Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Simulating window light  (Read 6047 times)
larkis
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 196


WWW
« on: July 30, 2012, 12:02:56 PM »
ReplyReply

I need to shoot some objects on a table (the surface area is not bigger than 16x20 inches) and they need to look like they are illuminated by a big window. I'm thinking of getting a few big soft boxes, but then i realized that light coming in from a window does not come in as diffused as a softbox is. Should i look at keno flows or some other lighting system ? Any tips would be great.
Logged

My photography blog
http://blog.dominik.ca/
Kirk Gittings
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1548


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 12:54:20 PM »
ReplyReply

There is more than one type of "window" light such as direct sunlight streaming in vs. "north" window light which is very soft and diffuse like a softbox.
Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
Ellis Vener
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1802



WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2012, 01:15:37 PM »
ReplyReply

I need to shoot some objects on a table (the surface area is not bigger than 16x20 inches) and they need to look like they are illuminated by a big window. I'm thinking of getting a few big soft boxes, but then i realized that light coming in from a window does not come in as diffused as a softbox is. Should i look at keno flows or some other lighting system ? Any tips would be great.

The quality of light coming through a window  depends on which way the window is facing, where that hypothetical window is located  the world (Paris FR  and New York, NY  have very different light from Paris, TX and Rio De Janeiro, BR), the time of day and the weather conditions. Rather than look at different light sources think about different ways of modifying the light. A good scrim ( a piece of translucent material generally stretched on a frame is a very useful and relatively inexpensive light modifier. I prefer the Chimera frame system for this not only because of the quality and variety of scrim materials and frame construction but also because they  set up quickly and easily and equally easily tear down and pack up compactly. There are a range of sizes in the Chimera system from 24x24 inches to 72 x 72 inches and 42 x 82 inches. Link: http://www.chimeralighting.com/Products/Panel-Frames-Window-Patterns/Panel-Frames-Fabrics.

The beauty of using a largish scrim is that you can put either a hard or already diffused (light in an umbrella or softbox)  light behind them; use them with either a single or multiple small or large light sources; vary the position and angle of the light behind the scrim; or put a "go-bo" between the light source(s) and the scrim to tune the shape of the highlight and shadow edge definition.

For instance: what painter's refer to as "north  light" is a large even source that brings outthe contours and shape of the subjects. One quick way to do that  is to combine a 48 x 48 inch  or larger scrim with a softbox. You set up the scrim so it is either vertical or leaning over the rear or side edges of the set and behind that put the softbox on a boom so it's diffusing surface  is  facing
downwards but near the top edge of the scrim . As you move the softbox closer to or further away from the scrim the quality of the light will change , and also you can trying lowering the position of the softbox  so it is only illuminating a smaller part of the scrim  and through the scrim the subject. Playing with the relative angles of the softbox's front  to the scrim also changes the way the light falls off across the depth or width of the set. Using an umbrella instead of a softbox changes the quality of light as well.  If you want a harder light skip the softbox.

The drawbacks to using  a scrim (whether factory or hand made ( 5/8" diameter PVC pipe and frosted shower curtain and good materials to play with)  are:

- when set up  takes up space

- you genrally need a pair of light stands,  preferably topped with MSE or Avenger D200 grip heads, to support the scrim.

But even a Chimera frame and panel set, two extra light stands and two grip heads are a lot less expensive than a good sized Kinoflo bank is.  
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 01:19:13 PM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
dwdallam
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2044



WWW
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2012, 04:34:17 PM »
ReplyReply

Everything Kirk said is your ticket, but you can do it with just a few simple concepts in your head:

(1) You can make any light source look like natural light.
--e.g., set up a color correct (sunlight) flash outside of your window and shoot through it. Adjust white balance post to your liking.
(2) As Kirk said, use a scrim over the window, or two, or three.
(3) If you shoot at the edge of the light coming through the window, you'll get softer light. That is, set the table up off to the side of the window just where the light forms it's edge. You can see this on the floor as the shadow edge.
(4) You don't need any fancy equipment to do this. All you need is some thin white material.

Alternately, and very easy to set up, in the studio set a soft box directly over head and use a smaller umbrella for a harder light off the the side (the window light which is directly). Now you have some directional shadows you can take harder or softer as you like simply be powering the umbrella light up more or less. You can even do the key part with a bare bulb in the same way.

If you look at a room lit only by window light, you'll see light bouncing all over the place. Setting the subject away from the direct window light may allow you to shoot with nothing over the window, as long as the bouncing light isn't color cast by walls, ceilings, or other objects.
Logged

Ellis Vener
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1802



WWW
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2012, 08:36:57 PM »
ReplyReply

I believe he meant me not Kirk (but I am honored to be confused with Mr. Gittings if that is the case.

No you don't need a lot of fancy equipment. You make your own scrims.

