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Studio type portraits...........Help !!

JanieB43 9 47 6 England
6 Jul 2011 8:15PM
Hi guys,

I'm hoping somebody out there can help me with this one. As anybody knows who's looked through my p.f I'm mainly a landscape girl ( with the odd floral thrown in for good measure Wink ) but I've been approached recently by friends to do some portrait work - mostly family shots, new baby pics with the parents and a christening in the offing. Now, without wanting to sound like a skinflint ( I don't really want to spend a fortune ) and an idiot to boot I feel a tad out of my depth. I have a cracking Canon 7D and some great "L" lenses,a 430 EX II flash gun with a Sto-fen diffuser and a couple of large pieces of bed sheeting that I often use as backdrops for my floral stuff and that,my friends,constitutes my "studio" gear. I have in the past done some fairly good portrait shots of a friend, mainly outside but you can see one here and here that I took using a torch and a reflector !! and I've also been a "guest photographer" at my daughters friends wedding last year producing some "excellent professional" shots ( brides mums' quote not mine Smile ) My dilemma is .........do I stump up for some lighting kit ? If so , what kind and more importantly - how the hell do you use it ? Grin

I would appreciate any advice but please remember I'm not made of money and (as I don't consider portraits my main passion) I'm looking to do this with as little outlay as possible.

Many thanks,

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stix 13 924 87 United Kingdom
6 Jul 2011 9:21PM
Wow that second portrait is scary....

Quote:do I stump up for some lighting kit ?
If you are just doing some one off portraits and you are not made of money. Why go to the expense of buying lighting kit? Why not use natural light and a reflector? Outlay - nil.
User_Removed 14 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
6 Jul 2011 10:01PM
No, but if you get the portrait bug something like a D-Lite or Elemental kit would be good and you'd also use it for still life.
JamesGarfield 9 915 4 United Kingdom
6 Jul 2011 10:07PM
Well as stix has said really there's not much point in splashing out on studio lighting just for this occasion unless of course you are planing a whole new direction with your phototgraphy? You mention that you have some L lenses, which ones do you have as they may be the answer to your problems and save you buying lighting?
JanieB43 9 47 6 England
6 Jul 2011 10:16PM

Quote:You mention that you have some L lenses, which ones do you have as they may be the answer to your problems and save you buying lighting?

I was thinking mainly of my 24-70mm I do have a 70-200mm which is not the obvious choice for portraits I know. I also have an EF-S 18-135mm IS and a 50mm prime which is the one I used for the portraits linked in my query.
User_Removed 14 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
6 Jul 2011 11:53PM
Another way to go is to buy something that lets you take your flash off camera, also adding a different modifier to the flash (like a Lightsphere) can give better results for portraiture. Out of those lenses I'd use the 24-70 for the portraits, maybe experimenting with the 70-200 sometimes (trouble is you have to increase the distance between you and the subject and lose some intimacy but the images can be very nice with at 70-200)
G6DDS 8 231 Scotland
7 Jul 2011 12:18AM
The 70-200 is an excellent lens for portraits as long as you have the space. I have the elemental 250 kit and it has seen me well for some of my portrait work. Would be lying if i said i can remember how much it was but i do know it was cheap.
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
7 Jul 2011 12:19AM

Quote:I do have a 70-200mm which is not the obvious choice for portraits

Nothing wrong with that if used out doors and it should be ace and lighting and backgrounds are free, simply add a little flash for fill or use a reflector.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
7 Jul 2011 8:43AM
For cheapness, check out floodlights like these kind of things:


I have seen them for as little as 8 before and they come in different shapes. They don't need to be too high a power rating, and you can make up things to modify the light cheaply as well. Power can be varied by moving the lights nearer or farther from the subject, and they usually come with an adjustable stand too. The only problem is that they can get hot, so care needs to be taken, but they are good and cheap compared to photographic lights.


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