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Re: My first shoot [Re: Jim Garvie] #8461
05/24/07 01:52 PM
05/24/07 01:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Washington
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Dee Dee Offline OP
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Dee Dee  Offline OP
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Hmmm reading this makes me realize I am missing some basics. That is the problem I have learning this stuff, I have read a bunch of books from the library and am reading more now but they all start as though you already know this stuff. I really need a book of the very basics that explains the simplest of things but haven't been able to find a book like that. I am definitely learning but missing a lot as I go along since I don't understand it all.

Right, no I am not using available light, I am using 2 AB800's with umbrellas. I would like to use the flash meter to help me meter each dog set up. As it is, I have to take a test one, I do check the histogram, then I fiddle with the lights or the settings on the camera (again I never know what is best I just fly blindly) and take another shot until I finally get the histogram close. By that time I've lost those first golden moments of ears and expression as the dog starts to go flat.

I am sure given time I can ferret it all out but I have such little time to study up on this stuff with my work hours, etc, so I would love an easy beginners book on how to make this studio stuff work. I am actually quite amazed I have been able to make them work at all with as little knowledge as I have LOL.

For instance, I am reading a book from the library now on high key actually, and it will say to shoot the background at f/8, the middle ground at f/11, etc...but I have no idea how to shoot part of the scene at one aperture and another part at another...I am sure it doesn't mean aperture but this is where I need a basics beginners instruction so I can understand what these things are.

Thanks for the info on the RAW I do have bibble and I am sure I also have the ACR. I will shoot some RAW as tests and process them in there, I'm sure it's more an issue of me not knowing how to use the program well than it not doing what I want it to.

I so far have been setting my lights up at 45 degree angles from the subject. I am going to set things up with a stuffed animal and practice away.

Thanks for your input Jim.


My Web Site www.deedeemurry.com
Re: My first shoot [Re: Dee Dee] #8462
05/24/07 03:54 PM
05/24/07 03:54 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Florida
DeeDee,
if you're using studio strobes, the lighting doesn't change from shot-to-shot or subject-to-subject. So once you've put up your backdrop and lights, if you keep them the same distance from the subject, the exposure should always be the same.

Now, there are (of course) exceptions. Black dogs might need you to open up a stop and/or white dogs might require you to close down a stop but overall, you should be on the money for most of the dogs/horses/people you shoot. I use 10 feet as my working distance from the subject and that's where I put my strobes set up at 45 degrees to the subject.

I have used a flash meter, placed at the subject location, to validate my f-stop but usually I just look at the image in the preview and know if it's right on or not. Since I have much more room in RAW for underexposure than for overexposure, I'm OK if I'm under by 1/2 stop.

As for high-key illumination, I haven't done it and I'm not all that interested in doing it but I'd guess the reference to the f-stops is for the strobe settings not the camera settings with the backdrop light being set for one stop less than the subject strobes which washes out all the shadows and creates that "floating" look.

As for fiddling while the dog is on the stand: don't. You should be set up and ready to shoot before any subject is in front of you. Once the dog gets on the table, you should be ready to bait and fire. That's why it's important to sort out the exposure stuff beforehand.

Something you said in your previous post baffles me: you said there were variations in lighting from the flourescent lights. If you're shooting with strobes, there should be no ambient effect from any room lights. I use B400s and I've never had an ambient light problem in any indoor location. And you get much more light out of your 800s. What shutter speed are you using?

Anyway, yes it's complicated and if you don't have a background in studio shooting, it's confusing. But I find it much easier than most other photography because you have total control of the light. That is one variable you don't have to bother with from shot to shot.

Keep testing and keep learning.

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
Re: My first shoot [Re: Jim Garvie] #8463
05/25/07 02:12 AM
05/25/07 02:12 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Washington
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Dee Dee Offline OP
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Washington
Thanks Jim, so you set your exposure before the dog is set up? How do you do that without the dog there? (what do you meter off of?) I found going, say, between the newf and the golden a big difference in exposure, plus I was using two different backdrops with each dog, the darker gray and lighter golds. So with each change of dog and each change of backdrop I was having to take a test shot of the dog, check the histogram, fiddle with the strobe settings, take another test shot, etc etc until the dog was flat. My thinking is the flash meter would take care of that problem? Or maybe I"m doing something wrong since you said you basically don't have to change your settings?

