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Home Studio kit..Which one??


Matman 6 37 United Kingdom
17 Jun 2008 2:05PM
Hi All,

I did have a browse through the forum and didn't see what I was after so apologies if this has already been asked...Smile

I have a spare room at home and would like to create a studio for portraiture (people/pets etc). I have no experience at all and need to learn all about lighting and the kit that is used, so any url's to good beginners sites that you could point me at would be great?

Also, on a budget of about 500 - 700 pounds, could anybody recommend a decent home studio kit?

Cheers

Matt

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Matman 6 37 United Kingdom
17 Jun 2008 3:01PM
Great stuff Chris, thanks for the pointers!

I will go away and look into it.

Cheers

Matt
17 Jun 2008 3:39PM
Matt,

You'll probably get a few different 'which ones to buy' responses and pretty much all of them will be wrong... and right!

The problem is, that different people have different needs, so need different solutions.

Your needs at the moment are pretty basic, and if you stick with portrait-type shots then pretty well anything (except the special offer Ebay wonder crap) will work for you.

Elinchrom & Bowens are both a good, safe choice. Both have a wide range of adjustment, consistent output and a good range of accessories. Personally I believe that Elinchrom has the edge but there isn't much in it. I believe that Elinchrom are even more overpriced than Bowens, and Bowens have the advantage that there are quite a few cheap third party modifiers available in their S-mount accessory fitting.

If you're looking for something cheaper then (as always) Smile I recommend the Lencarta, which has the disadvantage that you can't get any extra accessories for it except for softboxes, umbrellas & lighting gels, but the advantage, apart from price, is that all the accessories you're likely to want for portraits etc are included in the package.

Speaking of packages, you might want to ask yourself whether you really need a kit of 2 or 3 lights - nothing against kits, it's just that less is often more in studio lighting and if you do get a kit it would make sense to use just one light for the first few months, until you've exhausted the possibilities - it's a big mistake to use whatever's in the kit just because it's there!

Before you make any decisions I suggest that you look at this which might give you some ideas. It's very basic.
And then work your way through these lighting themes on another site. About half of them are excellent and I produced the other halfSmile
Tony_W 7 128 5
17 Jun 2008 6:50PM
Hi, I'm also looking into buying some lights but wonder what 'power' lights to get. I managed to borrow a Bowens 200 light for the night with a 70cm softbox and found that to get an aperture of f8 (ISO 100) I had to have the light turned all the way to min power output.
Several things contribute to this. Room size, no internal diffuser in the softbox (shame on bowens) and the fact the room is very light in colour giving me lots of reflection/reflectors all round. Some I know I can reduce or remove but not the size of room, it's about 12' x 15'.

With the loss of ISO 100 on at least one of the latest Nikons I don't want to find when I upgrade my body I have lights that are too powerful for the aperture I want because I can't reduce the ISO sufficiently.

Will a larger softbox require higher power output for the same light output? If so then can I find out anyway by what ratios the power to light output changes?

I'm erring on the side of too little power rather than too much as I can always up the ISO. Whilst not perfect there is very little noise difference between 100 and 200.

My current pick of the lights available is the Elinchrom FX100.

Any comments, advice or ideas will be gratefully received.

Thanks and sorry for the long post,
Tony
HelenO 8 46 1 United Kingdom
17 Jun 2008 6:54PM
Hi Matt

I have a spare room studio at my house and if your is anything like mine space or lack of will be your biggest enemy!

I have a set of Jessops 336v portaflash units which I think suit the size of my studio perfectly. I have a shot of my setup in my portfolio if you want to see how it works.

They are fairly inexpensive and very simple to use. It might be worth a look for a first set.

J
17 Jun 2008 7:32PM

Quote:

With the loss of ISO 100 on at least one of the latest Nikons I don't want to find when I upgrade my body I have lights that are too powerful for the aperture I want because I can't reduce the ISO sufficiently.

Will a larger softbox require higher power output for the same light output? If so then can I find out anyway by what ratios the power to light output changes?

I'm erring on the side of too little power rather than too much as I can always up the ISO. Whilst not perfect there is very little noise difference between 100 and 200.

Tony


This is one of the problems - people tend to think that more power is better, but too much power can cause its own problems.

IMO 200J is plenty for most home studios, shooting portraits. Still life & commercial usage is another matter.

Do bigger softboxes eat more power? Yes and no. To be pendantic, they don's so much eat power as distribute it over a wide area. The difference becomes important if, for example you only have 1 softbox (a large one) but you want to move it a long way away to produce a harder light - the distance the light has to travel, and the amount of light spread, will reduce the output dramatically - but if you use the softbox very close to the subject there will be relatively little difference in the amount of lost light between a small one and a large one.

As you say, if you don't have enough power you can increase the ISO without too much quality loss.

If you have too much, you have various options:
1. Fit a neutral density filter to your camera lens (not ideal but workable).
2. Fit neutral density gels over the front of the lights
3. Fit a scrim over the front of the softbox (I use a black scrim for this, in layers if necessary. Each layer is 'worth' about 1 stop.)
Matman 6 37 United Kingdom
17 Jun 2008 7:44PM
This is all fantastic stuff. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.

Where I am at right now is I want to get into this side of photography (chasing good conditions for Landscape tries my patience at times!!) but don't know what a softbox, ringflash (or anything else to do with lighting for that matter) does. So I have a lot of research to do which I am up for...Smile

So thanks Garry for your tips and pointers I will get reading.

Janey it was great to see your studio it looks just the job. And you have a fantastic PF BTW...Smile

Cheers all

Matt
Tony_W 7 128 5
18 Jun 2008 12:18AM
Thanks for the input Garry.
18 Jun 2008 4:09PM
Hi Matt , The info given to you on lighting equipment from members is excellent. Now consider using shoot through brollies for soft lighting as soft boxes can be more expensive unless coming with the kit. Also use roll paper background for white and colour and use black cloth for black backgrounds for cheapness. This should then set you up to start. I have used a home studio for years and have learned a lot over this time. Any more help please ask. Ron
Matman 6 37 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 8:02PM
Thanks for that Ron....Smile

Matt

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