Archive for category Light meter

New instructional video “The light meter”

You probably already saw it on social media, but I also want to give some attention to it on my blog of course.

why and how to use a lightmeter

This week saw the release of my brand new instructional video “Mastering the model shoot : the light meter”
A lot of people have asked me when I would make a new instructional video series in the style of the very populair “Light” series, my answer was always that I would make a new video as soon as I had a lot of information that I did not already share on other videos, because just like you I don’t like to spend money on something I already saw.

 

After the release of my book “Mastering the model shoot” and the workshops connected to the book I got so many ideas and I still got a lot of stuff that did not make the book (there is limit to the amount of pages :D) that I decided now would be the time to release a brand new series of instructional videos.

 

Everything is new.
We have a new approach to filming, we now film everything in 4K for extra quality (videos are presented in 1080P) and we use different camera angles, text will appear on screen to explain the more difficult parts, and all videos will cover different topics so you can buy the ones you like and are not forced to pay for something you don’t like (although I think they are all more than worth it of course).

 

The first video is called “Mastering the model shoot : the light meter”
In digital photography this is without a doubt one of the most talked about topics and to be honest you also hear a lot of stuff that is, now how to say this nicely, well….. not really helping (was that ok?).

 

In over 70 minutes I take you through everything you need to know about the light meter, topics include :
* reading the meter
* which meter to buy
* reflective vs incident
* where to aim the meter
* how to calibrate the meter
* working with strobes
* working with ambient
* mixing strobes and ambient
* working with white backgrounds and black
* how to keep detail in the blacks with a technique called light in light (and how to meter it)
* histogram vs the meter
* how to trigger the meter
* apps and film
* and much more……

I’m joined in the studio by our model Manon and next to the explanation on the meter we will also show you in easy to follow (and copy) examples. This is a very complete video on the light meter and I’m sure you will run out and buy one if you don’t already have one, or understand your meter beter if you already own one.

 

The video is priced at EU 29.95 (US app 35.00) and can be ordere via our webstore or via the direct link here :
http://www.frankdoorhof.com/site/shop-videos-etc/direct-video-downloads/

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Tip for light meters and ambient light

Often I get messages from people that their light meter is not reliable outside, inside no problem but outside…..
Do always remember that outside there is also ambient light.

Let’s say you have a small flash system (the system flashes like Canon/Nikon/Sony) and your shooting full manual and get a reading of F5.6 inside, now when you go outside a day later and you get F11 don’t expect that the strobe is actually on F11, it could very well be that the strobe is outputting only F8 or lower.

8 Juni 2014 Marie 0066 1

The meter works very simple
When you press the button to meter in strobe mode (the lighting bolt) it will actually wait for a pulse and start metering, now the pulse from the strobe is registered of course and the meter does it’s work BUT if the ambient light (on the giving shutter speed) is higher than the strobe the meter will of course give you the F stop for the ambient light (since it overpowers the strobe).
So the next time you’re outside and want to check if your strobe is registering, or if you suspect a problem…. first set the strobe on the lowest setting and meter, now start raising the strobe and if the meter value doesn’t change you know you’re metering ambient (or in other words, ambient is overpowering the strobe).

 

So don’t bash the meter, understand how it works :D

now let’s look at some solutions….

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Tip on pointing the meter

Often I’m asked where to point the meter when metering.
You have to realize that the light meter is an incident meter, meaning it meters the light falling on the meter…. so if you know which part of the subject you want to be lit correctly you hold the meter in front of that part. In the studio this often means you meter towards the light source, however sometimes you don’t, like in this shot that I took during the Photokina.

Frank Doorhof Leaf 0221

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Using backlighting and metering tip

Often light is coming from the front or the side, however it can be very interesting to use light from the back.
Now how do you meter something like this?
In fact it’s very simple.
An incident light meter will meter the light falling on the subject and give you the correct reading, if you put that value in your camera you’re subject will be properly lit. Now a lot of people tell you different things about light meters, ranging from “you don’t need one” to ….. well let’s put it this way a lot of confusion is caused.

