Newbie -- Tried searching, but still have lighting questions..

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by JDawggie, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. JDawggie
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    JDawggie New Member

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    Hi All, I am looking for a lighting solution -- currently I am using utility lights (4 of them) that you can grab at most home improvement stores with 100watt flood lights, but find them cumbersome --- especially trying to hold the "screen" (white muslin fabric) in front of them to diffuse the light. I am mostly shooting flowers/products and some macro indoors. My current lens (nikon 40MM -Micro on d3100-- seems to always want more light indoors) I am looking to "upgrade to a more permanent easier-to-mange solution. After doings a bunch of searches, I am still not clear (as I am a beginner):

    - Should I be looking to get a continuos lighting set up?
    - Should I be looking to get a strobe set up?
    - Should I be looking to get a continuous / strobe setup?

    Any help would be appreciated. Also if anyone has any suggestion or links to share --- please do. I was thinking maybe one soft box and one flashpoint strobe from Adorama? Yeah? NO?

    If I am completely barking up the wrong tree -- just let me know that as well.

    Many thanks in advance!
    -Jared
  2. o hey tyler
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    o hey tyler New Member

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    Well, if you're looking at saving some money, and you're only shooting stationary objects (not people); you should look at a hot light set. Maybe some clamps to hold things in place. If you're eventually going to start shooting moving objects, you will want strobes more than likely.
  3. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    As far as my advice, I would swing by Paul C. Buff - The Beginner Bee Package

    Probably the best and easiest way to get into lighting. While it's shipping, if I were you, I would pick up a copy of Light, Science and Magic.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011
  4. Bitter Jeweler
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    Bitter Jeweler Well-Known Member

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    God, I love this place.
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  5. unpopular
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    unpopular Well-Known Member

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    Why do people love Alienbees so much? I have a pair of chinese Mettle 300c, with stands cost about $400, and according to the Alienbee spec sheet compared against my measurements, each produce more light than Alienbee B400.
  6. Overread
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    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member

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    Guys - leave out the name calling. Have disagreements and opinions on equipment and such by all means; but without insulting other members.

    Bitter - no rampaging - you're not Godzilla ;)
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  7. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    A lot of it is that they stand behind their product and they have amazing customer service and warranty options. If it breaks, they'll fix it. Period.

    Not many Chinese companies will do that. Just my .02
  8. unpopular
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    unpopular Well-Known Member

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    You're probably right. But at like $150, who cares.
  9. cgipson1
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    cgipson1 New Member

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    Agree! Good lights... and a excellent book!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2011
  10. JDawggie
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    JDawggie New Member

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    Thanks -- I will take a look at that set. I actually picked up the Science of Light book not too long ago -- I just have not had a chance to read it yet.

    I am new to this forum -- I presume that was just back-and-forth banter? :meh:
  11. Overread
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    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member

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    A fair amount of it was - the problem is they like to take a leaf out of the troll book on banter - which means the rocks have more spiky edges to them at times ;)
  12. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    I apologize that this carried over into your thread. I started it and I shouldn't have.

    The book really is eye opening, and after reading it, you should be able to make your shots work with just about any sort of lighting, although, IMO strobes will be more workable. For what you want to do, an AB400 will probably be enough. If you buy one of the more powerful ones, you might run into issues with it being too powerful. Heck, even a speedlight might be appropriate, i.e. for Nikon an SB600.
  13. Overread
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    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member

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    I have now somewhat cleared out the mess that was cluttering this thread up; I've left the original comment and the apology in place as well as my first notice and it ends there. Anyone that wants to continue takes up in private messages - if you post again on the argument in this thread you'll get a 24hour timeout from the site.

    I'm not about to start banning general members of the site who are helpful because they have personal issues with others; however if you can't keep your personal issues outside of the general forum and allow them to keep spilling into the site and cause disruption then something is going to have to be done.
    Please try to resolve issues in private or use the sites ignore feature.
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  14. o hey tyler
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    o hey tyler New Member

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    What apology? I didn't get an apology. There wasn't anything that "carried over" from another thread. Unless it was a thread from 6 months ago and Kerbouchard has some type of undying Texas-sized grudge against me. This personal attack was from completely out of nowhere, and I think you exercised poor moderation by leaving his initial post.

