what would your suggestion be? re lighting

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what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby bigsarg7 on Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:53 pm

Hey folk, been a while again, i've had a few busy times lately with bubs and kids and my photography. Life is pretty hectic and im looking at making it even more hectic!!

I've found i am being asked a lot to do family portraits, baby photos, and individual portraits lately. I prefer outdoors for the family and individual portraits, but I am finding a lot wanting indoor / studio style images. I have a lounge I don't use often, actually rarely. And well im thinking of buying some lighting to use, as the natural light in there is little to nothing workable at all. I would really like some opinions on lighting with both my d700 and d7000. It is a dark room and when there is light its very dull and not very nice. I was wondering do I go for continuous lighting or not? I have an sb800 flash and love it, is it worth while buying another one and using them off camera with softboxes or umbreallas. kind of unsure, as I am so used to natural light for my images. If i were to buy lighting it would be permanantly set up in the lounge with my backdrop etc.

Everyones opinion is valued, even if your a canon shooter!! lol :wink: :rotfl2:

Thanks for checking my thread out and i'd love to know your opinion!!
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:43 am

Hi Karen,
Check out David Hobbies excellent Strobist Blog
And I highly recommend the book Light Science and Magic

I would go for strobes, and have at least three. One either side at the front and one at the rear to rimlight the hair.
I personally have gone down the route of SBs. I have one SB900 and 2x SB800. I find it an excellent combination. However it gets pricey to use portables and given that you are saying that you are planning on having it as a permanent setup, you would find find it more economical to use larger studio strobes. They also tend to have modelling lights that will let you see the result before you take the shot. I have seen lots of recommendations for AlienBees for an economical but quality light. You will want lighting modifiers too. I find I am accumulating these at a rate of knots, and have found the cheap ones to be a waste of money. That doesn't mean you have to have the most expensive, but just be aware that you get what you pay for. I use a combination of Westcott Umbrellas and Lastolite Octaboxes. And a Honl snoot. I have others but find I wish I hadn't bought them. You will also want lightstands. There are many kits out there that will give you everything in a single large carry bag. Whatever lighting you end up with, consider using wireless triggering. This will get rid of most of the wires snaking everywhere. If you use SBs you will get rid of all of it. Studio strobes will still have a power cord.
PocketWizard have just brought out a new low cost range (PW3) that look good. I have just got the TT series as I wanted to keep iTTL. I am still learning how to drive them, but have already discovered that I effectively have another flash as I no longer need to keep one near the camera to use as a master.

For the backdrop, I have screwed one of the wall mount stands to the roof. I picked mine up second hand but you can also use sheets. Expect sheets to become obsolete fairly soon though.

Natural lighting. Have you considered putting in a skylight or two? We had a loungeroom that was almost unusable in summer and it was dingy all year round. We put in two skylights and it was transformed. I don't mean the little tube ones, but the big "window" ones. We used opening ones as one of the main things we wanted was to let the hot air out in summer. Using skylights will limit you to daytime though.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby PiroStitch on Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:32 am

I'd go with another SB800 or even look at the SB28 or SB25. If you learn how to light with small flashes, then the bigger studio lights will be a cinch. Smaller speedlights will give you the portability as well if you wanted to bring your set up and techniques outdoors.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby gstark on Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:48 am

I'm going say don't go with SB800 etc. They're overpriced and Nikon's CLS turns something that's essentially very simple into something that's overly complex and requires a three year degree to try to master, but you're still left with something that, if you understand it, still costs as much as a much simpler and more comprehensive small strobe system.

I'd start with a small mains powered three light strobe system. It should include some basic modifiers (which you'd need to buy for the SBs) and modelling lights, stands (which you'd also still need to buy for the SBs) and will be more than adequate for a small studio type of setup such as you're describing.

You can trigger the lights with a radio unit (some kits will include a rf trigger) or with your on camera flash turned down to a poofteenth of its normal power.

The modelling lights will, btw, overcome any lack of light that might affect your camera's AF in the normally dark room.

