View Full Version : Studio Setup Help
10-20-2010, 03:12 PM
OK..... yes, I've read the books, posts, talked to dealers, all that stuff, and my poor little brain just gets more confused.
I would like to set up a small "portrait" studio in my basement and obviously lighting is a big part of it.... and I only seem to get more confused with each new bit of info I stumble across.
The pros (books, DVD's, etc.) all speak from pro-tographer to pro-tographer with the assumption that the reader knows what the writer is talking about (some things I do, others I don't), and there is often no reference to what a specific acronym or term really means (thank those above for google). They also "generally" talk about their "personal" equipment which is high-end, and more items than a starter needs. Those at retail camera stores want to sell you the biggest and best they have to offer, and once they find out you are a "hobbyist" or "beginner" they seem to loose interest in you and your questions and get very vague in answers and stop paying attention to your questions.
I want a simple (inexpensive) setup without giving up the quality/stability of the lights and every resources tells me something different, without telling me the nitty gritty details and how the differences will affect the photos and the process of taking them. So I'm hoping those of you who have pushed through this can help so I can get what I need to begin.
My technical stuff is as follows (currently).
- Nikon D5000 camera and variety of lenses
- Room is approximately 12 feet wide by 32 feet long, but I won't be using all 32 feet in distance - but it gives you the size of the room - pictures will be in about a 10-12 foot distance or so.
- tripod of course.
- backgrounds/backdrops to come but those are easy to decide on.
I "think" I would like the following:
- 3 strobe setup (2 for front/side, and one for rear just in case"
- un-tethered, so a radio control for at least one (others can be slaves)- I move around with my camera.
- Of course the soft boxes/umbrellas, and perhaps a positionable reflector/diffuser of sorts (so, one with a clamp and stand)
- would be nice if the lights were useable outdoors where no plug-in is available (battery option)
- relatively inexpensive, but good quality.
- they need to have an accessory for attaching a gel - probably an add-on, but needs to at least have the "spot" for it.
I do not yet intend to do "product" photography, but would like the lights to be versatile enough that I could get creative with objects when I want to.
My confusion comes in the technical specs of the lights.
- What type of wattage should I be looking for (considering space size, intent, etc.)?
- What type of recycle speed is acceptable (some motion photos may be required - blowing hair, moving hands throwing balls, etc. so fast shutter speed will be used)?
- What sync-speed on the lights do I need for fast shutter speed (say 1/1000 of a second to be safe)
- How much "turn down" should I be looking at (percentage drop of brightness of light)? 1/10, 1/2, etc.
- what is the difference between wattage rating and the w/s rating as each light lists both specs?
- other than the obvious construction and shape, what is the difference between an umbrella (shoot through or reflector) vs a softbox - and which is better and why?
- would it be better to go with powered studio strobes, and an additional (different) set of speedlights for outdoors, or just go with speedlights and use them inside and outside (this would entail buying everything separately (lights, stands, reflectors, diffusers, etc.)
- reason I ask the last one is because there are studio lighting "kits" (2-light, 3-light), each with their different items (some radio controlled, some tethered), but all kits are in-house setups (needs power outlets) so they are not useable outdoors.
- Would a 2-light kit, with an additional speedlight (for rear lighting) work for me and just take the one speedlight (and reflectors, etc.) for outdoor shots when needed?
- What else should I be considering that I've overlooked?
One further thing that seems to get "pushed" to the other side is the connecting the camera to a computer to make it like a "live view". Camera people seem not to carry the needed cables (or know which cable is needed), and computer stores give me a blank look when I ask. The camera manual tells me where to plug it in, but doesn't really tell me if it will do what I want it to (live view) or if it is simply just another "download port" (or I simply don't speak manual-talk). I tend not to rely on my camera LCD very much as it tends to misrepresent what ends up on the computer (Thank those above again for camera raw). Does anyone else do this, and what obstacles did you face in setting this portion up?
Thanks all.... I really want to get started (at least in the purchase area) relatively soon as the weather is turning cold in my area and I don't do cold weather.
I have never set up a studio, nor am I an expert on lighting, so I have only read your post briefly, but I have read nearly every post on this site for the past 2 years.
As you would know, there are many great photographers on this site who could probably help you, but time is "of the essence" to most people these days, and this is extreeeeemely LONG with many questions.