 

Trust me when I tell you that a light meter is just a tool, it gives you a way to very quickly get a proper exposure and it’s not hard to use. As you can see in these examples I metered the front of the face of the models and put that exposure in the camera, the only light source used is an Elinchrom Ranger behind the model, so the “scatter light” actually lights the model and is metered. In a studio environment it will often (99.9%) means you’re metering towards the light source, but as you see with this setup I now actually metered towards the camera. Just remember that you hold the meter in front of the area you want to be correct and meter “the light” that is hitting THAT area, it can be the strobe straight on, but also scatter light or ambient light.

 

Enka workshops Augustus 15 2014    199

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Many different looks from one setup

Often I’m asked what kind of setups I use and what kind of modifiers.
What people often don’t realize is that with only one modifier you can chance a lot just by playing with the angles and controlling the contrast/lightfall off. In fact placing a light closer or further away also makes a huge impact on the image look, add to this the option to feather a light source (using the sides of the light) and you know that there is a lot possible with one modifier and light.

 

It gets even more interesting when you are combining two strobes and for example add a gel to one of them.
During the workshop this weekend I made a setup like this with our model Lennaa and decided it would be a cool thing to share on the blog.

 

I started out with one strobe with a red gel.

Lenaa Juli 25 20142025

To get a bit more “punch” in the image I added another strobe without gel under the same angle to mix the two.

Lenaa Juli 25 20142035 Read the rest of this entry »

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A topic on the light meter

I recently put a topic on social media and got so many good responses that I thought it also needed a place on the blog. Now let me make one thing 100% clear before starting this topic.  The light-meter is a tool, it’s nothing less and nothing more. If you don’t use a light-meter you’re not a bad person, you are without any doubt not a lesser photographer than someone who is using it, I think that from all “photographers” out there now a days less than 1% is using a light meter, from the pros this percentage will be a little bit higher and as you know those people can create stunning images.

I for one however strongly believe that someone that is into photography should at least look at the light meter to see what it does and how it operates, because if you use one, one thing is for sure it WILL speed up your workflow considerably and also helps you to create the same quality of exposure over and over again.

 

Now in the past I’ve written a lot on the subject and I still believe that there are areas that I did not touch (so who knows what you will see more in the future), during my workshops and talks to photographers I find that the group using a meter is very very small, when I talk about the reasons I often get the same responses “You don’t need it with digital right?” and that’s ok, with digital you can indeed judge an image on the “instant polaroid” on the back of your camera or on your screen. However I also get responses like “I use the histogram”, “I always thought meters were only for the landscape guys”, “I was told that the meter was inaccurate and that with digital you could nail the exposure so much better”…..

 

I’m not sponsored by Sekonic (and trust me I tried :D) but somehow the whole light meter thing did got me thinking and I decided a few years ago during PSW to do a class on why I use a meter with stunning results (I believe they sold out the meters in a few hours) ever since it’s been a solid part of what I teach.

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The BIG white one

I’ve talked about this technique before on the blog, but today a few more images shot with this technique (just because it’s a cool technique).

 

How to set it up?
The setup is really simple and everyone can do it at home or in their studio.
Find a large white wall (and if you want to shoot full body you also need a white floor, for example white seamless), add two (or one) strobe aimed towards the background and make sure the model is not hit by the light from these strobes.

 

Start on full power and meter towards the front of the model, in this case probably towards the camera.
The value you see on your light meter is the value you put into your camera and the base is there, the image you will get will often be nice but if you add maybe between 1-2 stops extra (open up the aperture) you are into the creative zone :D

 

The next images are shot with 1 stop extra (metering for example F8 and shooting on F5.6).
BTW there are a lot of questions about “where to aim the light meter”, normally you will hear me tell you to meter towards the light source, and don’t worry that’s still true of course. However you have to realize the way the meter works. It will actually meter the light hitting the subject on the area you want correct. In this case that’s the front of the model, so we point the meter forward. In most setups in the studio you will place your light in such a position that it hits the part of the model you want to be rendered correctly so you point towards the light source. So don’t worry, I’m not telling you to meter towards the camera all of a sudden :D

 

Nadine Februari 14 Eersel (72 of 99)-Edit

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