Husband bought studio lighting....sigh

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by lauriee, May 22, 2007.

  1. My husband is the sweetest man alive and I'm not complaining really! However he
    doesn't know anything about photography and less about lighting. I had
    expressed a desire to purchase some lighting for a 12x13 room and use it as a
    practice studio. Well...On mothers day he went to a local camera shop and they
    sold him this I have no idea what the
    most effective way to use this would be. If I express disappointment he will be
    hurt but quite frankly the lights are 500 watts and they are hotter than hell.
    The room doesn't seem big enough for three lights and there are no strobes. I
    have a Nikon D70d and a SB600 external flash. Are there any suggestions on what
    I should do with this set up? What can I add inexpensively to help me use it
    until I can upgrade to something else? Right now I have two of the lamps set up
    but the shadows are harsh and I can hardly stay in the room.

  2. is there anyway that maybe they could be returned. Or you could try to expalainto him that the lights are not the right type of light for the photos that you intend on taking
  3. I'm working up to that...but he was so excited when he gave this to me that I don't want to hurt his feelings. Not necessarily returning them but selling them and buying something I'd rather have. For now I have to use them the best I can and then as time goes by replace and upgrade. That way he will think I've grown out of the lights and need something better. ;-) The sad part is that he said he had paid for a set that would have been much closer to what I needed and then changed his mind and bought this one instead because he didn't think I needed to have the lights synched with my camera. UGH! I told him "that's what I wanted actually" and he looked so crestfallen that I said "I'm sure this will be fine too!!"...Yeah I know...Bad move! LOL
  4. Honesty is the best policy. Tell him they work so good that you now know that the other set will be the perfect one.

    Good Luck
  5. bdp



    In the long run, I think you're best bet is honestly telling him, and, you can use a legitimate reason of Continuous lighting is HOT, and dangerous, and do not sycn up to your camera, and limit creative lighting experiments with flash sync.
  6. On the other hand...this type of lighting has been very effectively used for fifty years by the greatest masters including Avedon, Newton, Penn, Sieff, not to mention Horst, Blumenfeld etc. etc.
  7. Just because the lamp heads take 500 watt bulbs doesn't mean you have to use 500 watt bulbs--you can use 250 watt bulbs and those will generate a little less heat, although they generate less light too. What about air conditioning in the room? Or ventilation--open door or window that won't affect the color temperature...

    As for what to do or what to add--depends on what kind of photos you are doing. Portraiture that doesn't require freezing motion can be done with these. Bounce them into umbrellas as shown (carefully) and you can get diffusing filters for them as well. You could get a short background stand or boom and do the typical key/fill/background or hair light. Or if the walls are white, bounce them off the walls, or get white flats and bounce them off that. That turns the lights away from the subjects.

    I would use them for a while and then get a basic strobe kit. Diffusing filters and stands and umbrellas can be used regardless.
  8. Oh yes--how about a fan for ventilation--as long as it didn't blow subjects' hair. And Ilkka is right--these are what I learned portraiture with in photography school. You can still learn a lot about shooting portraits with them.
  9. If you can't even stay in the same room with them then its difficult to see how some upgrade is going to help.

    Moving from phtography to social issues...

    Honesty is the best policy as Jim says. (Why he then suggests you tell a outright and obvious lie in the next sentence, I don't know) If your husband really is "the sweetest man alive", just tell him the truth. You discovered that the lights are unusable. The heat issue and the room issue. Surely the sweetest man alive wants you to be able to use his intended gift. Suggest that you two go together and pick something out. He'll be fine. Espcially when he sees you actually using his gift.
  10. Return them and explain to him how buying something that he knows nothing about is not a good way to give gifts. Does he have a hobby you don't share? What if you purchased something you know nothing about for him? He will probably see the light *pun intended*
  11. I know how you feel. and telling you that you should say... whatever to your husband is probably not helpful. Personally it's the kind of material I'm using myself (not that good though, since I don't want to invest much) and I have a switch next to my camera to be able to control the light just before shooting, switch on, shoot, and switch off, it's not that hot then. Not very convenient, not professional, but it works. Your husband is very nice, you can tell him later about the strobes, later will be ok, teach him a little bit about lighting, he might understand by himself. When you don't have what you like, you have to like what you have. My 2c.
  12. There are high-CRI compact fluorescent bulbs available up to 102 watts these days (around 500 incandescent watts equivilant), so that might be an option.
  13. You can use the stands and the umbrellas at least. Stash the hot light reflectors in the garage for later sale,or to use for working on the car engine. Then, if you can afford it start buying one,then two Alien Bees strobe units,for instance.

