Question About Studio Lighting

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by erinschr, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. erinschr

    erinschr TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to this forum and have a question about studio lighting. I'm sorry it this question has been asked before.

    I'm going to try my hand at portrait photography, I've been doing outdoor natural lighting for years and now what to give indoor a whirl. I was wondering your opinion on the following lighting system. I don't have alot of money to spend right away and was told this was a fairly good on.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart&A=details&Q=&sku=298604&is=REG

    Any opinions you have would be appreciated.

    Thanks!:wink:
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The thing about using continuous lighting for portraits is that you need a lot of power to get decent shutter speeds. And the more power you have, the hotter it gets....which isn't comfortable for the subject.

    These are some of the reasons why I prefer to use strobes...but they aren't as cheap as continuous lights.
     
  3. dmitrimarkine

    dmitrimarkine TPF Noob!

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    Not to sound bad,but those tungstens are crap. They heat everything around you. God forbid you drop one of those on a model... These are good for Canadians though...to use in our cold winter climate,instead of a heater :)

    On a serious note,get the strobes. They have numerous advantages over continuous lighting setups. If you are buying from BH,look into SP-Systems. They are pretty good for the price. You can always check Alien Bees.
     
  4. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have had great luck from a set of Calumet Travel-lites. They are made by Bowens for Calumet and have been very reliable.
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The problem is decent strobes usually cost money. Tungstens are not much of an issue except for the aforementioned heat problems. The only other problem is that continuous bright lights cause the pupils to contract. Since the eyes make the portrait photograph if you want your model to really engage the viewer her pupils should be as wide open as possible, err not looking like she's popped some pills of course, but open all the same. This can only be done using flashes in a darker room.
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    strobist.com ;)
     
  7. JodieO

    JodieO TPF Noob!

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    I'm a fan of alienbees.com - they are not that expensive (in comparison to others) and they are pretty reliable. I have been using mine for 3-1/2 years with no issues. I have four now in studio (prior to that, I was slinging them into the back of my vehicle for on location which beat them up but they always kept working! lolol!), seem to collect them somehow!)

    Anyway, if you are planning to be a serious portrait photographer, I would suggest investing in something that you won't necessarily need to upgrade from within a year.

    When I started out, I made a lot of really dumb decisions trying to save money, and I regret them because I ended up spending more money in teh longrun by not buying decent stuff first.
     
  8. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    I'll second the Excalibur SP line of lights. They give a great flash for the price.

    I grew up with hot lights. Yes, you have to take into consideration the heat and color balance, but they can be an excellent source of light if you can't afford studio strobes. The mistake many make when they use hot lights, they usually get the halagon worklights at Home Depot or other hardware store. These are not suited for portrait work. The light is too hot (literally), the shape of the bulb does not put out a good pattern of light, and their color balance is all wrong and takes a lot of compensation in the camea or in post processing.

    The photo floods are better because they are color balanced and keep it over most of the life of the bulb. They give out a fairly controllable pattern of light so they work well with reflector, light panels or umbrellas. The bulbs do not have a name brand marking right at the point that is directed towards your subject (some name brand markings can leave a shadow on your subject). They still produce a lot of heat (especially the 250 watt or 500 watt bulbs), they have a short life span (we're talking hours of use, not days like your normal household bulbs), they are more expensive than household bulbs and you can't pick up replacements at the local hardware or lighting store. But they give you a true WYSIWYG lighting... much better than most modeling lights of strobes.

    The next choice is cool lights. This is usually floresent of one type or another. Although they can look brighter, they usually don't put out the light that the photo floods do. You have to adjust for their color balance (and it changes over it's life) and the cheaper ones can flicker on you. But I have seen people that put together a bank of floresent lights (multiple lights within a enclosed panel box) and get some really nice results from them. You don't have the heat that you do with photo floods, although the cost of the good ones are still fairly high.

    If you can't afford studio strobes, what some people do is buy several Vivitar 283 flashes and slave them together. They produce more light than hot or cool lights will, they are fairly inexpensive and be had used. The down side is their recycling time is dependent on their battery life and you can't use large umbrellas or softboxes with them, although you can use small to medium sizes ones fairly effectively. One advantage with them is that you can take them on location and use them, since they run on batteries.

    Any of these choices can work. Some better than others. It just depends on what you need, want and can afford.

    Mike
     
  9. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you want to shoot people then wait until you can buy strobes. The hot lights will be a waste of money for anything other than intentional motion blur.
     

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