Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 16 Nov 2005 (Wednesday) 15:19
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

FAQ - What studio lighting? - ** READ THIS FIRST **

 
tim
Light Bringer
Avatar
51,005 posts
Likes: 368
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
     
Nov 16, 2005 15:19 |  #1

This topic comes up frequently, so it deserves it's own FAQ.

"I want to set up a studio but I don't know what type of lighting to buy".
The choices are continuous lights or strobes. Continuous lights are usually halogen or fluroescent bulbs that put out a constant amount of light. The advantage of these is that they're cheap, but they're also very warm, which can make your model sweat, squink, and generally uncomfortable. Strobes have a small modelling light (100-250W) so you can preview the effect of the strobes before they fire. The constant light is very small and doesn't affect the exposure or color temperature. The light output of strobes is very high compared with the modelling lamp or continuous lighting.

"I've found a cheap studio lighting kit on ebay (or elsewhere), is this good?"
Probably not, you tend to get what you pay for with studio lighting. A lot of the cheap kits are quite low powered and aren't well made, so you'll probably regret buying them sooner rather than later. In my opinion it's better to spend a little more now and have lights that last, rather than save a few dollars and have to replace them in six months.

"What cheap studio lighting should I buy"
There are a number of manufacturers of low cost studio lighting, and a good roundup of some of them can be found here (external link).

There are a few common recommendations for good value (ie cheap but not nasty) studio lighting (strobes):
- AlienBees (external link) are very popular. The lights are powerful, well made, and good quality, and their customer service is excellent. Their packages are good value. The only place to buy AlienBees is from their website.
- Excalibur lights (external link) from SP-Systems are widely recommended as good quality, reliable, and durable. They're available from B&H (external link), and come in cheaper than the 'Bees, especially if you buy the kits.
- Elinchrom are getting good reviews from people at the moment (August 2008). The D-Lite 2 kit (external link) and D-Lite 4 kit (external link) are recommended. It's hard to
compare power based on manufacturers specifications as "w/s" and "effective w/s" confuse the issue, but the 4's are twice as powerful as the 2's. If anyone has information PM me and i'll update the thread.

"How many lights do I need?"
Some people recommend starting with one light and learning to use it properly before you go up to larger numbers of lights. You can do great things with one light. You can add a reflector to help fill in the shadows. Once you get good at using one light you can add in other lights to get the effects you want.

"What accessories do I need?"
See the post by Longwatcher below. My suggestions for umbrellas are the Photogenic 60" white (for studio work) (external link) and Westcott (external link) umbrellas. For softboxes I like Photoflex, here's their 72" Litedome (external link) and 48" Litedome (external link).

"How do I learn to use my studio lights?"
The best introductory book i've found on the subject is this one (external link), though there are many out there. I find the book Light - Science and Magic (external link) an excellent, if technical book for difficult lighting problems, such as for glass or metals.

The very basics - you set up the lights, the modelling lights (a small constant bulb) let you see where the strobe will fall when it goes off. You set your strobe power and ratios using a light meter/flash meter, put your camera on manual, and start shooting. A good quality, good value light meter is the Sekonic L-358.


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
tim
THREAD ­ STARTER
Light Bringer
Avatar
51,005 posts
Likes: 368
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
     
Nov 16, 2005 15:21 |  #2

I'd welcome suggestions, contributions, corrections, and additions to this thread. Once we've settled on recommendations i'll move everything into the first post of the thread and delete subsequent posts, but any contributions will be recognised.

This thread isn't for asking questions, please start a thread for that.


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Longwatcher
obsolete as of this post
Avatar
3,908 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Sep 2002
Location: Newport News, VA, USA
     
Nov 16, 2005 15:44 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #3

Under "what accessories do I need?" maybe put the following; feel free to correct or better state.

Umbrellas, Softboxes, Reflectors, and Brolly Boxes:

Umbrellas:
- usually lower cost
- Take up less room, especially when setup in small room.
- Umbrellas tend to be lighter
- quicker to set up (like 1 minute versus about 12 minutes for softbox (with practice))
- Umbrellas reduce the light more (this can be an advantage sometimes)
- Umbrellas usually have multiple options for color choices (like two side umbrellas) which gives a bit more flexibility
- In an emergency, some umbrellas can keep the rain off.

Softbox:
- More diffuse light so it looks softer (this is good)
-- Because more diffuse can place closer to subject and still get diffuse light.
- Less to almost no spill over (because a softbox completely encloses the strobe the light goes basically where you want it to and no where else. This is real important if you have lights close to in the scene as you can easily get lens flare or other undesired light if you have spill over.

[rectangular versus octagonal softboxes really only affect the look of the light in a reflection (such as in someone's eye) - either can work]

Brolly Box:
- tend to be only slightly more expensive then umbrellas, however does a slightly better job of diffusing the light, but does a very good job of preventing spill over.
- They also tend to take about twice as long as an umbrella to set up, which is still quicker then a softbox.
- A shoot-thru umbrella will give the same kind of light, however you still get spill-over.

