Need some advice ASAP :)


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Nov 2, 2008
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HI everyone, been a while since I've posted here, and I'de like to start by saying that thanks to all of you here, my photography skills have drastically improved. I've been shooting anything and everything, and am even willing to say that I might be at an intermediate level in alot of ways, or at least, really close to that.

Anyway, if any of you remember my previous postings, I'm a big fan of shooting female models, and I've shot several since my last post. Due to this, my name has gotten around town a bit, as someone willing to shoot for really cheap, or in my case so far, for free :)

So, I actually have women requesting to be shot now, and offering money to have it done. They like what they see, and so far, I've yet to shoot any model outside of work. I work at a hospital, and have TONS of old, vintage backdrops to use there, and have become quite comfortable with it.

Now, where I"m needing advice at is this.....

I want to expand, and so do these future models. I need to know what you folks would recommend as a budget friendly lighingt rig for this type of work?

My budget can go into the mid to high hundreds, but not into the thousands. I need a rig that can be used inside of anywhere, and preferably, one that's portable.

I have no clue where to start researching this. Amazon, which is where I typically buy everything from, is a bit sketchy on this subject. I know I'de need a backdrop, but what about the lights? What do I need to get for a glamour/fashion style of work? We're NOT talking about "portraits" here, at all.

Could I easily just buy a nice backdrop (solid color - white/black), and use on location lighting?, or am I better off with a lighting rig? If so, how many lights, what type, etc...

You folks are the pros, please help me out with this. The cheaper the better, but I do desire some level of quality. I need better lenses before I need lighting to be honest, but, these models are ready to do these shoots very soon, so I need to figure something out quickly.

Thanks in advance for the help I know I will recieve.
I would say, if you don't need super-high power, a couple speed-lights, with PWs. Alienbees also have inexpensive, quality kit.s
Ok, now being a brand new beginner to lighting rigs, you mentioned speed lights, with PWs? Well, sounds nice, but don't know what you're referring to. Please pardon and forgive the lack of knowledge... keeping in mind, that I shoot who and what I can, when I can, using what is around me, and provided by either nature, or man-made lighting.

I need something that can be set up at my house, a model's house, or anywhere other than that. You also mention super-high power... do I need that? How do I know if I need that?

Again, one model, female, dressed up to kill with make-up on... I want to be able to capture her every detail, but do NOT wish to make it look like a portrait, nor, do I wish to kill her with the light as well.

Speedlites are a type of flash gun.
PocketWizards are a TTL compatable remote flash trigger.

For your budget you'd be looking at a couple of Speedlites (or any other flash with variable power settings - there's a bunch to choose from - read the guides on strobist for more info ) and probably cactus (ebay) triggers or the mid range ones who's name escapes me.
It would help to know what you presently have in terms of equipment.

And when you say you have a budget of mid to high hundreds, what exactly is the very most you would spend? You could get away with cheap stuff, but honestly it wouldn't last. Good stuff is well made, reliable, performs as expected and will last a long time but it ain't cheap.

And when you say portable...just how portable does it have to be? Your idea of portable may be different from someone else's idea of portable. Strobist equipment is very portable. Studio strobes are more bulky to deal with, but they are 'portable'.

And learning how to light properly is a whole new ballgame and it will take time to figure out. There are many web sites that offer good information about lighting. Strobist is one.

Here are a few others...

Portrait Lighting For Beginners

Photoflex Lighting School

Lighting Resource Center

Lighting Essentials For Photographers

Studio Lighting

Explained Lighting Schemes

Flash Photography Techniques

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