Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by sandro_sampaio, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. I am looking to buy some lighting equipment but I am confused on
    what to get since I`m a begginer.

    I`m thinking on setup the lights in my garage so I can take
    professional portraits from my family, and "maybe" in the future
    make some money with the equipment.
    I have a digital Canon EOS 300D Rebel 6.3 Megapixel. So, my
    questions are:

    1- Should I get 3 lights (1 Main Light, 1 fill light and 1 Hair

    2- Should I get 2 umbrellas and 1 soft box for the hair? Or other?

    3- Should I get strobe lights or hot (continuous) lights?

    4- How many watts should I need?

    5- What else should I consider?

    Thank you for any imput on these question.
  2. you should get a 250WS light and one reflector, and learn how to use them both well. get an umbrella and that's all you need (besides a ceiling, which you can use to bounce to make great portraits).

    forget about the hair lights for now. eventually, your 250WS light can become your hair or fill light.

    I would recommend looking at the alien bee 400. cheap, tough and reliable.

  3. Sandro-- I agree with the previous respondent. I've been shooting professionally for decades, and the further I go the fewer lights I find myself needing. Get one light, two or three umbrellas (24", 48", and 60") a Flex-fill and a reflector stand with holder. Learn with that.

    However, I'd recommend getting the most powerful AB you can afford. You'll need more light eventually.

    Best of luck, and happy shooting. -BC-
  4. Dear Conrad Erb,

    First of all, Thank you for your response.
    The 250WS you recomend, is that the Main Light, is it a strobe or continuous light you suggested.

    Thanks again.

  5. sorry to be confusing. a strobe, not a continuous light. I think that for most purposes, continuous is not going to be comfortable for you (even though it will help you learn lighting quicker).

    as for the 250WS or so - that was a guideline. if you want, you could go to the top of the Alien bee series, which is what I do, but I shoot weddings where I have to fill a large, 150'x150' room with light. The lights are almost too powerful for my taste when I'm shooting headshots...

  6. Save your money and go to the Sears or JC Penny portrait studio. I guarantee that you will get better pictures. You cant just go buy some gear and get professional results.
  7. "You cant just go buy some gear and get professional results."
    Ever? No matter how long you have it or use it? You'll never get good results? Never enjoy it? I do believe that comment is the worst advice I've ever seen on
    "go to Sears or JC Penny portrait studio". What kind of advice is that? What do you think these forums are for?
    Buy some lights, read a good book on portrait photography, look at Irving Penn's portraits, practice for an hour and they'd refuse to hire you at JC Penny or Sears because you'd be too good to work there... t
  8. Todd K, I think what Sandro is trying to say is that he would like to learn how to take professional looking portraits. He's asking for a little advice on lighting. Hopefully he doesn't take a "give it up" attitude just because he's not there yet. We all had to start somewhere. A beginner who sounds humble enough -- let's be encouraging, huh?
  9. I would recommend starting with continuous light. it is, initially, much more logical, and a better way to understand how things work. using the 300d there is no colour issue to deal with, which is good, and if you go to a builder supply shop you can get some very powerful halogens on stands that can be effectively diffused with a simple piece of tracing paper (kept at a certain distance from the heat). the only problem with the floods, is the fact that they are very hot... but at this time of year, and when you are talking about maybe ukp 20 to start, i think it may be worth considering. if you are in the uk is a good source.

    if, however, you go for the investment, keep an eye on the trigger voltage on your strobe, as most of the older units have voltages that will fry your ttl circuitry, thus requiring a voltage limiter on the hotshoe.

  10. if i have canon eos 300d, i won't go to sears or jc penny portrait studio. i am sure what i will get are run-of-the-mill photos. taking your own pictures will give much satisfaction while learning.
  11. Here is a sample of 2 lights. 1 AB800 in a 40" umbrella camera right, 1 (cheap- $100) SP-920 in a 40" umbrella camera left. Shot in clients basement (8 foot ceiling) on a 20D
  12. Get what you can afford, even if you're just starting off with one strobe and a light/flash meter. I suggest something in the range of B800s - B1600s, with modeling lights, and power adjustments -- those lights are good for that.

    Start with one light only, as you're learning, and see what you can do with it and and available white walls, ceiling, reflectors/bounce cards. Learn to really control that light. Then bring in a second light (fill), then bring in a hairlight, etc.

    Learn about lighting ratios (the power adjustment controls come in handy here). Learn about proper catchlights in the eyes, and highlights in the hair and edges of the subject.

    Remember that light is light, no matter where it comes from. Strobes are just a convenient way to control it. Not as easy as continuous, but more comfortable, certainly.
  13. Check out the White Lightning at WWW.WHITELIGHTNING.COM.I use them in my game room studio and am very satisfied with the price of the kits they sell.

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