Lighting advice: home portrait studio

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by natc143, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. natc143

    natc143 TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone!

    After 3 years I've decided to start my own home portrait studio. I have dedicated space available in my home. I was hoping you could suggest studio equipment including an umbrella, strobe, soft box, light meter, et al. I was looking on BHphoto, but was unsure what would be best.

    I have a flexible budget, but realize this could cost a lot. I would like to buy good equipment which will last a few years. I dont necessarily want beginner equipment, would prefer something mid-range.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Natalie
     
  2. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Alien Bees or White Lightning is what the kids shoot with these days. You could also trigger a couple SB 800's with milk jug diffusers. All depends on your lighting style. Generally this is a personal question. Tell us about your lighting style and we can make some recommendations.


    Love & Bass
     
  3. natc143

    natc143 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Craig!! I did consider both AB and WL, but was concerned with the quality. If you think its a good first option, I would certainly consider it. What kind of equipment would you recommend ? AB has a few packages including b400/800 and 1600. What would you recommend for a square space approximately 15 x 16 with 9/10 foot ceilings? AB offers various colors, white, blk, yellow, pink etc...

    They offer a four channel wire remote control, should I consider going wireless? Also, what kind of light meter would you recommend?

    I've shot mostly outside in the past, but am looking to do portraits of my 5 month old daughter.

    Thanks again!!
    Natalie
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I have used White Lightning strobes in the past. They can take a lot of abuse. If you can afford the 1600w/s go for it. More power will give you more flexibility with your ƒ stops. 3 heads are best. Again if you can afford it wireless is very convenient. Make sure to budget for a good Soffbox, snoot, honeycombs and all that fun stuff. If you are shooting film you will need a flash meter Minolta makes a really good one. If you are shooting digi I do not think you will need one.

    Love & Bass
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Hi Natalie, you seem to have spread this same question (or something very similar) around into several threads and a couple different sections. There is no need for that, and it is probably more confusing that it needs to be.

    As I mentioned in one of the other threads, the 1600Ws lights are great but might be too powerful for a room that size. If you use them somewhere else sometime, the extra power may be useful but if you plan to keep them in that room, most of the time, I'd suggest that something like the B800 lights would be plenty for main/fill lights.

    I would certainly suggest one or more softboxes over umbrellas, especially if you want to shoot with dark backgrounds. Umbrellas just spill too much light, but they are better for traveling.

    Get the better quality light stands. Some will say to get the air-cushioned ones, and they are nice, but fairly expensive.

    Having a wireless triggering system is nice, but not required. With my studio lights, I've been using a cheap wireless trigger that I got for $30 and it works great.

    A flash meter is a great tool and it really helps when you are learning how to work with studio strobes, but to be honest, I don't use mine all that much anymore. I can check the exposure and light ratios by taking test shots. If you are going to get one, I'd suggest the Sekonic L-358.
     
  6. natc143

    natc143 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone and Mike!! I did see your other post. I was getting ahead of myself, hoping to get feedback. I am going with 2 x800, as you suggested!! I am on the fence with the flash meter, maybe I'll get one second hand...

    I'm off to make my purchase! Very exciting!!!
     

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