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Photography Question 
Zoltan Erdesz

Home studio lighting

Can anybody offer me some advice regarding at home studio portrait lighting? I am thinking of buying 3 or more small halogen floods. Using 2 in front, left & right, plus 1 rear. Would this work ?? Would this be enough light or would I still need to add on camera flash. I have the Canon Digi Rebel (300D) and would create a custom white balance.

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12/5/2005 9:53:22 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  I'm in now way a pro but I bought a kit a few months ago and I can share my opinion.

First off, I purchased the Smith Victor KT900 kit from ebay. It has two 12 inch reflectors with 500 watt bulbs and a 5 inch reflector with a 250 watt bulb. The 5 inch came with a mini boom so I can use it as a hair light. All three came with white umbrellas that can be used to diffuse light or bounce it. Because my living room is too small, I only use one light and then a white reflector as the fill-in source. Otherwise the "fill-in" light would be too strong and I wouldn't get any interesting or flattering effects.

I really need to purchase a snoot and some barn doors! I feel I especially need these in my situation so I can keep the lights from falling on my black background and from falling on anything else.

So, if you have a very small working area I suggest that you allocate some of your funds towards purchasing the accesories like barn doors and such instead of an entire kit that might not work for you.

Also, if you make or buy a nice reflector you can make great use of it outdoors as well.

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12/5/2005 1:40:14 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Howdy Zoltan: Back in the old days, before Smith Victor and studio strobes, you could purchase a reflector with a clamp and light bulb socket at a hardware store. Toss in a photo flood, say 200 watts or so, and for less than 10 bucks, both you and your subject were cooking.

Before buying a hot light kit, you might consider trying shooting portraits with a single light with some kind of light modifier. You can still buy the clamp on reflector set-ups at hardware stores. Experiment with ONE light and some kind of reflector card first, as Cherylann suggested. Moving the light around the subject can produce some interesting modeling light effects with shadows and highlights and light bounced in from the side using that card. Then if you really feel it's inadequate for what you're trying to do, consider investing in a strobe kit (unless you're shooting videos or movies).

The set-up you're describing with the hair light is probably older than the light socket / clamp concept. Like I said, experiment with one light, add more if you really feel you need them. Cherylann is right in what she suggests to control or modify your hot lights, but you may end up investing in something that doesn't really suit your purposes in a short time from now. Seewhatimean?
Take it light.

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12/5/2005 4:33:52 PM

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