Lighting equipment for portraits

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by PaddleHard, May 3, 2010.

  1. PaddleHard

    PaddleHard Guest

    Hello group,

    I'm doing some research on buying some lighting equipment for studio
    portraits. There's a ton of gear out there and it's all pretty
    confusing. As I push through some books/vids, I thought I'd ask the
    experts: what's a good way to start with doing some simple portraits?
    I would be taking this on location or setup at home with a background
    (probably white).

    Umbrella or softbox? What type of umbrella--shoot through?
    Strobe lighting, fluorescent, or flash?

    I know it depends on how much $$ I want to spend. If I could create
    nice, professional looking portraits with a single light (and later
    build on that as I learn more), that would be a great place to start.

    Thanks,
    C
     
    PaddleHard, May 3, 2010
    #1
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  2. PaddleHard

    LOL! Guest

    BWAHAHHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!!

    Too funny!

    Sorry, but you've come to the wrong place. 99% of the posters to this
    newsgroup have never touched a camera in their lifetime, nearly all are
    just resident trolls that live in this newsgroup like their little
    imaginary club-house. All they know is what they read on the net, and
    poorly comprehend at that. They are also dependent on whatever manuals they
    can download so they can pretend to own that camera or equipment. They use
    this forum like a virtual-reality role-play fantasy life, only pretending
    to be photographers.

    But hey! Good luck! May you be able to sort out the 1 bit of genuine advice
    from the 99 others that are only imagining what might be valid information
    useful in real-life.

    LOL!
     
    LOL!, May 3, 2010
    #2
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  3. PaddleHard

    gumby Guest

    A window and a large piece of white cardboard to reflect light back into
    the shadow side of the face. Cheap and effective and natural light is
    preferable to me than man-made light.
     
    gumby, May 4, 2010
    #3
  4. PaddleHard

    Tim Conway Guest

    I agree. The north side of the house is best.
     
    Tim Conway, May 4, 2010
    #4
  5. PaddleHard

    PaddleHard Guest

    Might be cheaper to buy lights. Might.
     
    PaddleHard, May 4, 2010
    #5
  6. PaddleHard

    Tim Conway Guest

    If you do, I definitely go the flash & umbrella or softbox route instead of
    tungsten lights. Clients generally prefer the flashes rather than sitting
    under the hot lights.
     
    Tim Conway, May 4, 2010
    #6
  7. PaddleHard

    gumby Guest

    Back in the old days that is exactly what they did.
     
    gumby, May 5, 2010
    #7
  8. PaddleHard

    gumby Guest

    LED lights! I bought some LED light bulbs and they are cool to the
    touch. They are not powerful enough for photography yet but they will
    get there one of these days soon.
     
    gumby, May 5, 2010
    #8
  9. PaddleHard

    gumby Guest

    What's the formula?
     
    gumby, May 5, 2010
    #9
  10. PaddleHard

    Peter Guest


    Google is your friend.
     
    Peter, May 6, 2010
    #10
  11. PaddleHard

    Mr. Strat Guest

    I used 16" parabolics, Soffboxes, reflectors, and even a Starfish on
    occasion. Stay away from crap like Novatron and buy decent stuff. You
    don't need a lot of power for portraits.
     
    Mr. Strat, May 6, 2010
    #11
  12. PaddleHard

    PaddleHard Guest

    Thanks...what do you think of Wescott or Alien Bees?
     
    PaddleHard, May 6, 2010
    #12
  13. PaddleHard

    PaddleHard Guest

    Thanks, Tim.
     
    PaddleHard, May 6, 2010
    #13
  14. PaddleHard

    Mr. Strat Guest

    I've heard good things about Alien Bees...don't know about Wescott. I'm
    old school, so I used Photogenic in the studio and Norman for portable.
     
    Mr. Strat, May 7, 2010
    #14
  15. I've got Alien Bees 400s and 800s. I like 'em. They're not fancy,
    but they're solid and they do what they claim to do, and the price is
    right.

    Before you start buying anything even as expensive as that, though,
    I would recommend:

    -clamp lights with 150W bulbs. You can pick them up at a hardware store
    for about $10. They're hot as hell, but they're cheap and small. These
    days you can even get high-lumen CFLs that might work in them too.

    -fluorescent fixtures. If you use two or more fluorescent bulbs, the
    amount of light can actually be pretty decent, and these days you can
    get fluorescents with pretty good color rendering. Plus you can get a
    neat stripbox effect with them. I'm actually thinking about buying some
    fluorescent fixtures and making a "poor man's Kino Flo", myself.

    -a "china ball" paper lantern. It's like an omnidirectional softbox!
    And they're dirt cheap, too.
     
    Jeremiah DeWitt Weiner, May 7, 2010
    #15
  16. PaddleHard

    gumby Guest

    OK, thnks. I'll try it.
     
    gumby, May 8, 2010
    #16
  17. PaddleHard

    gumby Guest

    I was just kidding, I am not interested in making flash powder. I had a
    chemical kit when I was a kid so had enough fun with that kind of thing.
    I once threw some chemicals together in a test tube and ended up with
    some sort of mild acid. Some spilled on my shoulder when I shook it and
    burned through my T-Shirt and burned my skin. It's amazing they were
    legally allowed to sell those kits for kids and it's obvious why they
    are no longer on the market to buy.
     
    gumby, May 9, 2010
    #17
  18. PaddleHard

    Peter Guest


    As a kid I lived in an apartment building. One day I decided to generate
    hydrogen sulfide gas. I also had a war surplus gas mask, so I really had no
    idea of the quantity I generated. Let's just say my neighbors were not
    pleased with my experiments.
    In high school I majored in chemistry. We would run down the halls with one
    guy carrying a gallon of muriatic acid and I would carry a gallon of
    ammonia. We would each leave a trail of our respective liquids and when the
    two combined, clouds of ammonium chloride would be generated. The school
    officials were quite tolerant and we only got a few days of detention.
    Today, I could see newspaper headlines claiming we tried to blow up the
    school.
     
    Peter, May 9, 2010
    #18
  19. PaddleHard

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    I once had a chemistry teacher who, during a particularly boring exam,
    busied himself by filling a Pringles potato chips can with some sort of
    combustable gas, and then devised a simple igniter / detonator.

    Then, he returned to his desk at the front of the class, waited for everyone
    to become thoroughly engrossed with the test, and set it off.

    Most kids were so stunned, they didn't even scream; others howled and hit
    the floor.

    He and other teachers chuckled about it for weeks afterwards.

    Today, I'm sure he'd have been fired on the spot, maybe even had charges to
    deal with...

    Humour has changed a lot over the years...

    Take Care,
    Dudley
     
    Dudley Hanks, May 9, 2010
    #19
  20. PaddleHard

    gumby Guest

    Heh...yea, do that in this day and age and they will lock you up and
    throw the key away.
     
    gumby, May 10, 2010
    #20
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