Reflectors:
Reflectors come in a variety of sizes and are usually round or rectangular.
- They can be White, Silver, Soft Silver, Gold, Soft Gold, Black or even translucent (not really a reflector in this case). They can be as simple as a piece of cardboard, aluminum foil, or just a white wall. You can also buy commercial reflectors designed for the task.
- They are used to reflect the light from one (or more) light source(s) back onto the subject to fill in the opposing side. Most frequently used outdoors to provide an even sunlight reflection to the shadowed side of the subject.
- The best utility comes from the 5-in-1 reflectors which usually have a translucent center piece and then a reversable cover in white, silver, gold, and soft gold allowing you to choose the best reflection tone for your picture.
- Unless you have a person handy to hold the reflector you will need a light stand and reflector boom arm with clips (or other attachment device) to hold your reflector in place.
- Smaller reflectors are usually used to fill in the light on a face, while larger reflectors are used for entire bodies. very small reflectors are sometimes used for spot light for product shots.

In conclusion;
- Softboxes give you that little bit extra better/softer light, in return for more cost in money , time, weight,and space.
- Brollyboxes are kind of in between
- And Umbrellas cost less and are more convienent. When traveling light, umbrellas are the way to go.
- Reflectors provide an alternative to another light source (especially handy when using sunlight as the primary light source.


"Save the model, Save the camera, The Photographer can be repaired"
www.longwatcher.com (external link)
1DsMkIII as primary camera with f2.8L zooms and the 85L
http://www.longwatcher​.com/photoequipment.ht​m (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
tim
THREAD ­ STARTER
Light Bringer
Avatar
51,005 posts
Likes: 368
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
     
Nov 16, 2005 15:48 |  #4

[mr burns]Excellent[/mr burns] :)


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
DocFrankenstein
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
12,324 posts
Likes: 7
Joined Apr 2004
Location: where the buffalo roam
     
Nov 16, 2005 16:29 |  #5

Tim - just out of curiousity. Have you used any other brands besides the Alien Bees?

How much are they paying you? :p


National Sarcasm Society. Like we need your support.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
tim
THREAD ­ STARTER
Light Bringer
Avatar
51,005 posts
Likes: 368
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
     
Nov 16, 2005 16:30 as a reply to  @ DocFrankenstein's post |  #6

DocFrankenstein wrote:
Tim - just out of curiousity. Have you used any other brands besides the Alien Bees?

How much are they paying you? :p

Nope, i'm relying on the advice of others. My bees work well.


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Longwatcher
obsolete as of this post
Avatar
3,908 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Sep 2002
Location: Newport News, VA, USA
     
Nov 20, 2005 16:18 as a reply to  @ post 930878 |  #7

I made a minor edit to your edit to my post adding aluminum foil to reflectors section as I have used this in the past when needing something in a hurry. Also fixed on space error between words.


"Save the model, Save the camera, The Photographer can be repaired"
www.longwatcher.com (external link)
1DsMkIII as primary camera with f2.8L zooms and the 85L
http://www.longwatcher​.com/photoequipment.ht​m (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
PhotosGuy
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
75,941 posts
Gallery: 8 photos
Likes: 2577
Joined Feb 2004
Location: Middle of Michigan
     
Jan 18, 2006 08:21 |  #8

** READ THIS FIRST **

Then, look at this second? ;)
Sticky: FAQ - Studio Lighting


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
RoyalHouseofLight
Hatchling
Avatar
2 posts
Joined Mar 2006
Location: Freeport, NY
     
Apr 08, 2006 21:01 |  #9

Hello fellow Photographers! Someone out there was trying to find the website for Norman Studio Systems. I thought that I'd share the web info with you all. The website is www.photo-control.com (external link)
Norman's website is really great, they give you PDF downloads that will help you with your lighting problems for free. They also have Synchro-Sun Manuals for PDF downloads, Pricelists, as well as Product Lists Manuals all in PDF Adobe. Not to mention that Norman Strobes can be abit pricey, but well worth the investment.
I as you can tell do own Norman Strobes, P800D pack w/LH2000 w/Fan cool, P400D w/3 LH500 Heads, (2) 400 Monolights, P200D pack w/2 LH52 heads, (1) LH Auto head. I also own Multiblitz', (1)Vario 1000 Monolight, (1) Vario 500 Monolight, (1) 400ws Monolight Older Model. I use them all accordingly as needed w/ Ascor CD1200 ws pack w/2 CD 2400heads. My Camera's are of course Canon 20D, Rebel 300D 6MP, w/18-55mm, 24-85mm, 28-135 IS, 70-300mm all being by Canon, 580EX flash, (1) 283 Vivitar Armator conversion, (1) 285 Vivitar Armator conversion made by Armato's Photo Services in Glendale, NY. All this equipment of course isn't used at the same time but as you need equipment it's good to have ones you can depend on. I've worked as a Freelance Photographer for over 20 years, I've worked with different Studio's, I've owned and ran my own Studio. You start out small with what you can afford, and work and earn your way up. You build as you need, only do your research on what you need, also research what other Pro's use and always know what to do with what you buy. Don't over extend your budget, that old term rings true K.I.S.S., keep it simple stupid, no offense intended. Just keep your cost to what you can afford to live with, and keep studying and reading what you can learn from. Know your craft, Hone your craft, Love your craft, Love your Clients, Sell your Clients and you will go along way. Oh yes, and keep abreast with the times and changes in the industry. I started out with film, 35mm, Medium Formats, Large Format, now Digital Format. It's still a pursuit of Love of my craft, just keep going and shooting!

