Backdrops and lighting

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by flomontana, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. flomontana

    flomontana TPF Noob!

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    Im a beginner in photography and i was wondering what would i need in order to have my own in house photo studio. I have a Nikon D90 camera and was wondering if anyone knows where i can find an affordable photography kit including good quality backdrops and lighting (i dont know anything about backdrops but i think i read theres an HD one, idk the difference, i just know HD is good lol). I saw a package for $700 but thats a little too steep. does anyone know any good sites, or stores in the nyc area????

    side note, i would also like to use the backdrop for simple music videos, like all white background type of videos. idk if that makes a difference or not???
     
  2. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    A backdrop stand for full-body poses will run you between $100 and $200 and seamless white paper about $45-60 per roll. You can get a serviceable muslin backdrop for around $80-120.

    Lights decent enough for single or two-person portraits can be had for as little as $160-200 per light with modifiers (these are monolights which include modeling lights -- check out Alien Bees or Calumet Genesis, or even elincrhom D-Lites -- check out the usual suspects, adorama, calumet, B&H). Continuous lighting is a bit cheaper unless you don't want to fry your subject (color-balanced florescent lights are still pretty pricey). I have it on authority that your subjects do not appreciate being fried.

    1 light and a reflector (~80-100 with a stand) will get you basic portrait lighting although somewhat inflexible. If you want to do stuff against a white background, though, you'll need to light the background as well. Otherwise it turns out grey instead of white.

    There's also the more portable and somewhat more affordable option of a Strobist setup using speedlights which can be had for about $100 a pop (or less if you're willing to hunt around). Your cost per light might approach $130-150 when you factor in your triggering mechanisms, modifiers, stands, etc. More information can be had on that type of setup on Strobist

    ** all values in USD.
     
  3. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Seriously, I'm going to sound like an asshole right now but when don't I ever?

    If you don't have the money to afford "good" lights, then don't buy lights. You'll end up buying twice.

    Elinchrom D-lites and Alien Bees are some of the cheapest I'd buy.
     
  4. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    That wasn't assholish at all, I've seen you in much finer form. That was just plain old good advice. :)
     
  5. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, with a lead-in like that, I have to admit that I was a little let down. I would appreciate it if you could try again, and be a little more an a$$hole. :lol:
     
  6. Misfitlimp

    Misfitlimp TPF Noob!

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    Ok say i have a decent budget. what is "good"? set something up for me on paper thats attainable. Not something that we can only get if we are the heirs to some fortune.
     
  7. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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  8. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Agreed, because if you're not able to get good lights, you'll buy lousy ones now, get tired of them because they're either not powerful enough, don't recycle fast enough, too long a duration, the modifiers, you'll find a reason, then you'll buy ANOTHER set, thus spending more then what you need to.
     
  9. FourAcesPhotography

    FourAcesPhotography TPF Noob!

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    I'm a fan of the Strobist set-up. Read and fallow the Lighting 101 series and learn to master one light. It's cheaper, portable, and something you would keep in the future. Avoid cheap hot lights or continuous lights as you'll likely replace those in the future.

    Visit MPEX for various kits, I'm sure kit SX1 or SC1 would fit your needs perfectly. Oh and like someone else mentioned you can pick up seamless white background for about $40.
     
  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My view on lights.

    Only go with small speed lights if you're going to be shooting in a location where small battery powered strobes are needed.

    Only go with Alien Bees if you need a powerful portable monolight solution. Other than AB's, portable large strobe setups cost a lot of money.

    The best entry level monolight in my opinion is the 400 w/s Elinchrom D-light. It's slightly more expensive than the 320w/s Alien Bee B800, but it's digital, has a more consistent flash between pops, and can be adjusted in 1/10 stop increments.

    The Alien Bee has a slider which makes consistenly adjusting something that doesn't happen unless you adjust to the notched marks.

    Two 400w/s D-lites will run you about $675, iirc. A backdrop stand, $100. Paper rolls, $40 each, and then sand bangs or weights of some kind for the stand are needed. That doesn't include modifiers and stands, etc... for the lights.

    If price is an absolute, then go with the Alien Bees. You won't be disappointed, but then again, you won't know what you're missing out on.

    And lastly, if you do buy the Bees, pruchase a light meter. You'll definitely need that.

    Ed: And you might want to look into radio triggers. With monolights, you'll only need enough to trigger one light as the D-lights and Bees have optical slaves.
     
  11. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How about, if you don't even know what you need for a "studio" setup in your home and you can't even point out brands that you're looking at, then you have no business trying to set one up?

    How's that?
     
  12. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    There you go. I was starting to wonder what happened to the old VI.
     

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