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Thread: Lighting a Backdrop

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    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Lighting a Backdrop

    Hello - just a quick question, I hope your answers can save me some time in set-up.

    Can I use 5,500K continuous lighting bulbs to light a backdrop? I have 2 50W bulbs that can be reflected onto a white backdrop with reflective umbrellas.

    I have a job that will require all of my speedlites, and this would really help if it would work. Let me know if you think this would work....

    Thanks!

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Hello - just a quick question, I hope your answers can save me some time in set-up.

    Can I use 5,500K continuous lighting bulbs to light a backdrop? I have 2 50W bulbs that can be reflected onto a white backdrop with reflective umbrellas.

    I have a job that will require all of my speedlites, and this would really help if it would work. Let me know if you think this would work....

    Thanks!
    Hi Andrew,

    I'd be very surprised if 100W in total would be sufficint. If a speedlite puts out 50 watt/seconds - and has a duration of 1/1000th of a second (rough ball-park figures) - and you use 2 of them - then you'd be hitting it with a peak power of 100,000 watts by my calculations. 100,000 -v- 100 is a big difference.

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Thanks Colin. That makes sense. Off to buy another speedlite!

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Thanks Colin. That makes sense. Off to buy another speedlite!
    As an alternative, how about getting a studio strobe? They usually don't cost a lot, and have oh so much more power (one of mine is equal to about 20 Canon 600EX-RT's)

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Hmmm, tempting. If you don't tell my wife, I'll consider it.

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Looks like a 400 W single head studio strobe at $699 is not much more than a Canon 580 EX at $548 (Henry's Canada)

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    I'd tend to agree with what has already been said. Your 50W lights are going to pump out about as much light as a modelling light and your strobes are going to totally overpower them.

    I own a couple of speedlights, with stands and light modifiers (umbrellas and reflectors). They are small, handy, ultra portable, but have their limitations. I also have a couple of fairly cheap monolights, with modifiers (grid spots, softboxes, the previously mentioned umbrellas and reflectors). Frankly, they are a lot more fun to work with, cost about the same money as a speedlight, but you can do a lot more with them. They aren't as portable, and not integrated into your camera system (and a lot harder to hide from your wife). I often use the gridspot to illuminate the background, while hitting the subject with a softbox and a reflector.

    I've never tried using the speedlights together with the monolights - something I'm going to have to try now...

  8. #8

    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Hmmm, tempting. If you don't tell my wife, I'll consider it.
    I know a guy who bought a great lighting set up..... he keeps it hidden in his car boot so the wife won't find out.

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Quote Originally Posted by dan marchant View Post
    I know a guy who bought a great lighting set up..... he keeps it hidden in his car boot so the wife won't find out.
    I used to do that with my flying gear - until the wife discovered it ... in a locked bag. Not to say she was looking or anything ...

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Thanks for the help and suggestions everyone. Some things to think about. Maybe now is the time to take the next step...

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Thanks for the help and suggestions everyone. Some things to think about. Maybe now is the time to take the next step...
    Would that be the "lie to your wife for the benefit of your photography"? It's OK - we all do it - it gets easier with time!

    Just kidding. Sort of!

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of "Colin said I HAVE to buy one, or they won't let me be friends on the forum anymore." - The last thing she'll want is for me to find another hobby!! So, I hate to make you the 'sacrificial lamb', but it is kind of your fault.

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    You guys are making me think I should start sniffing around to see if my husband has any new golf equipment stashed away<LOL>. Fine if he does, though. I don't mind his hobbies and he is good with mine. It's worked for the past 29 years so here's hoping.

    Speaking of lights, I have two on permanent loan that are likely from the 70s. They look like metal mixing bowls on light stands. Funny thing is, I saw an almost identical pair for sale at Henry's a few months ago, but they also had some kind of hood/reflector/thing. I cannot talk the talk of lighting, but it was nice to see that what I have is not so terribly out of date. One of these days I will start playing around with them. I've already designated an area in the downstairs part of the house to be my "practice studio". That is fancy talk for a corner of the rec room

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    Re: Lighting a backdrop

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of "Colin said I HAVE to buy one, or they won't let me be friends on the forum anymore." - The last thing she'll want is for me to find another hobby!! So, I hate to make you the 'sacrificial lamb', but it is kind of your fault.
    That's OK - I'm generally considered to be a very responsible person. If anything goes wrong, generally, I'm responsible!

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