbiest shooter first which led to doing certain paid work to eventually being begged to do the school photos. So I'm going in with subpar set up, even I can see that. Hopefully I can wing it to a certain degree with less than ideal equipment, perhaps longer term I can address most of your valid points, for now perhaps we can focus on the feasible ones.

I have a KP and not a second K-1 as I couldn't afford two K-1's. On other jobs having a crop and a full sensor camera I actually find advantageous (more lenses to choose from and a different FoV with the same lens being used on different systems (such as turning a FA77 into a 'FA115' when on the KP (ha! yes I know that's not really what's happening, but you get my drift). It's just for this job having two different bodies is not ideal, I get that, but alas I think I will be stuck with that scenario unless I can pretty much swap my KP with a K-1 user locally and not lose out financially on that transaction...

I too am concerned about my lighting setup. Can you recommend at all what light sets might be suitable for a small job like this (I do mean small, 100kids in total, our current tog has done the entire shoot by lunch time easily)?
I'll be using the Gym Hall for the shoot itself (portrait ones, classes typically outside, perhaps inside if weather is really bad), but the hall can be very dim and dark, especially if I choose to not use the roof lights at all, hence why I need some kind of continuous light for the shoot (would use as key or fill light even), but I'm not sure what to really aim for. I read LED can be better, in terms of heat AND controlling the WB temp and are cooler in physical temperature. The LED wand I linked comes well recommended, in a strip soft box I was thinking would be sufficient, but if there is an alternative better choice to be had at around $140AUD then please I'm all ears!
I can't recommend anything in particular regarding studio lights, I haven't looked at lighting equipment for so long I have no idea what is good or bad now. I prefer box and cable to monolights, they take up less storage space and are easier to carry./
I do think though, that if you are planning on pursuing a hobby that involves having a home studio, that a plug in lighting kit will be a good investment in your hobby. When I was going through my various phases of photography I started with hot lights (blue floods in reflectors on cheap stands), moved from there to battery powered flash units and cheap umbrellas, and finally I wised up and bought a set of lights. Note that during this period I was not making money with my cameras, or at least not in any great amount, I just kept finding that applying the wrong equipment to what I was doing was very frustrating.

01-03-2019, 04:57 PM   #20
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
twilhelm's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Florida
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,223
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I can't recommend anything in particular regarding studio lights, I haven't looked at lighting equipment for so long I have no idea what is good or bad now. I prefer box and cable to monolights, they take up less storage space and are easier to carry./
I do think though, that if you are planning on pursuing a hobby that involves having a home studio, that a plug in lighting kit will be a good investment in your hobby. When I was going through my various phases of photography I started with hot lights (blue floods in reflectors on cheap stands), moved from there to battery powered flash units and cheap umbrellas, and finally I wised up and bought a set of lights. Note that during this period I was not making money with my cameras, or at least not in any great amount, I just kept finding that applying the wrong equipment to what I was doing was very frustrating.
Wheatfield, I had to add emphasis to this last line of yours.

It made me chuckle, I've had boxes of equipment and etc. because I was trying to use the wrong thing for the job, whether because I didn't know any better, or more likely, I was trying to be cheap.

When it's the wrong thing for the job, there's nothing that makes it not frustrating.
01-03-2019, 06:55 PM   #21
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Photos: Albums
Posts: 10,829
QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
I couldn't help wondering how well a typical speedlight will handle being powered up for hours on end and being fired hundreds of times during that period. A quick web search revealed that overheating of flashes is indeed an issue. Here is an example:

burning out / melting your speedlights & flashes - Tangents

Taking 800 shots in a single day using speedlights could end in tears.

PS: In my part of the world, one can rent a dual studio flash setup (Profoto D1 Air 500 WS Twin Light Studio Kit) for about 50 USD per day.
I expect that as long as one is using AA batteries to power the units the odds of overheating are pretty slim. In your link, the guy is using a Quantum pack. I recall they shunt enough juice into the flash to give virtually instant recycle times.
For a while my Metz 60 CT2 did double duty as my studio flash. I bought a twin head and ran both off the same power pack. It worked well enough but it was slow, something like 4 seconds to cycle. It ran slow enough that nothing ever got all that warm.
But yes, start pushing the recycle times with a steroid monster power pack and the life of the equipment will probably be quite short.
01-04-2019, 03:28 PM   #22
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Dec 2017
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 315
I may have skimmed too fast to see an answer, but with respect to an earlier question -- a flash meter may be the fastest way to quickly discover the flash power setting needed for a replacement flash that yields about the same illuminance as the flash that is being replaced. Photographic consistency will somewhat depend on how well the two flashes have matched color temperatures and color temperature tracking with power setting.

