Cheap One Light Set-Up Review (Mainly for Outdoor Fill)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by MikeBookPro, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. MikeBookPro

    MikeBookPro TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking to piece together a cheap, simple set-up for (primarily) outdoor portrait shoots. Basically, the main concern is being able to fill in some shadows when I am shooting. It'd also be nice to be able to shoot some basic night/dusk stuff, but it's not essential.

    I'm looking to spend as little as possible at the moment. I'm thinking the following set-up could work for around $200. Please let me know your thoughts. I shoot a 50D, FWIW.

    Vivitar 285HV (Possibly with home-brew battery pack down the line.) - $90
    Cactus V4 Triggers - $40
    Westcott 7' Stand - $30
    60" Umbrella - $40
    Flash/Umbrella Bracket - $15

    That puts me at <$250 shipped. Worth going for? Some shots from my recent shoot seriously needed some fill light, so it's time to make a move. A 70-200/2.8 is most important on my agenda, so spending serious money on a little lighting rig isn't possible right now.

    Insight appreciated.
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It'll work nicely for a fill, just keep in mind if you're outside that you're going to have to get the flash close.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Technically, fill light doesn't need to be off-camera. It's purpose is to give a base amount of light to the scene/subject and it can do that from the same angle as the camera.

    Your main/key light should be off-camera, because that is the light that casts shadows and gives your subject some depth.

    Of course, when you have an off-camera light you can use it as a main light as well, using the ambient light for fill.

    Also, one of the best things for outdoor fill light is a reflector. With a reflector you don't have to worry about figuring the flash power and you don't have to limit your shutter speed to the max sync speed.
     
  4. syphlix

    syphlix TPF Noob!

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  5. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    You are trying to attract customers and you want to skimp on lighting equipment?

    I can appreciate your enthusiasm but, don't agree with this line of thinking for building a business.

    What if you're doing your "free portrait sessions" and one of these items becomes unreliable or breaks on you? People will be cranky, and it's a free session. Imagine what they'd think if they were paying you.

    Skimping on lighting because you need the $ for a good lens means that you're rushing into this venture not fully prepared.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    My main concern is the light-duty light stand you are considering--it's simply too lightweight,and designed for indoor use. You need to have a light stand that can handle uneven ground, so a C-style light stand with a sliding leg like this one is close to the absolute ideal basic stand for location work

    Avenger | A2033L Century C Stand with Sliding Leg - | A2033L

    This type of C-style stand (also sometimes referred to as a turtle base stand) is also a lot heavier than an inexpensive aluminum studio stand,and will need MUCH less sandbag weight (if any) to keep it stable in the breeze. Outdoors, studio-oriented stands with lightweight aluminum bases and lightweight aluminum columns simply blow over in the breeze because they are too narrow in footprint,and simply are too light. I would encourage you to look at C-style stands from Matthews or Avenger because besides being good outdoors, they ALSO can support a 36x48 inch softbox and studio flash head in areas where there is not room,or time, to set up a boom stand with counterweight. The heavy STEEL lower bases and columns make these stands very bottom-heavy,and very safe,very stable, and long-lasting.
     

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