I have used ABs but found I cant really afford 3 + softboxes, stands, etc all at once. I really want to practice and learn using studio lighting and wanted to have a studio set up to do some formal portraits of the family for xmas. So I have been doing some browsing and have seen alot of more affordable 3 light kits. Has anyone bought these things with good results? Would you suggest to get 2 ABs with just umbrellas and an extra stand for the reflector? And then buy soft boxes and a third later? One more question. After MUCH research on backdrops I just decited I didnt want them. Not now at least. Is this crazy? Are there alot of uses for the lighting without backdrops?