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Good starting set of studio lights for Nikon D100

 
 
Axinar
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-13-2004
Hi, all ...

Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
about lighting for portrait work.

Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
"starting" studio lighting set?

What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
terms of control hardware and metering equipment?

Thanks!

Ax
 
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Charlie Self
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-13-2004
axinar asks:

>
>Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
>much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
>D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
>for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
>about lighting for portrait work.
>
>Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
>"starting" studio lighting set?
>
>What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
>terms of control hardware and metering equipment?


If I were doing a start-up now (I'd be using a Pentax *ist D instead of the
Nikon), I'd go for two small Alien Bee lights, get umbreallas for them, and
good stands. Check the site, www.alienbees.com, for specifics. If you do a lot
of larger groups, bump the lights up the the B800 models.

Metering gear? You're digital. Set it up, experiment until it's right, and keep
that setting. The PC cord included with the lights should do all you need. One
light will trigger the other. After that, it's a matter of experimenting some
more, until you've got reasonable placement for particular situations. When
metering seems essential, I use a little Sekonic Flashmate, L-308B.

You should quickly learn the best settings for various distances from the
lights to the subject, with or without a meter.

Enjoy.
Charlie Self
"Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as
distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others." Ambrose
Bierce
 
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Crownfield
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-13-2004
Axinar wrote:
>
> Hi, all ...
>
> Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
> much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
> D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
> for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
> about lighting for portrait work.
>
> Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
> "starting" studio lighting set?
>
> What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
> terms of control hardware and metering equipment?


look at white lightning and alien bees.

I have 5 heads from white lightning.
no problems with any of the equipment that I got.

for most people, 400 or 800 ws is probably enough.

the stands seem all right, but I got manfrotto.
theirs may be manfrotto too.

their caster wheels fit manfrotto and are far better quality.
their customer service has been responsive except in one case.

they have some nice 22" reflectors.
the only problem is that they are not white, but cream colored.
they do not mix with other reflectors well.

several calls have gotten no logical answer.
I really should try one more time.


>
> Thanks!
>
> Ax

 
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Ron
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-14-2004
go to www.calumetphoto.com and look at their travelite kits- great
monolights with stands,umbrella,etc- built well and not expensive
"Axinar" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> Hi, all ...
>
> Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
> much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
> D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
> for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
> about lighting for portrait work.
>
> Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
> "starting" studio lighting set?
>
> What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
> terms of control hardware and metering equipment?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Ax



 
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Crownfield
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-14-2004
Ron wrote:
>
> go to www.calumetphoto.com and look at their travelite kits- great
> monolights with stands,umbrella,etc- built well and not expensive



one advantage of the white lightning lights
is the 32:1 power reduction range.

I also elect to use booms on the stands almost all the time.
they allow positioning the lights everywhere.


> "Axinar" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> > Hi, all ...
> >
> > Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
> > much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
> > D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
> > for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
> > about lighting for portrait work.
> >
> > Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
> > "starting" studio lighting set?
> >
> > What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
> > terms of control hardware and metering equipment?
> >
> > Thanks!
> >
> > Ax

 
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David Dyer-Bennet
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-14-2004
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) (Axinar) writes:

> Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
> much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
> D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
> for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
> about lighting for portrait work.
>
> Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
> "starting" studio lighting set?


One possible choice is a couple of White Lightning monolights, a
softbox, and suitable stands. You'd probably want some additional
reflectors and stands to work with that.

Flash is handy for people; less hot, and will freeze little motions
for you.

> What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
> terms of control hardware and metering equipment?


Don't waste money on a flash meter. They're great, wonderful tools,
glad I have one -- but I haven't used it since I went digital. You
get a *lot* more information from the histogram display than you do
from any meter.

Okay, if you get serious enough you may one day want a flash meter;
still useful for measuring lighting ratios and such (though you can do
that through a digital camera too, with a little work). But don't put
it on your must-have list right away, anyway.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <(E-Mail Removed)>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
 
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Ivan
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-14-2004
I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
> > about lighting for portrait work.
> >
> > Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
> > "starting" studio lighting set?

>
> One possible choice is a couple of White Lightning monolights, a
> softbox, and suitable stands. You'd probably want some additional
> reflectors and stands to work with that.
> > What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
> > terms of control hardware and metering equipment?

