I am a week away from having a room finished in the basement for my portrait studio. I think I will put in tracts for the lighting, keeping the cords off the floor. I need ALL kinds of advice as to what lighting to buy. I have spent a great deal of time reading about Alien Bees vs. White Lightning, etc. What do YOU all suggest in terms of getting some decent studio lighting? I will be shooting portraits ... people and animals. I will need enough power to illuminate black dogs! This is currently more of a hobby than a business, but that might change. I would consider myself a very good amateur at this point.

The room is about 16 X 16, a tad larger. I doubt I will be hauling the lighting equipment around much, but maybe occasionally. I expect it will mostly stay in the studio. There are no windows in the studio room. I could use some advice and input on the ceiling counterbalance system. I know Manfrotto makes one. B & H wanted nearly 2 grand for the system they recommended for a "medium sized studio." Money is a consideration, but not necessarily a deal breaker, as in considering WL vs. AB lighting. I've read many posts where folks compare one to the other.

Please tell me whatever you think I need to know about or acquire to get this off the ground. I want to set this up correctly and not regret any decisions! Thanks!