help - studio lighting

bethanym

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I'm looking to create a small studio setting for portraits in my home. I've looked into many different lighting options, but I am even more confused than when I began. I don't know if I should purchase a kit or build my own, or what would be sufficient for what I'm trying to do. If anyone could supply me with advice or links to advice on this matter, it would be greatly appreciated.
 

Big Mike

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Welcome to the forum.

Can you give us more information?

What is your budget?
What is your skill level?
What grade of equipment are you looking for (cheap, moderate or high end)?
Do you want something that can be portable or will it only be used/installed in your home?
Are you looking for continuous lighting or strobe (flash) lighting?
Are you the type of person who would build something yourself to save money or you would pay more for more 'professional' products?
 
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bethanym

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Budget - less than $1000

Skill level - intermediate, but beginner in studio setting photography

What grade of equipment are you looking for (cheap, moderate or high end)? cheap to moderate

Do you want something that can be portable or will it only be used/installed in your home? does not have to be portable

Are you looking for continuous lighting or strobe (flash) lighting? continuous lighting

Are you the type of person who would build something yourself to save money or you would pay more for more 'professional' products? I'm open to either
 

Big Mike

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OK...now we are getting somewhere.

First of all...for portraits, I would recommend using strobes rather than continuous lighting. The reason is that people move...and to get sharp images you need a fast exposure. To get a fast exposure with continuous lighting requires expensive lenses and/or a whole lot of light power. The more light power you have...the more likely that there is going to be a lot of heat generated...and you don't want to have your subjects sweating or sitting there for a long time with a really bright light in their face.
I'm not saying it can't be done...but these are things that aren't really a problem with strobes.

Strobes fire so quickly that shutter speed isn't a problem and you get sharp images. There are other issues to deal with when using strobes...like metering...so the choice is up to you.

I don't have any suggestions for what to get for continuous lighting...but I'd probably try to stay away from anything that gets really hot...like halogen.

Here is a Do-it-yourself site that has many ideas for projects for the home studio. http://www.diyphotography.net/
 

droyz2000

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My suggestion is to get strobe lights. I have shot portraits with continuous lighting and it is a huge pain. Little children never sit still and you spend all of your time trying to keep them from moving. Also, the heat produced can be a real problem. If they get close to any type of fabric, they can cause discoloration or start to burn. Strobe just make thing a lot simpler. IMHO
 
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bethanym

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The only reason I was hoping to use continuous lighting was because I assumed it would be more flattering. I just want to make sure what I choose isn't going to wash out my subjects.
 

mwct

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Is strobe lighting much more expensive that normal lighting? Also do you need a very expensive camera set up to synchronize the strobe to the camera flash? I use a Canon system and was thinking about going into portrait but have not got the very expensive 530ex flash that allows remote synchronization (I use the 430ex which is slave unit only).
 

Big Mike

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The only reason I was hoping to use continuous lighting was because I assumed it would be more flattering. I just want to make sure what I choose isn't going to wash out my subjects.
It's not whether the light is flashed or continuous, that makes it flattering. That depends on things like the type of modifiers you use (umbrellas, softboxes etc) and on the skill & knowledge of the photographer.

Is strobe lighting much more expensive that normal lighting?
Good quality strobes aren't cheap

Also do you need a very expensive camera set up to synchronize the strobe to the camera flash?
No, some cameras have a PC port that will plug directly to studio flash units. If your camera does not have a PC port but has a hot-shoe, you can get a simple adaptor.

I use a Canon system and was thinking about going into portrait but have not got the very expensive 530ex flash that allows remote synchronization (I use the 430ex which is slave unit only).
Now we are talking about hot-shoe flash units. There are ways to trigger your flash while off camera...but there are two directions to go here. To use your 430EX off camera, and still retain the E-TTL metering, you would need a 580EX or the ST-E2. The other option would be to use an optical or radio remote...it's probably a cheaper and/or more reliable way to trigger the flash but then you don't have E-TTL metering and would have to set the power of the flash manually.
 

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