I have a Minolta Flashmeter IV from ca. 1990 with many features that drove up its then price, but with modern tech significantly lower cost should be possible for basic measurements. The lowest price Sekonic that I noticed from a quick look at B&H's website is much less in constant dollars than the Minolta's price was.
01-04-2019, 05:26 PM   #23
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
BruceBanner's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Posts: 2,887
Original Poster
Thanks everyone for the comments, keep 'em coming, I really appreciate all the advice. Much of the problem for me right now is committing further revenue to the venture, I kinda want to put an additional cap of $300AUD or so for any more equipment (this time round). I still have other expenses to consider in all of this...

I shall now try and get round to answering some of the questions and points raised;

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
The idea of using two RF60x flashes together as the main and hair / fill lights is good .... Removing the extra V6II as a receiver reduces complexity and frees it as a backup Tx, also a good idea.

Regarding your softbox ..... The "large umbrella companies" do have an advantage in that the subject is flooded with wide lighting, and so small positioning innacuracies and subject movements don't matter. I know, working with a 60x60cm softbox and kids, just how exact the subject placement and head / shoulder angles need to be in order to keep the light nicely falling as you want.

So really you want large softboxes or umbrellas, and filling those evenly with a single hotshoe flash is difficult. I'd try to put your Magmod dome onto the flash inside the softbox to see if that softens and spreads the light better. For large diffusers you may be looking at doubling up the flashes to get a wide enough spread.

Responding to your last post now ..... It's not about whether there is any ambient light or not, it's about whether your exposure settings will actually record any of it or not. If you shoot at 1/200th and F8, ISO 400-800, I think you'll be needing rather powerful LEDs to make much impact. I'm not experienced with LEDs, so feel free to ignore me here (you have done before! LOL) , but I honestly think for this task you should stick to flash lights only, and just wipe out any ambient light for simplicities sake ..... And we haven't even thought about white balance and colour issues yet.
Interesting to hear you suggest that I place a magmod boob into a softbox to assist with the light spread. I was recently mucking about with some beer product shots (not paid, just for me), and I was doing the kinda 'wine glass' shot approach where you have the strip soft box and flash behind the product and also a flash in front (essentially sandwiching the subject), kinda like this video here;

Anyway, during the course of the shoot I was finding my light coming from the softbox to be very uneven. It mattered not how far away I moved the softbox, changed power settings from either camera or flash unit, change aperture, change where the flash itself was pointing inside the softbox etc, all the shots showed an uneven lighting from the softbox. Darker in certain corners or middle, lighter in other parts. This of course using a maggel over the flash head as I was going for a particular matching colour. I was about to give up but thought 'what the heck' and threw on a magboob onto the maggel+RF60x inside the softbox then tried again. Wow... perfect even lighting which eventually allowed me to take these two shots (both with fairly minimal PP);





So I won't forget this little trick and indeed may apply it on the day for a more flattering light from whatever softbox I aim to get. In fact I still need help with this aspect... I'm clueless as to what softbox to actually grab? I'm guessing a very large octagon type one, one that will fit two speedlights, but I'm confused over some suggesting umbrella's only?

And it may appear like I ignore advice, but that's not always the case I assure you, I find everyone's comments and particularly yours in relation to this specific subject to being very helpful!

White balance and colour wise, I have a Spyder cube and grey cards to assist with the initial setting up of the shots (I've not actually done/used this before so will want to have some practice over the coming weeks for this, might make another post about it! ), not going to go hardcore with the colours however (no passport colour-checker), in fact I'll likely ruin it all anyway with some film simulation pp tool . I'll be shooting RAW and have my monitor calibrated, I think it'll be enough for this small gig, it's not going to overly matter how absolutely accurate all the colours will be for the shoot.

My motivation for contemplating a LED wand stems from the concern of the overhead lighting being on and interfering with the shoot. However, I think having the lights on in the gym hall and not having some dimly lit room with a single light saber.. sorry... I mean LED wand will be less intimidating

I haven't had much practice in 'wiping out ambient light' but I guess you're just upping the shutter speed to combat this? When in X mode this is rather difficult with fewer shutter speed choices, you have to delve into the settings to change the shutter speed... hmm... ISO can assist to I guess, I mean if I'm going into the shoot thinking ISO 400, and I need to cut more ambient light out (the ceiling lights) then I can drop to ISO 200 or even 100? Doubtful as I'll be shooting at F4ish... I'll definitely be making a weekend trip to the school in the near future to do some testing I think for sure. Half my problem is my own house is so small I can't easily replicate an environment like what I will be facing on the day...

There is a used RF60x on eBay now that is ending soon, I think I'll just grab that to be safe.


QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
Bruce,

My evolving into doing school portraits was similar to what you are doing. I started out in the days of film shooting stock photography with some assignments. That evolved into doing primarily "run and gun" shooting events and then doing a lot of family vacation beach portraiture (I live in Florida). At the time, my wife was taking classes at the college and got to know several teachers at another school. They were very unhappy with the company doing their portraits, and the cost had been going up yearly. With some pressure from the wife (I wasn't sure I really wanted to do it) I agreed to take over the school portraits.