The basics of using a strobe kit such as this are very simple, and revolve around light placement and the relative power between each of the lights in use. With chimping, you can learn much of what you need to know in just a few short sessions; I doubt that anyone can become productive with CLS in even double the time, such are the complexities that CLS introduce into the system.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:03 am

Here is my studio/workshop/lounge/dining/media room. Yes it is just a little overworked :roll:
Especially when you consider that it is also Pam's studio/calligraphy/sewing/sitting/reading/boxing/knitting room.
Image

I have shown examples of each of my light modifiers:
Westcott shoot-through umbrella (I have two plus a reflective back one)
Lastolite 36" octabox. Note how much more even the light is. Again I have two.
Honl snoot (on the couch between the other two lights)

You can also see the backdrop stand. I have pulled down the black sheet about halfway
And the two skylights. They open, but it is raining at the moment. Yes they don't leak. They also have rain sensors so if they are open when it starts to rain, they shut automatically. I have mine fitted with blockout curtains, usually open as now, but useful when you want to control the light. You can also get venetians for them. These might be more use to you if you want to stay with natural light as you would be able to get finer control with them. BTW I agree with pirostitch on all points. it is just that studio lighting is cheaper if you don't intend to move them around. Incidentally my Lillium shot which I just now noticed has picked up POTW 8) was a tryout shot when I got the Lastolite Octaboxes. It was lit by a single SB900 through the octabox Camera right & just out of frame. It was that shot that got me thinking about PWs. It was outside & the SB remote system was not triggering well - the octabox was blocking the direct signal & there were no reflective surfaces to bounce it - so I used a cord to trigger the SB, but I was right at the limit of its stretch. Frustrating.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:44 am

gstark wrote: I doubt that anyone can become productive with CLS in even double the time, such are the complexities that CLS introduce into the system.

I disagree Gary. Set all your remotes to "M" and the system is EXACTLY the same as the system you are describing. Except that you get to control all the lights from the one master - usually at or near the camera. When and if you want to play further, you can dive into all the other extras that the Nikon CLS system provides. But you don't need to to become productive. These days, I tend to have my main light on TTL and the others M. I also find SU-4 mode useful for discouraging other photographers. :evil: I have never used the other modes.

The disadvantages of the Nikon CLS system are 1. cost (I agree with you here) 2. Output - they are never going to be as powerful as a studio strobe, unless of course you have McNally's resources :roll: , and 3. reliability & range. This has never been an issue for me indoors. Outside is another matter.

The advantage - and it is a big one for me - is portability.


Karen, Another issue I just thought of is space - you need a surprising amount of space for strobes and their modifiers. That room of mine is 8mx6m and it is often not big enough. Mind you that is only when it is being used for other things at the same time.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby gstark on Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:07 pm

Mr Darcy wrote:
gstark wrote: I doubt that anyone can become productive with CLS in even double the time, such are the complexities that CLS introduce into the system.

I disagree Gary. Set all your remotes to "M" and the system is EXACTLY the same as the system you are describing.


Which is not using CLS, but for which you will have already paid quite a premium for.

Setting to M ... there's a challenge in itself, on a SB800, such is the very poor menu design. :biglaugh:

Then you need to power them down. Dial or menu? Dial or menu?

Still no modelling lights. Still no stands. Not a very good range of modifiers, and still relatively low power.

For a few hundred one can buy a three light kit with stands and modifiers ... and if they want to use CLS later on, they already now have all the stands they'll need. Effectively for free.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:36 pm

Hey Gary, what part of
Mr Darcy wrote:The disadvantages of the Nikon CLS system are 1. cost (I agree with you here)

did you not understand? I also made the same point in my original post.

I also made the point about modelling lights in my original post:
Mr Darcy wrote:larger studio strobes. They also tend to have modelling lights


gstark wrote:Which is not using CLS

And again I disagree Dialling M on the remotes via the master IS part of the CLS system.
On the master you set TTL, M, A or Off for each remote and the Master. You also set the power level. The flash then uses the CLS system to transfer that information to each of the remotes and then fires them accordingly. (This is a simplification - the actual process is more involved than that but only for the electronics, it is transparent to the user.)
The master can be a suitable camera, an SU800, an SB900/10 or an SB800. the remote can be any of a number of recent flashes.
What I was suggesting, in case I wasn't clear was to set each remote to M FROM THE MASTER. Also AT THE MASTER You dial the power for each remote according to your need. This is exactly the same process that you use for studio strobes except that you have to do it at the strobe, not at a master console. In my case I often have one of the flashes mounted on the ceiling (4m up) so it is not exactly convenient to set it at the strobe.

gstark wrote:Setting to M ... there's a challenge in itself, on a SB800,

And that is exactly why I have 1xSB900 in my setup. There is probably a good reason that the SB800 was replaced by the SB900. I wonder what it was!

gstark wrote:Then you need to power them down. Dial or menu? Dial or menu?

