Photography Studio and Lighting Forum

Hosted by fabulous Florida-based professional fashion photographer, Asylum Steve, this forum is for discussing studio photography and anything related to lighting.
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  1. #1
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Studio Lighting on a budget

    Hope some of the members around with some experience with studio setups can give me some leads on the matter.

    I would like to have a small studio setup in my apartment for occasional portraits, the backdrop is the least of my concerns, where Im clueless is in the area of studio lighting.

    What is the basic gear I should have? So far I have a camera and a pair of hands LOL.

    All this is with the minimum budget possible, and thinking into the future needs to be a set up that can be scale up within time.

    I think it could be fun to see the results from cheap or DIY stuff to start with....:idea:

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  2. #2
    Sports photo junkie jorgemonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    For the most minimum, I'd get a reflector & use window light. Of course you'll pretty much only be able to shoot in daylight, but it would be a good start.

    The reflector could could be a store bought one, or you could use anything reflective. Heck, one time I even had to use a baking pan
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  3. #3
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    Hi,

    Available more lighting effects like Fluorescent Portable Worklight , LED Interior Bulb with your expecting budget.

    Hope this will help you to get good lights for your studio.

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    My budget is looow so just today I went to Lowe's, my neighborhood DIY store, and bought four 100 watt, 6500 kelvin bulbs for $4 each and two bent-up (and 20% discounted) reflector shoplight things for a total of $40. I hope to get some results posted in the studio lighting forum soon. Right now, I'm going for a production photography setup. I'll be watching to see what you come up with. Here's to your ingenuity!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    Rob,
    There are a bunch of different ways to go, but if you watch Craigslist, there are deals that come up on a pretty regular basis. The next most minimal after Scott's suggestion is to pick up a Vivitar 285 (or equivelent) flash and an array of modifiers for it. You can also build some very effective scrims from fabric store material and PVC pipe (so they can be taken apart to store) and use them to bounce the light around the room, giving the illusion of 3,4, & 5 light setups from a single flash head. Other than full time pros, most of the guys I know shoot with 15 to 30 yr old studio equipment they picked up cheap, buying used. The older professional model equipment is incredibly durable - I shot a girl/bike session last night with Balcar lights that were manufactured in 1971, their performance was flawless throughout the night. Whatever you decide to go with, remember that just like your camera, you're buying into a SYSTEM.

  6. #6
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    I would go with Jets advice here, Rob. The Vivitar 285HV is about 90.00 new and allows for manual settings as well as automatic. I have one that I use with my 2 580EXll speedlites and its almost as powerful although not nearly as efficient but does an excellent job lighting, pretty well built too.
    To fire it you can use a pc sync cord which you can find here, www.flashzebra.com or you can purchase a Wein optical slave. I personally use the Cybersync radio triggers. they work great and are not very expensive.
    A couple of inexpensive light stands and a bounce umbrella and you'll be able to get some pretty neat results.
    Unless you will just be doing product photography I would avoid continuos lighting and go with strobes.
    Decide what your max spending amount would be and whether or not you would want a set up that is portable to take to other locations and we can give you a better idea of where to start.
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  7. #7
    Member PWhite214's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    Another good speedlight type option is the Sunpak 433D, with an EBAY adapter to use PC Sync input. No TTL, unless you find one specifically for your camera, but mine work great!


    I bought a "Studio Kit" from LS-PhotoStudio, has 2 light stands and a backdrop stand with some too small umbrellas for a reasonable price. Very nice construction, I am having fun with the stuff. Maybe I will get some more practice and post some photos soon.

    https://www.ls-photostudio.com/Item.asp?ItemNo=LT29

    It came with some continous lights, but I have not really used them. I could find a use for them someday .

    Phil

  8. #8
    Senior Member draymorton's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    What is your budget, Rob?

    And what kind of portability are you looking for?

    If you're looking for light quality over portability, my highest recommendation would be to look into Alien Bees monoblocks, specifically the AB800 and AB400. You can get either on ebay for considerably less than a new top-of-the-line speedlite. And if you're not going anywhere with them, you probably won't need the battery pack. This is honestly the first option I would consider.

    If you want good light quality with more portability, I would recommend a Sunpak 120j barebulb model or two. The quality of lighting is significantly better than that of regular rectangular-head flashes - especially once the parabolic reflector is removed - and also appreciably more powerful. The downside is that these are in demand right now, so they're not all that cheap (around $350), they don't do TTL, and you'll probably want to get a battery pack to perk up the slow recycle time. But a 120j into a softbox (the Wescott Apollos are great) approaches the look and quality of a studio light and is a whole lot lighter and more portable.

    Lastly, I would bite the bullet and buy proper radio transmitters and receivers. Cybersyncs (which Gary also mentioned) are great and I've heard good things about Radiopoppers, as well. The cheapest Cybersyncs go for $60 for a transmitter and $70 per receiver. Stay away from the cheap ebay models.
    Last edited by draymorton; 03-19-2010 at 08:23 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member draymorton's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    ..................

  10. #10
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by draymorton
    ..................
    I think they discontinued the 120j, so its real hard to find, and expensive as you mentioned.
    Another flash i was looking into is the Sunpak 622 which is as powerful as an AB 400 or 800 GN 200! Can have a bare bulb head or manual zoom head, although the bare bulb head might be hard to come by too it seems. Its a handle mount but can be set up to shoot into a very large softbox.
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  11. #11
    Senior Member draymorton's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    I wish I'd known about the 622! But the bare bulb head seems impossible to come by.

    Checked ABs' site, btw, and the guide # for the AB800 is 172...

  12. #12
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    Thanks guys for the info, really appreciated.
    Unfortunately Craiglist is out of the question since Im stranded here in Mexico for used equipment. Im checking Ebay for that matter but there are a gazillion options...I will keep an eye on the models that you guys suggest....I had my eyes fixed on some Vivitar`s mentioned above and they seem a good option for the price and that Sunpaks arent bad either...finally I can fix on something more specific! thanks!

    My budget...well it is unknown.. Im still paying for the Canon setup but I thinks lll go for a kit with pair of umbrellas (translucent/reflective) and simple backdrop and stands.
    As for the lights I dont need portability.. I guess that way I will save some bucks there.

    Canon XSi
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    Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS
    1. "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."Ansel Adams
    2. "Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art."Ansel Adams

  13. #13
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    On the matter of those Sunpaks 622s what is the advantage or difference of the bare bulb vs. the complete zoom head?

    Canon XSi
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    1. "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."Ansel Adams
    2. "Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art."Ansel Adams

  14. #14
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Lighting on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRob
    On the matter of those Sunpaks 622s what is the advantage or difference of the bare bulb vs. the complete zoom head?
    When placed in a softbox, the bare bulb will give a more even and dispersed light throughout the box rather than firing it directly into the box front. Softer light with less hotspot on the sofbox surface.
    you could place a piece of white board in front of the zoom head so that the light is forced to bounce around the box evenly rather than blast into the front. Many softboxes have a baffle to prevent the hotspot, but its less a problem with a bare bulb. i'm sure there are other benefits to it as well.
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


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