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-   -   Complete newbe looking for studio lighting (

choeschen Oct 4, 2004 9:22 AM

After looking though the web sites and posts here I have found this.

First question: Does anyone know of any problems with these?

Second question: How would I connect these to my Digital Rebel? (I ment it when I said complete newbe :) )

PeterP Oct 4, 2004 9:48 AM

:lol:The good part is you don't need to connect these to the camera, they are what is called HOT lights.

They are on all the time and produce a bright light like a flood lights, to use them you just turn them on and point & shoot with your camrea.

HOT lights are a good way to learn lighting relatively inexpensively, you can also try using the HALOGEN work lights from HomeDepot. There are a couple of other threads recently running on this topic of inexpensive home studio setups.

Strobes like the Alien Bees (good and relatively inexpensive) need to be connected the the camera with a hotshoe adapter or an IR trigger.

choeschen Oct 4, 2004 12:11 PM

I took a look at the AlienBees and they look good and I think I would perfer the flashthen the hot light. To start out with what size sould I go with? I was looking at the 800s but will that be too much for a small studio setup? Would I be better off with the hotlights or is this more a personal preference?

PeterP Oct 4, 2004 1:11 PM

IMHO: I think the 800's with soft boxes are a good start, the power output can always be cut back on each light and you usually find you could alway use a bit more output than you expected.

A lot can be done with hot lights (Just look at some ofKalypso's work ) so I think it is a personal preferance to which to use, the hotlights are much cheaper but do warm up the room a bit. The camera will be able to meter the scene directly.

With strobes you probably need a flash meter, or can try to use the cameras histogram to get the correct exposure.

flint350 Oct 4, 2004 3:20 PM

Such a difficult question to answer with such little to go on. The variables are many (room size now, ultimate room size in the future, budget for lights, budget for light accessories that may be needed, most common type of shooting, how serious are you now or will you be later, etc, etc). It's just really hard to say. You can do well with either route if you work at it and research it and experiment. The biggest drawback to photofloods (hot lights) is...well, they're hot and always on. But they are inexpensive and work very well (if the model doesn't melt first, lol). Strobes are more user friendly and have many additional features such as variable 5 stop power, modeling lamps, no heat, easily modified, etc.

So, yes it is personal preference based on budget and all of the above plus lots more. A good search on this and other forums will help immensely, as will a simple and inexpensive book on the subject such as Weston's "Essential Lighting Manual for Digital and Film Photographers" or Fuqua's "Light Science and Magic - An Introduction to Photographic Lighting". There are many others.

choeschen Oct 4, 2004 4:17 PM

Let me try and fill in the blanks.

Room Size Now - Going to use part of my un-finished basement and will start out with about 5 x 10.

Room Size Latter - No idea as that depends on how well I do with this.

Budget - Would like to keep it under $500 - $700. I have some fleece I found at a craft store that will work as a backdrop for now so the budget will be mainly lights, stands, etc.

Type of shooting - I want to take shoots of our kids, family, extended family families, and anything else I can pratice on.

I have looked at the alienbee's starter package which sells for $359 and includes a B800, 10' stand, and a 48" umbrella. I am thinking I should also get their background packagewhich sells for $290 and includes a B400, backlight stand, and a honeycomb grid so I can get some extra light on my backdrop.

Like I said I am completly new to this and all I know is what I saw in professional studios so any advice will help and be most appreaicated. If I am way wrong on something don't be affrid to slap me across the head :-)

flint350 Oct 4, 2004 5:00 PM

First, I hope the 5 x 10 area was a typo. That is waaaaay too small for lights like AB800's and for any type of portrait shooting beyond closeup headshots of single people. That room size (ceiling probably low too I bet) is really difficult to do much with, esp. the 5 feet section. You won't need that backdrop light, bcz you have nearly no distance to use btwn it and the subject.

A typical size (minimum) is usually a 10' wide by 12' long or much longer/wider (I have a space of 16' wide by 30' long and still have some issues at times). This is because you need width for model space plus lights to the sides (strobes are usually placed about 45 degrees to the side of the model and 3-4'or more away, with fill at the center near the camera). Even for closeups, this space limitation can be a problem. You need the length bcz the models should generally be a minimum 4 - 6' in front of the background for portariture. Obviously there are effects/uses, etc which can be used closer, but the majority simply need more room.

I realize you are new and are just trying to get started with family and friends, but I wanted to let you know what your current limitations are likely to lead to. Can you take some decent shots in this setting - probably so. But you will quickly outgrow it and you will certainly overpower it with AB800's to the point of not being able to use them. A simple camera strobe with mini-softbox and some reflectors would work just fine in such limited space and save you lots of money. If you really want those studio stobes, you will definitely need more room, more money, etc etc.

choeschen Oct 4, 2004 6:05 PM

Sorry, the 5 x 10 is the area that I will be shooting in (model area) with much more room around it and a good 8 to 9 foot ceiling (again the newbee thing :) ) I would say I have around a 12 x 15 room to play with as well as a storage area I will be putting this stuff in when not in use.

PeterP Oct 5, 2004 10:40 AM

8-9 Foot celings would be great, I tried starting in a part of the basement that was 14*30 but only had 6.5-7 foot celings and it was a lot of trouble.

Umbrellas kept hitting the roof, made the switch to softboxes and that helped a lot.

RyanH Oct 5, 2004 2:38 PM

For an inexpensive option. Use the work lights from Home Depot. I have three of them that I got for about $25. I also just purchasedtwo umbrella's off of eBay for $16. I am going to test them out next week.

Wish me luck. :?

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