In my opinion, I think it would be great if you could try to "narrow down" your questions a little by simply doing a little research yourself first.
Firstly, you could search the Proud site for the many very informative posts on Lighting. One of our members has posted some very informative information on this subject and on many other interesting issues which I think would be of much interest to you. They are certainly worth reading.
Also, if you google a few of the more technical issues, you will probably answer some of these questions for yourself.
If you have a problem searching for some of this info, please feel free to ask.
Please let us know how you go.
10-20-2010, 03:58 PM
Thanks Kaye, and yes I have been through a great number of posts about lighting on the site - and for the most part, specific gear is talked about, mentioned, recommended, but the technical specs are overlooked (or I am missing it). Sometimes there is a spec mention about what was used for a specific shot, but not much (a bit though), mentioned in terms of the "bare necessities" of the specs.
I am still finding more posts that I've missed before, or am understanding things that I didn't understand when I first read them, But my little (old) brain needs alot of it dummied down to a beginner level - ie., minimum wattage needed = ?, minimum sync speed needed =, yadda yadda.
I'm sure if I was a lighting engineer this would all be second nature to me, but alas, I am not.
I plug on......
That was quick Daryl.
Not knowing you that well, I am not sure what level you are at.... BUT, my only other suggestion is:
Don't try to start at the top... we all have to build our way up from the bottom, and normally it is fun on the way as I am finding. BUT I have a long way to go, but will enjoy every minute.
There are many setups we can do with lighting, etc, that are quick and easy... I have no set up at all, and use my own inventive ideas as I go. Even the LED torch can give some amazing results, so please feel free to check out some of my shots with my primitive methods.
10-20-2010, 04:39 PM
daryl, Im also No expert on this stuff and also have been researching im in the middle of actually building my studio! What im actually starting with is the basic Lights flashes and backdrops!! I found lots of usfull advice on the forumn and actually by googling aswell nut am still learning My back drop stands and backdrops and two lights will be in hopefully today or tomorrow!! :) and now im looking in to flas systems etc.. When it comes to lights im dumb struk
10-20-2010, 04:48 PM
Hehehe... of course I want to start at the top (don't we all?). But seriously - I will always consider myself a beginner for each extra step I take.... the next step is studio (indoor) lighting. Photography-wise, I consider myself an intermediate (or so I think). I sometimes amaze myself with how my pictures turn out now that I've learned what all (well most of) my buttons and menu items do on my camera. And the course has been a great learning experience thus far. I am quite lazy in posting my pictures here, so most end up on my flickr site as the upload process seems to be much simpler. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/53839005@N04/ if you are interested).
So lighting is my current endeavour, and the interactions of the various specs of the lighting is my current nemesis. And finding a "techie" willing to talk down to my level is kinda hard as each answer ends up with 10 more questions popping up. (sigh).
10-20-2010, 04:55 PM
Daryl Have you tried to find some Photographyers in your area your from Calgary right ? Try Miko Photography I know the photgrapher well actually her sister and im sure she could help alot She runs a home studio in calgary and might be able to help u out
10-20-2010, 05:04 PM
Yes, I've "thought" about contacting other local photographers (with studio experience).... but have not done so yet as I don't want to appear as if I want to invade on their territory (and their incomes)... but I will consider this further (thanks for the info and yes I am in Calgary)
10-20-2010, 06:39 PM
I "think" I would like the following...
I think you are trying to run before learning to walk. :)
- master the basics of photography first, without this, you are driving blind.
- start off with ONE flash, learn to get comfortable with it on camera, learn to bounce it.
- then move to off camera flash, still a single flash and learn to use it properly.
- then later add ONE more flash and learn how to work with a dual flash setup.
- More flashes can be added, but honestly, not really needed unless you are doing large areas or complex lighting arrangements... but honestly, you do not need those right off the bat. One of the photographers I really respect does AMAZING photos and is known as Mr. OneLight himself, Zack Arias and does a vast majority of his work using ONE light source.
No use in spending thousands of dollars on things that are not going to help you get the most out of yourself within a reasonable time.
Visit www.strobist.com and *do* the lighting 101 and 102 workshops from START to END... at least 2 times, more is better.
