Portrait Lighting ??


TPF Noob!
Dec 13, 2007
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Greetings All

I am thinking of buying some lights & umbrellas, and need some

My wife & I would like to get better results than
we're getting using a flash.

We mostly take pics of ourselves.

What would be the minimum globe/lamp wattage required
if we use two lamps ?

Will 5500k lamps suffice ?

What size & colour umbrellas are best ?

We don't have heaps of $$$ to spend, so I
guess we're looking at "entry level" lights.

Any & all info & advice will be much appreciated.


Welcome to the forum.

I would suggest that you consider using strobe (flash) lights rather than lamps (constant lights). It's most likely the more expensive way to go, but it will save you a lot of headaches.
G'day Big Mike

Thanks for your reply.

Would you have any info regarding the specific
questions in my post ?

Best Regards

What would be the minimum globe/lamp wattage required
if we use two lamps ?
That's hard to answer...it depends on too many different factors, like the lens you are using, the distance to the subject, the area that you need to light up etc.

Will 5500k lamps suffice ?
5500k is the color temperature of the light. With digital, you can use just about any temp of light...because you can adjust your White Balance...but you will want your light to be consistent...so you shouldn't mix light types/temps.

What size & colour umbrellas are best ?
A bigger umbrella will make for a larger light source...the larger (and closer) the light source, the softer the light. So essentially, bigger is better.

As for color, white is standard...you can reflect or shoot though. (I like to reflect rather than shoot though.) Silver reflects more light bit gives the light a harsh edge to it...good for some things, not so good for others. Gold will warm up the light temp, which is good for sunset looking shots...but you have to be careful about mixing the temps again.

What's your budget? And where will you be shooting? I'm not sure what's avaliable in your area...I would check around and see what other people in your area are using. I normally recommend www.Alienbees.com ...but if you are in Aus, the shipping might be a bit much.
This has been said alot but a good place to go to learn about lighting that is not going to break the bank is http://strobist.blogspot.com/ . He is a newspaper phoographer who does excellent photographs with relatively inexpensive flashes (unless you decicde to use SB-800's) and modifiers lke umbrellas and homemade things. I say anybody wanting to get into off-camera lighting should look here first. Another good place to go is http://www.mpex.com/index.htm as they have kits assembled specifically directed towards Strobist readers.

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