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Old Sep 24, 2008, 8:51 PM   #1
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:?

I work for a SMALLnewspaper, mostly taking sports photos, full time. It is NOT enough money to live on! I even have to use my own equipment. I'm in college and at the time, 4 years ago,didn'thave a whole lot of money to put into equipment..... thinking that I wouldn't still be taking pictures.I still am, and love it!

I recentlytook a few sets of senior pictures, with only my D70 and the kit lens (18-70). I also have a Speedlight flash (600 or 800?) and a stroboframe bracket I recently purchased. They turned out better than I dreamed.

Word got out, I have a few weddings lined up for the next year, and several more senior portrait opportunities. I have an entire room (basement) that is cleaned out for soon to be at home studio. Only a few glassblock windows in the back (easy to cover). I am really interested in getting some simple studio lighting, for portraits. I have been reading online but don't really know where to start. I am ready to spend a few hundred bucks, because I am sure to makeit back in a month of photos.

Any suggestions?

Also, I could use a really nice portrait lens. I like close up (face) shots. Not a big full body taker, unless its an action shot. Eventually looking at new camera too. I am not loyal to any brand, because I am a firm believer that it's not the camera, it's who is behind it. BUT I love my D70, it has taken beautiful pictures (even with the crappy lens that I have) so I would have no reason to switch brands.

My business is ready for takeoff, I have my prices and packages set, contract written, portfolio made, all I need is a little more equipment......

Any suggestions, input, opinions..... anythingyou got, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks
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Old Sep 25, 2008, 8:53 AM   #2
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for the portrait lens i would look at the tamron 90mm macro f2.8, very nice. havent bought one yet but it is the next on my list. a friend has one i can borrow when needed and does a great job. Also may want to look at the nikon 50mm f1.8, they sell for around $100. looking in the $300 price range i would look at some of the smith victor lights. i have the entry level continuos burn set that is around $150 for three lights and two umbrellas, not the best but its a start. alienbees or white lightning are probably a little over what you want to spend right now. the only advise i have is if you go continuos burn get the ones with the heat sink on the back because they get very hot and the heat sink helps disperse the heat.

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Old Sep 25, 2008, 11:45 AM   #3
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As a Nikon D80 owner, your first purchase should be the 50mm 1.8 lens, as ecap suggested. It's the best $80 we've ever spent (We got our on eBay). It's fast, razor sharp and perfect for portraits. There's a 50mm 1.4 lens, but it's around $300; not worth the extra speed (For us, at least) for the price difference.

If you want a starter set, look on eBay. We purchased our first starter set on eBay, and we used those to build our side line photgraphy business. We now use the old strobes as hair lights, or kicker lights to light the background. Look around, there are plenty of 3 light strobe systems on eBay for under $300 or so. We recently upgraded to Alien Bees, as recommended by ecap, and they're truly enjoyable to work with.

Also, if you want to market yourself, you're going to have to have a web site. We use BigBlackBag (www.BigBlackBag.net), and we have 2 sites there. They specialize in easy to manage erb sites for photographers, graphic designers, etc. Building your web site is super easy, and you can choose from MANY, MANy different styles to suit your needs. Highly recommended.
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Old Sep 25, 2008, 12:03 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the input!

I did some looking around online. Should I just get strobes instead of continuous lighting? I would like to get a three light kit, but I'm not sure how strobes work. (Portraits are very new to me!).

What do I have to have to get the strobes to trip? (I use a D70, looking into upgrading possibly by the new year). Are they set up like slaves off of my SB600? or Do I have to have them wired to something? Forgive me for my ignorance but I am a little lost....


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Old Sep 25, 2008, 12:16 PM   #5
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i shoot minolta/sony so not sure but usually it is a wireless trigger that sets on the hot shoe to trigger the strobes. some are also hard wired to the camera, just depends on how sophisticated you want to get. continuos burn in my opinion is easier to learn with but strobes produce better lighting and dont get as hot because they are only flashing once in a while instead of a 500 watt bulb burning all the time.

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Old Sep 25, 2008, 1:33 PM   #6
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I'm not sure if the D70 utilizes Nikon's Creative Lighting System, or something like that. It believe it allows you to place your SB-600 and/or SB800 remotely, and trigger them remotely. I believe my D80 has it, but I've never needed it.

We use a wireless trigger system we got off eBay for $15. A wireless transmitter sits on top of the D80 in the hotshoe, and the wireless receiver is plugged into the strobe. The other flashes fire when they see the "main" strobe fire.

Strobes versus continuous lighting. A common debate, one with no real answer, I guess! The only input I can include is if you're EVER going to do any video with your setup, continuous has an advantage there. Otherwise, you'll hear people talk about learning on continuous, and then migrating to strobes. Personally, if you're willing to read, learn and experiment, go with strobes. I feel they allow you more range to do what you want to do.
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Old Sep 26, 2008, 12:25 AM   #7
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After lots of reading... on this site and others....

I am hearing more than wonderful things about alienbees. I might look into buying two 800's??? I am only saying that, because that seems to be the popular shoice among others....(not sure if 400 are powerful enough.)BUT- I am thinking that I should have a light set up on each side and then one up top (making three)..... should I get a third, can a geta cheaper hair light???

I am not happy with the strobe kits that are available... I am seeing the modeling lights aren't powerful enough (from what other people said.) I was looking into smith-victor kits. For a few more bucks, I would be happier with something that I will end up buying in a year anyways.....

Am I way off in my thinking or is this making sense????

I am really bad at making decisions. I took me 6 months to pick between nikon and cannon.

This site is great, as is the help I am getting from you all :-)


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Old Sep 26, 2008, 10:51 AM   #8
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Whatever you use as your main lights, don't skimp and get another brand of lighting for a hair light. The color temperature might not match, and you'd have wasted some serious money. We have 2 AB-800's as our main strobes, and picked up a AB-400 from eBay for our third.

I'm putting this here, just because we used this once, before we wentot our Alien Bees. One things I DID really like about this model from eBay is that the modelling light was 150 Watts, which is very adequate. Also, the flash ring is user replaceable. The individual sells the flash rings for about $35. On cheaper strobes, when the flash tube is done with, so is the rest of the unit.

If you're very cost conscieous, get the 300's:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=190252624224

They did have other, higher power hits available, just look around. And, no, I'm not the seller on eBay, I'm just pointing out a cheaper alternative to the Alien Bees. Ar ethey as good? Nope. Are they good? Yes, they are.
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Old Sep 26, 2008, 9:39 PM   #9
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Now I am between the Visico (from the ebay link above) kit and the Calumet Genesis kit (200 or 400 depending on if I can come up with an extra $100 or so).

Any thoughts?? I was considering buying a kit and worry about a third light later...
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