Just what are you on about here? Have you ever tried the CLS system?

gstark wrote:Still no stands. Not a very good range of modifiers,

But you also need to buy these with studio strobes. So what are you trying to say?
It is irrelevant whether some suppliers put together convenient kits that may (or may not) supply everything you want.
You can also walk into Teds and ask for a speedlite and stands and modifiers to suit - and get exactly the ones you want, not the substandard ones the supplier is fobbing off.

gstark wrote:and still relatively low power.

and again what part of
Mr Darcy wrote:The disadvantages of the Nikon CLS system are <SNIP> 2. Output - they are never going to be as powerful as a studio strobe,

did you fail to understand?
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what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Wink on Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:39 pm

What about Spiderlite's if it's only going to be an indoor setup?
It would be so much easier to work with. Downside is you'll lose the portability unless there's mains power where you'll be shooting. Same would apply to strobes though.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby chrisk on Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:48 pm

alot of this comes down to personal choice and budget. i love my sb's. i have 4 sb28's and use them with cybersyncs which are cheap and reliable. and i really dont like cords. i have made all kinds of mounts and modifiers for them very, very cheaply and honestly, have not been found wanting for power for portrait shoots of anything less than 4 people.

i dont miss a modelling light, i have worked out the positioning and power pretty well now just with some experience. my lighint pack is easy to set up, easy to pack and fully portable. there are of course some advantages of poewrerd lights but i find the flexibility of place anywhere, set up anywhere sb's to work perfect.

on the cls thing, on occasion i use cls with an su800 and it works fine. very easy to control and very convenient to have the sub800 controller on the camera. i find no difficulty using it whatsoever and dont use the sb800 for control at all. i use the su800 for control so dont have to worry about the crappy menu design. i adore the sb800 btw. its a superb, reliable, compact flash that packs a punch but if you shoot with manual style triggers, sb28's are a far more economical choice. i bought my 28's for $100 a piece a couple of years ago.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby gstark on Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:14 pm

Mr Darcy wrote:This is a simplification - the actual process is more involved than that


My point, exactly. Studio lighting systems are much simpler in actual operation.

In my case I often have one of the flashes mounted on the ceiling (4m up) so it is not exactly convenient to set it at the strobe.


But you would still need access to it for each shooting session, in order to turn it on or off, or refresh its batteries.

gstark wrote:Setting to M ... there's a challenge in itself, on a SB800,

And that is exactly why I have 1xSB900 in my setup. There is probably a good reason that the SB800 was replaced by the SB900. I wonder what it was!


Indeed. I can still taste the poor design of the 800.


gstark wrote:Then you need to power them down. Dial or menu? Dial or menu?

Just what are you on about here? Have you ever tried the CLS system?



Yes, but only with SB800s. A total PITA, and as I originally said, lighting is, at its heart, a very simple process.

Nikon totally stuffed this simplicity up with the CLS as exemplified in the SB800.

I realise that CLS has improved, but I still come back to my original point: lighting is simple. CLS is taking a simple process, and complicating it by adding in a number of proprietary components and processes, very few of which actually do much to improve the underlying, basic task being undertaken.

It's a bit like having a proprietary memory card or a proprietary hotshoe: yes, it does the job, but at what cost? What are the ultimate gains, if any, through using the proprietary solution?

gstark wrote:Still no stands. Not a very good range of modifiers,

But you also need to buy these with studio strobes.


No. There are many kits that come with reasonable quality stands and modifiers included in the kit cost.

Many of those parts can be used with other items as well: light stands are universal; so too are brollies.

You can also walk into Teds and ask for a speedlite and stands and modifiers to suit - and get exactly the ones you want, not the substandard ones the supplier is fobbing off.


The stuff I've seen in the kits leaves what I've seen at many stores lying in the dust, and especially in terms of value.

For me, it comes back to the basics: lighting is simple, and I try to keep it that way. I fail to see the point of using a proprietary system, which really seems to make the process much more complex than it really is, when there are simple solutions readily at hand.

