BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Emily M. Rosson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2008
 

Best Equipment for Studio Lighting?


I am in the process of setting up a home portrait studio. I have a 20-ft by 15-ft room I am completely turning into a studio. I know I will need backdrops, a backdrop stand, props and lighting. I have a Canon Rebel XSi digital with a Canon speedlight 430EX. I am not sure what kind of lighting to get. What do I need to get me started and to learn about indoor lighting? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


To love this question, log in above
1/6/2009 8:06:46 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Hello Emily,
This is s common question and if you do a search for "studio lighting" on the BP search window, you will get a bunch of threads to read through.
John Siskin has a great course for getting started - http://www.betterphoto.com/courseOverview.asp?cspID=172
. John is a great instructor, and he provides a ton of information and lots of tips and& tricks to get started on a budget, etc.
Don't do what I did and buy a cheap set of lights that will ultimately only take up space and never be used. Start with a good strobe and build from that. I went with Alien Bees and am very happy with their lights and company.
Good Luck Emily!


To love this comment, log in above
1/6/2009 12:05:20 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Emily,
Thanks Carlton! I really appreciate it. Emily, the key is to start with a limited amount of good equipment, like the Alien Bees or Calumet Travelites. It is much easier to understand one light than two or three, and why get something you’ll need to replace later? I do teach a couple of lighting classes here that might help.


To love this comment, log in above
1/6/2009 5:09:53 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Emily,

It sounds like you will soon have plenty of equipment to start making great portraits.
I will agree with John concerning one light. You must resist the urge to fire up all the strobes if you are new to indoor studio shooting.
Learning a one light set up will give you invaluable experience you will build on later. Too many people dive into studio lighting with far too much equipment only to ask themselves later on "Why can't I reproduce the great lighting I had 2 weeks ago."
The beauty of digital is instant feed back. You will see as soon as you shoot it, how the light falls, how the shadows fall ... overall look, etc.
Later, you can start adding reflectors, another strobe etc; but before you do, ask yourself why?
Keep a notebook on everything pertaining to the set-up.
F/stop
Camera height
Flash position (Horz & vert distance)
Subject angle in relation to light & camera.
Strobe output, etc.
The list is long, but if you draw diagrams of all your setups, you will do well. All the best,
Pete


To love this comment, log in above
1/13/2009 3:15:43 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Emily & Pete,
Keeping notes is a great idea. I wish more students would do it. It is easy to take a set-up shot also. One thing I really like with a digital camera is using it tethered to the computer. This gives me a larger proof image with more information. Many cameras come with the software to do this.
Also, my studio is dark gray. This enables me to reduce bounce. When I want bounce light I put up a light panel.


To love this comment, log in above
1/13/2009 3:29:20 PM

 
Emily M. Rosson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2008
 
 
  puppy love
puppy love
taken with backdrop light and softbox both are strobes. 1/60 5.6
© Emily M. Rosson
Canon EOS Digital ...
 
 
Okay guys I have finally got my studio lights set up I took your advise and only started with 1 main light but I did add the background light. I attempted some shots I need some adivise on a few of the photos I have taken. The only problem I really ran into is getting my backdrop light to fire at the same time as my camera what can I try to get them to fire at the same time. Here is one of the pictures I took. any advise would be greatly appreciated. thanks


To love this comment, log in above
2/11/2009 8:57:03 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Emily,
Here’s an article on optical slave: www.siskinphoto.com/magazine/zpdf/sync.pdf. They are pretty easy to work with, and should solve your problem. Thanks, John Siskin


To love this comment, log in above
2/11/2009 9:17:03 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Emily,
The optical slaves will work in most cases, at times the sensor may be hidden and not receive the que from the flash it needs.
When setting up my lights I use LightLinks on my main and fill and the Transmitter on the Camera of course.
I will oftern times Sync my backlight though to make sure threr are No misfires during the shoot.

There maybe setups and pictures of this on the Studio Photography Threads and They are included in my Cds.
Here are Links to help.

Studio Photography Threads:

http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=17534

Light Links:

http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/CE1560/

and then John has reported finding some good ones on Ebay as well.

I do hope this helps,
Debby


To love this comment, log in above
2/12/2009 7:22:33 AM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.