home studio kit equipment


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Sep 27, 2010
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los angeles, ca
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I have a Canon 7D and want to setup a home studio, on a budget, ideally for 1000 dollars or less.

I have come accross products like
SP3700 Complete Premium Portrait Studio Kit - 3 Studio Flash/Strobe, 2 softboxes, 3 backdrops, wireless

Amazon.com: ePhoto 800w Watt Photographhy Photo Studio Digital Video Light Lighting Fluorescent 2x105 Watts bulb Kit by ePhoto INC K1510x20B: Camera & Photo

I wanted to ask if there are any such kits that can be recommended. I assume I need a backdrop setup, lights and reflectors.

any advice what stuff to go for is greatly appreciated.

WeeeeeeeeeeeLLLL, depends what you want to do but for basic kit here's what you need and ONLY YOU can determine how much you want to spend on it.
However, keep in mind that "better" units aren't only better b/c they cost more, they are more consistent in power output, recycling time and longevity.
Here's what you need
- *One or two strobes
- *One or two light stands
- **two background stands
- background
- ***wire OR wireless means of connection your camera to the strobes
- room to shoot :)

* - you can get nice stuff w/ using only one light. You'll have a nice ratio or it'll be flat as a board :) all depends on how you light up your subject. However, I'd recommend at least two units.
** One flash unit = one light stand
*** If you're connecting unit with wire then you just plug that into your pc-socket; As one unit fires it must set of a second unit. THEREFORE lights ought to have built-in optical slaves (unless you want to buy those and plug them in). IF you're setting of units wirelessly then you need to attach a transmitter to your camera (via hotsync or pc cord) and connect receiver to your flash units. I'd recommend getting at least 2 transmitters and 2 receivers.
So going back to the price - the MORE you get, the HIGHER quality you get the more everything will cost.

Most ebay units are decent enough for small in-home studio then aren't powerful enough (unless you open wide and boost the iso) for on-location shoots.

Last but not least: I don't know anything about you so do not know your level of epertise but do know this that a common Q that being asked is - "I set up my lights, but my picture is overexposed - why?" you have to know what the heck you're doing with these lights.
you have to know what the heck you're doing with these lights: If you know what you're doing, you'll have a great time, if not, ASK ASK ASK and learn learn learn. By the way, not to say you can't but it's HIGHLY recommended (at least for consistency purposes) to shoot in M mode when using non ttl/ strobe lights.

If you have any Qs and want to talk, don't hesitate to PM.
Good luck
thanks IgsEMT, the advice is much appreciated.

I want to learn and I know the most important stuff regarding shooting in manual, but dont have much experience with the flash lights etc, but i do understanding setting up lights.

I am looking for a good set of equipment between 300 to 1000 dollars that includes all that stuff. any brand or kits that you can recommend?

Now that it's easier to type, here it goes...

I have Alien Bees 800 click here. Over the years I've had a pleasure, and I mean it was a pleasure to use Dynalites, alien bees, quantums, white lighting, lumedyne, and few other ones. They are all great. The reason for extended list was when I started shooting, all I had was 1 camera body with number of lenses and T2 quantum head and for every job I was either burrowing or at times renting out the backup body. Studios I worked for didn't mind me taking their second lighting setup and since photography wasn't my primary job/career, it was a mutual understanding that I only use it on their jobs. However, number of things changed recently and photography now turned into career...
Anyways, I bought Alien Bees for few reasons and they aren't in the order of importance, #1 they are powerful enough for the jobs that I need, #2 small enough for my studio and yet powerful enough for on-location shoots (#1) and #3 comparing to same power output they are amongst the cheapest units out there. Now, I'm not advocating for them and paul buff isn't paying me to do it either, but they do the job. I didn't get AB400 cause I needed more power and AB1600 give me MORE juice then I'd need to and cost more.
2 lights + stands + umbrellas + 1 softbox ring w/ softbox + 2 cybercync receivers (battery operated) + 2 cybersync transmitters = were about 1100 (don't remember exact number).
Again, after using all the funky units out there, cost as usually is an issue and I went that route - NO REGRETS.
I did look at some stuff on ebay but all those things I mentioned above - recylcing time, power output, etc, are an issue for me - both in-studio and during events.
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