New, 1st post -- what studio lighting do i need??

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by blchapell, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. blchapell

    blchapell TPF Noob!

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    Hi! I am pretty new to photography and have done mostly outdoor pictures...kids mostly. I am transforming an extra room in my house to a small photography studio. I recently got several backdrops, but haven't purchased any lighting equipment...honestly b/c i'm too scared. There is soooooo much out there!!! And it's very intimidating! Any suggestions on what I should purchase to do portraits in a small room??

    Thanks so much for your ideas!
    Beth

    PS....I am very excited to see your suggestions...please know I'm also not terribly familiar with some of the photography terms. :))
     
  2. redtippmann

    redtippmann TPF Noob!

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    Well many people use strobes (flashes) and then some people use constant light. I like using both 50/50. But its all preference.

    i'd get a strobe and use it off camera, your built in flash should trigger it. ( I know it would work with a Nikon SB 6,8,900) and see if you like using them and if you like using them you would need around 3. (no less then 2 of them for antiquate lighting)

    Also if you go the strobe or constant light route you can either buy or make some soft boxes or get umbrellas. ( seems more people like the boxes)

    And its always good to have some reflectors on hand, and stands to mount things on.

    But I dont do too much studio work so I just thinking of what people use. Hope I helped!
     
  3. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Softboxes are nice if you want to feather the light, but you can accomplish something similar with a gobo. Or a snoot (black on the inside will give you really quick fall-off). Besides, softboxes eat light. Lots of light.

    If you get umbrellas, I would suggest going the shoot-through route. You can get them really close to the subject without skewering their eyeball like with a reflective umbrella. Even though a shoot through is less efficient, in a tight space that shouldn't matter much at all. Umbrellas will provide nice soft light, and are easier on one's wallet than a softbox.

    Make the ceiling black somehow. I'm chatting with contractors renoing a condo I'm moving into to get some sort of large black thingamajig mounted on the ceiling (the theory being you can always put a light up there if you want to light from above, but it can be harder to control light bouncing from the ceiling if it's white).

    Personally, I would also warn against using the on-camera flash to trigger off-camera flash. The whole reason for getting the flash off-camera is to avoid that flat, direct light that comes with on-camera flash, so why have it contaminate you're wonderful off-camera set-up?
     
  4. redtippmann

    redtippmann TPF Noob!

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    there are settings to prevent that from happening so you can or cannot have the flash appear in the image. Joe McNally did a whole thing on the nikon strobe set and it was very helpful.

    Its not really a how to but a good example of the caplebilities.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Like most things lighting takes a certain amount of learning.

    Start with just 1 light and use that till you have a good understanding of how it affects your images.

    A good speedlight made for your camera is a good start. You can get a light stand, umbrella, and umbrella mount with a cold shoe mount for the Speedlight.

    If you get a convertable umbrella you can use it to reflect the light or in shoot-through mode.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The first choice is whether to go with continuous lighting or strobe/flash lighting. There are pros and cons to either choice, but if you are shooting people, I'd suggest going with strobe/flash.

    With strobe/flash lighting, you can either go with 'studio style' lights or with smaller flash units (like you would typically see mounted on top of the camera). Again, there are pros and cons to either. The studio strobes are larger units and they run off of AC power (they need to be plugged in). That's fine if you are always going to be in your studio but flash units run off of AA batteries which makes it easy to take them outside/on-location if you need to.

    With either choice, you can still choose different light modifiers like softboxes or umbrellas etc.


    An important question...What is your budget?
    There are plenty of cheap kits that can be found on e-bay or other places on-line...but most of these cheap kits may eventually cost you more because you will want/need to either upgrade them or replace them altogether. If you plan to make a go of this, consider making an investment in gear that will last you a long while.

    Here is a link to some kits with a couple flash units and all the needed gear. Strobist 2 light kits

    Here is a link to a studio light kit. AlienBees: The DigiBee, the perfect studio lighting setup for digital photography

    As mentioned, it may be a good idea to start small, with only one or two lights...then learn how to use them before getting more.
     
  7. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    For the money, Alien Bees are probably the best option. Anything cheaper from any of the countless sources like eBay and other places and you run the risk of getting junk. The Bee's are exceptionally well made, affordable and give excellent results.

    I shoot Bee's and love them. You can also get almost everything you need right from the same manufacturer. If you ever have a problem, the Alien Bee warranty and service is second to none. You call them up, tell them what's wrong and usually you have a replacement in the mail that day. Can't beat them.

    All the stuff in my portfolio on my Model Mayhem account (link is in my signature line) was shot with Alien Bee 800's.
     

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