Need advice on 1st strobe setup

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by 4thirds_dude, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. 4thirds_dude

    4thirds_dude TPF Noob!

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    Hello all!

    After looking at all the photos I've compiled over the last 6 months or so, I realized I haven't done much in the way of formal portraiture. As such, I'm trying to get some TFP/TFCD practice in with some local models -- mainly headshots, but also some full-body work/boudoir type shots.

    My issue is this: I am torn about which studio strobe setup to purchase. I am, as many of us, on a limited budget (no more than maybe $500-600 tops). Additionally, just to complicate things, I will likely be doing the bulk of these portraits on-location or in another person's home due to very limited space in my own residence.

    I've looked at a couple setups that I like... 300w, 2 lights, 1 umbrella, 1 softbox, wireless triggers/sync cords; I was fairly sure this was what I should start with, seeing as how such a setup is running about $400 or so.

    However, when I was browsing one of the magazines I subscribe to, I found a Safari 600 ring flash which looked rather intriguing. So, I was also considering the ring flash + 1 strobehead (shot into softbox/shoot-through umb).

    Any thoughts on which option I should choose? Are there other, more effective set ups that I would be better off purchasing? Thanks in advance for your help and for sifting through that LONG narrative. :D
     
  2. DRoberts

    DRoberts TPF Noob!

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    I think something along your first idea for a setup would be a good place for you to start. That would give you enough to get the basics down, until you could upgrade to some more powerful stuff. One thing you might consider adding is a setup to use your flash off camera for backlighting or additional etc...
     
  3. 4thirds_dude

    4thirds_dude TPF Noob!

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    This is something I can do... I have a speedlight which can function as a slave on manual or auto modes. Don't have a TTL triggering system (too expensive) and using my TTL cord would really limit placement.

    Also, the aforementioned two-strobe setup, is that something I could use in an outdoors location (assuming my proximity to my subject is sufficient)? Where can I find battery kits to power a two-light setup such as that, and are they exorbitantly priced?
     
  4. DRoberts

    DRoberts TPF Noob!

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  5. firefly72

    firefly72 TPF Noob!

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    check out the Dlites from Elinchrom, and hook it up with the Explorer XT from Tronix.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Models for portraiture abound everywhere, however, you will find that unless you have a VERY special relationship with any model, boudoir shots will be next to impossible.

    To me that screams portability and lower light situations. 2-3 shoot-through umbrellas on stands powered by battery powered speedlights should be more than adequate *and* fit within your budget. For triggers, I would suggest a set of Gadget Infinity triggers and that you mod them for extra reliability and range (do a search, its covered hundreds of times here).

    ick. Get the light as far away off camera as you can. Ring flash is "purdy" but give you final results not that much better than on camera flash. On axis lighting will *always* be flat.

    You would be AMAZED at what a good photographer can do with a single diffused/soft light source. One doesn't have to spend thousands of dollars to get nice results, knowledge will get you farther. For the knowledge part, start at the Strobist site and read/do the lighting 101 and 102 sections. That will get you farther than $1000 worth of equipment and poor basics.
     

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