building small home studio. I'm ready to pull the trigger.


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Jun 3, 2013
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Coral Springs fl
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Hello everyone, this is my first post. I’ve been reading this forum a few hours over past several days, and I have a question. I’m building a small studio in my house, the area is about 12X10. I’m looking. I’m new at photography and it’s just a hobby, but I’m taking photos of people twice a week. 3 or 4 days a week, making my kid and wife model for me. I’m interested in fashion, full body photography and portraits. Currently I’m using a 3 light setup 2 3x4 soft boxes and one hair light, the softboxes each have 5- 65w cl bulbs and one in the hair light
I’m looking to move to a five light strobe, I’ve choose between two companies, I don’t plan to replace this lighting. I want to attempt to do this once. I plan to purchase my Main light first with a beauty dish and remote trigger. Everything else I will purchase as money permits.
My choose are Alien Bees and Flashpoint. This is what I think I need.
· All lights need to have the ability to attach a softbox.
· 2 500/600 watts per second for main and fill
· 2 300 watts per second back light or extra side light for drowning my model in light. With one 150 watts per second hair light/back door light or 3 150 watts per second lights to replace the previous sentence.
I have a many stands, backdrops and umbrellas and plan upgrade them in time as needed.

The alien bees look to be a little more versatile with accessories. And I see they are popular on eBay with a nice resale value. I would save more money with the flashpoints. Looking at the flashpoint lights I didn’t see a soft box ring for the 600 watt per second lights under the accessories. Maybe I just didn’t see them.

Just looking for some Input, I’m hesitant to pull the trigger.
First, I would recommend the Alien Bees. The Alien Bees are compatible with a full line of Paul C. Buff (and a wide range of aftermarket) products and, thus, are highly adaptable to many accessories, speed rings, triggers etc... that make studio shooting efficient. I'm willing to offer further advice, but a quick question first: Does the 12 X 10 studio include you and your camera, or is that the dedicated area for the model / lights / gear?
the space with me inside is 10 x 14. i noticed on ebay a collaspable softbox for the alien bees, that sounds pretty nice. i don't take my current softboxes apart due the the pain in putting them back together. what do you think about my chooise of light watts?
The flashpoints are cheap and you can buy speed rings. I have both and if you are on a budget, the flashpoints will do fine.
You are going to have to shoot @ f128 with that many watt seconds of power in that small of a room.

Unless you are going to use a basket full of ND gels you might want to rethink this.

If you are going to take this on the road then OK but if you are going to stay there you might want to drop down to 1/2-1/3 of that and you may still have to cut your output with gels/extra diffusers.
Agree; Wayyyyyyyyyyy too much light for that small a room. In fact, with a room like that, why not look to speedlights? The old Sunpak 3 & 500 series "hammer-head" units are ideal. They have GN of around 140, are fully adjustable to 1/128, built like tanks, can be plugged into AC power and will drive big modifiers just fine. I'm a big fan of the collapsible soft-box idea!
i have 4 of the youngo speedlights with a cannon flash. i prefer my cl soft boxs over them. maybe i need better modifiers. sounds like i could go with 5 of the 150W per second from the response recieved. i just don't want to be under powered. and feel that i need to upgrade later.
How much brighter are the 150 strobes compared to the speedlites?
Best guesstimate? The more powerful hotshoe flashes seem to be around 75 ws @ full power (I've also heard 60ws).

The ability to zoom (focusing their beam) makes them more efficient at longer distances but does not increase their actual output- important to know if you're using a modifier since the zoom function becomes useless. Most manufacturers these days use the zoom to increase their stated guide numbers which is a bummer because without having equal zoom angles it's really hard to compare them.
i don't want to under power my needs and have regrets. maybe i'll just order one of the flashpoint II 150watt and jerrry rig my current soft box. i could try a few portraits with reflector and current hair light i could always ebay or ask to return and upgrade.
In a small room, like a 12x10 area, 500- or 600 Watt-second flash units are going to be grossly overpowerful. They will be a regal PITA is such a confined shooting area. Even my JTL 300 Watt-second monolight was far too powerful for easy use in a big 20x24 foot vaulted ceiling living room...I was always sliding the thing's power slider allllll the way to MIN. I would rather have five, Flashpoint 320M monolights, at 150 Watt-second each, than three Alien Bee whatevers, or two 600 W-s Einsteins.

Five-light and four-light setups in a smaller area are a lot more fun to shoot if your lights give you flexible, controllable, appropriate power distribution.

Here is a scan I did of a Speedotron Brown Line D604, 600 Watt-second power supply, and the Guide Number chart showing real-world GN's at ISO 100, in feet, for 65 degree beam spread 11.5 inch parabolic reflectors. Again--this is 65 degree beam this would be like 35mm zoom head on a speedlight.
thx guys, i think you save me a bunch of money. wish i could find those fold-able softboxes for the flashpoints that i saw for the alien bees

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