View Full Version : Twirl shot - Not quite right

02-10-2011, 04:08 PM
So, I like the concept of this photo, but the lighting needs work. Any ideas on how to improve this setup? Should I have cut out the red? Angled the strobes differently? Made a sacrifice unto Cthulhu? (Kidding on the last one, mostly.)


1st strobe camera right, gelled red and pointed through palm tree at wall to get texture - 1 or 1/2 power.

2nd strobe camera left, hitting too much of cosplayer's hand and wall, and not enough of the rest of her. 1 or 1/2 power, about six feet away.

ISO: 200
Shutter 1/100s

Note: I know the focus isn't sharp enough. Right now I want to fix the lighting!

02-10-2011, 05:20 PM
To stop sports action, you want something in the 1/400-600 range. With this one, you would want something roughly around 1/200-250.

Why the f/9.0? Were your trying to get a solid black background? You already pointed out there's not enough light on her lower half. Did you have any modifiers on your lights or were they bare?

02-14-2011, 08:47 PM

Increasing the ISO: 400/800/1600 depending how much noise you get
Increase the aperture to the largest setting 1.4/2.8/4.0
Decrease shutter to 1/125th or 1/250

I would try one strobe first to light the subject evenly from top to bottom. Then if you can shoot in a high sync mode fire off a bunch of continuous shots. With action photos the number of keepers can be pretty low.

The red gel may be too much, its making her gold sleeve look red in color. I would think you would want contrast.

Or if you want try and place the gelled flash behind her so and aim it towards the wall. You can get her in a red silhouette or try a different color.

02-15-2011, 02:51 AM
What I did with a friend the other day, that looked very nice :
- 1st strobe, gelled orange (the cosplayer was also wearing red), just behind the cosplayer, with light hitting just the side and back of the hair.
- 2nd strobe w/ umbrella on the left of the camera (just far enough to get some volume)
We played with angles of both strobes in order to get a small amount of shadow between both lights.
Can't show the result for now, haven't processed pics yet >_<

02-16-2011, 02:39 AM
Unlike the others, I don't think your shutter speed is an issue - ambient light isn't contributing much of anything, so that number doesn't really impact much.

But if you're at f/9, you are wasting flash batteries, since you don't need that extra depth of field.

The shadow of the palm tree doesn't really contribute anything to the image, so it sort of looks like a mistake. When doing something like that, I think it really need to fill up the background, not just impact a tiny part of it. For example
http://images.cosplay.com/square/20/2093225.jpg (http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2093225/) or to a lesser extent http://images.cosplay.com/square/26/2694491.jpg (http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2694491/)

I think the biggest shortcoming of the picture is the darkness at the bottom of the frame. Sometime having parts of the character fall into darkness works, but I don't think it does with the feeling of the post in this picture. I'd suggest moving the flash further a way from the character, and maybe a little more on-axis rather than as a side-light. Or, raise it higher, and add something below for fill. (be careful of multiple awkward shadows though - keep the fill light relatively low power to serve as fill much not make shadows that are too obvious.

Related to the key light, it might be best to have the cosplayer look towards it, or a least make sire they can see it from the position their head is in. In this setup, their eyes are falling into shadow, which can work for some images, but here I think it would be better is they had some pop. And to get that pop, you'd want their eyes to be illuminated, and ideally you'd probably want to see the reflection of the flash in their eyes. Example of face towards the key light (only fill in this case is bounce from the ground)
http://images.cosplay.com/square/19/1948695.jpg (http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1948695/)

The red gel I think is a mistake. Since her dress is already red, I think the effect is a little overpowering. It *might* look ok if used on the background only and not on her, but even that I doubt would work out too well.

After removing the gel, it might sense to also knock down its power further, or re-positioning it for more of a cross-lighting with the key light. (But I'm pretty biased towards cross lighting, so that's somewhat more personal preference)

This photos also demonstrates a common problem when you compress images with too much red - you loose a lot of detail. Human vision is the least receptive to red, and so compression software generally readily discards a lot of detail from that color's channel. You can fix that mostly by changing your image export setting to use 4:4:4 compression, giving all channels the same weight, instead of the 4:1:1 it looks like you used there.

