Question Always on Lights

nowthatswhatica

Active Member
Hi all, I’m fairly new to photography.

I own a Canon EOS 200D with two speedlights and a radio trigger.

For portrait photography I always find when I’m zooming into an image in light room I have a lot of noise.

Which two always on lights would you recommend for portrait photography?

Thanks in advance for your help

Equipment list:
Canon EOS 200D
Transmitter
2 Speedlights
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
Hi two speedlights should do the job without noise. Not sure that switching up always on lights is going to help. If you post an example of one of your noisey portraits we might be able to diagnose the problem.
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
"noise is often due to using too small an aperture ( to achieve greater focus-depth? ) - and too fast a shutter-speed ( to reduce shake?). With modest room lights white skin-tones should reproduce without noise, but maybe you should experiment with a grey-card, these typically reflect about 20% ( DYOR ), giving some indication of exposure when combined with a white card and black paper/cloth. This should represent the total tonal range without using a Model, who may become bored! ( Perish the thought ).

These days there is a wider range of lighting... For the best lighting you may go for halogen, although these will be quite hot for a clothed model. Also, the replacement bulbs are pricey, for this reason "Pro" lights are often available cheaply..... although you can get a similar effect (with care) using so-called Builder's lights, but they are only "floods", whereas Pro-style have adjustable "Flood" and also some degree of "Spot". Ideally you will have the ability to run them at reduced voltage ( Esp. if you want to move them!!!).
However nowadays most photo-light "Kits" will be either compact Fluorescent ( which give a reasonably good colour rendering) - but most common now will be LED, of two types: 1) the cheaper white which can be switched to vary their colour-temp ( although often by way of colour filters)... 2) are Expensive with superior LEDs often referred to as COB ( but that in itself is no G'tee ) - these have a better colour rendering and for "Portraiture" my be preferable. The colour temperature is usually adjustable.
+These are at least 2x the price !!!

Ideally you'll get three lights:- a brighter Main, a side Fill-in and a rear "hair light" - which as you may know gives the portrait "depth".
|+In the past the fill-in would be a soft-box, typically 24" sq. with muslin to diffuse the light - I've seen these with 1000w halogen bulbs = a beautifully soft light, which sadly I've not seen from LEDs - due to their smaller sizes, on account of COST.

Since these are non-flash, your Studio set-up can be judged in camera, before you take the picture - I would expect this to be the ideal arrangement.

Note that some Lighting-Kits may include background cloth supports . . . whilst it's difficult to judge "quality" they will help get your system working. For indoor Studio - mains powered lights will be cheaper ( beware "Trip Hazard" ) - but for greater flexibility, go for battery-powered - this increases Cost, and reduces the running-time . . . but means you can (with care!) use them outdoors, e.g For a pool-side photo-shoot.
+++Make sure yr covered for insurance.

Good Luck.
 
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snerkler

Distinguished Member
"noise is often due to using too small an aperture ( to achieve greater focus-depth? ) - and too fast a shutter-speed ( to reduce shake?). .
Aperture and shutter speed don't affect noise per se, BUT obviously they affect exposure and if these mean that ISO is raised then it is that which will increase noise.

OP noise is caused by low/poor light and high ISO. Keep ISO between 100-400 and make sure the quality of light is good.
 

nowthatswhatica

Active Member
Thank you all so much for your response. I've forgotten how good this forum is and it's members!!

I will take a few more portrait shots to share here.

Will update soon :)
 

Faldrax

Well-known Member
If you have a bit more budget, I would strongly advise against using 'continuous' lights, and instead get actual studio strobes - which will include a 'modeling light' - a lower power continuous light which you can switch on to visualise the lighting, then switch off.

The cheapest of these is something like the Godox DE-300 (it's an old model, often sold without the Godox Name, but OK for casual use), if your budgets a bit better opt for one of the current Godox studio strobes (which have the radio receivers built in), or better still one of the supported rebrands, such as the Lencarta Smartflash 4 - which gives you a proper UK warranty (IE if you have a problem you can return it to Lencarta in the UK)

If you need portability, the Godox AD-400 / 600 are the go-to units, but you're paying a lot more for that.

The main advantages of going with a 'real' studio strobe are;
1) Much more power - but controllable (and if you want to use multiple lights, you definitely want to control the relative power of different lights).
2) Much more consistent - strobes will have a full color spectrum to their light, at a fairly consistent colour temperature - LED and fluorescent will both have 'gaps' meaning sometimes colours will be wrong, with no way to correct.
3) Lights take standard modifiers (Softboxes, reflectors, etc) - which will make a huge difference to the quality of the light.
 

Jules Tohpipi

Well-known Member
Hi all, I’m fairly new to photography.

