Help with Alien Bee lighting outdoors!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by bishrl, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. bishrl

    bishrl TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I am hoping someone who shoots with AB's outdoors could chime in.. :1251: I shoot mostly studio and i have several AB's currently. AB1600, AB800 and 2 AB400's. I have a tiny shooting space indoors so my 1600 was too much and i felt like the 800 might be too much so i recently picked up two used ab400's thinking i would sell the 800 and 1600. But now I've been thinking about shooting outdoors as well when I do seniors or maternity shots and i'm worried that having a Ab400 wouldn't be powerful enough for outdoors. So... my question is, should i keep the 2 400's for studio and outdoors or a 400 and 800? Thanks so much for your help :)


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    45,547
    Likes Received:
    14,686
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    At only 640 w/s, the AB1600 is decent for outdoor, bright day fill, but it's not a powerhouse. I would definitely keep it and the 800 (320 w/s) if you plan to do a lot of out of doors work.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. bishrl

    bishrl TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank you so much! I’ve never shot outdoors with ofc before it’s just something I’ve been thinking about since I have strobes. I’m sure the majority of my shoots will be in studio which is why I worry about using the 1600 in my tiny space. I have used it in the past and I didn’t like that I had to dial down the lowest power on the strobe plus had to keep my fstop at like 11 at the lowest and my iso down to 125. I’m shooting with a 47”octobox with the flash bulb inside facing the back of the box and it’s so bright still. That’s why I bought the ab800. Lol but even that is still too much power for in studio hence the reason for the two ab400’s:BangHead:. I took a few test shots with the 400 yesterday In studio and I think it will be perfect for my small space but I know it won’t be enough outdoors. I really want to have 2 lights for in studio, one for main and 1 for fill. Would the ab800 be doable for outdoor work?
     
  4. sergezap

    sergezap TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    Belarus
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I use 400Ws Elinchroms with octaboxes for indoors portraiture, and it's more than enough.
    Sometimes I would like them to have less power output at minimum level.

    I also have an Elinchrom Quadra for outdoors shooting. There is no free lunch: 400Ws is not enough to overpower the sun. It's quite usable for filling but sucks as a key light at noon. Morning/evening/cloudy weather - 400Ws is ok.
     
  5. bishrl

    bishrl TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    What about the 800? Still not enough for mid day?
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    45,547
    Likes Received:
    14,686
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    The '800 will be okay for fill. Combined with the 1600, it will give you a decent amount of light. It's still not going to let you knock down a high noon sun by three stops, but it will help.
     
  7. sergezap

    sergezap TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    Belarus
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    1200Ws is ok in any way: reflector, deflector, indirect/direct octa, ect.
    800Ws - it depends.
    There is an alternative: you can use big diffusion panel between your subject and the sun, and less powerful flash.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. bishrl

    bishrl TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank you so much for your help!! Your work is beautiful by the way. ! Do you use strobes outdoors? If you were in my situation and shot mostly studio in a tiny space but wanted to have a light you can have in studio and outside which 2 strobes would you keep? Ab1600, 800, 400's? Keeping in mind that when using the 1600 before in studio since my space is so small i had to power down my light as low as it would go and shoot with an f stop of no less than 11 and an iso of 125. I prefer to shoot with a narrower DOP to help blur my BG a bit and I couldn't do that with the 1600.
     
  9. sergezap

    sergezap TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    Belarus
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    It looks like we're pretty in same situation.
    I do my "studio" work in extra small space too.
    The way you can go to reduce DOF and amount of light: ND filter, black fabric curtains, brand or diy deflector for flashead, additional softbox baffle(s), indirect softboxes.
    Black fabric curtains and flags helps a lot with unnecessary color cast from furniture, floor, ect.

    I would go with Ab1600+Ab800 for indoors/outdoors "universal"setup.
    Planning your shootings in right time and lighting conditions is a way more superior and cheaper alternative.
    I have no any problems with my 400Ws Quadra even with Octa while shooting at the golden hours or cloudy weather.
    Sorry, but there is no budget flashlights with 10 stops of power management.

    As for outdoors strobes using, my answer is yes. But rarely because i'm lazy.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    11,553
    Likes Received:
    5,543
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I rarely find the need to crank my AB400's above the halfway point in studio. Typically use anywhere from 3 to 5 light setup. My go to setting is f/8, 1/125, ISO 100. I have used 3 AB400's on a deck in bright shade with no problem. To me managing the light with the correct modifiers and having mutiple sources is far more effective rhen blasting the whole area. I had the chance to pickup a 1600 recently but passed on it as I didn't see it helping me. If I was doing a lot of work outside, or in a larger area, especially groups i might reconsider.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
  11. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    11,553
    Likes Received:
    5,543
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    One comment on your setup, I've found that having multiple points of light with modifiers and reflectors to control the placement is far more effective than blasting the scene with one large light. With a good incident meter, it isn't difficult to set up 3,4,5, or even 6 lights.
     
  12. sergezap

    sergezap TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    Belarus
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit


    Most time of our life we are quite happy with just one light.
    I mean the sun.
    One light with big (150cm-190cm) softbox is the best way to start.
    It's like mobile big and well controlled window that you can take with you anywhere.
    Everybody loves shooting with window light.
     

Share This Page