RoyalHouseofLight




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
mbze430
Goldmember
Avatar
2,454 posts
Joined Feb 2005
Location: Chino Hills
     
Apr 10, 2006 00:48 |  #10

things missing.... barn doors, snoots, and honeycomb grids.

Also, Beauty Dish, and Ring Flash.

Light banks vs continuous vs monolight vs strobe heads.

Also missing is the type of light fall off each modifier has.

UV bulb vs Non-UV Bulb.

Keep up the tutorial.


Gear List

My Hub to my personal work (external link) (just click on the banners)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
tim
THREAD ­ STARTER
Light Bringer
Avatar
51,005 posts
Likes: 368
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
     
Apr 10, 2006 00:49 |  #11

This thread was an FAQ about good beginner studio lights, not how to use then. Both the recommended brands have a good range of modifiers AFAIK.


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
PhotosGuy
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
75,941 posts
Gallery: 8 photos
Likes: 2577
Joined Feb 2004
Location: Middle of Michigan
     
Apr 10, 2006 06:54 |  #12

things missing.... Keep up the tutorial.

Suppose you educate us?


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Longwatcher
obsolete as of this post
Avatar
3,908 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Sep 2002
Location: Newport News, VA, USA
     
Apr 10, 2006 10:43 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #13

Okay I think I can do Barn doors, Snoots and Honeycomb grids (since I have all three)

Side note: putting the specific light fall off for each modifier and umbrella is unfeasable as it depends on which brand as well as type to determine that. I know AB lists most of theirs, but have not seen same on some other sites, although AB is not the only one to list those stats, I have just visited the AB site enough to know they have them off the top of my head.

Other Light Modifiers - Light masking:
All of the following light modifiers are light masking devices; they allow you to determine where the light does or doesn't fall. They do not focus the light so much as mask the light. They are used when you need the light to fall on one portion of the subject while not falling on another part of the subject.

Barn Doors: Barn doors are usually a set of 4 hinged panels which attach to the front of studio lights. Their advantage is you can open up the light to one or more sides to a somewhat precise degree, while limiting light in another direction. Since they are hinged they allow you to control where the light ends in the panel's direction. Their disadvantage is they usually have light spilling out in directions the panels do not cover (such as the diagonal corners).

Note: barn doors can be used with some other light modifiers (such as honey comb grids) to combine their advantages, while minimizing thier liabilities.

Safety note: Do not ever close a panel over the light while the lights are operating, especially continuous hot lights as smoking will result possibly followed by fire - speak from the experience of a loose hinge when heated allowing top panel to fall over light - luckily no fire, but it was close

Snoots These modifiers are a funnel like device that restricts the light down to a small focused area of the subject. Their main advantage is a very small area of light coverage with very little light spill to other areas. They are usually used for product photography, but in glamour-style photography they are used to highlight select portions of the body which would otherwise be shadowed without lighting other parts. One advantage to snoots over honeycomb grid is they can be placed closer to the subject from behind angles as the light does not tend to show as easily. One primary disadvantage (can be advantage instead) is the snoot will reduce the light by 2-4 stops.

Honeycomb Grids These modifiers are a honeycomb like grid that fits in front of the studio lights and are used to restrict the fall of light to the desired subject only. They are not as focused as snoots and come in differing degrees of angle (such as 10, 20, 30 and 40 degree honeycombs) unlike snoots the honeycomb grid does not reduce f-stop (or at least by less then about 1/3 stop), but unlike a snoot can not get as small a spot (example on a particular 20 degree honeycomb will have a minimum of a 7" circle of light at the end of the reflector spreading out from there, while the snoot which also has a 20 degree spread will have about a 2" diameter light so can create a smaller point of light at the subject.

Okay ready for corrections and needed clarifications.


"Save the model, Save the camera, The Photographer can be repaired"
www.longwatcher.com (external link)
1DsMkIII as primary camera with f2.8L zooms and the 85L
http://www.longwatcher​.com/photoequipment.ht​m (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
cbtoday
Member
82 posts
Joined Aug 2005
     
Jul 05, 2006 16:18 |  #14

sorry I am new to lighting.
The alienbee and excalibur lights are strobe lights or constant light?
Strobe light means it only turns on when you snap the picture? How do you control it?
Thanks.


_______
cbtoday,:cool:

http://www.todayistoda​y.com (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
tim
THREAD ­ STARTER
Light Bringer
Avatar
51,005 posts
Likes: 368
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
     
Jul 05, 2006 19:47 |  #15

They're strobes, as constant lights aren't often used by professional photographers. I added a paragraph at the bottom of the first post of the thread to clarify a few things for you :)


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

52,002 views & 0 likes for this thread
FAQ - What studio lighting? - ** READ THIS FIRST **
FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is stillmiracle
649 guests, 247 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.