All you need to do them is a camera, one off camera flash (either controlled via CLS, some cheap Hong Kong triggers or slave them from your on camera flash), a lightstand and an umbrella with a swivel bracket.
By then, you will have a much clearer understanding of lighting, better than any book, better than any reading. You are then in a better place to know what you want and need, and your lighting skills will have grown immensely.
With that knowledge, you then clearly know the direction you want to take your hobby.
I hope this helps.
10-20-2010, 08:17 PM
Thanks Jerry, I was anxiously awaiting for you to chime in on my thread. I have been glued to your various posts about lighting for the past few days, and they have been very helpful, so thanks. And not to worry - I've been at strobist more times than I've kept count of, and always glean a bit more than I got from the time before.
I understand the add one at a time thing, but it ends up being more expensive in the long run. Just because I was thinking of 3 light system, doesn't mean I would be using 3 lights for every "project" - but my current need dictates 3 light sources which is why my focus has been there (for the most part). I don't want to run into having to get another light because the one I have isn't good enough or powerful enough - thus the specs.
Again, my questions aren't about "how do I light things", but rather what do the equipment specs really mean in terms of photography results as it would pertain to my "space and intent", and the various options that are available pros/cons type of thing.
Sort of a "here's a shot with a 500 W flash, and here's the same shot with a 150W flash" regardless of the name attached to them and how many reflectors/diffusers and gels, and the physical "layout" of the shooting space. Like I said earlier - a very dummied down version of highly technical details.
The shoot that I will be working on will require 3 light sources - one could possibly be a reflector, so perhaps 2 physical lights will work. Picture this - black background/backdrop, each side of the model is lit up along the edges as well as a bit in the front, with a kicker light behind them to punch them away from the background. For the most part, consider it an artistic b/w shot where a small amount of the face/front is discernible, but you can tell it's a person - but almost in silhouette for lack of a better term.
That is why I came up with the types of kits I'm looking into, but alas the differences in specs don't tell me how that actually affects the photograph and limit the versatility of future uses (ie., 150 W may be fine for the above description, but would be useless in a situation needing more oomph from the lights).... so then I would need to buy an additional (more powerful) light that I could/should have purchased to begin with.
Oddly, I will be meeting with a photo lighting guy later today to discuss these exact things in more depth, so hopefully I'll be able to sort through the specs of things.
And a continuous thanks to all who chime in... every little bit helps me.
10-20-2010, 10:05 PM
Let me see if I can make it simpler in terms of equipment. But understand, what you are asking for is definite answers to general situations... there are no definite answers, only opinions. Kinda like saying... I am going to drive soon, I will maybe carry passengers and drive 60mph. Can you list all the cars for me for when I drive 45mph, 50mph and 65mph? See what I mean?
Shooting MY Style:
Indoors, 100% of the time I can get away with a speedlight, all the time. With 1-2 speedlights I can light anything from 1 to 10 or more people. There is nothing that good speedlights cannot light indoors (within reason, of course... I have lit a group of 16 people with 1 speedlight and a group of 45 people with 2 speedlights, but I had the lens, camera *and* good speedlights!).
The only time I can see a good speedlight not being powerful enough is under direct sunlight conditions, and even then, there are ways to get the shot if you understand lighting and restrictions.
Understand, I am not a studio shooter, I don't set the lens to F/22 and the Prophoto Compact 1200 head to full and shoot into a $10,000 Prophoto 12 foot parabolic and shoot all day like this (though I *have* done exactly this before!), I prefer to be subtle and play with nuance rather than bring in the power of the sun to my client. I am a shallow DOF junkie, I prefer F/2 or less to F/22 *any* day of the week, but do use smaller apertures when needed, but you have to really twist my arm.
How much power do you need? The answer is easy... exactly the amount that you need to get the shot. So the first question then becomes... where are you shooting?
Well, from what we see here, you are shooting in a basement.
The second question becomes WHAT and HOW are you shooting?
Give me the most complex setup, and I can tell you what you need to light it. You mention your scenario, and I can think of 5 ways to get you that effect with 2 lights and even more complex, but we are not here to go through each way... the flickr strobist club has rules that everyone that posts into their pool has to have a lighting setup explanation, you can read those and see how that is done... suffice to say there are dozens of ways to get the same effect.