It sounds like my lighting set up, distance, etc is very similar to yours (about 10 feet, lights at 45 degrees...).

I can see where RAW would help me then, most of my shots happened to be overexposed a touch and I did lose a few highlights. I'll definitely try RAW.

I think you are right about the f stops referring to the strobe settings, that is what I'm not sure how it works...but I'll keep plugging away! I was just reading how to light the background for high key so the subject still has a bit of shadow beneath them to avoid that floating look. (if I can make it happen is another story! )

Yes I can see where I would be confusing you LOL. I switched subjects on you, I was referring to when I use the 200 1.8 indoors at shows to shoot moving and candid shots in the ring (so no flash or strobes), the flourescent light cycles so one shot will be very gold and the next very blue.

I'm sure giving you a workout with all these questions! But I am absorbing and much appreciate your advice.


My Web Site www.deedeemurry.com
Re: My first shoot [Re: Dee Dee] #8464
05/25/07 08:49 AM
05/25/07 08:49 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
DeeDee,
OK, you can set your flash exposure by putting the meter where the dog is going to be and triggering your strobes. That will tell you what the f-stop is at the point where the dog will be. It shouldn't matter that much which background you're using since it isn't absorbing the light that's falling on the dog. The difference will be how light or dark the backdrop is in relation to the subject.

As for the difference between Goldens and Newfies, I really don't see much in practical terms when I shoot a show and seldom change my f-stop. Given the dynamic range of CMOS sensors in the Canons I shoot, I can expose for Goldens and still not blow out Samoyeds nor have any problem bringing up Rotties. Post-processing is where it all happens so as long as my initial exposures are close to being spot on, I don't have any difficulties.

One other small detail is the fact that I use silver umbrellas on my strobes which tends to highlight black dogs better.

Yes, shooting available light indoors is truly a challenge and in many venues, you'll get the cycling effect both with flourescents and with carbon arc lights. My friends who shoot Agility events go crazy at indoor facilities since they can't use flash and the lighting is variable not just in terms of color balance but also in terms of actual illumination. I've never had a problem (knock on wood) at the Conformation shows where I've shot candids -- and that includes at the AKC/Eukanuba shows and at Westminster. But you need to be aware it can happen and you need to test for it when you arrive at the site.

I was in Perry, GA last week and was asked to shoot a black Standard Poodle for one of our advertising clients. They wanted candid ring shots. One of the other handlers asked me to shoot her white Standard Poodle as well. Both were Specials so they were in the same ring and the same time. Indoors. Lousy lighting. ISO 1600. So I had no choice but to shoot RAW, even though it limited the number of frames I could shoot in motor-drive mode for the moving shots. I was able to get some usable shots but it was definitely a challenge in post-processing.

I guess that's why we enjoy this stuff so much: it isn't just the fact that we're shooting subjects we really love but the fact that we can deal with all the technical problems and still manage to add in some creativity.

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
Re: My first shoot [Re: Jim Garvie] #8465
05/25/07 10:54 PM
05/25/07 10:54 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Illinois
Peggy Sue Offline
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Peggy Sue  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Illinois
Jim, will you be shooting the Rottie National in Minn. next year?


Peggy Sue
Re: My first shoot [Re: Peggy Sue] #8466
05/26/07 12:13 PM
05/26/07 12:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Quote:

Jim, will you be shooting the Rottie National in Minn. next year?




PeggySue,
I'm not sure. I've shot 5 of them and have gone as far as Colorado to do it but it will all depend on the local clubs and the show chair and the show committee.

ARC lets the local clubs, who are actually putting on the show, decide which vendors they are going to use. And most clubs have local photographers that they use for their local and regional Specialties.

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
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