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studio lighting comparison

What does that do?

Ever wonder what the light from different studio lights look like?  How does a Beauty Dish compare to an Octobank?  Elliptical vs Octabank?

We recently did a series of comparisons in the studio to showcase the light from various new modifiers.  ProFoto D1 and D2s were used as the light sources in each for consistency of light output.  I’ve put single images underneath each of the lighting options.  Then below, you will see more images from each type of light with varying amounts of fill from a secondary light source.  You can see the main light alone as well as with additional fill light.  [Fitness model: Julia – JE Models]

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical

Westcott’s Zeppelin elliptical – a large Octabank-like round light (with 16 poles instead of 8) that is much more focus-able and allows for the light to enter from the back, or from inside the ellipse.  I prefer to use it without the front face for a more interesting look to the light.

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical

 

Elinchrom’s Rotalux Octabank – produces a light that is more interesting than the flat look coming from a soft box, but without as much control as an elliptical.

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Elinchrom Rotalux Octabank

Beauty Dishes – this one is a huge 28 inches in diameter compared to the typical 20 inch beauty dish.  I like the interest of the light, but you need to keep it close to your subject to keep it from looking boring – within 30 inches.  Using it overhead often necessitates a kicker light to fill shadows – here we’ve used a small soft box low to the left or a large 6 foot Octabank behind the camera.

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Large Beauty Dish

Softbox – formerly a photographer’s goto light to create soft window light.  They still work great but have been preempted these days by a desire for a round catch light and the quick fall off of beauty dishes and ellipticals.

Hot lights – Tungsten continuous light sources with focusable fresnel lenses.  These were the main light sources in old movies.  Contrasty and dramatic though not daylight color balanced.  Great for video though not easily controllable.

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Pepper 420W Tungsten fresnel light

Ambient light – to my eye, you cannot beat the ever different, always changing depth of a naturally lit portrait using daylight.  It take a lot more time to find light that looks great than it does to slap a modifier on a strobe, but to me the hunt is part of the fun.

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Ambient light outdoors

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical alone

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical with small softbox left of camera

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical with small softbox left of camera (Elliptical more central)

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical alone

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical with 6′ Octabank behind camera

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical with 6′ Octabank behind camera

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Westcott Zeppelin Elliptical with 6′ Octabank behind camera (more fill light)

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Elinchrom Rotalux Octabank alone

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Elinchrom Rotalux Octabank with small softbox to left of camera

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Large Beauty Dish alone

Lighting test in studio with advertising photographer Robert Houser

Large Beauty Dish with small softbox to left of camera

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