Help with studio lighting : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

When I am not photographing I masquerade as the owner of an antique lighting business. I need to shoot some of my inventory, primarily table lamps and chandeliers, for use in brochures and other printed material. I'll be using a Walker Titan and a 210mm Rodenstock Sironar N. My problem is that although I am a fairly adept black and white outdoor shooter, I know next to nothing about studio lighting. In an effort to keep this project as simple as possible, I am considering simply bouncing strobes (acouple Vivitar 283's) off of a large piece of white foamcore placed at about a 45 degree angle to the subjects. Does this make sense? Or do some of you experienced studio shooters have any other suggestions? I am hoping to have a standard setup into which I can put items as I need to photograph them without doing a lot of messing around with lights.

Also I need color film recommendations-negative or transparency?

Thank you all in advance for your help Richard

-- Richard Wasserman (, October 30, 2001


rent something more powerful or check Ebay. You'll find you proabably need something in the range of f/22 and for ISO 100 films that is a lot more light than a couple of 65 w/s 283s will produce, especially if you are going to bounce their light off of flats. Try starting with the new alien bee lights,, get the full power version. Bouncing off flats will still be a fine option.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, October 30, 2001.

In addition to what Ellis suggests, try to get a lighting system with modeling lights, so you can see the effect you are creating. If this is new territory for you, it can be pretty frustrating to be working blind with strobes like the 283's.

-- David Goldfarb (, October 30, 2001.

If the lights are tungsten, or other low color temp source e.g. oil, try tungsten bounce light and tungsten film. Since you state that you are not experienced with studio lighting AND it seems that your studio may be stationary, i.e. in your store; continuous, albeit heavy, tungsten fits as a solution. Also, your ambient light meter will still be useful for determining exposure (no flash meter needed!) Experiment with another card for bounced fill light. Shoe string budget? How about some 1000W ("1K") halogen work lights from the home supply depot type of store? Money no object? ARRI fresnels! Film: since the images will be scanned and printed try tungsten transparency film e.g. Fuji RTPII ISO 64 "3100K". Please let us see your wonderful subjects AS LIGHTS! (Not dark lamps lit only by outside lighting!) Happy shooting! - Paul

-- Paul Chaplo (, October 30, 2001.

I agree with Paul the first thing I would look for is to have the lamps working...:-)) fully lighted etc, and the use the outside light source to balance the lighting ratios. With a view camera this is extremely simple since you get to see a "big" image....I also think that your best bet is to use tungsten ligting to start with, as a matter of fact you can go and buy some of those cheap reflectors and a few clamps and see if it works for you. In the end remember, if you want to see it, light it!!!

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, October 31, 2001.


To be honest, shooting your inventory LF may be alot more expensive than you need. If this is for print, MF will be adequate, and will save you money in film, developing and scanning costs. Do you have a 6x7 back for your Walker? I think using your Vivitars how you described could work, however you may need to pop them more than once to build up the exposure. Renting studio lights or using existing light might be a better solution. Especially if you have alot of inventory to shoot.

-- Dominique Labrosse (, October 31, 2001.

I want to thank everyone who responded to my question, the answers were very helpful and got me thinking about issues I would not have thought of on my own. I think I will start out with tungsten lighting of some kind and see how that works. I like the idea of being able to see what is happening with different setups. I got a Polaroid back today so I can do lots of test shots as I make my way through this uncharted terr

-- Richard Wasserman (, October 31, 2001.

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