Cheap Lighting


TPF Noob!
Apr 23, 2013
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Hi All,

Has anyone some suggestions on some cheap lighting? I wish to take portraits of my daughter but unfortunately my house is pretty dark and a lot of the photos come out with a yellow tinge, due to the high ISO (I believe?). I don't like using the on-board flash as it makes her skin very patchy (hope someone understands what I mean?).

I also like macro photography and would like to use some of the lighting to aid with this too.

I have a Nikon d3100

Thanks in advance.
Well, nobody has answered, so I will take a stab at it.

I can suggest the ULTIMATE in cheap lighting. So cheap in fact, it's practically free. I say practically, because it involves a small investment on your part, not of money, but time.

Now, I hope I am not about to give away the secrets of the universe here, but once a day a naturally occurring event provides cheap photographic lighting. Twice a day, said event provides GREAT photographic lighting. It's called..............


Sorry for being a smarta$$, it's early. Seriously, though, learn to work with what you have available. If you cant afford good studio lights or high dollar flash units, learn to use the naturally occurring light that you do have available. Reflectors and little bit of knowledge can go a LONG way to a great shot.
Smarta$$!! hehe

Yep, i know all about this thing called natural lighting, however, as stated, my house is dark!!

You say reflectors can help? Any type?

Thanks for your sarcastic response though ;)
Grab a couple of cheap speedlights & radio triggers, and read strobist 101.
Thanks cptkid, will look into your suggestions

Question - what do the radio triggers do?
Yeah, get a couple of under $100 flashes. TPF seems to be madly in love with Yongnuo (?) but Vivitar still makes good stuff, and I think Sunpak, and some others.

Figure out a way to get the flash off your camera. You can use radio triggers that plug into the hotshoe mount on top of the D3100, or a little block shaped device that plugs into the same hotshoe mount and gives you a PC cord socket, which lets you connect a flash by way of a PC cord (a wire). Many flashes will also have an "optical slave" feature, which will cause them to trigger when they "see" another flash's trigger. This lets you figure out how to connect a single flash to your D3100, and let the rest take care of themselves.

That covers getting some light.

Now you'll want some modifiers. You can improvise stuff with tape, newspaper, pillowcases, etc. Doing so will teach you a lot of stuff really fast, but will be frustrating and slow.

You can also buy some stuff. Softboxes, umbrellas, light stands, etc etc. Lots of threads on here.

Searching for "strobist 101" on google will probably find you at least one decent web site on this subject.
Awesome advise peeps, keep it coming. As usual the TPF is overly helpful :)

Still don't really understand what the radio triggers do though?
The simple answer is that a radio trigger transmits the OK GO POW NOW! signal instantaneously from the hotshoe on your camera to the faraway flash. This can also be accomplshed with a cheap wire (see PC cords).

They may also transmit information about how much POW to produce? Or some sort of metering info? The details are opaque to me, since I only use manual flash.
Ahhhh, i understand now. I wondered how this was achieved
a really cheap investment to improve the on-camera flash might be a light scoop.

I started with one, then went to an sb-400, then sb-700, now I'm looking to pick up more speedlights and triggers...
pisto1981; the "yellow tinge" may be due to your home's interior lighting.

Don't use the on-board flash without some fancy re-directing and modifying of the light. Better to not use it at all for portraiture.

Most people at your stage of development will obtain a speedlight and perhaps some modifiers.

You don't absolutely need a radio remote triggering system, but they are very flexible and will be useful for many types of photography. Otherwise, you can get a cable to fire the flash for not a lot of money.

Get a speedlight and an inexpensive white umbrella with light stand, and make a homemade reflector from some large white material.

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