Lighting temperature for a portrait shoot

Discussion in 'Photography' started by BD, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. BD

    BD Guest

    Hey, all...

    So is the choice of temperature for lights in a portrait setting
    completely subjective, or are there empirical differences in the
    temperature of lights that are chosen?

    Seems to me the purer the white, the better, but I don't have much to
    base that on....

    BD, Sep 25, 2006
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  2. BD

    Jim Guest

    You really don't have much of a choice. Photofloods come in either 3200k
    or 3400k. Electronic flash comes at 5500k. Natural light comes at all
    kinds of temperatures, but it will usually balance with electronic flash.
    Those are about it.

    The question of what white dresses should look like in the final product is
    a matter of personal choice.

    Jim, Sep 25, 2006
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  3. BD

    MurrayW Guest

    well, actually there is now another choice -- Daylight Flourescent
    bulbs and if one goes to Monte Zuckers website, you will see how he is
    making use of this new technology for his wedding portraits.
    MurrayW, Sep 25, 2006
  4. BD

    BD Guest

    Most of the shots I plan to do will be b&w, and be in front of a dark
    backdrop - so I think a 'brighter' light will work better for me from a
    contrast perspective...
    BD, Sep 25, 2006
  5. BD

    Roy G Guest

    You really don't have a lot to go you?

    Your research seems to have overlooked the availability, for example, Gold
    Brollies, Silver Brollies, White Brollies and a variety of other reflectors

    Wonder for what purpose these colours are designed?

    Roy G
    Roy G, Sep 25, 2006
  6. BD

    BD Guest

    Your sarcasm is almost Swiftian in its rapier-like subtlety. ;)

    I can't afford to have the light just go everywhere, if I can prevent
    it. And while you get additional control over the *quality* of the
    light with reflectors, you can't really do much about its direction.

    In short, reflectors and umbrellas would be too large a lightsource for
    my purposes..

    I think I'll be alright. My Photoshop skills are growing steadily.
    BD, Sep 25, 2006
  7. BD

    Jim Guest

    Then why are you worrying about color temperature?

    Others have mentioned reflectors, and they can help fill shadows to a
    degree. They do come in a very wide variety of sizes.
    Jim, Sep 26, 2006
  8. BD

    BD Guest

    Then why are you worrying about color temperature?

    I wouldn't say I'm *worried*. I'm *curious*. I bought a 1200w lighting
    bar the other day and went into an electrical shop to see if I could
    fit it with a dimmer - and while I was in there, I was checking out the
    different styles of bulbs they had up - and was really noticing the
    difference in the color of light they generated - some ranged more into
    yellow, some into blue... and I started to wonder how big a deal it
    really is when doing portraiture.

    I guess, as in most things like this, it's a lesser deal in a world
    where RAW images and Photoshop exist.
    BD, Sep 26, 2006
  9. BD

    ASAAR Guest

    It shouldn't matter much as you're shooting B&W, but if that's
    1200 watts of incandescent bulbs, it will have a big effect on the
    color of the light, getting much "warmer" as the bulbs dim (become
    cooler, actually, but produce light the becomes progressively redder
    as they dim). Consistent light output might suffer slightly if you
    use fast shutter speeds, since the dimmer can increase the 60/50hz
    fluctuation in light output. It's normally hardly noticeable, but
    becomes more apparent when the bulbs are substantially dimmed.
    Since you have no way to synchronize shots, some may be taken at
    intensity peaks and others at the troughs. It shouldn't be enough
    to create a problem, but you may notice the effect and think the
    camera is acting up.
    ASAAR, Sep 26, 2006
  10. Adding a dimmer will definitely change color temperature every time to
    adjust it. Always set WB after each change. Also, be very careful of using
    cheap dimmers. Invest in a commercial grade Lutron dimmer.
    Shooting RAW and having Photshop are no excuses to not make an honest effort
    to get things right in-camera. Set WB manually at the beginning of your
    session and you won't have to waste time in PS correcting many images.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Sep 26, 2006
  11. BD

    UC Guest

    You are a fucking moron. There is no "choice of temperature" for
    lights. COLOR films are aimed at a specific COLOR TEMPERATURE, which
    represents the blue/red balance in the light. The overwhelming majority
    of color films are balanced for Daylight (5500 K) which is the COLOR
    TEMPERATURE of the light SOURCE.

    WTF is "the purer the white"?

    I'm gonna go kill some photo ed teachers...
    UC, Sep 26, 2006
  12. BD

    UC Guest

    WTF are "empirical differences"? Who taught you English? Are you in any
    sort of school? Do they have protection against bombs or fire? I hope
    not, because wherever school you attend is overdue for a massive
    hit...they're criminally incompetent, or you're so fucking retarded
    that you deserve to be drowned in a sack.

    If you don't know what a word means, DON'T USE IT! Fucking moron!
    UC, Sep 26, 2006
  13. BD

    Paul Rubin Guest

    If you mean continuous lights (i.e. hot lamps), they are usually 3200
    or 3400 kelvin and some films (if you're shooting film) are balanced
    for them. Other films are balanced for daylight (6500k?) and you'd
    shoot through an 80A filter which loses a couple stops of light but
    brings out the blue. Strobes are usually already daylight balanced.

    If you're shooting digital, the camera (if not a beginner model)
    should have a settable white balance. You'd put a white piece of
    paper or a neutral gray card into the scene, use the manual white
    balance feature to balance from the white paper, then remove the paper
    and shoot with that setting.

    Note that incandescent bulbs are very weak in the blue, so if you try
    to set white balance under incandescent light, the camera will have to
    crank up its blue channel a lot, adding noise to that channel. The
    same thing applies if you try to adjust the colors in a photo editor
    after taking the picture.
    Paul Rubin, Sep 26, 2006
  14. BD

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Paul Rubin, Sep 26, 2006
  15. BD

    JD Guest

    With flouescent, don't you have to deal with spikes in the green spectrum?

    JD, Sep 26, 2006
  16. BD

    BD Guest

    If you don't know what a word means, DON'T USE IT! Fucking moron!

    Blow me.

    Been hit on the head by any riggings lately?
    BD, Sep 26, 2006
  17. BD

    BD Guest

    I'm gonna go kill some photo ed teachers...

    And ANOTHER useless and negative comment by Useless Cretin himself.

    Go get another head wound.

    BD, Sep 26, 2006
  18. Essentially correct, although I'd like to add that "warmer" (as in
    lower color temperature) light acts similar to using a yellow/orange
    filter on your daylight sensitized film/sensor with daylight. For
    portraits that will result in a more pale complexion (and reduce
    freckles on the positive side). If you want to 'improve' on the
    skintone, you could use either a green filter, or adjust in
    postprocessing. Also, 1200W incandescent lighting will make the model
    break out in a sweat if positioned too closely.
    Bart van der Wolf, Sep 26, 2006
  19. BD

    ASAAR Guest

    Thanks for that. It's the kind of useful information that isn't
    immediately obvious, but probably is part of the tool set of good
    portrait photographers and I suppose cinematographers as well.
    ASAAR, Sep 26, 2006
  20. BD

    dadiOH Guest

    Fluorescent? New? Zucker? hehehe



    dadiOH's dandies v3.06...
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    Get it at
    dadiOH, Sep 26, 2006
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