I didn't want to invest a large amount of money, (we were raising 5 children at the time) but I realized my flash units with AA batteries could be my weakest link and most likely point of failure at the most in-opportune time. At the time, I think I spent in the neighborhood of $600 for lights, backdrops, trigger and all the stands I needed. Prices have gone up a bit since then, but I never had a lighting issue. Here's a link to a similar light kit to what I have.

Something like this has enough power that I didn't worry about leaving a couple of overhead lights on to work by and keep whatever room they gave me light enough to work. The strobes overpowered the overhead fluorescent lights.

I did enjoy doing the work for the 5 years I did it. Good luck and enjoy!
Thanks! $100+ shipping to oz for those fellas, and if experience is anything to go by finding the equivalent locally here will be twice the price hehe. I really think I'll probably be stuck with using speedlights for the day at this point in time. It's also about the other kinda photography I do, such as location shoots and office shots, speedlights are portable, I have no space for a home studio set up so right now the investment of studio lights seems to be warranted perhaps only for this coming shoot, can I justify that?


QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
I couldn't help wondering how well a typical speedlight will handle being powered up for hours on end and being fired hundreds of times during that period. A quick web search revealed that overheating of flashes is indeed an issue. Here is an example:

burning out / melting your speedlights & flashes - Tangents

Taking 800 shots in a single day using speedlights could end in tears.

PS: In my part of the world, one can rent a dual studio flash setup (Profoto D1 Air 500 WS Twin Light Studio Kit) for about 50 USD per day.
Your part of the world is better than my part of the world

That overheating thing tho is to do with connecting power thingys that absolutely rek speedlights, and as he also points out firing with the flash pointing behind (in PTTL mode, will mean it fires full pelt often).

This isn't a running and gunning affair, I'll want flash power settings to be relatively low to allow fast recycle times so that I might get 4-5 shots of a kid in 3-4 secs etc. (and then there will always be a short break between kid shots, reviewing the shot and swapping the kid etc, should be some flash down time).


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
It's a real case for making a positive choice on the RF60x Cooling Mode setting!
Ooooh... didn't know about this mode, can you expand?


QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Keep it simple. A couple of plain vanilla Godox monolights would cost less than an AD200 and you can run all day without concern for batteries and recycle time. Put them with a pair of inexpensive and versatile convertible umbrellas on your light stands. Way cheaper and easier to manage than soft boxes.

Consider a roll of 53" white seamless paper or 3 yds of 60" micro fleece and an inexpensive background support instead of the pop up which will show wrinkles and be hard to hang flat. Once you set your exposure and light power, its off to the races. Put one at half power and the other at a quarter up at 45's and you've got a very forgiving, soft, diffuse 2:1 commercial portrait ratio. Put a flash up for rim if you wish, just need a light stand.

I'm in the US so I favor Paul C Buff products, especially my Einsteins for freezing action with dancers. But I lived on a couple of 320 W/S AB800's doing these for years. These shoots would go for 4 hours + for four days, maybe 1,200 frames a day. Zero battery management worries. Just tape down the cords with kids around. Same with light stands, should have sand bags on. A business liability policy isn't a bad idea.

Not against speed lights, have a bag of five, routinely use for head shot sessions. Six staff in a dentist office or the typical commercial or theatrical head shot, no problem. Same umbrellas or umbrella based octabox used with mono lights.

Plan and use the minimal amount of stuff but backups for all.
This is where my limit of understanding hits. I have no experience of using umbrellas, why might they be preferred over softboxes? If I choose to invest in some Godox vanilla monolights (what's a monolight anyway, why are they called that, do they differ from some other nonmono lights?) how am I triggering them? Need the XproP trigger or more V6ii's?

I've heard of Alien Bee's before, a little outside my budget for now I think but definitely a future consideration. How do you get them working with Pentax? (had a look at your work, bravo, excellent stuff indeed, way beyond my pay grade )

I am insured, so there is that. I have yet to do sandbags but I have used tent pegs for outdoor locations for my lightstands, so yeah sandbags will be a must for sure.

Thanks again for your comments.


QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I can't recommend anything in particular regarding studio lights, I haven't looked at lighting equipment for so long I have no idea what is good or bad now. I prefer box and cable to monolights, they take up less storage space and are easier to carry./
I do think though, that if you are planning on pursuing a hobby that involves having a home studio, that a plug in lighting kit will be a good investment in your hobby. When I was going through my various phases of photography I started with hot lights (blue floods in reflectors on cheap stands), moved from there to battery powered flash units and cheap umbrellas, and finally I wised up and bought a set of lights. Note that during this period I was not making money with my cameras, or at least not in any great amount, I just kept finding that applying the wrong equipment to what I was doing was very frustrating.
Ok so you got me here, what's a 'box and cable' vs monolight?

