Advice needed for a backdrop light

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Sroblyer, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Sroblyer

    Sroblyer TPF Noob!

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    I have a light setup now that includes two alien bees strobes and softboxes. I would like to add a third light for lighting my backdrop and occasionally use this light as a hairlight for my older subjects (I shoot mostly kids). I am thinking I really do not need another strobe for this. I am thinking a hotlight would be just fine, but I need advice on what wattage and what brand. I would like to keep it affordable but still reliable. I love my alien bees and if they made a hotlight I would not hesitate. But since they do not, I am looking for your input on which way to go.
    Thanks, Shanon
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For the most part, hot lights and strobes give out a different temperature of light (different color). So a hot light on the background would probably color your background and maybe give you spilled light that causes a color cast.

    If you don't mind this, or can work around it, then it could work....but remember that you would need a lot of wattage to equal the output of a strobe. So if you are shooting at F8, with your strobes at 1/2 or 1/4 power...you might need a hot light that is 600 watts (just an example, numbers are made up).

    Also, remember that hot lights are...well hot. If you are shooting mostly kids, and you have your background light low to the ground, they may burn themselves on it. Strobes can get hot too though. If you are using it as a hair light, it may get hot for the subject to be under the lights.

    I have a three light set up of AB lights. Two 800s and a 400. I use the 400 for background or hair/accent. I bought the small background stand, the shovel and a set of honeycomb grids.

    If you are already using strobes, I'd suggest sticking with them, rather than trying to mix up your lighting types.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Pick up an optical slave and an old Vivitar flash -or similar.

    You can strap it to anything and point it to whichever spot you like. You can also put bits of colored gels on it to get different effects. If you can find someone kind enough to give you a sampler of the gel the rectangles fit nicely. ;)

    Find one at a pawn shop, get the free sampler and a slave and it all should run you around $40.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hairlights also in general do not need to be as powerful as your key light, you could easily get by with a battery powered strobe in a pinch and do quite well. Cost would be lowest too and the light temp should be very close to your AB's.

    It all depends on what you want.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks to strobist.com, the chances of that happening are a lot slimmer now-a-days. I went to a local pawn shop and over the course of the last month, he's raised the prices of his totally crappy selection of vintage (read old and abused) strobes from $30-$40 to $100-$150 each. :confused:

    It's nuts!
     

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