Need help in selecting softbox

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Marty Cox, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Marty Cox

    Marty Cox TPF Noob!

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    I have just begun to take pictures indoors, except for taking sports pictures in a well-lighted gymnasium. I am needing advice on what I should purchase in the form of softbox lighting. An example of what I would like to do is take some pictures of a family, roughly 12-14 people, inside a house. I am shooting with a Canon 50D; I have a Canon 550ex flash. I am open for any suggestions. Thanks!
     
  2. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

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    Making a portrait of 12 to 14 people indoors or out is tough. You really need a bigger lighting setup, but to work with what you have, I suggest checking out the Lumiquest softboxes and pocket bouncers. Here's a link:

    LumiQuest® Photographic Accessories | Big Bounce
     
  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    You can't shoot 12-14 people with a 580ex. It doesn't put out enough power. Furthermore, a softbox is going to cause you to lose light, particularly if it's a well built, double-baffled one. I would say that most softboxes larger than 12" square are going to be useless to you. Umbrellas are another story. Try a silver-lined if you need to throw as much light as possible.
     
  4. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Really. Take a look at this then.
    Strobist: On Assignment: Two-Speedlight Group Shot

    To the OP. The strobist site is an excellent one that will expand the way you can use the common strobe. Take some time to check out the articles. You will be amazed as what you can actually do.
    Strobist
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    They'll be even more amazed at what you can't do with a 580ex and a large group. Pluralizing, my friend. Learn it. Use it. Love it.
     
  6. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, a softbox will eat too much light, and they are quite directional. A shoot-through umbrella might work since they tend to bounce light around the entire room.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No single umbrella, even a 80" one can properly light 10-12 people... lol

    You need 2-4 BARE bulb flashes (or very carefully placed BOUNCE umbrellas) properly placed and set to do this... or 2 very good powerful studio strobes.
     
  8. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

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    This is a pretty good example of a poorly lit group shot. Speedlights are great for lighting individual subjects but really lack the power for well lit group shots.
     
  9. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    While I would agree that it is not what I would consider a production shot it is a decent shot considering the number of people in the photo. It is far better than shooting with the on board flash.

    According to the OP "An example of what I would like to do is take some pictures of a family, roughly 12-14 people, inside a house. I am shooting with a Canon 50D; I have a Canon 550ex flash. I am open for any suggestions. Thanks!"

    If the OP had stated that they wanted to do this as a business, or had a large scale use for studio equipment I would have suggested different. But I'm not going to suggest to the OP that they heavily invest in good studio equipment when they do not indicate that kind of need.

    If the OP is thinking more along those lines then I would suggest something like the Elinchrome style RX 1200 to go package or at least the RX1200 heads or perhaps the Bowens esprite Digitial DX 1000's. They would provide more than enough output for 12-14 people and provide a lifetime of service. I mean, it's only money right. :lol:
     
  10. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

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    Time for the OP to check in and clarify. I got the impression he wanted to work with what he has. In which case, a Lumiquest product should work, especially if you put the 12 to 14 people in two rows, set your zoom a little wide and aren't too far back. The Big Bounce will enlarge and soften the light. It's a $45 solution. Otherwise, as Gryphon suggests, there are plenty of better ways if you can spend a chunk of money.

    Incidentally, I once contrived a homemade version of the Big Bounce with white poster board. It worked! You could even use the 8 1/2 x 11 inch coated white cardboard sheet that comes in a pack of Epson inkjet paper. Just fold it up and tape it. A lot in photography can be rigged at low or zero cost. The result is what counts.
     

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