My photography extends to doing location shoots as well as some low level studio stuff (like what I linked above) and I hope to also do some office headshot stuff, so up till now the intensity of the shoot hasn't been past the speedlight necessity. Really it's the 'entire morning' intensity of shooting that worries me, speedlights just chewing through AA's like it's no tomorrow... :/


QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I expect that as long as one is using AA batteries to power the units the odds of overheating are pretty slim. In your link, the guy is using a Quantum pack. I recall they shunt enough juice into the flash to give virtually instant recycle times.
For a while my Metz 60 CT2 did double duty as my studio flash. I bought a twin head and ran both off the same power pack. It worked well enough but it was slow, something like 4 seconds to cycle. It ran slow enough that nothing ever got all that warm.
But yes, start pushing the recycle times with a steroid monster power pack and the life of the equipment will probably be quite short.
Yeah I too realised this was the case, I think some people almost like to boast how they shoot so much that the gear can't keep up, and that speedlights are 'consumerable' products lol, hardcore ahahah

01-05-2019, 04:38 AM   #24
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
BruceBanner's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Posts: 2,887
Original Poster
So I have the option of picking up another RF60x unit soon, as well as scoring two Cactus EP-1 Battery packs (for a buy one get one free deal)...

I just feel my funds are not going to stretch far enough for an entire new A/C driven studio light set up, and having already committed 2x v6ii and 1x RF60x, it's probably advisable to grab a second RF60x and two battery packs to boot...

One question left then really... softbox?

I will want a large octagon softbox I imagine, one that can even take both speedlights (and the brackets responsible for allowing that...)

Currently I own this thing;



But really I'm imagining this won't work for a proper softbox? It won't have a zip or umbrella holder? It'll be a large opening at the rear, and I'll need some gizmo that will allow for 1-2 speedlights to be mounted at the rear? I'll be wanting one with a grid to control spill light as well.
What do people use?

EDIT: So a nice chap on Pentaxian's FB group helped me with softboxes. I understand now that if using a speedlight you kinda want to use those reflective silver kinda umbrella ones, as you really need to point the speedlight back into the softbox and bounce off them rather than insert from the rear like you would a proper studio light.

Something like this should do the job nicely; https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/GODOX-120cm-Octagon-Umbrella-Softbox-With-Grid-F...BVKTYGQiHJhbII

So...

I now have a second RF60x on it's way, 2x Cactus EP-1 battery packs, a large softbox, a backdrop... hmm... what else do I need...

Last edited by BruceBanner; 01-05-2019 at 02:59 PM.
01-05-2019, 10:06 PM   #25
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Photos: Albums
Posts: 10,829
QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote


Ok so you got me here, what's a 'box and cable' vs monolight?

My photography extends to doing location shoots as well as some low level studio stuff (like what I linked above) and I hope to also do some office headshot stuff, so up till now the intensity of the shoot hasn't been past the speedlight necessity. Really it's the 'entire morning' intensity of shooting that worries me, speedlights just chewing through AA's like it's no tomorrow... :/
A box and cable kit is a single power pack with several heads attached to it by electrical cables. My light kit is an older Photogenic Photomaster 800ws power pack and 4 heads. The pack and heads fit into a well padded midsized Samsonite suitcase. The advantage of this type of kit is size and weight. The disadvantage is lack of redundancy. One needs to have more than one power pack in case of failure.
The advantage of monolights is that if one power pack blows up you only lose that head.
01-06-2019, 06:02 PM   #26
Pentaxian
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,494
As always with Bruce's threads there a huge amount of stuff going on all at once! I'll just try and hone in on a few points to tidy up some things that have been mentioned ....


The point I made earlier about the large umbrellas used by professional school photographers was about the very wide light spread they create. This will often be from two umbrellas at 45 degrees each side, giving a wash of light and little contrast or shape. But the benefit to the photographer is that they cover a big area, so there is no need for precision with subject placement, nor exact angles needed for the bodies or faces, useful for kids who are all different shapes and sizes, and for the sibling or group shots. Bruce, your gridded softbox will be very different in this respect, as its light spread will be far more contained and directional. You are likely to need to re-position either the softbox or the kids many times I feel, as the size or angle of your subjects changes continuously. Yes, the quality of light from that softbox is going to be nice and directional, but just bear in mind the need for quite accurate placement and adjustments as you go.


I think you are overcomplicating it to be worrying about colour calibrations, at least in relation to your actual shoot at the school. When I wrote about colour temperature issues I was thinking about any colour casts that might be introduced by the overhead lights you referred to, and that it would introduce mixed colour temperatures onto the subjects, likely to lead to processing nightmares! ..... and frankly, this colour cast is very unlikely to be nice! I am sure that most professionals would "wipe out" any artificial lighting present inside a school with their exposure settings, as it is hardly going to be any help or use to the images. From what you have said about the overhead lights at your school that sounds like its the case for you also, so I can't understand why you would be at all interested in trying to record any of that ambient light ... ? If you were going to try and do that, then you're likely to need an excessively wide aperture and an excessively high ISO, as you will not want longer exposures. You will want good light generally to focus with, but apart from that I don't see how it is any use to your images ....


