Studio Portrait Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by AlexD70s, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. AlexD70s

    AlexD70s TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I've been using my DSLR for a couple of years now shooting family, friends, etc and last year I went on cruise vacation and there were studio stations for everyone for everyone to take their formal pictures before dinner.

    Is it hard to learn studio portrait photography?

    Where/How can I learn?

    What equipment / brand names should i buy?

    What range in price does the equipment cost (lights, umbrellas, reflectors etc)? I don't want the cheapy stuff...i want the equipment to be durable and last for years.

    What lens' are mostly used for studio portrait photography?

    If I get good, maybe i'll start a home business....just an idea.

    Thanks for reading,

    Alex
     
  2. Applefanboy

    Applefanboy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The 85mm 1.8 is an excellent portrait lens. A good starting place would be to read Strobist.com. It talks mostly about studio lighting, but that is a very important aspect of portraits. One more SB-800 or an alien bee would be good.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,817
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Strobist talks about using hot-shoe type flashes, off camera. Which is certainly a possibility for something like this.

    Another possibility would be 'studio' strobes...that run on AC power. They are typically more powerful than hot-shot flashes but you need to plug them in, where as flash units run on batteries which makes them much more portable.

    One brand of studio lights that a lot of 'entry level' studio photographers are using is Alienbee. There are, of course, other good brands and several that are more 'high end' but I use them and recommend them.

    There are plenty of ways to learn about studio lighting. There are many books on the subject, and you might be able to find a course at a community college for example.

    Some will suggest that you start with one light and learn how to use it effectively before you start adding more lights and confusing things. When I set up a studio in a home, I like to use three or sometimes 4 lights. You can use more or less, depending on your style and creativity. In many cases, you can substitute a simple reflector for a light.
     
  4. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Litchfield Park, AZ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Lighting equipment is not cheap and studio portraiture is an art. Last year I took a job with a local studio to learn some of this stuff and it was a great experience. I shot school dances, yearbook and elementary schools. The work is seasonal for most so finding a job like this shouldn't be too hard.
    The price range for equipment like this can range from $2,000-$20,000 just for the lights and learning how to use them is not self explanatory. Not only that but while I had fun doing this work, it was also pretty repetitive and boring at times. I have also been on a couple Carnival cruises and their photographers really impressed me with their professionalism and excellent work, real pros.
    Take a job like I described and see if this is really for you, maybe you'll love it.
     
  5. AlexD70s

    AlexD70s TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks everyone for the great info!

    Looks like I have a lot of research/reading/learning ahead of me before I decide what is best for me.

    -Alex
     
  6. MelodySoul

    MelodySoul TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    308
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    ON, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Have you considered taking a part time job in a portrait studio? I have been working at one for almost a year now and I have learned a lot.
     
  7. 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
    Pick up "Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers" from Amazon, and 90% of your questions will be answered. The last 10% come with time, good equipment and practice.
     
  8. 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 "Strobist" setup is not ideal for actual studio work.

    For studio lights, there are two types of configurations. First, there are monolights, which are self-contained units with their own controls that plug straight into the wall. Then there are power pack systems, which use a power pack about the size of a car battery that plugs into the wall, and then individual light heads, which plug into the power pack and all settings are controlled from the pack.

    Pros and Cons:

    Monolights- Very simple to learn on. Lights being totally independent of each other offers some measure of safety because if a light fails, you simply replace it. On the downside, they're bulkier units themselves, often requiring very sturdy light stands or boom setups if you want to use larger modifiers because the light itself is a bit heavy.

    Pack systems- A little trickier to learn on, but offer a wider range of configurations. The lights themselves are lighter. All settings can be controlled via a central unit instead of adjusting settings on each separate head. Another big plus is that if you plan to trigger wirelessly, you'll only need one receiver on the AC pack, which will trigger all the lights simultaneously, as opposed to having a receiver on each of your monolights. One downside is that if your pack fails, all of your lights fail. Another is that you have more cords lying around, as each of the heads has to have a cord running to the pack.

    Monolights to look into (in no particular order):
    Affordable: Bowens/Calumet Travelite/Gemini. Dynalite. Balcar. Hensel. Visatec. Many will recommend Alien Bees/White Lightning. I dislike them for a variety of reasons, primarily because of problems with with light temperature inconstancy across their power range, and I think other companies offer better modifiers. I also don't trust them because their company uses shady marketing terms like "effective watt-seconds," which is a completely bull**** way of pretending that they're more powerful than they are.
    Expensive/Pro-Level
    : Profoto, Broncolor.

    Pack Systems to Look into:
    Dyna-Lite. Norman. Profoto. Broncolor. Speedotron Black Line and Brown Line.

    Brands to stay away from:
    Anything made in China. Interfit. Photogenic. Smith-Victor. Sunpak. Other off-name brands.

    I personally don't like Elinchrom very much because most of their units aren't fan-cooled, which I feel is an absolute necessity even if you aren't shooting rapidly.

    Here is an example of what a pack system setup might look like. This particular setup uses a VERY expensive Profoto D4 system. I selected the hardware and designed the configuration for another member's upcoming gig (she's a mentoring student of mine on here). Bear in mind this setup is rented. To buy it would costs a few thousand bucks easy. The diagram is not really to scale, but more of a ballpark configuration.

    [​IMG]

    Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  9. AdrianBetti

    AdrianBetti TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix.
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
  10. 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
    Don't tell David Hobby that... he's had many incredible results with those little battery powered wonders for years... lol
     
  11. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Japan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yeah, but Alpha is right. You can use prosumer/consumer equipment and take 20 to 100 test images trying to get it right or you can get a PSU (power pack) 2 heads, a meter, and some fabrics and get in right in one or two right off the bat.

    That's my experience anyway and every time I watch a video it all comes rushing back.
     
  12. 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
    Honestly, I could care less about David Hobby's results and the defensive, self-righteous attitude of the "strobist" crop. Let me be clear, once again. The "strobist" setup is not ideal for studio work, for innumerable reasons, and very good ones at that. Those who portend that it is a serviceable substitute for the capabilities of a proper studio setup are the ones in the minority and for good reason. I say that as someone who routinely works with both, and I speak for countless other like-minded professionals who are better published and more accomplished than myself or Mr. Hobby.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

china cxay phot

,

how to use a softbox 20x24 on quantum flash

,

novatron 125ws

,

portrait studio forum

,

test shot studio yearbook

,

www, come cxay photos