Cheap lighting kits exactly that: cheap. But they are also simple, represent good value, and will perform more than adequately for somebody on a budget wishing to learn about how to use lights.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Matt. K on Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:52 pm

I'm gonna stick my neck out here...First, learn to use 1 light and a white reflector. A large window and a large reflector can produce the most beautiful, soft portrait light. Just look at the portraits taken in the 1890s etc. If you want to go a little more high tech then a studio flash and a large softbox....and a large reflector. Reflector could be as simple as white foamboard. Learn to master that 1 light and use the reflector to control shadow density....then you will begin to gain an understanding of how you might introduce a second and third light. Remember this....the light that comes out of a $25 flashgun is exactly the same stuff that comes out of a $3000 studio flash head. It's how use the stuff that counts. I have know professional photographer to use 6 lights in order to produce the most boring pictures of products and people I have ever seen. It takes many years of study and experimentation to become skilled with the use of studio flash equipment and most photographers buy far too much gear, looks impressive, and never learn the control required to produce excellent lighting. It should also be considered that most studio lighting is set up to produce a 'natural' look...IE, a look that imitates natural lighting. I keep thinking about that point and hence still have most of my money in my pocket. A couple of SB800s and some umbrellas can produce nice lighting if used with some skill...despite the crappy menu....you just have to work with it. Light has 4 main characteristics that need to be understood and they are
1. Intensity (how much light is there)
2. Quality (soft, diffused or harsh and contrasty)
3. Colour (changes at different times of the day or can be changed by light source or filters or bouncing off coloured surfaces etc.
4. Direction. (Where is it coming from)

Once you understand these characteristics then that light can be
1. Bounced or scattered.
2. Reflected
3. Diffused or:
4 Blocked

So there are some variables to play with. Have fun with light....it's slippery stuff. :D :D
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:11 pm

gstark wrote:No. There are many kits that come with reasonable quality stands and modifiers included in the kit cost.


Agreed but I quite carefully said "buy with the STROBES".
Kit cost = cost of Strobes + cost of stands + cost of modifiers + cost of packaging +...
The cost (=price) of strobes will almost always be less than the cost of the kit. I say "almost" as there will be the occasional loss leader. The cost of the kit will usually be less than the sum of the cost of the components in the kit, but that is only relevant if you want ALL the items in the kit. If you don't want it all, or want to upgrade (or downgrade!) some of the components, then you need to check out the costings quite carefully.

gstark wrote:But you would still need access to it for each shooting session, in order to turn it on or off, or refresh its batteries.

Yes but once at the end of the day is quite different to after every shot to tweak the power settings
gstark wrote: I can still taste the poor design of the 800.

I on the other hand love my SB800s. I just don't use them as masters. The menu system quite sucks doesn't it. But as a slave or standalone unit I think they are better than the 900.

gstark wrote:Studio lighting systems are much simpler in actual operation.

So is the CLS system. As with any tool, you need to learn to use it. What it can and can't do. And how to do it.

gstark wrote:What are the ultimate gains, if any, through using the proprietary solution?

For me, portability. Also whether I am in my "studio" or half way up a mountain, the system works the same way. I don't need to learn two systems. As I said in my original post, Given how Karen said she would use it, I think that studio strobes (or better natural lighting) would be the better and cheaper option for her.

Matt. K wrote:the light that comes out of a $25 flashgun is exactly the same stuff that comes out of a $3000 studio flash head

No Matt. The quality, intensity and colour of the light will all be different. These are three of the four variables you cited.
Apart from that, excellent points. Though I think Karen has been using one light and a reflector for some time.
And thank you for bringing us back on topic.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby bigsarg7 on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:15 pm

wow, that was a lot of reading to take in!! thanks for such detailed replies!!

I have been working with flash wirelessly with my nikon through a soft box and or bouncing it off my reflector to create a softer more natural light. I think I would like a more permanant set up, so I am leaning towards a kit set up with 3 lights. I already have a light stand and mount for my sb800 flash, and a decent soft box. I've also got a black and white backdrop with stand set up.

I am looking at this :

http://www.photoequipmentstore.com.au/S ... sh-Package

seems to be a quite decent price for what you get. It also sounds like it will suit what I am needing it for. The wireless trigger also is included so thats a bonus. Never read much about this company either. Will need to do some more research I think.

I am quite happy with my current flash for portable shoots etc, but would like something more permanant at home/studio etc.