(3) If you shoot at the edge of the light coming through the window, you'll get softer light. That is, set the table up off to the side of the window just where the light forms it's edge. You can see this on the floor as the shadow edge.

That is a perfect example of the l"the the larger a source is relative to the subject size the "softer" " the light will appear to be.
Logged

Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
dwdallam
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2044



WWW
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2012, 09:38:10 PM »
ReplyReply

Ellis,

I did indeed mean you. Smiley
Logged

Ellis Vener
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1802



WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2012, 10:01:45 PM »
ReplyReply

Well, as I said I am honored to be confused with Kirk Gittings.
Logged

Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
mediumcool
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 676



« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2012, 07:32:25 AM »
ReplyReply

One point worth keeping in mind is that the distance of a diffused light source from the subject influences both light fall-off and shadow “hardness”.

Placing a softbox or diffusion sheet alongside a set will provide a larger effective area than when it’s further away (all other things being equal); the light will “wrap around” the subject but the light will also fall off rapidly as it moves across the set (but thankfully does not follow the inverse-square rule, as it is not a point source).

Move the lighting away from the set, and the reverse happens; lateral fall-off becomes less evident (if lighting from the side), but shadow “hardness” increases.
Logged

FaceBook facebook.com/ian.goss.39   www.mlkshk.com/user/mediumcool
ben730
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 16


WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2012, 03:26:06 PM »
ReplyReply

Use a Broncolor Satellite and if necessary some white cardboard to lighten up the shadows...

Logged
mediumcool
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 676



« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2012, 05:53:29 AM »
ReplyReply

Use a Broncolor Satellite …

Are you a re-seller?  Grin
Logged

FaceBook facebook.com/ian.goss.39   www.mlkshk.com/user/mediumcool
k bennett
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1458


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2012, 06:49:00 AM »
ReplyReply

Another thing to keep in mind with window light is that it tends to be very directional -- there is a large wall blocking most of the light, and what does get through (assuming north facing window) is not the same thing as what you'd get from a softbox in the same location. Now, if you put a white sheer curtain over the window, it starts to spray light in all directions, more like a softbox, so the light spreads out more evenly across the interior of the room. So it really depends on what you mean by "window light."

A scrim works well because you can vary the distance between the light, the scrim, and the subject to get different effects. The scrim and the softbox provide nice edge transitions, but both of them end up looking like the "curtain over the window."

A softbox with a fabric grid provides a more directional light, similar but not identical to a north light window on a clear day.



Logged

Equipment: a camera and some lenses.
LKaven
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 831


« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2012, 10:15:35 AM »
ReplyReply

Use a Broncolor Satellite and if necessary some white cardboard to lighten up the shadows...

I almost died from sticker shock when I looked this unit up.  $4000...really?  For the price of a D800 and one or two good primes I could get this reflector from Broncolor?  For the price of three Schoeps microphones?  Makes their parabolic reflector look like a bargain.
Logged

Ellis Vener
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1802



WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2012, 10:34:34 AM »
ReplyReply

I almost died from sticker shock when I looked this unit up.  $4000...really?  For the price of a D800 and one or two good primes I could get this reflector from Broncolor?  ... Makes their parabolic reflector look like a bargain.

Yes really, but it is a great light. However there are alternatives: the Paul C Buff Retro Laserreflector (http://www.paulcbuff.com/22rlr.php) for example which is equivalent to in size to the Broncolor Mini-Satellite Reflector and about $1,600 cheaper ( Mini-Satellite Reflector $1,685 at Adorama,  Retro Laser $84.95) There are also the Paul C Buff PLM umbrellas. Again not the same exact effect as the Broncolor Satellite but pretty good.
Logged

Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
Kirk Gittings
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1548


WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2012, 11:07:24 AM »
ReplyReply

Well, as I said I am honored to be confused with Kirk Gittings.
Smiley
Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
K.C.
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 650


« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2012, 10:20:33 PM »
ReplyReply

Again not the same exact effect as the Broncolor Satellite but pretty good.

Just squint with one eye and keep the other one closed. You won't notice the difference between anything the PCB makes and Broncolor.  Roll Eyes
Logged
Ellis Vener
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1802



WWW
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2012, 11:00:22 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Just squint with one eye and keep the other one closed. You won't notice the difference between anything the PCB makes and Broncolor.  Roll Eyes

Take a look at http://www.ellisvener.com and please tell us which specific images were shot with Balcar, Broncolor, PCB (Einstein, Zeus, and an ABR) , or Profoto lights ( yes indeed there are examples of all of these used on different shoots as well  Canon Speedlites, Nikon Speedlights, Lumadyne, Speedotron & Norman gear).  Grin

To paraphrase Lance Armstrong: It's not about the lights.
Logged

Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad