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Photography Question 
Leslie J. Morris
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/30/2007
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Main Light for Studio


 
 
As I am experimenting in my new homemade studio, I know I need a good main light. I am thinking what I need to do is get a nice softbox for a main light and use my smaller two lights for fill and accent.
Can anyone recommend where I might find a good light-box kit for a reasonable price as I am not yet ready to go out and set up a 'real' studio? I need to take a few more classes and practice for a while on family and friends. Also, what size and wattage should I be looking for to start out?
Thanks for your help!


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5/12/2008 7:39:29 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  this is answered if you do a search under studio lights...you'll learn a lot because theres a ton of info.


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5/12/2008 8:02:09 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Leslie,
I rarely use soft boxes, as they are expensive and a problem to set-up. In addition you seem to be using some kind of hot lights, and, as soft boxes enclose the light, you will have problems with heat. Make light panels, and use them with umbrellas. You can create a really fine light source this way. Check out these articles: www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=129 and www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=156.

If you are going to look at strobes I would recommend that your first light have at least 600 watt-seconds of power. Many people will think this is a lot, but not for the way I light. The idea is not to buy equipment that creates limitation. One more article: www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=148. Also start with one light and see where it takes you, then get lights as needed.

By the way, nice picture of RJ.
Thanks, John Siskin


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5/12/2008 9:19:46 AM

 
Leslie J. Morris
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/30/2007
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  Thanks very much John, I have your lighting class on my wish list!


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5/12/2008 9:29:41 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Leslie,
My Understanding the Tools of Photography Lighting class is a good place to start. But, in the meantime, check out the articles. Thanks, John Siskin


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5/12/2008 9:42:03 AM

 
James Henley   hi try this www.jensenbest.com FLUORESCENT 600 WATT 2 LIGHT UMBRELLA KIT WITH COLLAPSIBLE CHROMAKEY BACKDROP only$129.00 plus shiping I bought this 1 its great all the light I need pluse if its to much just change bulbs
from james


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5/13/2008 4:43:27 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi James,
I know people like fluorescent lights, but I have to say I think they are a bad product. Check what the exposure is really like, the last ones I checked out was 1/30 at f2.8 with a softbox at 5 feet from the subject at ISO 200. Forget about shooting active children, and you won’t have enough depth of field to shoot a group. In addition there are color issues: first the lights shift color with the 60 cycle vibration of AC current. So shutter speeds of 1/30 or 1/15 are better for these lights, the color is more repeatable. Second the spectrum of a fluorescent is not even. Most of the time the color is ok, but there are times the irregular spectrum may give you trouble. Frankly you are a lot better off learning to use strobes.
Thanks, John Siskin


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5/13/2008 5:00:03 PM

 
Bruce A. Dart   Leslie,
John has some excellent and very informative articles here. I love to listen to commercial photographers. They are used to solving photographic problems every day. Portrait photographers tend to be more routine about their approach. While there is a lot to be said for consistent, repeatable results and your "style" the portrait folks tend to be a little like the baby elephant tied with a strong chain that as an adult still remembers and doesn't attempt to break light ropes. The whole digital aspect of photography, thankfully, has helped everyone think a little more "out of the box." A soft box is a great tool -- as are all of the others. When I was starting out, I used dark backgrounds to help hide the shadows. A properly used softbox will also help as they shadows are softer. The BIG caution, however, is that any lighting tool or modifier if not used correctly can give bad results. While a softbox has "soft" light, for example, it is designed to be used fairly close to the subject to give the best light. Too close and it's constantly in your photos along with the subject. Too far away and it becomes more specular and harsh and does not give the effect you started with. For a long time, I used a plain white umbrella but put it close to the light, turned it around and shot through it. It was in effect, a softbox. I though it might be "cool" to add a little "warmth" to the photos and got an umbrella that was part silver and part gold. My subject quickly looked like they were in sunset light and it was not flattering. Each one works differently and you need to experiment and learn. Good luck.
Bruce


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5/14/2008 5:41:14 AM

 
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