Good Lighting Basics from Ming Thein

junkyardsparkle

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I'm a lighting neophyte and always have been
I'm a pretty big fan of the "eternal neophyte" approach to life myself. ;)

Heh, leave it to the macro/product shooters to do the heavy obsessing over lighting... while I'm not much of a reader of photography blogs, Ming Thein does seem to offer something less fluffy, more crunchy. He makes a really good point in that post about how useful a simple primary+reflector setup can be... if you're like me and have a limited attention span for fiddling with a light setup for any given picture, it really makes it much harder to get bad results. :D

Interestingly, one thing he doesn't touch on is the increasing usefulness of affordable LED "hot" (or "video") lights... some manufacturers such as Aputure are producing really good light quality even in their lower-end stuff. For anybody just now getting into lighting, these can give more immediate feedback about adjustments, gels, etc... which IMHO makes them a good tool for learning stuff that applies to using flash sources too (well, for subjects that don't require the use of flash for other reasons, anyway). I suppose once you've put enough years into mastering "strobism", though, you just stick to your guns...
 

agentlossing

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Interestingly, one thing he doesn't touch on is the increasing usefulness of affordable LED "hot" (or "video") lights... some manufacturers such as Aputure are producing really good light quality even in their lower-end stuff.
I will bet that the last photo in the post, with the glowing watch face, was lit with an LED UV light - I have such a light on a small pocket EDC (everyday carry) type flashlight. It has a fairly broad light beam, with three intensities of white LED, a red LED, and a UV LED. I hadn't thought to use it to influence lighting for a photo until just now, but for smaller/closer subjects I'll bet I could get some cool effects with it.
 

agentlossing

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Quick test: yes, you can get some cool results from a small LED UV light!

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junkyardsparkle

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I will bet that the last photo in the post, with the glowing watch face, was lit with an LED UV light
I would bet you're right - he says in the article that he used UV, and nowadays that implies "LED". You pretty much need to do that if you're trying to show off the "glow in the dark" qualities of a dial while balancing with ambient or other light... charging up the glow and then trying to work as it fades would be a quick trip to crazyville. :D

The "Live Composite" mode on Olympus cameras can be really useful for "painting" with small UV sources, since they don't really handle normal methods of diffusing very well...
 

magIBIS

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To anybody who is new to this - I recommend to read the second linked source (strobist) first. Then the article of Ming Thein (first link) will be added value. By itself it is well sorted and written, but not explanatory enough for someone starting out. It is perfect as a refresh in a pill, though.
 

agentlossing

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To anybody who is new to this - I recommend to read the second linked source (strobist) first. Then the article of Ming Thein (first link) will be added value. By itself it is well sorted and written, but not explanatory enough for someone starting out. It is perfect as a refresh in a pill, though.
See I tend to get crossed eyes and brain fog when digging into Strobist. I get that he's accessible but I obviously don't have enough motivation for a whole step-by-step introduction. Ming's few basic rules the way he explained them resonated with me a lot more.
 

magIBIS

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See I tend to get crossed eyes and brain fog when digging into Strobist. I get that he's accessible but I obviously don't have enough motivation for a whole step-by-step introduction. Ming's few basic rules the way he explained them resonated with me a lot more.
This only shows that you are far enough. A complete newbie to flash-photography as I was not long ago will have a lot to discover by himself, if some ground is not clear to him and the article assumes them as given. Take ambient - how do I get to know that aperture and iso will change the relative difference of exposure, but shutterspeed is not? And how do I know, what kind of light to expect from a diffuser? Why to chose one diffuser over another in the given room or situation? What is gel? What is a grid good for?
The article is great - just not for a start
 

inkista

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See I tend to get crossed eyes and brain fog when digging into Strobist. I get that he's accessible but I obviously don't have enough motivation for a whole step-by-step introduction. Ming's few basic rules the way he explained them resonated with me a lot more.
Whatever works for you. I loved it when David Hobby found Ming on Flickr in 2007 and introduced him to Strobists. :) And, of course, if you want to learn watch product photography, Ming is definitely the guy you want.
 
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