Please recommend entry level lighting kit

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Bokeh, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. Bokeh

    Bokeh TPF Noob!

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    I want to start working on portraiture. Can someone recommend some good starting elements of lighting? Obviously umbrellas (how many though), etc? I'd also like a recommendation on a good book covering portraiture and lighting. Thanks
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Umbrellas may not be your best choice. From what I hear, you need more powerful lights to reflect or shoot through umbrellas. A soft box (or two) may be a better choice. But I'm no expert.

    Are you looking to get a strobe system? or a hot light system?
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Two lights, one with a brolly (never shoot through a brolly) or a soft box, one with a snoot for the background. You can even get away with just one light.
    My advice - before buying a lighting kit do some classes. Then you find out what you can do with lights and what you need.
    I can light a whole still life with one redhead, a couple of mirrors and some white card. But then I was taught by some of the best.
     
  4. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you dont want to do the classes, you can get videos that show you what you can do with one flash and some bounce boards and stuff like that. I dont remember the guys name though that ive seen videos of.

    My lighting teacher promots the kiss theory. keep it simple stupid. The less lights you have, the less work you have to do. The more lights you have, the more shadows you have to try to eliminate since there should only be one set of shadows for a natural looking portrait.

    I just did my portrait assignment, hopefully itll turn out well. I only used a hand held flash off camera for the main source of light. I was planning on using some bristol board to bounce some light behind the subject for rim lighting to seperate the subject from the background but I didnt have anyone to hold it in place.
     
  5. MarylandMatt

    MarylandMatt TPF Noob!

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    my background is film/video but I feel like the concept is basically the same. I like to use the three point lighting system, which is a right and a left fill and then a backlight to add just a dusting of light on the shoulders. I saw in B&H, and I can recommend these through personal experience, some nice Lowell light kits. They range I think in the ballpark of $400-500 I think. That'll give you power, 2 bar lights, umbrellas, and a spotlight.

    Before you buy anything though you should definitely read up on lighting and the concepts. I hope I'm not overstepping boundaries here and if I am I apologize but there was a cinematographer who did a lot of film noir features named John Alton. His work was always moody and edgy, and he just knew how to use lights to create a desired effect. Anyway, he wrote a book which is back in publication called "Painting with Light". I recommend it to anyone who is just interested period with lighting. While not a how to book (while it does feature diagrams) it is an interesting read if you get the opportunity.
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Books and videos are OK for basic info (and I mean basic) but can in no way compare to actually getting your hands on a real kit for a play around.
    But simple is definitely best. The rubric goes: One light is good, two lights is OK and three lights means you're making a film ;-)
     

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