Anyways, i enjoyed reading all your earlier replies and found them to be very informative and interesting to read. If you have further things to add, i'd enjoy reading them too!! :-)

O ps Greg its Kristen :rotfl2: But its ok i respond to anything that starts with a K - even my parents get it wrong still after 29 years!! :lol:
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby surenj on Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:09 pm

Hi Kristen, $649 seems to be a bit dear for this set although I am not sure what's happened in this segment since I bought the 'golden eagle' which is an identical set in 2009.

There is a few disadvantages of these lights that you need to be aware of:
1.The modelling lamp runs very hot (halogen) and may be difficult to find and replace due to funny voltage and wattage that's not available in Australia. I've had one light smoke after running about 6 hours. [I had left it on by mistake!]
2. The flash tube is recessed making a bare bulb situation more tricky
3. The attachment of modifiers is not standardised (AFAIK) so it's tricky to add - You are safer to keep to known mount systems etc ebay often has clones that will match those known systems.
4. There may be a color cast - I get a slight magenta cast which doesn't seem to be different from each light but this could be significant for you

That said, the three lights I bought have been very good over the years for occasional light usage.

Have you looked at the Alien Bees? https://paulcbuff.com.au/cms/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=33&Itemid=1

I think you could use two of the B400 + your SB800 on SU4 mode to make 3 lights. Plus add your reflector and you'll have 4. You can get cheapo lightstands from ebay + add some softboxes also from ebay with compatible speedrings. This will end up costing more but may well be more of a pro setup.

Just another suggestion.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby surenj on Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:29 pm

Another suggestion is to try and include and factor in

1. boom arm
2. beauty dish
3. possibly a parabolic umbrella

These are nice things to have in a studio to create nice effects.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:07 pm

Oops Sorry Kristen :oops: :oops: :oops:

I don't have studio strobes so I can't really comment on your choice, but Suren's comments seem to back up my "you get what you pay for" comment earlier.

One other thing I did notice in your set though is that they are adjustable from 1/1 (ie full power) down to 1/8 This doesn't seem to be much of a range to me. The SB800 goes down to 1/64 and the SB900 down to 1/128. I often have the highlight strobes down in the lower power settings. If you have the room in your "studio" you can always move a light further away to get lower light levels at the model - though that makes the light source smaller, or drop a neutral density filter in front of it to reduce the effective output. Beware of melting it on the modelling lamp though

Mind you, as I have said, I don't know what is normal for studio strobes. They may all have similar power ranges.

surenj wrote:3. The attachment of modifiers is not standardised (AFAIK) so it's tricky to add

This would be a deal breaker for me. Sadly there is no standard for fitting modifiers, but there are a number of common ones - Elinchrome and Bowens spring to mind. If the system is not one of the common ones you could be in trouble when you decide to expand, or even replace a damaged modifier.
surenj wrote:1.The modelling lamp runs very hot (halogen) and may be difficult to find and replace due to funny voltage and wattage that's not available in Australia.

Another potentially serious issue
1. they could melt a modifier if things come loose ( see above)
2. you may lose a modelling lamp permanently if a bulb blows & you can't replace it.
surenj wrote:2. The flash tube is recessed making a bare bulb situation more tricky

I am not sure this will be an issue for you. For portraits you will mostly want soft lighting. Not hard lighting from a bare bulb.
surenj wrote:4. There may be a color cast -

I don't see this as an issue, assuming you shoot in RAW. Just correct the WB. In Lightroom you just set up a custom development preset and apply it during import.Shoot a grey card or better yet, a colorchecker passport to set the preset. I assume other programs work similarly.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:19 pm

One last thought.
I see lights as buy once things like lenses. As such I would be inclined to stretch a little for quality.
You already know you want to go down the path of a studio, so it is not a try once proposition.

Modifiers on the other hand are suck 'em & see. TO get your particular look you will probably try lots of different ideas here. Some hand made. Some buy & try. some will end up on your junk pile. Some you will use forever, but you won't know which until you try them.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby surenj on Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:58 pm

Mr Darcy wrote:surenj wrote:
4. There may be a color cast -

I don't see this as an issue, assuming you shoot in RAW. Just correct the WB. In Lightroom you just set up a custom development preset and apply it during import.Shoot a grey card or better yet, a colorchecker passport to set the preset. I assume other programs work similarly.