>
> Don't waste money on a flash meter. They're great, wonderful tools,
> glad I have one -- but I haven't used it since I went digital. You
> get a *lot* more information from the histogram display than you do
> from any meter.


I must concur with the suggestions of White Lightening. I bought three of
those WL10,000 tin can monolites some 15 years ago. Also a WL1800 with a
large soft box. These have never failed me yet. Not having used extreme
professional flashes yet, I can't testify as to how WL measures up to them.
I'm sure they lack some of the finess, but I can't really compare. All I
know is that for family and friend's events they excell!! If you're digital
then all the better....experiment and take notes. You'll love the
versatility of mono lights. WL has some barn doors and honeycome grids that
are kinda fun to play with too. I've made all sorts of my own attachments
using foam core and velcro. Look for a cheap muslin back drop large enough
for groups, plus a couple complimentry smaller canvases for portraits. Have
fun!!! and show us some samples!!


 
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Skip M
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-14-2004
"Axinar" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> Hi, all ...
>
> Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
> much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
> D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
> for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
> about lighting for portrait work.
>
> Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
> "starting" studio lighting set?
>
> What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
> terms of control hardware and metering equipment?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Ax


Well, I faced pretty much the same quandary until this weekend. I picked up
2 JTL Mobilights, 300w/s heads that run on both AC and DC, so they are
portable. The packs are good only for 100 full power flashes, and I'm
hoping that I did the right thing, they were much cheaper than the other
portable battery pack lights, coming in at under $700 for the pair, with
stands, PC cords, 1 umbrella, 1 reflector and two battery packs. And two
"car cords" so I can run them off of the car battery. As if...
I also picked up a Sekonic L-358 flashmeter, about $250 from B&H, I thought
it gave me a little more flexibility than the 308, and seemed easier to use.
It also can use "PocketWizard" radio transmitters to fire flashes, so a PC
cord isn't always needed. But at $150-$350 for the transmitters,
transceivers and receivers, that will have to wait. The transmitter for the
meter, though, was on special for $25 if you buy it with the meter. I've
been working with photofloods for the last 15 years, so this is a bit of a
leap for me.

--
Skip Middleton
http://www.shadowcatcherimagery.com


 
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zeitgeist
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-15-2004

>
> Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
> much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
> D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
> for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
> about lighting for portrait work.
>
> Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
> "starting" studio lighting set?
>
> What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
> terms of control hardware and metering equipment?
>


my standing recommendation is that you start with one head and learn to
light and get a printable image with detail in the HIGHLIGHTS as well as the
shadows, before adding on other lights, especially fill lights. I emphasis
highlights cause people look at their results and think the harsh lighting
is a problem cause the shadows are dark/black they tend to skip, ignore,
don't even see that the main problem is with the highlight.

I like to point out that lights don't make shadows, (they were already
there) lights only make highlights.

The problem that studio lighting starts out with is that it is the complete
opposite of all the natural lighting we like best. The most favored light
is twilight, that's when people come out of their caves, or air-conditioned
homes and sit on the porch, great neighbors, kids play on the streets,
people feel comfortable, and they look lovely, their skin glows and the hair
is a halo. They are lit by a huge softbox, the whole semi directional open
sky. Other lighting we like is the soft semi directional light from
overhangs, porches, trees, then huge windows. all light from a large arc,
90's to 180'

photogs have been using a point light source, first they used spot lights to
collect, condense and focus every bit of energy they could aim at the
smallest area they could throw it at, they used slow film in big cameras and
tungsten lighting wasn't the most energy efficient, there was not such thing
as fire proof fabrics. as film got faster, they used metal bowl
reflectors, and instead of placing a 12 inch light about 18 to 24 inches
from the face they placed the 18 to 24 inch bowl about 3 feet. Then they
invented flash and started using umbrellas, the greatest advance in the
60's. and they set up the 36inch brollie about 6 feet away with that
powerful 100ws powerpack.

the short answer is, you don't need to buy a kit, those thing are based on
60's concepts of lighting. take one good head and shoot through a large
scrim, basically you want a light source twice as big as your subject, or
bounce off a sidewall, with a reflector to kiss a bit of light back. You
can do this with a shoe flash that you can swivel and bounce.

recommends, a decent solid tripod, one good flashhead, a reflector (sheet of
styro insulation panel striped of the blue plastic) and a good background.