    Just sayin', Overread.
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  15. JDawggie
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    JDawggie New Member

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    I just started reading the book yesterday -- it seems technical, but at the same time it is very easy to understand. I took a look at the AB set -- I have never worked with strobes before (hence why I am newbie)..regarding your comment about AB400 being enough and anything higher may be too much...from what I see you can control the output of the strobe. I did see the AB starter kit with AB800 (I think)...THis may be too powerful for product / flower shots? Well i am just in the discovery stage of figuring out what I want need -- most likely will buy something after the holidays!

    Again -- thanks to all that replied.
  16. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    For strobes, bigger isn't always better. For isntance, the alien bees do exhibit a slight color shift at lower power levels. It is also a bit harder to fine tune the power at the lower power levels. The more expensive Einstein lights don't exhibit the same problem. In any case, for product photography, chances are, in most cases, your light will be within a few feet of the product. You don't need much power at all to shoot at f/11, base ISO, with a strobe that close.

    In you case, you might be better off with a speedlight, lightstand, and a modifier like a softlighter II. A lot more versatile since the speedlight can be grabbed for on the go shooting a lot easier a strobe can. As a matter of fact, a speedlight pretty much never leaves my camera. The only time I actually take it off is when shooting ceremony shots at a wedding. I don't want the perception that I am using flash since that is generally a no-go in Texas weddings.
  17. JDawggie
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    JDawggie New Member

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    Thanks Kerbouchard...A speed light is basically a flash that is off-camera, but more portable than strobe, I finally get that! One thing I am still a bit unclear on is if it would be best to use only strobes when shooting "products" such as flowers/plants indoors...or is is a combo of strobes / continuous? I also saw this set [ Kuhl Lights ] after doing a search for "product photography lighting ] , but I have not really seen too many reviews off their site....I am just trying to figure out if one strobe (B400) is the right choice if I am looking to light/shoot products or in some cases do very close (not quite macro) shoots that seem to require more uniform lighting. I am a newbie, just trying to figure out my first set up! Many thanks.
  18. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    Well, that's where the definitions get a bit tricky. A speedlight is generally a light that can mount to your hot shoe and can be used on your camera or off your camera with appropriate triggers. They are not nearly as powerful as strobes, but they are more portable and offer a bit more flexibility. For small product shoots, you don't need very powerful lighting. Diffusers, scrims, flags, gobos, etc are more important and many of that can be made out of posterboard.

    As far as mixing flash with continuous light, it can be done, but it may make your setup more complicated than necessary. During a transition period, sometimes it can be necessary, but it probably shouldn't be your end goal.
  19. Helen B
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    Helen B New Member

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    I do a lot of product photography and still life. Though I have plenty of strobes (old 2400 Ws Blackline Speedotrons and 800 Ws D-series Dynalites - which are cheap alternatives to less powerful, newer strobes) I only use them if I have to - which is usually if I need to freeze motion or when I need lots of light for large format film (ISO 100 at f/45 typically). The rest of the time I use continuous lights - mostly household incandescent lamps either diffused or reflected, or both. If you have a tripod and don't need to freeze motion, continuous lights are a viable option. It's very easy to light with continuous lights because you use the same light, same intensity for setting up and for taking.

    Best,
    Helen
  20. Destin
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    Destin New Member

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    Honestly, I do alot of shooting with flash. My 4 light setup consists of a Nikon sb-600 speedlight ($220) and 3 yongnuo yn-460 II speedlights ($45 each on ebay). Are you going to drown out the sun mid-day with them? Not likely. But I got 4 lights for under $400, and they are more than enough power for any indoor shot, especially when you are first learning. Check out Strobist ;everything on that site revolves around using small, shoe mount speedlights. He doesn't use large studio strobes for any of it, and it's pretty incredible.

    Are there times I wish I had a good set up studio strobes? Yes, but not often. I'm rarely above 1/4 power on any of my speedlights when I'm indoors. If I was you I'd pick up some yongnuo yn-460 II's on ebay, along with some yongnuo ctr-301p radio triggers for them, and a couple lightstands with umbrella mounts and 2 in one umbrellas. That setup has limitations for sure, I won't try to say it doesn't. But I'd bet it takes you at least a year to learn lighting well enough to reach those limitations. When I learned all I had was my sb-600, a light stand, and a shoot through umbrella for the first year or so.

    I'd also advise you to properly learn how to use a one light setup before trying to add in more lights. This way you can get a feel for what a single light does, and how adding another will benefit you, and when one light is enough.

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