Bottom line... in a basement, where you are shooting studio light, ambient is NOT an issue, you do not need strobes any stronger than 300 W/s, I just could not see it... and those lights would never even be pointed at the subject, these are lights that would be blasted on a white background just to make it pure white. Your working apertures would be around F/8 which is WAY more than enough DOF to accomplish your needs.
You then could use 3 speedlights to do the rest. Simple. BTW, if you are going to mix and match speedlights and studio heads, do NOT use any lights from Alien Bee. They suffer from white balance issues and instead of having a pure white background, would likely have a PINK or GREEN background, depending on the power you set them to.
So suddenly you are not looking at 3, but 5 lights! In terms of your space and intent, nothing more is needed besides 2 X 300 W/s lights and 3 good speedlights.
Anyways, some fast examples:
A single 1,000 W/s light under the harshest direct sun conditions lighting up a large group. Ambient was F/16 at ISO 100 and 1/250th. Subject to flash distance a good 30 feet at the furthest point::
Two bare SB-900 speedlights on full power under the harshest direct sun conditions lighting up a small group. Ambient was again F/16 at ISO 100 and 1/250th. Subject to flash distance a good 8 feet at the furthest point:
Do you see what I mean about speedlights being quite capable? Not only that, but they are portable. Sure, I can take my big studio head and connect it to a battery pack (I own one), but trust me, I've carried this setup for a block and my right arm was 6 inches longer than the other one... portability is not it's strong suit. It just offers remote shooting abilities in places where there is no power connector handy.
Flashes like the SB-900, SB-800 average about 110-120 W/s with the SB-80dx just a little less and the SB-600 another stop under that... this as readings have shown me on my calibrated Sekonic light meter in side by side tests.
Last comment... you ask for "dumbed down" answers... why? Why do you not understand the basic terminology and how it affects you? You cannot make an educated decision if you do not understand what they are talking about. For these things, google searches have the answers seconds away for you. :)
When talking to your photography friend, don't be afraid to ask for the definitions of certain words if he starts talking techie and you get lost... don't be too embarrassed to ask! ;)
10-20-2010, 10:41 PM
As usual, you are a god. You were able to tell me more in your scenarios, nuances and references than you probably knew... and none of those answers came from the "salespeople" or teckies. The fact you do your lighting with speedlites also gives me an option to more seriously consider (which up till now was on the lower end of my ideas) So thanks again.
I've also learned to be very "cautious" in paying too much attention to the Wattage listed on the box (so to speak). Apparently, each manufacturer rates their equipment differently - what is 300 to one is 500 to the other, and the "true" wattage may also differ - they say they are 500, but actually are closer to 400, while the next company's product gives you a true (or closer to) 500 w. Just more hair pulling to factor into the equation. I didn't realize so much "non-photography" searching and research was involved in taking a picture when you venture into the "being creative" mode.
Anyway, you've told me much of what I have needed to know. I have not heard of the flickr strobist club, so I will be visiting that very soon... thanks for that bit of info. (I'm relatively new to flickr as well).
Keep em coming, no such thing as too much help.
10-21-2010, 12:42 AM
10-21-2010, 12:45 AM
As usual, you are a god.
Well I definitely would not go so far as to say that... lol
You were able to tell me more in your scenarios, nuances and references than you probably knew... and none of those answers came from the "salespeople" or teckies.
Glad to have been able to help. BTW...
Some of the very best photographers only ever use 1 light, and people often say that, because of that, people should only buy 1 light - but I don't agree. People like William Coupon, who have developed a unique style don't need more than 1 light, but most of us do. And it's much cheaper to buy a 2 or 3 head lighting kit than to buy the individual pieces. So, my advice is to buy a kit but to learn to use just one light at a time.
Basically you have a choice of mains powered or battery powered kits. Mains powered are best by far whenever you have mains power, and are much cheaper than battery powered kits. You can get battery power for mains powered kits, basically they are just a heavy car battery with a transformer - they work but they don't provide many flashes per charge.
Lighting gels are simply stuck to the front of the reflector etc with masking tape or clothes pegs (painters tape or clothes pins in the US), you don't need special holders and pros don't spend money on special holders that slow them down and force them to cut the gel, when there's no need to do so.