Greg, would be this still cope if there was three different color casts from each light?? :wink:
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:38 pm

surenj wrote:Greg, would be this still cope if there was three different color casts from each light??

Since I can't figure out how one light can have three different colour casts, I assume that each light has a different colour temp to the other two. AAAARGH (Charlie has just seen Lucy coming. With a baseball bat. And a mean glint in her eye.)
However, you get your model to hold the color checker/grey card. It will then read the overall effect of the lighting at that point and will be able to correct for it (Leastways the software will) However, you will still get different casts where the balance between the three lights is different to the spot that you have calibrated for.

Personally, I would either filter the lights so that they all produce the same colour cast then correct for that cast. or, if you can afford it, replace the strobes. Better yet. Don't buy those ones in the first place. Again as I said earlier, buy the best strobes you can afford. That way you won't be haunted by these issues.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby bigsarg7 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:57 pm

good points, i hadn't considered the availability of the modifiers etc. I am planning on heading to the PMA conference in Melbourne in May, would it be worth while holding off until then? If i am going to buy a set of strobes then I want something thats going to suit and last, but in all honesty its still over my head in that i've never shot with more then my flash and reflector to bounce of etc. So all these comments are great and very imformative. Are any of you coming to vic for the PMA?
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Matt. K on Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:11 pm

One very important point to bear in mind when considering the purchase of studio lights....you need a very large room if you are to have any hope of controlling the ratios, shadow densities and quality of those lights. I have seen photographers set up in very small rooms and wonder why they couldn't get the lighting effects they were after....and, simply, in a small room the light bounces off the walls and the ceiling and anything else in the room and cannot be controlled. Even a single SB800 can't be controlled properly in a small room for that reason.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Matt. K on Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:18 pm

Greg...I said,
the light that comes out of a $25 flashgun is exactly the same stuff that comes out of a $3000 studio flash head.


and you said
No Matt. The quality, intensity and colour of the light will all be different.


In fact, the only difference between the 2 will be the amount of light available. The studio flash will be be able to produce a greater quantity of light than the cheap flash. The other variables can all be modified by the user...IE: quality by the type of diffuser or reflector used. Colour, by the use of filters. Light is light. :D :D :D
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby surenj on Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:55 pm

:agree: , you need to paint your small room black as well.... If your lounge is very large, then you could get away with white.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby bigsarg7 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:50 pm

Unfortunately the house is rented, so I can't paint the walls, but the wall colour is white with the smallest green tint through it (hint of blue and yellow) you can barely notice it, even in photos I've done in there it looks white.

The room size is actually quite decent its about 6 x 8ish. So fingers crossed I wont have to many issues with lighting in there.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:40 pm

Matt. K wrote:Greg...I said,
the light that comes out of a $25 flashgun is exactly the same stuff that comes out of a $3000 studio flash head.


and you said
No Matt. The quality, intensity and colour of the light will all be different.


In fact, the only difference between the 2 will be the amount of light available. The studio flash will be be able to produce a greater quantity of light than the cheap flash. The other variables can all be modified by the user...IE: quality by the type of diffuser or reflector used. Colour, by the use of filters. Light is light. :D :D :D


Ah, but you are talking about the whole system, including modifiers. I am talking about the strobes themselves. I refer you to Suren's experience of three strobes, all the same brand and model, all bought at the same time, each with a different colour cast. He refers to it further up the thread.

Light is light.

Nope. The spectral spread varies from one source to another. Compare an old Yellow Sodium light to sunlight Very different You have emission spectrum light (Sodium Vapour), Absorption spectrum light (Sunlight), Black body (Incandescent) radiation etc etc. There's a good reason the old fluoros were so hard to balance.
Last edited by Mr Darcy on Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:45 pm

bigsarg7 wrote:Unfortunately the house is rented, so I can't paint the walls,

Don't be too sure. It doesn't hurt to ask. A lot of landlords are happy for the tenant to paint the walls. It saves them the cost of doing so at a later date. Some will even pay for the paint. Just don't tell him you are planning on black. :cough:
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby surenj on Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:35 am

 LOL@ getting land lord to pay for the paint. :mrgreen:

Greg, I was alluding to the possibility of color casts from the ebay lights. I haven't checked my lights to make sure but I am sure I'd be disappointed if I did. There is certainly a Magenta cast overall. This would be quite important in color critical work such as products and possibly fashion. Keep in mind though that you may gel some of the lights for separation so it might not matter that much. It's nicer to be knowledgeable of these issues at the beginning rather than consider them later; that's all.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mj on Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:49 pm

Kristen,

You've already got a bunch of good (and probably some confusing advice)... but I'll throw a little extra in (what the heck). I do quite a bit of studio work both with my own lights and often with lights supplied in whatever studio I might be using.

