strobes kit? And backgrounds

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by eyeye, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. eyeye

    eyeye TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    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?
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Messages:
    5,454
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    A couple things.

    1) You should primarily be more concerned, as a beginner especially, with the area/size of light that's being thrown onto the subject than the modifier itself. That is, shooting through a large white umbrella will cause light to fall on your subject much in the same way that a large single-baffled softbox would. When you have a compelling need to get more into light shape and quality, I would then think about softbox shapes and double-baffles. And then things like grids. As for those baffles, if you find the light from a shoot-through umbrella to be too harsh you can always back up the light.

    2) Stands shouldn't be expensive. Provided you aren't using heavy modifiers, a decent stand can be had for $30.

    3) Multiple lights aren't necessary if you play your cards right. If you can shoot in an environment where ambient light is good, you should be able to shoot down to 1/30 handheld, and even slower on a tripod, provided your subjects don't move much. In this way, you can use ambient as general fill and a single strobe for accent. Alternatively, two lights will do the trick just fine in most cases...one primary light and a second for fill or hair. You'll make the learning curve a lot harder trying to work with three.

    4) That said, I would want three lights if I didn't have a backdrop. You can use any light-colored wall as a backdrop provided you throw enough light on it...but if you're using two lights for your subjects then you're outta luck lighting the background.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. zapman29

    zapman29 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Okinawa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    bought a complete setup for under $500 3 backdrops 3 lights... the company is square perfect good beginner sets....
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    6,111
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Backdrops are not needed if you know how to adjust your lighting. I can take a white wall to near any shade between white to pitch black with light alone, and add some gels, that extends it to near any background colour I want (with the same techniques, I can also make trees look like some fake backdrop that look like anything but foliage)!

    You use backdrops to hide things like highly reflective objects that get in your way (large expanses of water, glass windows, shiney cars, setting sun, etc...).

    More interesting backgrounds can be made using what is there and with a little experience and a few good lenses you can go a LONG way to getting effects that you never thought possible! I am not saying that backdrops are totally useless, as they do have their place in portraiture and can add a lot to a picture under the right circumstances, but for the most part, one can get by without them and still accomplish some lovely effects just using proper technique and understanding. Experience counts for a LOT here. At some point, something will click and you will be able to look at a scene and just come up with 1 different ideas to try out to accomplish various goals.

    If you are just starting out, the strobist mentality is perfect for you... more brains, less $$. Some amazing shots can be done with a single good strobe bounced or shot through an umbrella on a stand off camera. A starter's setup should be easy to get for all under $150.

    I just picked up *4* 10-ft light stands from Adorama for $25ea a short time ago. They had stands that were under $20ea as well. ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008

Share This Page