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I’ve received a bunch of questions asking what I mean when I say things like:

“The key light is a silver beauty dish at f11”

“Another medium softbox at f2.8 is four feet to camera right”

“The fill is a medium strip at f5.6”

All of these f-stop numbers are the individual light levels your light meter will read at the listed shutter speed and ISO. For example, if I’ve stated that the image was shot at 1/125, ISO 100, the f-stop number (i.e. octabank at f8) is what that octabank reads on your meter, with those settings, when fired.

I don’t comment on the power level of the actual light pack because that won’t do us much good in recreating the lighting setup. Power levels are arbitrary and vary depending on too many things (pack power, distance of light from subject, light modifiers, etc.).

Hope that helps more than confuses. If someone can explain it better, please take a crack at it.

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of octabank on guess the lighting blog