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Thread: Studio Equipment?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Sydney, Australia
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    Reuben

    Studio Equipment?

    Hi All.

    This is a question for the Prof's here.

    I am setting up my first studio for portrait photography. I have purchased quite a bit of equipment including Back Drop Setup and now looking into lighting.

    I need advice on the difference between Umbrella Lights and Softbox Lights...

    Will I need both types?
    Which is better, Umbrella OR Softbox?
    Does the Wattage (Brightness) play a role in the selection process?
    Does one use Umbrella or Softbox for different types of portraits?
    Does Size Matter? I have seen various sizes of both types of lights!

    Reuben...

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    New Zealand
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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Studio Equipment?

    Hi Reuben,

    Lighting is what makes or breaks the quality of the work that comes out of a studio. Unfortunately, there's virtually no limit to the amount of lighting equipment that they can "absorb" Personally, I use 5x Elinchrom 1200RX heads with a variety of softboxes / reflectors / barn doors / grids / snoots (and more) - and on occasions I still want more!

    But to answer your questions - from a "just setting up" perspective ...

    I need advice on the difference between Umbrella Lights and Softbox Lights...

    Will I need both types?
    Eventually, yes

    Which is better, Umbrella OR Softbox?
    They're different tools for different jobs. Studio lighting is pretty much ALL about controlling the light - and the light that somes from softboxes is a LOT more controllable. On the other hand, umbrellas tend to spray the light everywhere (including onto backdrops). So for a typical head and shoulders portrait, I'll be using a softbox, but for a group portrait - where I want to spread the light around a bit - I'll quite often use an umbrella (for fill light).

    Does the Wattage (Brightness) play a role in the selection process?
    Yes. I use 1200 watt/second lights (which are probably higher than average), although personally (and from experience), I'd suggest not going any lower than 500 or 600 watt seconds, as you'll probably only end up working them at their highest power settings a lot, which can't be good for them.

    Does one use Umbrella or Softbox for different types of portraits?
    Personally, I use softboxes for portraiture, without exception.

    Does Size Matter? I have seen various sizes of both types of lights!
    It's the power of the lights that's important, but if you're meaning the size of the softbox, then yes; the bigger the lightsource, the softer the light.

    This is the 2 minute "trial by fire" answer to your question - you're going to need a LOT more input though, so what I'd suggest is ...

    1. Have a look through my studio gallery http://www.pbase.com/cjsouthern/studio_portraits and feel free to ask about the lighting setups for anything there that interests you, and

    2. Pop along to www.kelbytraining.com - sign up - and take a look at videos relating to studio shooting from (in particular) James Schmelzer, Frank Doorhof, and Scott Kelby.

    3. I also wrote a little about studio lighting in one of my school of portraiture lessons - "School of Portraiture" - Lesson 06 - Introduction to Basic Studio Lighting

    Then come back and ask more questions.

    This is my studio BTW ... (click for much better view)

    Studio Equipment?

  3. #3
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Cornwall
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    Mark

    Re: Studio Equipment?

    I shudder at the cost, thats some studio Colin!

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    New Zealand
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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Studio Equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    I shudder at the cost, thats some studio Colin!
    And I've added a lot more since then

    Seriously, it's never ending. It's pretty much "feature complete" equipment wise, but now I'm into the prop / clothing phase.

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