Should I buy some studio lights?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by eravedesigns, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. eravedesigns

    eravedesigns TPF Noob!

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    Hello the photo forum!

    So this is my problem. I have always wanted to get more into studio photography and our school studio is broken and will be for a long time. I also got a huge opportunity to do some fashion photography in the next couple weeks. I was first thinking about getting the AlienBee B800's but I found they were to expensive for me. I have been approved by AlienBees to get a 10% student discount on their lights and I plan to get two B400's. I already have a 9ft white paper roll backdrop and backdrop stand but my dad keeps saying that these lights are expensive and keeps asking if I am sure I want to spend that much money on some lights. He basically thinks I wonÂ’t use them much after the fashion shoot I do. What do you think I should do?

    Both lights + stands + my discount comes out to be like $480


    I really want to take up this opportunity to shoot this model and I figure if i want to do that I will need to get some lights and practice. I guess I could always sell them on ebay but I dont want to think of this situation ending like that.
     
  2. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    i guess it depends on how serious you are about it. I dont really think its a purchase just to jump into without carefully considering, but i dunno... after my experience today, i dont really want to think about studio lighting....
     
  3. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    I hate to be cheap, just because I am. Or is that frugal? :wink:

    You can go to Home Depot, Lowe's, whatever mega store and buy some work lights, on stands, and get your feet wet for under $100.

    Not as good or fancy as pro lighting, but it will work, and you can see how you do. You can make reflectors and fill cards from sheets of mylar and poster boards. Diffusion scrims from old sheets stretched over picture frames or a hula hoop. How to support them is the hardest part, and make sure they aren't too close to the lights.

    It will be hotter than Alienbees, so don't get too close to the lights. But you can set up the shot, one light at a time. Turn them all on and get it perfect, and shoot.

    If you like it and you can make some money, then invest, and let your work pay for the expensive equipment. You can still use the floods for fill lights, or for focusing... or in the garage or workshop? :D

    Start at the beginning, instead of the end.
     
  4. eravedesigns

    eravedesigns TPF Noob!

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    Ya i already bought two of those flood lights from home depot and use them as lights right now but i need to get two strobes to freeze the action and just get a more professional lighting setup. I was thinking like you too by going cheap but going cheap hasnt been working. How would you like it if your a professional model and the photographer uses a bunch of **** to shoot you.
     
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Your sig does not state where you live. Perhaps it would be worth the money to rent a light setup from a photography shop in the area and see if they are something you feel you would use after this one shoot.
     
  6. eravedesigns

    eravedesigns TPF Noob!

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    renting is very expensive. I live in Milwaukee and I have looked at rates from places in chicago or just wherever I see rates posted. For one week getting all the lights would cost me the price of buying 1 alienbee. I decided with my dad to buy just 1 B400 and see how things go and then buy more if I chose to. With my student discount if I sold the light on ebay I would come out even.
     
  7. cosmonaut

    cosmonaut No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It would push your budget some, but B&H photovideo sells a basic set up for about $250.00
    Cosmo
     
  8. eravedesigns

    eravedesigns TPF Noob!

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    those lights are so crap. They are like <100 true Watts and a modeling light in those are like 10 watts. Then after that you have no control over the light power when the alienbees go from full to 1/32.
     
  9. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    It really depends a lot on where you are with your shooting. I'm in a really similar spot, and am gearing up to buy a strobe setup. My two cents is this. There's only so much you can do with available light. It limits what and when and where you can shoot. Granted, there are some amazing things that you can capture under natural lighting. However, to me it's starting to feel a little stale. I'm not saying that I've run out of things to photograph, but I feel like I've gotten to a point where I'm not able to expand my shooting anymore without being able to control my lighting. Of course I'm itching to run out and buy a cheap setup right now, but I know it will pay off (no pun intended) to hold out for a little while and buy something that will do everything I want/need, and will last.
     
  10. eravedesigns

    eravedesigns TPF Noob!

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    ya you basically said what I am thinking too. Thats why I am going with some alienbees instead of something cheaper. Alienbees are not as expensive as some pro monolights but they still have a great rep. I am ordering my b400 tommrow.
     
  11. cosmonaut

    cosmonaut No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the info. That advise might have saved me some grief down the road.
    Cosmo
     
  12. eravedesigns

    eravedesigns TPF Noob!

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    yes you would. I told myself not to go cheap because I know I will regret it right away and need to upgrade. Just get something nice and you can always sell it on ebay.
     

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