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Photography Question 
Celeste McWilliams

Basic Studio Equipment

I shoot with a Nikon D70 with SB-800 speedlight, and am looking to buy basic studio equipment (to shoot portraits): speedlight stand, umbrella, maybe a few backdrops, etc. I have no idea where to begin, other than knowing I want decent/dependable stuff but don't want to spend a fortune either. I thought buying backdrops would be easy ... until I saw that there are different materials. What is the best to use, and what "starter colors" do you recommend? I know nothing about light-diffusing umbrellas, so any/all advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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1/28/2007 6:03:28 PM

John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Celeste,
I just finished sending in a Better Blog on making your own backgrounds. In any case, be sure to check out my studio lighting blogs. I think that dark grey is a good starter background. I would think youíll want large umbrellas; Iím partial to 60-inch umbrellas and light panels. I wrote an article about building light panels. Youíll find a lot of other good things there. It can be a good idea to start learning with one light, but youíll want about 3 lights to cover most working situations.
The only inexpensive way - or the best inexpensive way - to get strobes in to obtain used Norman 900 series gear: either the P800D or the P1250D or the P2000D for a power pack and LH2000 or LH2400 heads. If you have more money to spend, there are a number of good choices in new monolights. Stay away from the really cheap kits, since they donít have enough power. A reasonable goal is to own at least two heads with more than 500 watt-seconds. Welcome to the place where we take responsibility for the light!
Editor's Note: John Siskin teaches several awesome online courses here at BetterPhoto, including Understanding Professional Lighting.

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1/28/2007 6:27:00 PM

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