Softbox set up

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by AprilRamone, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone,
    I have a room in my house that I want to set up as a small studio, but the lights I'm using right now are very dangerous because they are continuous and I don't have light stands (I just clamp them whereever I can). In any case, I am really liking some of the portraits I've seen from photographers who are just using a softbox and reflector. I think I'd like to start out simply with that sort of set up (and not worry about hair lights and such for now). I'm wondering if anyone has some suggestions for what I should look for when I go to buy a softbox. Also, this is going to sound stupid, but the softbox isn't the same as the light correct? I'd have to buy that seperately? And a stand too right? If anyone can give me some advice about this stuff, I'd really really appreciate it!
     
  2. JonK

    JonK I want MORE!!

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    I bought my setup from Alien Bees: http://www.alienbees.com/

    Reasonably priced. Maybe not the most robust units on the market but they do the job nicely. If I were to do it over I would get the umbrella style softbox for rounder catchlights.
    The softbox is separate from the light(strobe) and attaches with a special adapter which comes with it if you buy it from them. You could buy the light from alien bees and a softbox elsewhere but you would need to purchase their adapter to fit the softbox to their light in that case.

    I used the alien bees 800w with a 32x40 softbox(rectangle) and foamcore reflector for these shots in my small office studio: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37866

    One more thing...a flash meter is a must have item. I bought a Polaris Flash Meter on e-bay for a bout $125 canadian. It was almost brand new and retails for about $220USD. It does the job just fine.
     
  3. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your help Jon...now here's another newbie question:
    On the Alienbees website they have 3 different flash units with different wattage. I am thinking about getting the smallest one for budget's sake(400 usable wattage) but what is the advantage of having the higher wattage strobes? I think I understand that they put out more light, but I'm having a hard time understanding why the smallest one wouldn't cut it.
     
  4. dave81

    dave81 TPF Noob!

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    i bought my softbox on ebay, and then later on bought an entire lighting set on ebay for my house studio as well....it was better than any deal I saw on any website. Joe9Images was the seller I bought it from.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I'm no expert, but I guessing that the extra power would come in handy in many situations. Light fall-off is inversly square...so if you move the light twice as far away...it's 1/4th as bright on your subject. Also, soft boxes and reflecting light takes away from the light that reaches and reflects off of the subject. Another thing is that if you can dial up the flash power, you can close down the aperture, giving you more DOF.

    I don't really know if the cheaper units will work for you, but I'm sure there are plenty of reasons why people would want the better ones.
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Mike hit the main reasons I can think of. Low wattage doesn't cut it when you need to cover a long distance, as is often the case when shooting on location, like a wedding.
     
  7. JonK

    JonK I want MORE!!

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    Those guys basically covered it i think. when buying a unit make sure the power is variable; not just in stops of 1/2, 1/4 etc. you want that infinite choice given by variable power slider.
     

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