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Thread: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

  1. #1
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    I recently took this photo and the one thing I want to discuss here is how to get the lighting even on several faces? For this photo I used a flash on either side, in front, slightly above, through umbrellas, which I'm sure seems obvious to those of you who use gadgets like this!

    Anyway, my son on lower left is quite a bit brighter than my nephew on upper right? Sure I can adjust/mask this in PP, but how do I get it right the first time around? I also moved the lights back as much as I could in my little room in anticipation of having this problem! Probably only 4' from the group. I suspect this is the root cause of the problem. Comments?

    Thanks

    How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Nice Picture and good question... Their skin brightness is very close. I would just brighten the two in the back with software. It looks like the young lady has naturally darker skin than your son and therefore I might leave her be.
    The only thing I can think of to deal with a first and second row of people is:
    move the back row as close as you can to the front Row
    Put people with Lighter Skin in the back
    Regarding this photo you could try raising your lights as high as you can before the shadows are too wrong for the faces - this would in essence bring the liner distance of all four more equal. You might try putting a white reflector on the floor in front of the front row to help with the high position lights.
    Not sure if all this is sound... but just my thoughts
    reynold

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    Hi Brian,

    The short and easy answer is "you don't" - for all the reasons you mentioned.

    In ACR one simply uses the GND tool to null this out perfectly not sure what GIMP has for this.

    In my studio, the other technique I sometimes use is to just use flat lighting from a 2m x .5m strip light on a boom arm above the camera, but in small locations it can contaminate the background if you're trying to light it separately.

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Hi Colin,
    GND is a gradient tool?

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Reynold, thank you for your input

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Hi Colin,
    GND is a gradient tool?
    Hi Brian,

    Gradient Filter in ACR. You basically just select it and then drag across the screen in the direction of the problem lighting to define the stop & start points. From there you can adjust brightness - exposure - saturation - sharpness etc.

    I quickly applied it to your photo with a 1 stop exposure attenuation - it still needs other adjustments, but you get the idea ...

    How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Thanks Colin, I will have to investigate this further. I vaguely recall applying a gradient across one layer to very the opacity, though that's a little different than what you are talking about.

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Thanks Colin, I will have to investigate this further. I vaguely recall applying a gradient across one layer to very the opacity, though that's a little different than what you are talking about.
    No worries Brian. There's an "equivalent" to that technique in Photoshop where you duplicate the layer - increase it's exposure - then apply a gradient mask - and then vary the opacity to suit, but just doing it in ACR is a truckload easier. I quite often apply 3 or 4 seperate gradient filters to portraits to simulate better targeted lighting.

    Might be time to start thinking about moving up to CS5

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Might be time to start thinking about moving up to CS5
    That would be great, only I take issue with the cost!
    I just can't see spending that much on a hobby, though my camera bag is getting pretty pricey! Maybe I'll look into Lightroom or elements 10. What I really want to do is just go take some pictures!

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    That would be great, only I take issue with the cost!
    I just can't see spending that much on a hobby, though my camera bag is getting pretty pricey! Maybe I'll look into Lightroom or elements 10. What I really want to do is just go take some pictures!
    Lightroom has the same gradient function - last I checked it was on special, at least down here in Australia for almost a third of its usual price.

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Brian - for what it's worth, when I tried to light a team of netballers, I did what you have tried, with a shoot through umbrella on each side of the group - I didn't have anything more fancy and I just tried to keep them as close together as possible, then adjust with some pp as well.
    They don't look to disparate here though from your capture

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    Lightroom has the same gradient function - last I checked it was on special, at least down here in Australia for almost a third of its usual price.
    $200 on sale. I have to do some research and see what tools do what.

    Thanks for your input.

    Timely subject, eh Kay?

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    That would be great, only I take issue with the cost!
    I just can't see spending that much on a hobby, though my camera bag is getting pretty pricey! Maybe I'll look into Lightroom or elements 10. What I really want to do is just go take some pictures!
    It's not cheap - but is it false economy when PP accounts for 1/2 the quality of the photo that we've already invested (sometimes) tens of thousands of dollars capturing. Can't speak for all, but personally, having good gear (from camera / lenses / tripods / PC / software etc) makes life oh so much easier.

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    $200 on sale. I have to do some research and see what tools do what.

    Thanks for your input.

    Timely subject, eh Kay?
    At the risk of starting WW3, LR is basically just ACR with a database-driven front end (and I might add that there's nothing wrong with that). It uses exactly the same ACR engine as Photoshop, albeit with a different interface. Just be sure to save your edits to DNG metadata and don't just leave them in the master catalog (which I think is incredibly risky).

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    I'm sure you won't get ww3 with us, we like learning too much - & I was just very lucky to get full CS5 as a school employee.
    Funny we all love new camera gear, but new software sometimes seems like getting a new vacuum cleaner for Christmas, it's just not quite as much fun....
    anyway Brian this is 1 I did with hose 2 speedlights e.g - for my friend's daughter's netball team..... lots of room for improvement, but it did light them....
    also shows now I need a roll of seamless backdrop.... didn't you start a thread on that too for me

    How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

  16. #16
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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Hi Kay,
    I don't know how much a student version is. I do have a nephew and 2 kids in school though!
    Maybe one of them needs a copy of CS5?
    $1300 is what adobe.com lists it for, and that's.... just..... crazy!? Isn't it?

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Hi Kay,
    I don't know how much a student version is. I do have a nephew and 2 kids in school though!
    Maybe one of them needs a copy of CS5?
    $1300 is what adobe.com lists it for, and that's.... just..... crazy!? Isn't it?
    Hi Brian,

    Are you sure that's not just for the extended version --- $999 rings a bell for the standard version. The good news is that once you have it, you can upgrade to new versions as they're released at a fraction of the original investment amount.

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Hi Brian - you may want to consider Elements instead of Photoshop - its a fraction of the cost ~100 I think and has most of the functionality. More than I'll ever master.

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Hi Helen,
    Good idea, I need to learn the differences between elements and GIMP.

    @Colin, ahhh that must be down under dollars

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    Re: How do you get even lighting with several subjects?

    Brian,
    Teacher and Student discount for Adobe products is 80% from the original price.

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