The RF60x "Cooling Mode" is a preference option in the menu, and it controls the recycling behaviour of the flash. It is certainly applicable to the sort of high intensity use you will be putting the flash through. When On, the mode will regulate the recycling time to ensure the flash does not overheat by making you wait longer between shots if the temperature is going up. When Off, the mode allows quick recycling but the temperature can increase, risking a cut-out and not being able to use the flash for 10-15 minutes while it cools. Considering the application you are planning, then the On setting seems a logical choice. You can reduce the recycling times by increasing the ISO as I suggested earlier. The Cooling mode is detailed on Page 44 of the Manual.


You might consider also the "Quick Flash" setting on the RF60x, on Page 47, which when On allows quicker sequences of flashes, but potentially at lower power output than you have set. When Off then the flash will wait until it is fully charged for the power setting you have before firing. For this one, then logically I would choose Off, because you will not want changes in the flash outputs. ..... your best approach is probably to pace things out, leaving time between shots, in order to prevent overheating or misfires. I don't think your idea of rapid bursts of shots is going to work in this scenario or with this equipment. If you can set things up so that you're only using a maximum of 1/4 power on each flash, that will help a lot. Yes, 800 or so shots in one shoot with hotshoe type flashes is pushing things, but so long as you pace it out to allow for their performance limits, then it should be doable.

Last edited by mcgregni; 01-06-2019 at 06:08 PM.
01-11-2019, 12:28 AM   #27
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
BruceBanner's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Posts: 2,887
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
A box and cable kit is a single power pack with several heads attached to it by electrical cables. My light kit is an older Photogenic Photomaster 800ws power pack and 4 heads. The pack and heads fit into a well padded midsized Samsonite suitcase. The advantage of this type of kit is size and weight. The disadvantage is lack of redundancy. One needs to have more than one power pack in case of failure.
The advantage of monolights is that if one power pack blows up you only lose that head.
Thanks for that.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
As always with Bruce's threads there a huge amount of stuff going on all at once! I'll just try and hone in on a few points to tidy up some things that have been mentioned ....
Hehe Appreciated


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
The point I made earlier about the large umbrellas used by professional school photographers was about the very wide light spread they create. This will often be from two umbrellas at 45 degrees each side, giving a wash of light and little contrast or shape. But the benefit to the photographer is that they cover a big area, so there is no need for precision with subject placement, nor exact angles needed for the bodies or faces, useful for kids who are all different shapes and sizes, and for the sibling or group shots. Bruce, your gridded softbox will be very different in this respect, as its light spread will be far more contained and directional. You are likely to need to re-position either the softbox or the kids many times I feel, as the size or angle of your subjects changes continuously. Yes, the quality of light from that softbox is going to be nice and directional, but just bear in mind the need for quite accurate placement and adjustments as you go.
Ah, yeh I understand what you're saying now. I might grab some umbrella's too then. Do you have any recommendations in this respect?
FWIW, I wasn't planning on using a grid necessarily, it's just I'm in the market for a proper softbox anyway, and for adult portraits etc I think I would value the grid. I understand more what a grid can and cannot do as I quite often use the maggrid to control the light spill for other stuff. I just didn't want to spend x on a softbox if I could spend y on another and get a grid to go with it.

Having said all that, I shall be taping the gym floor on the day, either placing a chair on that spot or have the child standing on it, and same goes for the light stand/s (in case they get knocked out of position accidentally). I'll have my assistant (wife or daughter) to get things set up looking the way I want initially, fingers crossed, throughout the day where people sit/stand and the way the light falls of them should not vary too much (this is quite important to me from an ease of PP process).
I haven't done a test run yet, but the backdrop is now making it's way to me as we speak, I intend to take my daughter and son (whom are differing heights) and figure out all that stuff at the actual location (can easily get a key to the school on the weekend for a trial run). It might be that I prioritise the head to being in roughly the same space, therefore I will need to figure out if I am boosting the kindy class up higher, or bringing the Year 6's down (perhaps year 6's sit, kindy's stand etc). The way I look at it, the less I touch the light (and camera) positioning throughout all the class shoots, the less work I may have to do. A quick step up board or something for some short arses might go a long way to solve PP issues



QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I think you are overcomplicating it to be worrying about colour calibrations, at least in relation to your actual shoot at the school. When I wrote about colour temperature issues I was thinking about any colour casts that might be introduced by the overhead lights you referred to, and that it would introduce mixed colour temperatures onto the subjects, likely to lead to processing nightmares! ..... and frankly, this colour cast is very unlikely to be nice! I am sure that most professionals would "wipe out" any artificial lighting present inside a school with their exposure settings, as it is hardly going to be any help or use to the images. From what you have said about the overhead lights at your school that sounds like its the case for you also, so I can't understand why you would be at all interested in trying to record any of that ambient light ... ? If you were going to try and do that, then you're likely to need an excessively wide aperture and an excessively high ISO, as you will not want longer exposures. You will want good light generally to focus with, but apart from that I don't see how it is any use to your images ....
Ah.. ok, I see. Yes.. sorry, I thought you meant colour in terms of accurate reproduction from using something like ColorChecker.