worst thing, buy a kit and put an umbrella on either side of the camera like
seems logical, the thing that just about every hack at a shopping mall
kiddie kiosk, church basement family portrait hustle, and dirty old man
amateur porn and model portfolio shooter does. I could go on for 20 pages
about the evils this does to faces.

as for gear, I've always used bogan pods and stands, anything solid and
sturdy will do. (you can use a 2x4 2x3 stud and a spring in a can to make
light and background stands, drill a few holes for a long 1/4-20 bolt. If
you background has a dowel with a balanced hole drilled you can use one
stand instead of two.

make a curtain with four or five yards of rip stop nylon. a styrofoam
insulation panel (a bunch of them can be used to make a way cool 3d
background, carve stone texture, make an arch or window, go to "off the
wall" for inspiration.

second light should be a hair light, third a background light.

this reply is echoed to the z-prophoto mailing list at yahoogroups.com where
I spew lots of foam about cross lighting and other portraiture topics.


 
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zeitgeist
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-15-2004

>
> Well, with my extended family having firmly announced that they are
> much more impressed with the pics I have taken with my trusty Nikon
> D100 than the professional pictures that they paid through the nose
> for, I have decided that it is time to do something more "serious"
> about lighting for portrait work.
>
> Question ... can anyone make any good recommendations for a good
> "starting" studio lighting set?
>
> What specific lights/stands would you recommend and what do I need in
> terms of control hardware and metering equipment?
>


my standing recommendation is that you start with one head and learn to
light and get a printable image with detail in the HIGHLIGHTS as well as the
shadows, before adding on other lights, especially fill lights. I emphasis
highlights cause people look at their results and think the harsh lighting
is a problem cause the shadows are dark/black they tend to skip, ignore,
don't even see that the main problem is with the highlight.

I like to point out that lights don't make shadows, (they were already
there) lights only make highlights.

The problem that studio lighting starts out with is that it is the complete
opposite of all the natural lighting we like best. The most favored light
is twilight, that's when people come out of their caves, or air-conditioned
homes and sit on the porch, great neighbors, kids play on the streets,
people feel comfortable, and they look lovely, their skin glows and the hair
is a halo. They are lit by a huge softbox, the whole semi directional open
sky. Other lighting we like is the soft semi directional light from
overhangs, porches, trees, then huge windows. all light from a large arc,
90's to 180'

photogs have been using a point light source, first they used spot lights to
collect, condense and focus every bit of energy they could aim at the
smallest area they could throw it at, they used slow film in big cameras and
tungsten lighting wasn't the most energy efficient, there was not such thing
as fire proof fabrics. as film got faster, they used metal bowl
reflectors, and instead of placing a 12 inch light about 18 to 24 inches
from the face they placed the 18 to 24 inch bowl about 3 feet. Then they
invented flash and started using umbrellas, the greatest advance in the
60's. and they set up the 36inch brollie about 6 feet away with that
powerful 100ws powerpack.

the short answer is, you don't need to buy a kit, those thing are based on
60's concepts of lighting. take one good head and shoot through a large
scrim, basically you want a light source twice as big as your subject, or
bounce off a sidewall, with a reflector to kiss a bit of light back. You
can do this with a shoe flash that you can swivel and bounce.

recommends, a decent solid tripod, one good flashhead, a reflector (sheet of
styro insulation panel striped of the blue plastic) and a good background.

worst thing, buy a kit and put an umbrella on either side of the camera like
seems logical, the thing that just about every hack at a shopping mall
kiddie kiosk, church basement family portrait hustle, and dirty old man
amateur porn and model portfolio shooter does. I could go on for 20 pages
about the evils this does to faces.

as for gear, I've always used bogan pods and stands, anything solid and
sturdy will do. (you can use a 2x4 2x3 stud and a spring in a can to make
light and background stands, drill a few holes for a long 1/4-20 bolt. If
you background has a dowel with a balanced hole drilled you can use one
stand instead of two.

make a curtain with four or five yards of rip stop nylon. a styrofoam
insulation panel (a bunch of them can be used to make a way cool 3d
background, carve stone texture, make an arch or window, go to "off the
wall" for inspiration.

second light should be a hair light, third a background light.

this reply is echoed to the z-prophoto mailing list at yahoogroups.com where
I spew lots of foam about cross lighting and other portraiture topics.


 
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