Ask Ray – Reply

Well the first ‘Ask Ray’ has come in from Louise Murnane and its not an easy one.

Here is the question…I was on one of your courses on the 19th March.

I have got a very basic lighting set up (all I could afford at the moment!!) its a digital bare bulb studio set with 3 flash lights. There is no way of changing the power output they are all the same. They came with clear and white dome covers and 45, 180, 310 refectors. One of the lights clips onto my back drop to to create high key. Can you tell me how I should have these lights set up to create a good photo. I have done one shoot with them and I got the high key back ground but my subjects faces are a little light and there is a burn out spot on the side of the face.  What am I doing wrong?

The Answer…

I have not used or come across this lighting system, but as I explained on the beginners Photography course, first start off with your ‘MAIN LIGHT’ place this at 45 degrees to your subject (left or right side) get your perfect exposure (at the power of these heads I would expect that to be around F11 on 200 ISO) take a shot and check the ‘Histogram’ on the screen on the back of your camera. You can then either go up or down 1/2 a stop if its not right. This now gives you the correct lighting and exposure on the subjects faces.

The second light should now be your ‘FILL LIGHT’ (remember we used a reflector on the lesson as a FILL LIGHT) this should be on the opposite side to your ‘MAIN LIGHT’ and needs to be 1 & 1/2 stops less in light than your ‘MAIN LIGHT’ you will achieve this by moving the light back away from your subjects until its right (as you cannot adjust the power output of these type of lights, move them physically back and forth) to get ‘HIGH KEY’ your 3rd light on the background needs to be 1 stop more powerful than your ‘MAIN LIGHT’.

If you go back to the course notes there are lighting diagrams to refer to. Practice and it will come right, by all means send me a picture to look at.

Thanks Louise for the very first question on ‘ASK RAY’


Ray Lowe