Yeah, the ambient light of the ceiling lights mixing with the studio lights and producing uneven skin lighting concerns me. My worry is that I have to increase the shutter speed pass 1/200 (which null-voids the 'X' mode). Or I have to lower the ISO, increase the flash power, which then messes with the ability to take frequent flash shots due to recycle time and/or overheating (or not being able to use the Cooling Mode).

I'll admit, I'm just not that experienced a studio shooter to know if this will be a problem. Off the top of my head I'd like to use settings somewhere along the lines of F4, ISO 400, 1/200, and get good pleasing studio only lighting with no ambience coming in, with decent recycling times without worrying about running into overheating issues.
My fear is that to cut out ambient light altogether it will mean strong high powered flash use... uh oh... (for the speedlight only studio guy).

This is why I was thinking about the LED wand. I could place it in the single strip box I have, choose it's colour temp and strength/output and not actually put on any ceiling lights at all.

The one time I have had mixed lighting on the subject was this shot, and I kinda got away with it, but it was a lesson nonetheless...



This is a shot where we have daylight on our right (her left, you can see it clearly on her left arm), some flash light (cool) and a continuous tungsten warm light on our left (her right). Mixed indeed.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
The RF60x "Cooling Mode" is a preference option in the menu, and it controls the recycling behaviour of the flash. It is certainly applicable to the sort of high intensity use you will be putting the flash through. When On, the mode will regulate the recycling time to ensure the flash does not overheat by making you wait longer between shots if the temperature is going up. When Off, the mode allows quick recycling but the temperature can increase, risking a cut-out and not being able to use the flash for 10-15 minutes while it cools. Considering the application you are planning, then the On setting seems a logical choice. You can reduce the recycling times by increasing the ISO as I suggested earlier. The Cooling mode is detailed on Page 44 of the Manual.
Thank you for that. Being Australia and the shoot occurring during the Summer/Spring months, the ambient temperature will be high, I think activating the Cooling Mode is very sensible. Now I feel I must try and find that fine line of firing enough shots quickly enough (5-6 shots per kid in 3-4 secs) and have it happy at doing that within the cooling mode parameters.


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
You might consider also the "Quick Flash" setting on the RF60x, on Page 47, which when On allows quicker sequences of flashes, but potentially at lower power output than you have set. When Off then the flash will wait until it is fully charged for the power setting you have before firing. For this one, then logically I would choose Off, because you will not want changes in the flash outputs. ..... your best approach is probably to pace things out, leaving time between shots, in order to prevent overheating or misfires. I don't think your idea of rapid bursts of shots is going to work in this scenario or with this equipment. If you can set things up so that you're only using a maximum of 1/4 power on each flash, that will help a lot. Yes, 800 or so shots in one shoot with hotshoe type flashes is pushing things, but so long as you pace it out to allow for their performance limits, then it should be doable.
Yeah, the Quick Flash sounds like something I should probably avoid in this instance. I really didn't know it was such a versatile flash, I mean pre XproP era it seemed us Pentaxians had little choice for OCF, so I just grabbed the V6's and 60x's to start my learning process (as unfortunately I rarely learn any other way than by doing). May I ask... is it possible to program RF60x's to have certain User Mode Profiles (akin to a User Mode dial on a camera)? I could see a lot of merit in using a Quick Flash mode in PTTL situation for example in a time and place where I knew I was just going to shoot very intensely for a few minutes and then nothing at all afterwards, but then also reserving a 'slot' for a quick 'long session' mode like this impending job where the Cooling Mode was activated inconjuction with Manual mode (and not PTTL)? Is that a Cactus RF60x thing? Storing parameters?

Once again I appreciate your replies immensely, you need a paypal donation link
5 Days Ago   #28
Pentaxian
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,494
QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Yeah, the ambient light of the ceiling lights mixing with the studio lights and producing uneven skin lighting concerns me. My worry is that I have to increase the shutter speed pass 1/200 (which null-voids the 'X' mode). Or I have to lower the ISO, increase the flash power, which then messes with the ability to take frequent flash shots due to recycle time and/or overheating
I think it would be very rare to have to go to HSS extents to remove most or all ambient light in school buildings. Surely these overhead lights are not that bight? Considering you can work at 1/200th it should be easy to remove any impact from ambient lighting. You only need enough light to focus well with. Also daylight coming through windows from outside could help with this, but so long as its not shining directly onto your working area then it would not have much effect.

Did you not see my recent thread showing ambient and flash exposure mixing? Here, the only impact from the ambient light was the highlights on the walls .... the rest of the room was in shadow and had no effect on the colours or flash exposure levels on the foreground and subjects..... take a look ..... Indoor Exposure Mixing - PentaxForums.com

I had the room lights on for that as well, right overhead, and as you can see without the flash they amounted to nothing. Mind you I was shooting at F8, ISO400.