Recycling speed is the length of time it takes before the flash is ready to fire again after firing it, and something like 1 second is long enough to wait. What you are really asking about is flash duration, which varies from flash head to flash head, but something like 1/1000th - 1/2000th sec is pretty normal, and is enough to freeze most subject movement. Shutter speed is something entirely different - the only purpose of the shutter is to be open when the shutter fires, and with nearly all cameras the maximum shutter speed that can be used with studio flash is something like 1/200th sec. Anything shorter than that will create a black area on the picture because the shutter wasn't fully open. The maximum shutter speed that can be used is determined by the design of the camera shutter and has nothing to do with the flash, but it's pretty irrelevant anyway, just set the shutter speed to say 1/125th and you'll be fine, unless you also have sunlight streaming into the room.
The more power adjustment the flash heads have the better, within reason, and 1/16th of full power is now considered to be the minimum, with 1/32nd pretty normal. Some flash heads will adjust more than this but very low settings almost always lead to serious colour temperature and flash energy inconsistencies and so are more of a marketing feature than a usable one.
The power of studio flash should always be expressed in joules, but it's OK to express it in watt seconds instead (actually the same thing). It is never expressed in watts (except by people who know nothing about it). A watt is a measurement of energy discharged in 1 second. A watt second is a measurement of energy discharged during the very brief flash, therefore as a rough conversion, a 300 ws flash will create the same amount of light in about 1/1000th second as a 300 watt continuous light will create in 1 second. Actually, flash is about 3 times more efficient than that, because about 2/3rds of the energy used by a continuous light is output as heat, not light.
Something like 200 - 300 ws is fine for home use. And if you ever need a bit more you can just turn the ISO up a bit...
There's plenty of basic info on lighting in the Lencarta Learning Centre (http://www.lencarta.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&catid=34)
and this article (http://www.lencarta.com/index.php?option=com_content&catid=34&id=93&lang=en&view=article&Itemid=1) will tell you everything you need to know about what the various lighting modifiers actually do.
If you want to really get to grips with portraits and lighting, take a look at the new Proud Photography course.
11-26-2010, 02:35 AM
Some of the very best potographers only ever use 1 light, and people often say that, because of that, people should only buy 1 light
I disagree with you. I say people should start off with 1 light so that they LEARN the basics and learn how to light PROPERLY.
You never ever see someone getting into a formula car day 1 and win races. Many of the best drivers started out in go-carts, people move up from less challenging to more challenging, it is the natural order of things and is the best way to develop a strong base. Same concept here.
People like William Coupon, who have developed a unique style don't need more than 1 light, but most of us do.
Why would you need more light than me or anyone else to light the same subject? Does having less light make me a better photographer? Of course not! :) Numbers do not equate to quality. Quality equates to quality. Needs dictate numbers. I need to light 250 people... don't use the single battery powered speedlight... lol
And it's much cheaper to buy a 2 or 3 head lighting kit than to buy the individual pieces.
Only if you are dealing with budget equipment. Once you get past level 1 quality, the cost of 1 light is the same as the cost of 20 lights at the individual level. Profoto or Broncolor or Nikon do not give you discounts on qualitities or 3... ever wonder why? :)
You can get battery power for mains powered kits, basically they are just a heavy car battery with a transformer - they work but they don't provide many flashes per charge.
Thats a little bit of misinformation there. You do not use a transformer, you should be using a SINE WAY INVERTER.
As far as not getting many pops per charge, I have a 1,000 W/s Photogenic 2500DR, and at full power, using the industry's cheapest good portable source of power (the Alien Bee Vagabind II), at full power, I get over 450 pops. At 1/2 power I get over 850 pops and at 1/4 power (the same power level that the average high end speedlight is pushing full power to keep up at), I am getting over 2000 pops per charge. For more, I carry a standard car battery with me, and that gets me 3500 full power pops at 1,000 W/s before it needs a recharge.
you don't need special holders and pros don't spend money on special holders that slow them down and force them to cut the gel, when there's no need to do so.
I have my equipment setup to either pop in a gel into a holder and my gels are all round and the shape of my reflector. By the time you clip one side in, I have the gel installed and holding. My speedlight flashes are cut to size held in place by velcro. Faster and easier to change. ;)
Recycling speed is the length of time it takes before the flash is ready to fire again after firing...
