Lighting

Saxi

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I have a Rebel Xti with a Speedlite 550EX, but I am not quite getting the lighting I am looking for when taking photos of my 6 month old son. I was thinking about buying a entry level lighting kit. Something that will allow me to take near studio quality images with out being handcuffed from studios about what package and what photos I am allowed to have.

Can anyone recommend a lighting solution that will allow me to take better portraits at home without spending a fortune on equipment?

I am very happy with the Speedlite 550EX a lot of the time, but I find there are many times it is not perfect.
 

jols

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natural light from a window is the best thats all i use
 

Sideburns

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Try window light.
You can use a reflector to fill the other side from the sunlight coming in..

Also, have you tried bouncing your flash around off the ceiling? You could also bounce off a wall/reflector, and use more reflectors where needed...

Only recommending this because reflectors are like 20 bucks...
 

JerryPH

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Knowledge before additional hardware, if possible.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

I've also been playing with lighting. Its one of the more challenging aspects of photography, but its starting settle down for me a little (that means I still have a LOT to learn). Since I do not have a son and the dog is annoyed at me for flashing it all the time :)lol:), I used a model that is more patient and less irritated by my experimenting ... so, in the spirit of the coming holiday season, here are a few examples of off camera flash based pics and a few techniques that I have been playing with:

2078308565_7ce87df7a8.jpg


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2079099902_18e6f0c444.jpg


2063440891_e01c5a0854.jpg


One doesn't always need a studio lighting kit. These pics were taken with a single off camera flash.
 
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Saxi

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Try window light.
You can use a reflector to fill the other side from the sunlight coming in..

Also, have you tried bouncing your flash around off the ceiling? You could also bounce off a wall/reflector, and use more reflectors where needed...

Only recommending this because reflectors are like 20 bucks...

Lighting is very poor most of the time, definitely not enough to get the photo quality I am looking for.

We have cathedral ceilings so it is very difficult to bounce the flash off the ceiling.
 

bullshark

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lightstand with an umbrella.. can get everything pretty cheap, like 40-50 bucks for the whole thing..
 

JerryPH

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We have cathedral ceilings so it is very difficult to bounce the flash off the ceiling.

Directly aimed diffused light from a flash that is on a light stand or even a shelf or your partner holding the flash above their heads for you is often more than enough to get the light under control. It does take some playing before you get the results you want, but if you are not in a rush, thats often more fun getting there than finally getting that well exposed pic.

Softboxes and umbrellas are nice, but not always needed. One can get some excellent results without either.
 

bullshark

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Directly aimed diffused light from a flash that is on a light stand or even a shelf or your partner holding the flash above their heads for you is often more than enough to get the light under control. It does take some playing before you get the results you want, but if you are not in a rush, thats often more fun getting there than finally getting that well exposed pic.

Softboxes and umbrellas are nice, but not always needed. One can get some excellent results without either.

True.. And if you cant get it to work with a diffuser you can make your own bounce card for about 20 cents with a few pieces of paper, some tape and a couple toothpicks.. That is the ultimate budget way of doing it, but it will produce some decent results after a bit of tweaking..

PS JerryPH: Nice lighting in the above pics..
 

JerryPH

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True.. And if you cant get it to work with a diffuser you can make your own bounce card for about 20 cents with a few pieces of paper, some tape and a couple toothpicks..

http://www.abetterbouncecard.com

PS JerryPH: Nice lighting in the above pics..

Thanks! :mrgreen: I posted an earlier one in the critique forum and was offered some valid advice. It made a difference, I think. My point was that it is very easy to get drawn into that world of 15 flashes from $15,000 worth of lighting equipment and we forget that sometimes the best results come from 1 maybe 2 flashes and a well practiced photographer.

Check out what 2 flashes, no softboxes or umbrellas can do in the hands of an experienced photographer:

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/06/video-two-speedlight-bikini-shoot.html
 

SpeedTrap

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I have to agree with everyone that you need to learn and read about the types of flashes you want, don't go and buy one of the cheap light kits on ebay, in time you will be disapointed.
Start Small and work your way up, but don't let anyone discourage the way you chooses to go. I do have studio lights and I am very happy with them. For some of the shooting I do, I could not do it with portable strobes.(But I do own a few)
 

JerryPH

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I do have studio lights and I am very happy with them. For some of the shooting I do, I could not do it with portable strobes.(But I do own a few)

I own a little studio setup as well, but I found it easy to take shortcuts when I had 2 110V powered strobes behind a couple umbrellas and then when I did not have them available, I found myself limited or unable to get the results that I wanted... so I am challenging myself to start over with a maximum of 1 off camera flash (SB-800) and one on camera flash for fill (only when needed). Once I get better with those and get the basics down, I will expand my knowledge and experience with the studio strobes. I've gone as far as a 5 flash setup.
 

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