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Old Mar 19, 2006, 11:24 PM   #1
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Hi, I'm a total newbie at photography but I have been interested in it. I am contemplating getting started taking baby pictures and portraits. Here is my questions:

I am thinking about getting the Alienbees 800 flash unit. Does the flash unit connect directly to the camera with some sort of hookup? What is the hookup to the camera called? Is it included in the package? I am also looking to purchase a softbox to go with it.

Like I said, I'm new to this, so any advice would be good. I went to a photo shoot a while back and they had this equipment, but I didn't see how it was actually connected to the camera.

Thanks!
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:13 AM   #2
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Yes the AB will work with a drebel, but the AB only comes with a sync cord and the drebel does not have a socket for it.
You can go 1 of 3 ways :-)
  1. You will need to either get a hotshoe/sync cord adapter (maybe 10$) or
    [/*]
  2. The AB's have a built in optical trigger so you can use the small flash from your camere to trigger it, but it will go off anytime anyone else camera flashes or
    [/*]
  3. get a cheep wireless radio trigger (maybe 40$) like these http://cgi.ebay.com/Digital-Radio-Sl...QQcmdZViewItem[/*]
If you plan to do portraits with studio strobes you will probably want more than one light too. I'd recommend a minimum to start of three.

If you were at a real photo shoot they were probably using wireless.
Also don't forget things like reflectors, scrims, gobo's, backgrounds and background stands, light stands, snoots, barn doors, honeycombs.

You wanted SoftBoxes the ones from AB are OK but not very high quality the material starts to fall apart after a year or so of use. I use Chimera boxes. (You will also need to get a matching speed ring for each box/light)

And don't forget a good flash meter.

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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:25 AM   #3
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Now that I got the previous answer to your question in, a bit of startup advice.
You say you have never done this before so I'd recommend starting with continious hot-lights.
It is a lot cheeper and much easier to learn with.
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 8:59 PM   #4
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what hot lights do you recommend? What is the difference between the two, and why should I start using hotlights instead of the softboxes?
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 11:07 AM   #5
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Not instead of softboxes, instead of the strobes.
Hot lights can be DIY inexpensively and you see what effect you are creating.

Learning proper lighting, posing, and camera control is quite time consuming.
People can go for years to photography schools like Brooks to learn it, or try to work out some of it at home.

Kalypso is the resident expert here on using hot lights.
Here are a couple of links to threads:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=54
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...ting%26quot%3B

There is nothing wrong with buying a set of strobes to start, it just costs a lot more and is harder to learn to use.

Lights I might use now use can be anything from a single light and reflector pannel
to a full setup including a Main, Fill, Hair, one or two Background, kicker or two, sometimes a rim light.

Ah ya, don't forget duct-tape especially with kids :G:G:G

Here is a 3 light shot, setup for flat lighting.

Last edited by PeterP; Apr 17, 2013 at 11:42 PM.
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 11:08 AM   #6
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Another,
single light and reflector, with a dragged shutter.
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 3:17 PM   #7
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I was a newbie not so long ago myself. I started with a 3 light setup from Alien Bees and have been very pleased with them. A light meter is an absolute must.

As for lighting like a pro, I have a lot to learn. But at least I have the tools to work with for now. I haven't bouhgt any softboxes yet. I have just been using umbrellas with pretty good results.

Attached is a picture from a recent valentine's dance at the junior high school where I teach. Comments would be greatly appreciated. I know there is room for improvement. I'm jut not sure what direction to take.


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Old Mar 21, 2006, 3:44 PM   #8
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I'm looking at it on a terrible laptop monitor but it looks to me like there is a lot of light comming in from the right and very little from the left. For a back-to-back double like this I'd be inclined to use either a large reflector on the left or another light.
The subjects also seem to be very close to the background, try to move them out maybe 6-10 feet from the background.
Also if you have a steamer you might want to use it to de-wrinkle the backdrop.

Here is a link to some lighting tutorials http://www.vividlight.com/articles/1916.htm


I absolutely agree, trying to use the camera histograms will get you close eventually but not right on and won't help at all with working out lighting ratios between multiple lights.
The Sekonic L-358 is currently my choice, and it can take an optional pocketwizard module
Quote:
A light meter is an absolute must.
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 4:22 PM   #9
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Thanks for the tips. I think it is the L-358 that I have. Great little meter.

What is the best way to store backgrounds so they don't get so wrinkled or have creases in them? Roll them up? I don't have a studio, I do all of my work on location so everything needs to be portable.

There are 2 lights in that setup. I had the ratios dialed in (sort of) for individuals but ended up taking mostly couples and groups. Is there a way to light multiple people evenly without causing the light to appear too flat?

I'll be sure to check out the link that you included.
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 4:31 PM   #10
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Awesome article. That wa very informative. I'll try to put some of that info to use in my next shoot.
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