View Full Version : Lighting Help, Please

23rd of January 2005 (Sun), 21:26
I shoot the digital rebel. I have been doing a great deal of event photography - candid using available lighting -mainly in theaters with theatrical lighting. This has not been extremely profitable, yet has given me the opportunity to do some other jobs. In less than a month, I will be taking portraits at a church banquet. These will be pre-paid packages. I have a place to set up to shoot. The lighting at our church is awful, so I need to utilize additional lighting.

I have been doing some surfing looking at photos shot with on camera flash as well as studio lighting.

I do not have a lot of money to invest. Would I be better off purchasing a good flash with a bracket or studio lighting? What would I need for studio style lighting? Would I need 2 strobes and a hair light? Or other things as well.

I have been seeing the debate on the forums as to hot lights vs. strobe lights. I have been to classes where photographers use barn doors, soft boxes, etc. I do not have a 'style' for protraits, so I really do not know what I need to buy.

I have considered renting, but the drive to a rental shop would be several hours round trip.

If I need studio lighting, I will need a meter, won't I? Is there an inexpensive meter? I have not used one in over 20 years, so I will be very out of practice.

Sorry to sound so dense, I just need to make some wise decisions. I think you all have the information to help me.

23rd of January 2005 (Sun), 21:27
Here are some lighting systems from ebay- would these be good for starters?




Mike Panic
23rd of January 2005 (Sun), 22:23
figure around $500 for a canon 550ex or 580ex flash unit, $75 for a canon off shoe cord and $100 for a good flash frame - id recomend the stroboframe press-t

for strobes, i wouldnt buy any of those on ebay... buy ones that have slide adjustable settings, not on/off or 1/3 2/3 full... they are the suck

www.alienbees.com offers some great packges at great prices for 3 strobes and accessories

24th of January 2005 (Mon), 07:39
i shoot with white lightning

alien bees are great too

i have a novatron 240 kit if you're interested


24th of January 2005 (Mon), 08:26
Is there an inexpensive meter? Why not learn to use the histogram in your 300D? Shoot RAW to allow post processing tweaking.

24th of January 2005 (Mon), 10:31
Thanks for the input. I really do appresciate it. I called a photo store 1.5 hours away that will rent me a novatron set and a back drop with stand for 110.00 for the day. I will go get it early on the morning of the banquet and return it the next morning. They will also help me with the settings for my camera.

I will also work on learning to better use the histogram. I have a white card from the local lab that has proper exposures on the card. I will practice using those, to start with. I can shoot raw as well. I do sometimes, already -depending on the situation. I will take my laptop and one of my teenagers to download for me if I begin to run out of card space.

Again, thanks. If you have any words of wisdom to pass on for tkaing the portraits -mothers and sons - let me know. This is so differnet from what I have been doing. Maybe I will turn enough of a profit to invest in some lighting of my own.


25th of January 2005 (Tue), 00:19
Have you ever used lighting before?

If not, then spend some money and rent them at least a couple times before the shoot so that you can learn how to use them and how to get the proper lighting. There is a lot more to lighting than just picking it up a couple hours before using and and shooting away, no matter how much help the shop gives you.

You need to use them with your camera to learn what they can and cannot do. You need to learn how to adjust them properly to get the proper exposures. You need to learn how using different accessories on the heads will light the subjects differently. And you need to just get a general feel for what you are getting. Just using the histogram on site will do nothing unless you can download to a computer and really see how the ratio of the different lights are laying on the subject and how its lighting everything overall.

How are you going to fire them? Radio slaves, sync cord? Does the DReb even have a PC socket for strobes? Are you gonna use a shoe mounted sync cord?

These are all things you need to know.

Nothing worse you could do than to show up and not have a full grasp of what you are doing. Nothing will insure you dont get another job with the client than that. It will be better for your photography if you were to turn down a gig you are not ready for than to go in trying to figure it out on the fly.

25th of January 2005 (Tue), 07:57
You are so right. Normally, I do not rush into anything I mull it over and then deal with it. My husband and I are looking into going ahead and purchasing the equipment so that I can learn it before the event. If not, I will figure out something else. I may try something more candid-style with available light plus some additonal lamps. I can set the white balance with the rebel and shoot raw to correct from there. Most moms like candid shots and since it is a mother son banquet, maybe I can work on that instead.
thanks for the reminder to slow down

23rd of February 2005 (Wed), 13:26
I have the canon digital slr 20D with the canon 580 ex speedlite. I'm working in auto mode for everything. I couldn't get the 580 to give me enough light. I had to use the flash that came with the camera and set it on "P". I need to shoot a banquet room for a brochure soon and I'm in a panic.

23rd of February 2005 (Wed), 14:00
Studio lights with cables and all that belong in the studio.

For portability, you can't beat a Canon 550EX. If you need to light up a wide shot, then multiple flash units using the Canon wireless flash system make good sense. This is exactly the kind of application that the system was designed for.

---Bob Gross---

23rd of February 2005 (Wed), 22:42
THe 580 is a great flash as well. To give yourself more flash light shoot the flash in manual mode. increase the power increments until you are satified. you need to shoot the camera in manual and the flash in manual i think you will be happy with the results.

dan h