Kroneberger0408

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So I want to start doin more portraits at home. Maybe set up a small studio type setup on my house. Mostly Im having a baby in August and I really want some good soft light to use when taking photos of the baby.
What kind of lighting should I start with? Umbrella or softbox? Suggestions for a first one thats good but not expensive? Im working on a shoestring budget but I really want a good light to start practicing with. Im starting to get more work and its time to upgrade basically...
 

tirediron

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My recommendation would be to do some more reading and research. Umbrellas and softboxes are very different animals, 'though with a bit of practice they can be used interchangeably to a certain degree. If I could only ever have one modifier, I would opt for umbrellas simply because they're the most versatile (IMO), but softboxes can be easier to control. The short answer is, "It depends".
 
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Kroneberger0408

Kroneberger0408

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Ive been looking into it a bit trying to decide witch would be better to start out with. Seems like most ppl start with an umbrella..
Does it matter what brand i get? It be cool to find one in a kit with a backgound stand..
 

tirediron

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Brand doesn't matter a huge amount. Higher prices usually mean better quality, but not always. I have a lot of Photoflex; they're relatively inexpensive and decent quality. eBay and Amazon have a huge variety of kits of all kinds. Don't forget you will need a stand, umbrella bracket (I assume you're using a speedlight) and a trigger of some sort.
 

pixmedic

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umbrellas are very versatile. i have a bunch of different types.
reflector umbrellas, shoot through umbrellas, reflector umbrella softboxes and shoot through umbrella softboxes (brollys)
they all do basically the same thing. shoot throughs are good when you can get the lights up close, and reflectors are good when the lights are farther away.
you get a very broad lightsource with umbrellas.

softboxes give you a more directional light and less spillover, but require a little more setup knowledge to get the light where you want it.

umbrellas are great for beginners because they are easy to set up and use. they provide a broad path of light and two of them easily light a group of 2-3 people.
you can get a lot of light from a small umbrella, whereas with a softbox you might need something larger. space might determine what you use.

you really cant go wrong either way though. i would get on google and look up different lighting ideas for infants and/or maternity shots.
ebay usually has a number of cheap made in china options which work very well for occasional usage. i would not spend a lot of money on either option until you flesh out your shooting style and figure out exactly what equipment you are going to use the most. THEN get better equipment.
 

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I like reflecting umbrellas from Photoflex or Westcott; those two brands are good-quality products. However, as pixmedic states, eBay or Amazon both have a LOT of low-priced Made in China stuff.

Light stand, umbrella, umbrella swivel mount, and either a PC connecting cable OR a trigger to make the flash and camera fire in synchronicity; those are the essentials.

One lighting supplier I like is Steve Kaeser Enterprises; he's been in business since the late 1980's. His company offers a PAIR of reflecting umbrella boxes for $29.95! A good set (I have a set!), and easy to use. These have the drawstring closure system that is so,so easy to use, and the speedlight back panel can be left outside the cinched-up diffuser panel closure, for easy adjusting of flash power, and for easy line of sight triggering using even the least-expensive triggers.
 

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Babies and big people are photographed in different ways. For people who can sit and stand, I would recommend a softbox (or two) and eventually some additional lights. Umbrellas are cheaper, though, so that's probably where you will go first.

For babies you need way to hold the light more "downward" because your subject will probably be lying down. The Paul C. Buff company sells a boom called the "Baby Boomer", meaning it is a boom for photographing babies. Clever, huh? Actually, if your ceiling is white, just use that for babies and young children. Soft, non-directional light will be good.

"Shoot-through" umbrellas "spill" light all over the room, so get a white reflective umbrella (the back is opaque) or a softbox to control the light. The Steve Kaeser deal is probably the best deal available, and it will be like a softbox.
 
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Kroneberger0408

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The window only works if you HAVE a window to use lol

For tbe baby ill do mostly inside so i need not just the umbrella but the mount and stand as well. Glad i asked.. Lol

Do umbrellas or softboxes make a diffrence if ur outside?
 

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The window only works if you HAVE a window to use lol

For tbe baby ill do mostly inside so i need not just the umbrella but the mount and stand as well. Glad i asked.. Lol

Do umbrellas or softboxes make a diffrence if ur outside?
Yep... umbrellas blow over WAY easier in the wind! :lol:
 
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Kroneberger0408

Kroneberger0408

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The window only works if you HAVE a window to use lol

For tbe baby ill do mostly inside so i need not just the umbrella but the mount and stand as well. Glad i asked.. Lol

Do umbrellas or softboxes make a diffrence if ur outside?
Yep... umbrellas blow over WAY easier in the wind! :lol:


lol yeaaa I kinda figured that one xD


So any suggestions on kits with all the parts for my first one?
Maybe like this? Amazon.com : LimoStudio Photography Studio Video Photo ChromaKey Green Screen Background Support : Photo Studio Support Equipment : Camera & Photo
 

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Definitely NOT that one. 3 x 45 watt bulbs is going to be this much >< short of useless and continuous light is not at all appropriate for people! At an absolute MINIMUM, I would look at a kit more like this one. The best course of action however, is to not buy anything until you know what you need. See if you can hook up with a local club, see if there are any seminars, etc in your area and get some hands on so that you know what things do. Spend a few hours on YouTube... read the lighting bible and once you have a basic understanding of what you need to do what YOU need, then spend some money.
 

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