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Thread: studio lighting

  1. #1

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    studio lighting

    Hey all,

    I'm looking for studio lighting but don't know what type I should get; baring in mind I have no experience with studio photography. Should I get cheap flashes and soft boxes i.e. tape 2 cheap $70 made in Taiwan type of flashes together,learn studio photography and then buy the expensive lighting once I feel I have the experience and knowledge? or just save the money until I have enough to buy some good lighting?

  2. #2
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    Re: studio lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by mrrod View Post
    Hey all,

    I'm looking for studio lighting but don't know what type I should get; baring in mind I have no experience with studio photography. Should I get cheap flashes and soft boxes i.e. tape 2 cheap $70 made in Taiwan type of flashes together,learn studio photography and then buy the expensive lighting once I feel I have the experience and knowledge? or just save the money until I have enough to buy some good lighting?
    I'd check a How to Book. I would think that the size of your studio and ceiling height will play a large part in how much lighting you will actually need.

  3. #3

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    Re: studio lighting

    Hi Rod,

    It's a "how long is a piece of string" type questions I'm afraid. How big is your studio?

    I run up to 5 lights and 2 reflectors in mine; I would find only 2 lights pretty limiting.

  4. #4

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    Re: studio lighting

    The work area of the studio is about 20' x 20' ceiling is about 8' high, although I can extend it to 40' x 20', it's my place of work and my boss has agreed to let me use the area for a studio, plain cream walls with wooden floor set-up. The two lighting was an example, I guess I meant to say is 2 flashes together x the amount of soft boxes so i.e. 6 cheap flashes if I were to use 3 boxes.

  5. #5

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    Re: studio lighting

    Hi Rod,

    Thanks for that - still a "long piece of string" though. Couple of issues "off the bat"; 1 - cream walls may well give you colour casts that are difficult to correct (because the reflected light will be a different colour temp from the incident light), and 2 - the wooden floor will do the same, but potentially much worse.

    Generally, in a studio, you don't want ambient light (or you have to worry about matching colour temperatures) - so can you darken the studio to a point where your lights can over-power any remaining ambient light?

    For lighting setups, I wouldn't "strap together a couple of cheap flashes" - they won't have enough power - at a minimum, I'd suggest looking at cheap units with a minimum of 500 to 600 watt/seconds output.

  6. #6

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    Re: studio lighting

    This is my setup ... (Click for bigger view)

    studio lighting

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    Re: studio lighting

    Hey colin,

    Would dimmer switches for the room lights be of any use? darken the room slightly? as for the walls and floor, how about covering the walls and floor with sheeting?

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    Re: studio lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by mrrod View Post
    Hey colin,

    Would dimmer switches for the room lights be of any use? darken the room slightly? as for the walls and floor, how about covering the walls and floor with sheeting?
    They could do - it all depends on what you're shooting at; normally I use F11 @ 1/125th @ ISO 100 - so I get pretty much ZERO ambient light (from the overhead lights) (which I usually leave on during a shoot) - but I'm using 1200 watt second lights. If you're using less powerful lights then you'll need to either up the ISO or open the aperture - both of which will let in more ambient light.

    Yep - covering the walls & floor is the way to go; white gives more fill (but can make the light less controllable); black gives more control, but you have to be more careful with light placement.

  9. #9

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    Re: studio lighting

    What make and model are your lights Colin?

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    Re: studio lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by mrrod View Post
    What make and model are your lights Colin?
    Hi Rod,

    I've got 5x Elinchrom 1200RX units - but you'll also need stands and (eventually) spill kills - reflectors - snoots - barn doors - grids - beauty dishes - softboxes (variety of types) - umbrellas ... and that's just the lighting

  11. #11

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    Re: studio lighting

    Ok, a bit expensive to be starting out with !...would 800 w/s be a good starting point? and if so, will the 800 w/s lighting need to be nearer the subject?
    Also, maybe you could explain this for me (reasearching lighting in photography here), I read this on photo.net but I don't understand where the guide number comes from..

    Guide numbers are a more accurate method of expressing power. The guide number is always tested at 100 ISO and should always be tested with the flash head fitted with a standard reflector. Guide numbers can be expressed in two different ways: meters and feet. As long as you know which is which you can easily work out the real power of the light. Let’s say that the guide number is 160 (feet). Simply divide the distance in feet from the flash to the subject into that number and you’ll end up with the lens aperture. At a distance of 10 feet from flash head to subject, the answer will be f/16 with the flash head at maximum power. If the guide number is expressed in meters, the same flash head will have a guide number of 48. 10 feet is 3 meters so 48 divided by 3 is f/16—same result.

  12. #12

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    Re: studio lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by mrrod View Post
    Ok, a bit expensive to be starting out with !...would 800 w/s be a good starting point? and if so, will the 800 w/s lighting need to be nearer the subject?
    Hi Rod,

    800W/S should be fine. No - you probably wouldn't place them any closer (you'll start getting uneven lighting) - it just means you'll probably run them at different power settings to what I use. In reality, your lighting setup for a given shoot is dictated by the lowest power light (which is a fill light) - others by definition are brighter relative to it.

    With regards to guide numbers - basically - don't worry about them because they're not of any use in a studio because you won't be running the lights at full power so they won't apply. Best thing is to use a light meter and to shoot tethered to a big screen if you can.

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