    With luck, the Calumet stands will support them OK. (Verily, its not nice to look a gift horse in the mouth, but,hey, on the other hand,what if the horse delivered is a MULE? Keep domestic tranquility and try to slip a studio photography manual under the ottoman too or on the coffee table. After all,who else you got to educate to assist you, Laurie. Good luck though. You are such a considerate spouse and I understand the dilemma. I think my suggestion is a decent compromise.
  14. Well, if my wife were you, she would not hesitate to take them back to the dealer and exchange them for what she wants. Although I never grew up with that school of thought, it works pretty well. I feel happy she gets what she wants, and she feels happy that she gets what she wants. Is there a problem?

  15. Ask your husband to pose for an hour under the lights. He may better understand why you
    want to exchange them.

    You're a lucky woman.
  16. I think you should just print out this thread and leave it lying around somewhere.
  17. Alec - that's great!
  18. These are 1950-style parabolic reflectors with photoflood bulbs. Hardley the latest technology but guess what -- this is what many photographers learned on in shooting portraits, myself included. In a room that small you can shoot pretty much whatever you want. Yes, they're hotter than strobes, but by no means unbearable. Do NOT be tempted to play with fluorescents. The light output is much lower and unless you pay for properly color-balanced photographic CFLs color balance can be tricky. Is price an issue? Looks like he spent under $150 for the complete set, but what you really want is monolight strobes, which start about $300 each, or a power pack and heads. I have had the same issue with well-meaning family members in the past. You basically have to tell them NOT to buy you photo equipment, unless you go along with them to pick it out. You can't even tell them what to buy because nine times out of 10 they'll come back with something the salesman told them was the same thing that isn't remotely the same.
  19. Add a dimmer switch to each light... those are better for learning than a strobe IMHO, as you can SEE EXACTLY what the light is doing.

    As a result, when you work up to strobes, you'll produce much better results quicker.
  20. Thank you everyone! After I posted this I found the dimmer switches...I think I might go that route. Call me a yellow bellied..Lily Livered coward but telling him that I don't like them just isn't an option at this point. I did that with an Anniversary gift once...and although NOW he agrees that his taste in jewlery and mine are totally different the time he was so upset that I didn't like his gift that he swore never to buy me anything special again. So I just can't do it! LOL Money is not a HUGE problem. I think had he known the difference he would have paid the extra. He just listened to the Ritz guy. Here is a photo I took with this set up on Mothers Day. I really like the way they turned out..but it was HOT!! I live in Houston Texas and the room is on the second floor so even with AC running it's really warm. I'll just have to put it on "freeze" and when he complains about the electricty bill I'll say "Well sweetie if we sell these lights and buy these...."...(insert evil laugh here.)
  21. we are only talking about a $150 investment. Let the poor guy alone. IF it were $1,500 then
    ok you have a point. Nothing better to learn to see the light than with hotlights.
  22. "he was so upset that I didn't like his gift that he swore never to buy me anything special again."

    A loving wonderful husband I'm sure but that "sweetest man alive" bit, well, nice to say.

    At least you got some helpful ideas from the experts here. Have fun with the lights. It may work out well for you after all.
  23. Okay,Okay he's a bit sensitive about his gifts but in MY world he's the sweetest man alive! Besides...That wasn't up for debate when I posted the question. :)
  24. I can tell you one thing, you can shoot products with those lights, and you can get nice harsh shadows like they used to shoot old 40's movie star portraits..I would learn to use them for what they can be used for and go from there.. I have studio stobes and still mix in hot lights (sometimes with gels) to get some interesting lighting effects..
  25. ...but if you do you use dimmer controls, watch out for the colour changes (to yellow and orange) as the intensity decreases.

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