Lighting for shooting reference
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  1. #1
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    Lighting for shooting reference

    Hi everyone
    I'm having a hard time figuring out what kind of light setup I should get for shooting reference.

    I'm worried that single umbrella kits are too diffuse and that a floodlight will blow out the halftones. I guess I can use light bulbs without either but the light might get glare in my camera lens or bounce randomly throughout my room. The 3-light kits (key/back/fill) seems excessive since I'm a (poor) student with a small bedroom.

    I was thinking of getting this http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000GX484U/...I1PC8CU7UMWGWK

    What kind of lighting would be a good starting point?

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  2. #2
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    A silver umbrella produces harder light than a white one.

    The most valuable part of that kit you linked to, however, is the stand. The umbrella isn't necessary, you can improvise a diffuser from any piece of white cardboard. But the stand allows you to place the light at varying height. (The light in that kit is a simple fluorescent bulb, you can get those anywhere).

    You might also want to make a simple snoot out of black paper, to make a cheap spotlight.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyV View Post
    . The 3-light kits (key/back/fill) seems excessive since I'm a (poor) student with a small bedroom.
    You don't need three lights/strobes anyways. That's one of the most annyoing things I find when I search for portrait refs on the net; photographers tend to blow the living shit out of their subjects with lights, to the point where there are no real shadows and everything is incredibly flat.
    Absolutely useless as reference.
    I'm still searching for a website with nice single-lightsource portraits. With hard light preferably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    I'm still searching for a website with nice single-lightsource portraits. With hard light preferably.
    Anything decent turn up worth sharing?

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post
    Anything decent turn up worth sharing?
    Nope, I was hoping for someone else to come in with an awesome link :/

    I generally find that searching for portraits in Black and White (on google or dA) tends to give results with better/simpler light setups, but then you're missing colour of course.

    A good idea is to use screencaps from movies, they usually have simple light setups, plus you get costumes etc. and a larger variety of possible shots to work from. Browsing through the "photos" tab in IMDB is often a good idea- the posters are usually hopelessly lighted or just manipulated into oblivion, but the standard stills from the films tend to be usable.

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  6. #6
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    I was looking up what other artists use, and a spotlight seems more suitable for shooting art references and setting up a still life.
    Now I'm thinking that this would be ideal http://www.ebay.com/itm/Premium-10-W...item3cbe639f02

    Do you think a light with barn doors and reflector would be more useful than the umbrella kit?

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  7. #7
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    I have little experience with artificial light sources, so take this with a grain of salt, but I'd say yes. Umbrellas, even silver ones, still give relatively soft light compared to a spotlight and generally hard(er) light is what you're going for. Nothing prevents you from putting a normal (as in: white/ translucent) umrella in front of that spotlight and softening the light that way should you need to.

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