Again close but not quite. Recycle time is the time it takes between the last flash output and the time the internal capacitor to full regain a full charge. The higher the flash power, the more the capacitor is depleted and longer it takes to refill. A 1/1 or full power means using all the power stored in your "cap" and releasing it for one flash. Weaker power or more depleted sources (batteries) will mean longer recycle times for battery powered units.
What you are really asking about is flash duration, which varies from flash head to flash head, but something like 1/1000th - 1/2000th sec is pretty normal, and is enough to freeze most subject movement.
OMG, NO WAY!
Recycle time has NOTHING to do with flash duration! A nearly dead set of batteries on a flash set to 1/4 power and a fresh set of batteries and still at 1/4 power, will make absolutely ZERO difference in flash duration, it *will* however, make a huge difference in recycle times.
Flash duration is defined as the time from the moment the flash "turns on" to the time it "fades to off". A common standard of measuring this is called the t.5 method (which is a standard method to measure this time value to this relatively slow decay).
Yes, flash does freeze motion because most of the time (but NOT all of the time) it is faster than your shutter speeds. These flash speeds are usually in the thousands of a second, but can easily fall into hundredths of a second as well, which is relatively slower and in some cases desirable.
In general, with battery powered speedlights did you know that lower powered settings are significantly faster in duration than the higher or full power durations?
Shutter speed is something entirely different - the only purpose of the shutter is to be open when the shutter fires, and with nearly all cameras the maximum shutter speed that can be used with studio flash is something like 1/200th sec.
This is called your X-Sync or maximum sync speed. Most Nikon cameras are at 1/250th. Some cameras like a D70 have a native sync speed of 1/500th, but because they have no mechanical curtain controlling the process, can literally sync at ANY speed, up to and including 1/8000th of a second... no problem!
Then we have something called FP focal plane flash where the camera takes steps to send multiple flashes out covering the entire shutter curtain at sync speeds above your stated maximum sync speeds. This means that the flash will properly light the entire frame at no matter what your shutter speed is, even 1/8000th. Some call this technique High Speed Sync.
Anything shorter than that will create a black area on the picture because the shutter wasn't fully open. The maximum shutter speed that can be used is determined by the design of the camera shutter and has nothing to do with the flash,
Incorrect. HSS proves this. For example, you can exceed your maximum sync speed on a Canon camera using a Canon flash. It will not do this with, lets say, a Vivitar or Nikon flash on top of your Canon or a studio had in some cases. Flash has a lot to do with it. My photogenic studio head syncs at ANY speed my Nikon camera has, 1 second t 1/8000th of a second.
but it's pretty irrelevant anyway, just set the shutter speed to say 1/125th and you'll be fine, unless you also have sunlight streaming into the room.
Shutter speed controls ambient... but so does aperture. Normally if you are using 1 or more artificial light sources, you do not care about ambient, you are controlling your environment from the light via your flash, so its not a concern. Then you crank it to your maximum sync speed and do not bother with ambient. You may also want to do this because ambient and flash light may be vastly different white balance values.
Did you know that there are some cameras that can be fooled into thinking that they are in HSS and work on any flash, studio or speedlight and not get that black band irrespective of shutter speed?
The more power adjustment the flash heads have the better, within reason, and 1/16th of full power is now considered to be the minimum, with 1/32nd pretty normal.
Quality buys versatility. Prophoto, Elinchrom and Photogenic all offer 6-7 stop range adjustability (up to 1/128th or more). Many top of the better speedlights do this as well.
11-26-2010, 02:36 AM
Would you believe I hit the limit of maximum amount of characters per post?? LOL... do I talk a lot or what!!! :D
Some flash heads will adjust more than this but very low settings almost always lead to serious colour temperature and flash energy inconsistencies and so are more of a marketing feature than a usable one.
Nope. EVERY studio head has WB colour shifts... but only the low end bargain ones have colour shifts that are visible.
Alien Bee are *famous* for this low power pink cast, and quite honestly, I've had my Photogenic measured... there is some white balance shift, but it is 1/50th of what the Alien Bee models do at even broader power levels. In other words, it is for all intents and purposes not a visible shift.
The power of studio flash should always be expressed in joules, but it's OK to express it in watt seconds instead (actually the same thing).