I own a Canon EOS 200D with two speedlights and a radio trigger.

For portrait photography I always find when I’m zooming into an image in light room I have a lot of noise.

Which two always on lights would you recommend for portrait photography?

Thanks in advance for your help

Equipment list:
Canon EOS 200D
Transmitter
2 Speedlights



You can get great, noise-free portraits with a pair of speedlights no problem at all if you're doing it right. But there are some basic principles to be followed and YouTube is a great place for this. Some of the Gavin Hoey and Adorama Home Studio Essentials series of videos on YouTube are fun and informative. Below is the first one of the series.



It sounds like you're metering for ambient light rather than the speedlights and the resultant high ISO is causing the noise. But post some pics and tell us your settings. Also good to know how you are using the flashes e.g. bare, with umbrellas or softboxes or bouncing, etc.

Generally speaking you want flashes for stills portraits and you don't need to spend loads of money if it's occasional family and friends stuff at home. If you think this might become a hobby, and want to buy into a good value expandable system, then from now on do yourself a favour and buy into the Godox system - rather than buying randoms here and there.

:)
 
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12harry

Distinguished Member
Modern cameras, used indoors shouldn't need flash. This is a relic of the days when you needed a slow-film for portraiture, (to minimise grain.).
If I fit my Nikkor f/1.8 to my NEX5 ( at full aperture), it can see in almost no light - enabling me to see things I might trip over! Whilst the picture is noisy, it requires very little light to fix. Ordinary room-light being enough to allow f/5.6 aperture. The point of studio lighting is to provide "control".... the noise-issue will become a distant memory.
The advantage of "Always ON" LED lights is that you see exactly what you are getting . . . and the total power is quite low ( with LEDs ), whilst the brightness is more than sufficient. Most can be dimmed without affecting the colour temperature (( Yes so can Xenon flash, but these units are Expensive* and replacements are likely to be very expensive as it's really old-tech er, IMHO. Also, FWIW the high voltage supply really means it is best used indoors, whereas modest battery-powered LEDs can -with care- be used outdoors . . . at a Garden Party if the weather's reasonably good. )).

* Az shows Range USD300-600....Wow! - but these are professional LED-lights.
There's a Godox UK shop showing 12" sq ( so-called 'soft-light' ) with variable colour-temp. at £346 inc VAT.
However for really soft light I've used a 24" sq. softbox which packs down into a small bag ( it uses 1kW GES halogen lamp, which now is almost impossible to obtain ). They still sell Studio-Flash about £100 ea. but I don't think this is suitable for anyone new to General Photography.​

-------------------------------------------------
My guess is that OP won't be spending too much to overcome the "noise" issue.

Cheers.
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
Looking forward to example pictures to figure out what is wrong. To repeat, with two speedlights you should have enough gear.
 

snerkler

Distinguished Member
Modern cameras, used indoors shouldn't need flash. This is a relic of the days when you needed a slow-film for portraiture, (to minimise grain.)
I disagree, flash is still important with modern cameras for three main reasons. Firstly light indoors can still be poor and if you’re shooting at say f5.6 or f8 to acquire a larger DOF ISO may need to be high therefore introducing noise. Even at wider apertures noise can creep in.

Secondly detail. If shooting indoors in less than ideal light you’re going to get reduced detail, using flash (correctly) will help bring out detail. And thirdly you can control the light to get the exact look that you want and also eliminate unflattering shadows. The only time I’d take an indoor portrait without flash/strobe is if I had the subject positioned near a window with plenty of light.

The OP doesn’t need to spend a lot, a Godox flash at circa £60 with a cheap large ish soft box and a cheap reflector can transform images. Even a single bounced flash can make the world of difference turning a flat image lacking in detail to one that’s sharp and 3 dimensional.
 
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newbie1

Distinguished Member
I disagree, flash is still important with modern cameras for three main reasons. Firstly light indoors can still be poor and if you’re shooting at say f5.6 or f8 to acquire a larger DOF ISO may need to be high therefore introducing noise. Even at wider apertures noise can creep in.

Secondly detail. If shooting indoors in less than ideal light you’re going to get reduced detail, using flash (correctly) will help bring out detail. And thirdly you can control the light to get the exact look that you want and also eliminate unflattering shadows. The only time I’d take an indoor portrait without flash/strobe is if I had the subject positioned near a window with plenty of light.

The OP doesn’t need to spend a lot, a Godox flash at circa £60 with a cheap large ish soft box and a cheap reflector can transform images. Even a single bounced flash can make the world of difference turning a flat image lacking in detail to one that’s sharp and 3 dimensional.

Spot on, this has been my experience.

There are some situations where flash is too disruptive to use, however given the choice I would always some flash for low light indoors.
 

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