Firstly I'd have to agree re strobes over flashes... they are simply easier to work with and assuming you have mains power handy they can save a bunch of hassle with batteries! I do have a set of 6 flashes with triggers etc for the occasional outdoor or super portable situation (in which case I use bungee cords and other such portable options to postion the flashes but prefer mains powered strobes.

I would suggest you plan on getting at least 3 lights (if you go for a pack) but you could always start with one and work up over time as long as you don't go for one of those cheapy packages. Best to look for strobes with standard speedring fittings... mine use the widely adopted S-bayonet type but there are other and better types (at a cost).

The power is less of an issue unless you start using them outside or on really large subjects. In terms of number of lights it's typical to use one to light a background (especially white), one for the front and one as a hair or sidelight.
Of course as pointed out less can be better but sometimes you really do need more (just a matter of learning when).

Modifiers... if you're not needing to shape your lighting much you can get away with some reflector brollies that tend to spray a soft light in a wide area... plenty of other modifiers to get interested in but you can save a little money also by making some yourself.

Final point I'll make... I bought triggers that are mains powered and do not regret it... I always bring them with me to any studio I go to as I have had plenty of battery triggers foul up at the most inconvenient times... my mains powered ones have never let me down.

Take your time and get a good handle on what you want... best to buy once and well...and certainly don't buy every modifier known to man they can bea pain to store !!!

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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby lightning on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:30 pm

I don't have any experience with lights but a quote in the april practical photography magazine (referring to a portrait on page 67) caught my eye.

"This image represents the exact moment I fell irrevocably in love with daylight-balanced lighting"

http://www.ellylucas.co.uk/ look on the published/covers page the last page on the top right, its the bottom right portrait, unfortunately you can not blow it up!

I guess it depends also on what sort of look you want as to what sort of lights you require.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby bigsarg7 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:01 pm

Well after a lot of thought and discussion and reading many times over this post, I decided to go for the Elnchrom D lite 4 kit, which included 2 strobes and trigger. Stands, softboxes etc. Picked it up on Saturday from Michaels in the city. I had found a price online for $800 which was cheap as everywhere else the kit was at least 950 +, showed them the web page and they were great lowered the price $160 i think. Had it set up last night, and took approximately 6 shots with it and every single one I was happy with, the only issues I had were the dirty bum i discovered as I took my sons nappy off for some shots. I've attached one to share. As i use it more I will undoubtedly get better, plan to use one light for main lighting, the other used as a back light or used to light the white back drop when using it, and using my good old reflector to bounce some more light back onto the shadows of the subject.

Anyways thanks everyone for all your advice and comments, they helped me select my kit and I have found the kit to be easy to use, setup and great light coming out of them.

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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby Mr Darcy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:19 pm

Magic. Well done.

However, it's not a dirty bum. Though he may grow into one :wink:
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby aim54x on Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:38 pm

Wow...finally gotten through to the end of it.

Firstly, congrats on your purchase, the D-Lite is a nice entry level kit from a reputable brand, you will get very nice, similar and consistent light from the two heads, and replacement parts should not be an issue. They are definitely a popular choice for the beginner. They should also last you many years to come. However I am uncertain about the range of light modifiers available as my understanding is that they have a different fitting from the other Elinchrom strobes.

I am with Greg, I use a CLS based system (SB-900/800/600) and often use my pop up flash as the commander. I use Phottix P200 stands, Wescott Bi-Fold umbrellas, Lambency domes, Honl gels/snoots. Best of all, this all fits in a small bag for portability. I also have a set of Phottix Strato triggers for conditions where the CLS system falls down. I am glad to hear that you experimented with this system before investing, it works for some of us, but not for others, and best of all it is included in the cost of your speedlights. BTW great shot of your son.
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Re: what would your suggestion be? re lighting

Postby surenj on Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:27 am

Nice picture! Congrats on your purchase as well.
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