Nope again. Joules are accurate and unchanging. Not many manufacturers like using this form of measurement because they would not stack up to their competition.
The W/s measurement is extremely easy to futz with as manufacturers do not need to tell you exact distances or ISO or light QUALITY at these specifications using W/s. This is the same marketing ploy like saying a car amp has 1200 watts. But they don't tell you at what ohms or that this is when bridged in mono mode! That 1200 watt amp, when closely looked at, is suddenly a very highly distorted 40 watts per channel at 8 ohms through 4 speakers instead of bridged to 1 speaker at 1 ohm... same thing here. Just a little marketing BS. :)
Something like 200 - 300 ws is fine for home use. And if you ever need a bit more you can just turn the ISO up a bit...
So, in that thinking, a speedlight, which is around 110-120 W/s is not very powerful? I can show you perfectly exposed photos of people in BRIGHT sunlight lit by these little flashes under extremely harsh and challenging conditions, and that 110 W/s battery powered speedlight did just fine. Numbers are numbers... made to impress the unknowing pubic. 400W/s is better than 300... 300 is better than 200... a lot of marketing bunk.
Did you know that you have to DOUBLE output to gain 1 small stop of light? From 100 to 200 is not a lot, but from 200 to 400 or from 400 to 800... for one measly stop??? Once you realize how minimal one stop is, when looking at it visually, you realize how misleading these power outputs in relation to what you can light in real life... REALLY are.
Whats that old saying... "its not how big it is... its if you know how to use it..." :D Same thing... I will take a small 110 W/s battery powered speedlight and still be able to make it look as powerful than someone's 300 W/s studio head... and still not need to lug around the heavy battery packs or look for wall outlets.
In the end, the number of lights you own is not going to make you a better photographer, in the start, at least, it will just confuse you and take you longer to get through the jumble of it all.
Start small, master what you have, then move up... but here is an aspect of photography that is very important that most agree upon... there are only 2 things in photography that one should buy only once and get the very best that they can afford, because if they do not, they end up buying them 2 times and that is a waste of time and money... high quality lenses and high quality lighting.
Bodies come and go, but a good lens today is going to be a good lens 25 years from now. The same thing will be said of your lights. :)
Some of your points are valid, some are not and it's clear from some others that you haven't understood what I've written.
Let's not confuse beginners by arguing about unimportant details or by saying the same thing in different ways.
11-27-2010, 11:42 AM
That's it? Confuse beginners? WTH?
What I think will confuse beginners more is mis-information. ;)
Starting off on the right foot is a heck of a lot easier than learning the wrong thing, then wasting time correcting that because what I read somewhere was incorrect or written in such a way as to be misleading.
I'm not here to confuse beginners (though a couple of the things you do say are confused, lacking and/or basically incorrect), I am here to have awesome conversations, learn and when I can... share.
I'm not here to argue, but do love to read and post in conversational manners just as if we were sitting down at a table having a coffee or beverage. The way I am here is just the way I am face to face. :)
I mostly learned because people tapped me on the shoulder and said "not quite, this is the right way". This is the way I teach in classroom environments, and normally, when possible, back it up with examples or surrounding info.
The way you explained some things sounded awkward or just technically wrong, and if anything, would have led to more confusion to the reader than anything else.
Not saying that I know everything, but yeah, there were some holes that needed filling and I enjoyed posting to straighten a few things out. I'm sorry if that ruffled your feathers a little. :)
You haven't ruffled my feathers at all.
I welcome alternative views, I just feel that it's helpful to keep things simple, because simple explanations help people to understand what really matters and complex ones (especially when they are factually incorrect) can have the opposite effect
12-05-2010, 02:45 PM
I can agree with that except that when it comes down to complexity, we were both pretty lightweight about it. I think it would be hard to get it much simpler without writing a book about it.
06-30-2011, 09:11 PM
I have taken the lighting course the this program and it is well worth the money and i have made a night and day change in my images. Start with one light that is all you need. Get a soft box or a shoot through umbrella makes nice even soft light. then once and only once you have mastered one light step up to a second light. There is only one sun right.. SO the only thing you need is one good powerful light to start.. My suggestion is to take the course..
09-14-2011, 09:03 AM
Nice tips! thanks for this! This would really help for me as a newbie photographer..Thanks!
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