---------- Post added 12-01-19 at 16:24 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Off the top of my head I'd like to use settings somewhere along the lines of F4, ISO 400, 1/200,
What did I say about you not taking advice? I thought the advice was to use F8 at least ..... why do you want to use F4? I'm just wondering because even at home when it doesn't really matter too much I am still using F8 to get my kids fully focused and good Depth of Field over the whole head. I'm usually shooting at around 90-105mm with that. I wonder what others think also? I just worry that F4 is risking it in terms of nailing focus on eyes and getting the whole subject sharp, considering the working environment and subject types for your school shoot.

---------- Post added 12-01-19 at 16:28 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
is it possible to program RF60x's to have certain User Mode Profiles (akin to a User Mode dial on a camera)?
No, you just set the preferences you need in the menu each time depending on the circumstances.

---------- Post added 12-01-19 at 16:33 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
My fear is that to cut out ambient light altogether it will mean strong high powered flash use... uh oh... (for the speedlight only studio guy).
Remember that ambient light levels have no impact on the flash output or the flash controlling exposure settings (up to and including the max sync speed). It makes absolutely no difference to your flash exposure and power settings whether you shoot in pitch black or with bright lights. Flash exposure is determined by Distance, ISO, Aperture, and the flash head zoom setting. Those are the only 4 things that will affect your flash performance and recycling. The level of the indoor lighting means nothing.

If you don't think that F8, ISO400 and 1/200th is going to remove the indoor lighting enough, then can you not just go into the room one day, have the camera pre-set to those settings and take a quick shot into the room (no flash needed for this) ..... that will show you once and for all and instantly how much ambient light you will be recording. I'll be surprised if you see much on the LCD screen at all ......

And if you're worrying about flash recycling because you've had to stop down or lower the ISO (both good things actually!), then you'll have to move the flashes closer in order to reduce the power setting ... closer flashes is also a good thing generally! Just have plenty of spare batteries ready, (you've got the power pack which will help), and be prepared to pause between kids to ensure that there's no excessive delays caused by the cooling mode waiting too much between shots.

---------- Post added 12-01-19 at 16:43 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Once again I appreciate your replies immensely, you need a paypal donation link
Great idea! I really do need a K1 fund and its not going well at all so far .....

Last edited by mcgregni; 5 Days Ago at 09:46 AM.
5 Days Ago   #29
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
BruceBanner's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Posts: 2,887
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I think it would be very rare to have to go to HSS extents to remove most or all ambient light in school buildings. Surely these overhead lights are not that bight? Considering you can work at 1/200th it should be easy to remove any impact from ambient lighting. You only need enough light to focus well with. Also daylight coming through windows from outside could help with this, but so long as its not shining directly onto your working area then it would not have much effect.

Did you not see my recent thread showing ambient and flash exposure mixing? Here, the only impact from the ambient light was the highlights on the walls .... the rest of the room was in shadow and had no effect on the colours or flash exposure levels on the foreground and subjects..... take a look ..... Indoor Exposure Mixing - PentaxForums.com

I had the room lights on for that as well, right overhead, and as you can see without the flash they amounted to nothing. Mind you I was shooting at F8, ISO400.[COLOR=silver]
Cool! Nah I don't think I saw that thread before, will defo check it out, cheers.





QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
What did I say about you not taking advice? I thought the advice was to use F8 at least ..... why do you want to use F4? I'm just wondering because even at home when it doesn't really matter too much I am still using F8 to get my kids fully focused and good Depth of Field over the whole head. I'm usually shooting at around 90-105mm with that. I wonder what others think also? I just worry that F4 is risking it in terms of nailing focus on eyes and getting the whole subject sharp, considering the working environment and subject types for your school shoot.[COLOR=silver]


Ach.. I guess it's hard to say what F number I will be at, f8 would be fine if shooting quite close to the subject. I haven't entirely decided on my distance to subject and which lens to use yet. I think I want to capture more than just head and shoulders, more like upper stomach to head etc, we'll see. What I do want is the background to have a decent amount of bokeh, not in focus itself.

This shot here at f1.8;


But then I'm using the 77 and I'm quite a bit away back from them, but as you can see f1.8 is actually ok here, eyes, ears and hair and body all in focus, from f1.8.

Then again this shot here is also same lens same aperture of 1.8;


Completely different story, only the eyes are in focus here, not even the ears, certainly can't be trying to nail focus that hard all day long, but the shot itself is also too close in, like I said above for the school shots I'll (likely) be shooting portrait orientation and want some stomach/chest in the shot, enough to see the school uniform and crest etc. Another thing about focusing, I'll be sticking with Face Detection in Live View for most of the shots, it's actually a highly underrated mode. Others here have chimed in to say it's actually 'eye detection' mode, which indeed seems to be accurate, more often than not the shots taken using that mode prioritise the eye. The above close up shot of my daughter at f1.8 was taken using that mode. I have seen the mode struggle when sunglasses are worn
But I think in portrait orientation of the K-1 camera can actually result in the FD mode having a harder time recognising the face. It doesn't seem to find it as easily. So it maybe that I opt to shoot in landscape orientation and deal with cropping to a portrait in PP. This then will also once again dictate the aperture settings as I will be at different distances if having to settle for landscape orientation.