02-25-2011, 12:19 AM
If you want to capture more of the twirling motion slow down the shutter speed. This will create more of a milky water effect.
If you want to fix your lighting and make your photo's brighter and make the colors pop out use your flash. Just don't stand too close to the subject or she'll end up looking bleached.

Rock nam Lee
02-26-2011, 02:25 AM
I think the bottom portion is far too dark. I agree with everyone else F9 is just too high, I'd lower it to probably 2.8-3.5 about. The first thing I see when I look at the image is the gold sleeve, which shouldn't be the focal point of the image, it should be the face. I would've probably just tried using the two flashes with no gels on top since the red doesn't seem to add anything. I would aim one at the face and the other one on the dress (I'd probably try putting the second on the both sides just to see how it'd look). The pose itself is fine, I usually attempt to get a blur on the skirt when doing a similar shot. You could go up to about 800 ISO, shutter speed might be a tad bit high for what you're going for, 1/50 or 60th should be ideal.
I took this photo just recently going for something similar you have.
Settings: 50mm, 1/50 shutter speed, f/4, 200 ISO (I had enough light). I had one umbrella light from either side, along with my speedlight behind to give some backlighting.

02-28-2011, 02:33 PM
Increase the ISO to 400,
open the aperture a couple of stops more but not wide open because unless you're using a high quality piece of glass it won't be as sharp wide open.
angle the flashes differently and move them a little closer.
should be much better then

03-19-2011, 03:32 AM
either slow it down to get a streak of motion or freeze the motion with high powered strobes.

IMO this pic seems to be in the middle of both and doesn't really work for me.

04-06-2011, 07:59 AM
I agree with SpookyElectric, by far the most. It does seem that there was not enough ambient light compared to the flashes, by a very large margin, so shutter speed would not affect motion blurr or the clarity. The flashes stopped the motion completely. Any blur or lack of clarity was completely due to lens focusing error.

An fstop of 9 did seem Unnecessary. Somewhere around f4 or 5.6 would likely have been enough to give you sharpness without much risk, but you would have needed to be more accurate on your focusing than you did.

I also agree that having the subject's face toward the keylight would enhance where our eyes will go first. My eyes went to her right sleeve, then her right cheek, rather than her face. Placing the key light to camera right would have been a good choice. I like using umbrellas on my keylights. They help light the person and their costume evenly, and won't cause distracting shadows behind them. When I use umbrellas, the modelling of the shadows seems to be a dirable effect.

The red light on the wall is fine to me. It makes the red dress more subtle so my eyes go to her face. I would reccomend to control the light to the wall only and not let the red get on any part of her. I would like to see more of the palm shadow on the wall.

I think she looks a bit wide from the front, straight-on. Capturing her spin from a side or 3/4 angle may have had a slimmer effect. I don't often use fill light.

Here is a examples of a spinning shots done using flashes, I did. The first one had ambient skylight mixed in with. http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2486652/

In the second shot, the ambient was enough to have only a subtle effect in shutter speed selection as it created a blur in her hands and arms. Even the window light was a strobe to freeze the motion. http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2429701/

04-06-2011, 10:20 AM
You shouldn't have used a red gel. It's too red and the lighting is completely off. I blame this on location. Maybe find a better location with more natural light. The more light your camera can take in the sharper your images can turn out. But that I guess you already know. What's really bothering me is that the model's entire body isn't lit up.

I would stick with iso400 and up. But nothing passed 1600. With the lighting as is I fear 1600 will gain too much grain and noise.

04-06-2011, 12:43 PM
Unfortunately levelsixtyseven apparently does not understand about strobe lighting. The brightness of the location had nothing to do with the dark results of this photo. Where the strobes were aimed had more to do with it. Higher ISOs would not be the best way to get the light levels ideal. His strobes had plenty of light to shoot around ISO 100 to 250. For solutions, Fstop choice and strobe out-put settings make more sense, but the photographer is not sure if the strobes were set to full or half power.

Again, improper focusing was the issue here for the blur.