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Lighting help request

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2 replies to this topic

#1 TomSilver


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Posted 13 February 2012 - 18:44

Hi all,

I'm a passionate landscape shooter and I'm challenged to shoot a series of portraits of a group of beautiful women. They know my landscape work and they have high expectations for their portrait shoots.
Unfortunately I have neither experience in portraits nor a good lighting equipment. I don't want to disappoint them, so I'm asking for help.

I shoot with a D700 and I have a descent set of lenses, but no special portrait lens. I don't like the 85mm focal length, so I'm thinking about the 105mm 2.8 AFS micro nikkor. Does it deliver good results when used as a portrait lens?

Next: flash. I own a SB800. When I had to shoot portraits indoors, I bounced the light from the flash via the ceiling to my poor victim - with mediocre results. So I think I need a lightbox or an umbrella to reflect the flashlight. Also I need a tripod for this. Can you give me some buying tips?

How do I trigger the flash? I don't really know how it works, but I've read about Nikons CLS. Do I need a radio trigger (if yes, which?) or is the built-in flash enough for me?

Thanks in advance,

#2 Longhiker


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Posted 13 February 2012 - 22:13

As a portrait lens for individuals, the 105 micro works very well. I have used it for this many times. Each lens has its own character, from which the 85mm f1.4 gains its fame. You can trigger your SB-800 with the internal flash of your D700. To reduce the effects of the on-camera flash you will need to dial it down. Set the SB-800 to remote and the D700 to Commander. You can use a tripod to mount the flash if you have a spare one, or you can purchase pretty good light stands for surprisingly little cash outlay.

If you want to go crazy, you can get a background stand setup (pretty inexpensive) and some backgrounds.

Portrait results will be much better using the umbrella rather than bouncing off the ceiling. You could also bounce the light against a white surface such as a reflector or large piece of foam core or wall to the side with good results. The idea is to control and shape the light to create nice modeling of the subject. Usually, you don't want even light on the subject so you can create a more 3-dimensional look.

There are a number of web sites that give examples of this. With a bit of practice you can produce great results. Others here will no doubt provide some additional excellent advice.

Edited by Longhiker, 13 February 2012 - 22:53 .

There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept. - Ansel Adams

#3 bikegod


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Posted 15 February 2012 - 03:45

If you could beg, borrow or steal a few sb600s you could do some two or three light setups, not to mention the commander mode of the 800. Before I bought my studio setup I used it exclusively.

Cowboy Studios makes a rather inexpesive set of stands with two umbrellas and 4 lights for under a hundred. The lights were worthless but the stands and umbrellas went a long way for me with the addition of some clamps to mount my speedlights.

Bouught the set with a big bag on amazon.
slave to the wind...but at least I can choose my chains

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