Besides my Nikon d90 camera/lens...what other equip/lighting for portraits??

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dezignx, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. dezignx

    dezignx TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I just purchased a Nikon D90 and I received alot of good advice about lens, so I am thinking about purchasing the 50mm 1.4 lens and will later get the 18-200 VR lens. Is there a photography guide for dummies out there or something??

    Anyway, I want to take mainly portrait shots (inside and outside) of children, families, models, music artists, etc.....

    So, what else will I be needing besides the camera and the lens? I've seen people mentioning about flash and zooms and telephotos and other things.....

    and also need help with lighting equipment?
     
  2. UncleRico

    UncleRico TPF Noob!

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    Dezignx,

    In my albeit limited experience, I would invest in a strobe and either a shoot through umbrella, or a soft box. I bought an alienbee b800 and love it. IMHO it was what really transformed my shots from amateur to less amateur :lol:.

    That being said, there are a lot of great opportunities for shooting with natural light, so if the budget is tight, you might spend money elsewhere. This site has a lot of information that I found useful.

    Studio Lighting on the Cheap » StudioLighting.net

    I'm not sure a 50mm would be a good portrait lens, but I'd let an expert weigh in on that. I find that when shooting portraits I am usually in the 80 to 100mm range, but that could be me.

    Good luck.

    Ryan
     
  3. HeY iTs ScOTtY

    HeY iTs ScOTtY TPF Noob!

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    tom ang writes some pretty good photography books if your interested.
     
  4. UncleRico

    UncleRico TPF Noob!

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    Well clearly I don't know what I'm talking about. I searched a bit and apparently a lot of people shoot portraits at 50mm.

    Now I have an excuse to go buy one :lol:
     
  5. dezignx

    dezignx TPF Noob!

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    @SCOTTY....yes I am interested

    @UncleRio....Thanks for the advice and I am going to check out that site....Quite a few recommended the 50mm so I'm like 75% sure about purchasing the 50mm

    Just trying to make sure I have everything to start up with...

    Will I need a flash/zoom or anything?
     
  6. Philly101

    Philly101 TPF Noob!

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    I can tell you from experience that the 50mm 1.4 AF-s lens is superb. On a dx camera like the D90, it will be more like what 75-80mm would be on a film camera (85mm was a standard "portrait lens" on a film camera, so that's about right.) The 1.4 aperture will give you a lot of flexibility for throwing the background out of focus which is often ideal for portraits.

    If you want to do portraits well inside you will need a giant window or a good flash. The SB800 is great and even better if you shoot it through an umbrella like this one for about $100. This set comes with two umbrellas and stands, so you can use two flashes once you get up to it. (If you are just trying to set up studio lighting, it might be cheaper to get studio strobes instead of flash units, but the flash units are very portable and great for using outside as well where you can't plug things in.)

    If you are mostly interested in portraits, you might want to skip the 18-200. It is great for an all-around do-everything lens, but it gives up some quality in order to do it all. The 85mm 1.8 lens is super sharp and really fantastic for less than $400. The dx 35mm 1.8 is another good option if you need something wider than 50mm. Obviously the 18-200 will give you more flexibility so if you think you want to do more than just portraits, keep it on your list.

    As for other things you might need, consider: an extra battery, a decent tripod, and a few memory cards.

    As a shameless plug, here is photography blog I started a few weeks ago for beginners: photomom101
     
  7. dezignx

    dezignx TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice and I have bookmarked your blog.....Imma see if I can find a kit like the one u mentioned but with also lights...

    Can someone elaborate on the flash and zoom for the camera? Is that something I will need for shooting portraits? (any recommendations)

    Here are some things on my list so far from advice and researching:
    strobe
    shoot thru umbrella
    soft box
    reflector
    posing table & stool
    backgrounds
    off camera flash (pc sync cord or wireless set up)
    extra battery
    tripod
    memory cards

    Anything else?
     
  8. sburatorul

    sburatorul TPF Noob!

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    just a thought... i wouldnt go for that 18-200! this kind of lens usualy is a compromise on IQ for functionality... i guess it kinda depends on what you want out of it!
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  10. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    If you do want a large range zoom I'd recommend the Sigma 18-250 HSM OS over the Nikon 18-200 VR (yes, I've had both).

    Other lenses to consider:
    Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AF-D
    Nikon 70-200 f/2.8
    Nikon 85 f/1.4
     
  11. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    ^^ type-o... I think Noyze meant 24-70 f/2.8
     
  12. 45mphK9

    45mphK9 TPF Noob!

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    Photoshop Insider Blog By Scott Kelby » Blog Archive » Studio Strobes vs. Small Off-Camera Flashes may help with lighting questions.

    Do you have a budget in mind for lighting? That will narrow your choices. You can go to the hardware store and get lighting for $30 or go to a camera store & spend $3000. Some considerations are . . . does the equipment need to be portable? Will you have to take it down after each shoot? How big of an area do you have? Is a flash going to be powerful enough or will a strobe have too much power for what you're shooting? Also, if you're just starting out & have a limited budget like most of us, you probably don't need both softboxes & umbrellas. They serve similar purposes.

    RE: your other questions . . . by "flash" and "zooms" are you talking about lighting & lenses? There is a Dummies for Digital Photography book. It's pretty basic but has a lot of good info if you are new to photography. Otherwise, you need to be reading something much more detailed to learn about lighting, posing, & the general business of photography. If you do a search on photography books, you'll find plenty of posts suggesting great books. I highly suggest a book on business if you're wanting to make money with photography. You can be an awesome photographer, but never make a dime if you can't run a business.
     

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