F8 to me is what I'd be using just when doing a portrait shot like the close up one above, for perhaps a bloke where I want the entire head in focus, capturing every wrinkle, every hair and facial follicle lol.

I haven't decided what lens to use yet, the FA43 or FA77. I do know that with the sibling shots I will need to be more stopped down than the solo shots, but I'm also striving for a very consistent look. I don't really want to be messing with the aperture during the shoot. I don't want one solo shot and sibling shots to have a differing look to the bokeh, preferably I'd like them to look identical, the only difference is whether the shot has one or two kids in it.

I'm quite happy with the paid work I did recently for a 40th. These were outdoor 'studio' shots in the sense I deliberately had the sun behind them (for the hair lights and so they wouldn't need the sunnies or hats) but needed two off camera (bare) flashes to the left and right of me to assist with removing the shadows. Here's a few examples with the lens and aperture taken given, most of these are not cropped much at all, and all of them using Face Detection mode in LV;

FA43@1.9


FA43@3.2


FA77@2.2


FA77@2.2


FA77@3.2


FA77@3.2


FA43@4.5


As you can see, I tend not to visit the land of F4 very much, let alone F8! ahah, but it all differs depending on lens and how close to the subject you're getting to. I've seen F8 shots that look like F2.8!

My aim is to have the subject in focus, but have a relatively narrow DoF so that the backdrop some meter or more behind them is quite out of focus. I look forward to posting some test sample shots in the coming weeks.


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
No, you just set the preferences you need in the menu each time depending on the circumstances.[COLOR=silver]
That's a pity.



QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Remember that ambient light levels have no impact on the flash output or the flash controlling exposure settings (up to and including the max sync speed). It makes absolutely no difference to your flash exposure and power settings whether you shoot in pitch black or with bright lights. Flash exposure is determined by Distance, ISO, Aperture, and the flash head zoom setting. Those are the only 4 things that will affect your flash performance and recycling. The level of the indoor lighting means nothing.

If you don't think that F8, ISO400 and 1/200th is going to remove the indoor lighting enough, then can you not just go into the room one day, have the camera pre-set to those settings and take a quick shot into the room (no flash needed for this) ..... that will show you once and for all and instantly how much ambient light you will be recording. I'll be surprised if you see much on the LCD screen at all ......

And if you're worrying about flash recycling because you've had to stop down or lower the ISO (both good things actually!), then you'll have to move the flashes closer in order to reduce the power setting ... closer flashes is also a good thing generally! Just have plenty of spare batteries ready, (you've got the power pack which will help), and be prepared to pause between kids to ensure that there's no excessive delays caused by the cooling mode waiting too much between shots.[COLOR=silver]
Good idea!



QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Great idea! I really do need a K1 fund and its not going well at all so far .....
Ha!
4 Days Ago   #30
Pentaxian
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,494
I didn't think that bokeh came into school photographs, but I suppose some blurring of the background may look nice. Maybe F4 will be fine, perhaps some people experienced at school photo shoots can add something here .... ?? I am just a bit concerned that F4 indoors might be pushing it for security of focus and DOF under the lighting conditions and considering the circumstances. In any case, if you do decide to go for F4 and need to cut down ambient light, then you can just reduce ISO to compensate .... as I said earlier you may need to have the flashes close to the subjects to reduce the power demands.


Can your camera tolerate such an extended amount of use in Live View? I thought that overheating was a risk .... its not something I use much, and certainly not for 800 or so shots. Just wondering if you have tried this or whether it is a concern on a K1? I guess it will be flicking into and out of LV between subjects, allowing cooling ....


I think its probably over to you now to put this all into practice.... I hope your testing goes well and of course good luck for the actual shoot, and of course I would recommend getting as much practice beforehand in the location all set up using your kids as models, to be sure all your settings are producing the desired consistent and reliable exposures. Good luck!
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
advice, battery, day, exposure, f4, f8, flash, gear, head, light, lighting, lights, mode, photo studio, rf60x, school, settings, shots, softbox, strobist, studio, subject
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What would you choose.... for your minimalist photo equipment list ? lesmore49 General Talk 44 08-29-2018 11:26 PM
School Studio Shoots Equipment BruceBanner Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 27 04-28-2018 02:52 AM
School Xmas party - thoughts about equipment tbirdas Pentax DSLR Discussion 14 12-22-2010 05:20 AM
Suggestion Equipment Repair / Tech Specialist list monochrome Site Suggestions and Help 8 04-03-2009 07:42 PM
I tried new school... and decided on old school dugrant153 Photographic Technique 16 11-10-2008 10:03 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:18 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top