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Thread: Low Key Still Photography Using Flash

  1. #11
    SE Penna. chassis's Avatar
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    Re: Low Key Still Photography Using Flash

    Ian, I don't specifically use a Zone thinking method. I measure the light on highlight and shadow sides of the subject, with the dome facing away. This gives me the full range of values. I then decide where I want to place the highlights and shadows. Lately I am using C-41 film, so development is not really a big contributor in this (for me). I use normal C-41 developing times, so my exposure needs to fit the subject into the film latitude, given the C-41 process. If the subject values fall within the film total scale, then good. If not, I have a choice to make in terms of which values to prioritize, which for me is normally to avoid blown highlights.

    Black and white for me uses the same approach, but you have more ability to change film speed and development time to control things.

    Sekonic's website has good videos that have helped me with metering. SergeiR gave a good suggestion to consider Dean Collins' approach to understanding lighting. He has a good video on YouTube talking about the range of values and capturing them on film.

  2. #12
    SE Penna. chassis's Avatar
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    Re: Low Key Still Photography Using Flash


  3. #13
    SE Penna. chassis's Avatar
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    Re: Low Key Still Photography Using Flash

    Forgot to mention, for me an important part of low key images is a dark (black) background. The subject (and lighting) need to be sufficiently far from the background for this to be effective. Light spillage onto the background is easy to see in the image. "Sufficiently far" for tabletop still life starts at around 6 feet/2 meters in my experience.

    Here is a good discussion from Sekonic, with image examples, of reflected vs incident readings. They show high key and low key examples.

    https://www.sekonic.com/united-state...eycompare.aspx
    Last edited by chassis; 3-Dec-2017 at 18:53.

  4. #14

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    Re: Low Key Still Photography Using Flash

    thanks for sharing. beautiful work!

    Quote Originally Posted by dasBlute View Post
    one the best I remember seeing around here was christropher broadbent, hard to find now, but very much like the dutch masters, i.e. as good as it gets, imho

    http://www.cardcard.it/en/portfolio/...roadbent-2015/
    http://wird.com.ua/archives/208153
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...-to-16-January
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...-Life-Lighting

  5. #15
    Les
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    Re: Low Key Still Photography Using Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by dasBlute View Post
    one the best I remember seeing around here was christropher broadbent, hard to find now, but very much like the dutch masters, i.e. as good as it gets, imho

    http://www.cardcard.it/en/portfolio/...roadbent-2015/
    http://wird.com.ua/archives/208153
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...-to-16-January
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...-Life-Lighting
    Thanks for the reminder of Chris's work. Always enjoyed his images.

    Les

  6. #16

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    Re: Low Key Still Photography Using Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by IanBarber View Post
    With the dome pointing away from the subject, will the light meter give a reading for light falling where the dome is to a middle grey value on film.

    So for example, if I have 1 stop difference from where I have the dome to say a few inches to the left, then that area would be in theory zone 4 (Ish)
    Sorry I'm coming to this a little late, but the idea behind an incident meter is that it's not measuring reflectance at all, it's measuring the amount of light falling on a subject. How much light that subject will reflect is completely determined by the subject itself. If an incident meter tells you a subject is lit to f/8, then exposing at f/8 should give you a "correct" exposure regardless of the subject itself. If it's a black subject it should come out black at f/8, if it's a white subject it should come out white at f/8. There's no consideration for an expected reflectance of the subject the way there has to be with reflected metering

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