Your opinions on lighting in a budget.

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by jennifer_sparaco|1, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. I'd like to become a better, more understanding photographer when it comes to
    the understanding of light. While natural sunlight is easy to come by...I'd
    also like to practice using studio lights. I'll be setting up my own studio at
    home and would like to purchase some cheap, but decent lighting to practice
    with before I completely invest.

    I have a 7 week old son I'd like to practice on as much as possible so I'll be
    photographing a newborn and probably my other children. Can I get some lights
    at a hardware store to practice by before investing on lights that would become
    a more permanent part of my equipment list?

    What light is best to photograph infants. I just want to practice, practice,
    practice, but my budget is limited. I just purchased a rebel xti and a canon
    ef 50/1.8 lens which I think will be a good starter tool.

    I think I will also purchase some black fabic as a backdrop. Opinions on size
    and type would be great too. Is this something I can purchase at say walmart
    just to get going with it?

    Thanks again for your input! Jennifer
  2. Hi Jennifer,
    the lights that you would get at a hardware store would be similar to 'hot lights', and they will be hot, hot, HOT. As in making you sweat, and worry about fires and burning your models(I have some studio hot lights, as well as hardware 'shop' lights). I use them sometimes, but for limited use. Your best bet in my opinion is battery powered strobes. I chimed in on a post on a similar topic a few days ago, please search on my name and and recent posts and email me privately if you have any specific questions. Good luck.
  3. Check this out: I remember about the same question was asked a while back...

    Some good advice there. Good place to start-- coincidently, the question I ask there, is the same one for here. What's a "cheap budget"?
  4. Get one tungsten light and learn how to use it. There are lights made by Smith Victor which do not cost much and will outlast what you get at a hardware store by many years. You did not say what kind/size of camera you use. If it is digi or 35mm film a 500 watt should be plenty.
  5. Jennifer

    there is only one answer to your question

    Everything you currently need is in there

  6. There are many lights to choose from but one thing to watch out for are the $100 flash units that claim to be "studio strobes" advertised in Shutterbug or Popular Photography. One of the big advantages a studio strobe has over an ordinary flash units is a modeling light so you can see the effect the light will have. But many of these units only have a 60-watt modeling light, which you will quickly find out isn't bright enough to see what the light is doing and often not bright enough even to focus (either manual or AF). If you check the guide number ratings, these units often don't have any more power than a big on-camera flash, and recycling times can be five seconds or more, compared to 1-2 second or less on a professional unit. For just a few bucks more you can buy real studio strobes like Alien Bees or Novatron.
  7. Jennifer, two comments.

    Everyone needs a camera hot-shoe mounted speedlight for many random purposes (all those that are not studio lighting categories). Put it on the camera hot shoe and walk around at a party bouncing on ceiling for snaphshots of the family and friends. Or use it outdoors for fill on the bright sun snapshots... for whatever we use a portable flash for, everyone needs one.

    The point is, you can get an umbrella and stand and sync cord, and use that same camera speedlight for one light portrait pictures too, of studio class. Use a reflector up real close on the other side for fill... a craft store white foam board is a good one. This would be a really good starting point. For tips, search for One Light Portrait

    And for studio lights, you "could" use two such speedlights in umbrellas, which works, but you would really like actual studio lights like Alienbees. You ultimately want four, main, fill, background, and a hair light. Background and hair light add the sparkle that really makes the picture stand out. You can pay a fortune for some brands of studio lights, but Alienbees are the inexpensive ones that are still truly excellent - - Avoid the really cheap noname Ebay stuff. And avoid all continuous tungsten-type lights... way too dim, way too hot.
  8. Waune, I have been doing the Strobist thing and am ready to move up, will try alienbees web site, thanks.

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