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Photo Lighting Kits


JVB

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Hi there! I am wondering if anyone can give me any advice on purchasing a photo lighting kit to give to my husband for Christmas?? We are hoping to start taking portraits of our children at home instead of going to a studio. He has some photography experience, but we've never ventured into setting up our own studio shots. I'm looking for a starter kit that is of decent quality but not terribly expensive. Any suggestions?

Thanks so much!

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Hi JVB!

 

Way back when - I started with a single flash head and silver brolly, a camera mounted flashgun on an extending cord, and as many reflectors or reflective items I could get.

 

I did spend my money on getting a decent flash/lightmeter, in order to check the light falling onto the subject. Eventually I progressed to 3 lights (2 in front and a hair light) complete with backdrops etc.

 

You dont say whereabouts you are in the world, but look for kits made by Bowens or Elinchrom. They do some excellent 2 light kits, with enough brollies and reflectors to get you started. The Elinchrom units will also stand up to a bit of handling too. Dont go for tungsten lighting, although cheaper, they get VERY hot and can cuse problems for your sitter.

 

Many lighting sets do have tungsten modelling lights, but thats just so you can see how the light is falling.

 

Dont forget that light-meter!

 

Any further questions, let me know!

 

Cheers

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I have been eyeing the lighting sets at Alienbees.com. Now I don't have them yet so I can't say how good they are myself. But they aren't too expensive and come in kits that include the light, the stand, umbrella and carry case.

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  • 1 month later...

Ok..I love love love my Pocket Wizards. I have one off camera flash, a stand, a soft box and some reflectors. Except for the flash and the pocket wizards, I got the cheapest ones I could get on Amazon for the most part. If figured it would be more than enough to start me out and I could upgrade later IF I found it necessary.

 

I am going to make you ladies day when it comes to back drop kits. I got a portable stand, carrying case and 4...yes I said 4 solid color back drops for less than $150 with shipping. Find it here! As for additional back drops, I have done a lot of research on this lately also and found a few websites you could check out. Some have 6' x 9' back drops for as low as $36! Find those here! Another resource for back drops is here..still very affordable. All three of those also have complete studio light set ups...but I have not checked them out much. One more back drop option is Drop It Modern.

 

One more suggestion for all you crafty ladies...canvas drop cloths! You can buy hemmed ones at Lowe's & Home Depot for very reasonable prices. You could consider picking your favorite SG's paper as inspiration and paint your own back drop!

 

If you have a solid sheet you can hang it, take a picture in front of it and then remove the back ground color and replace it with a background SG paper! I did this for a client and it worked awesome. I don't have it on my new computer, but you can see it on my blog here. I was out of town when she needed this picture taken (Easter Weekend) and we were planning to use it for her college graduation announcement. It turned out less than perfect in the orignal file...so I edited to get it to a quality we were happy going to print with.

 

Hope this helps!

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Ok..I love love love my Pocket Wizards. I have one off camera flash, a stand, a soft box and some reflectors. Except for the flash and the pocket wizards, I got the cheapest ones I could get on Amazon for the most part. If figured it would be more than enough to start me out and I could upgrade later IF I found it necessary.

 

I am going to make you ladies day when it comes to back drop kits. I got a portable stand, carrying case and 4...yes I said 4 solid color back drops for less than $150 with shipping. Find it here! As for additional back drops, I have done a lot of research on this lately also and found a few websites you could check out. Some have 6' x 9' back drops for as low as $36! Find those here! Another resource for back drops is here..still very affordable. All three of those also have complete studio light set ups...but I have not checked them out much. One more back drop option is Drop It Modern.

 

One more suggestion for all you crafty ladies...canvas drop cloths! You can buy hemmed ones at Lowe's & Home Depot for very reasonable prices. You could consider picking your favorite SG's paper as inspiration and paint your own back drop!

 

If you have a solid sheet you can hang it, take a picture in front of it and then remove the back ground color and replace it with a background SG paper! I did this for a client and it worked awesome. I don't have it on my new computer, but you can see it on my blog here. I was out of town when she needed this picture taken (Easter Weekend) and we were planning to use it for her college graduation announcement. It turned out less than perfect in the orignal file...so I edited to get it to a quality we were happy going to print with.

 

Hope this helps!

 

lisa...thanks for this helpful info and links.... can you change the muslims to other things? and are they big enough? also what is the difference btw the soft box or the umbrella? is an umbrella easier to carry around? do you have one and can you recommend a brand or type or size or what to get...i am just getting into trying to use off camera flash...have the pocket wizards and a stand but dont know what i am doing..lol thanks for any help

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I have one of both the umbrella and the soft box...I have never used my umbrella yet. If I was getting one or the other it would be the soft box. I will try to find the one I got on Amazon and post a link. In most cases the 6' x 9' should be large enough. My soft box folds flat and as a case..I just slip it in my reflector case and carry them together. I don't know much else about the back drops.

 

My softbox Not the cheapest one...but not the most expensive either. It is easy to use and has worked great for all my situations so far. Not to big and not too small.

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I have a very low-budget home studio... I wrote about it in this Designer's Life.

 

A backdrop and low-budget "soft boxes" (see photo, available at any hardware store, I found some in my garage ;) and foam core reflectors would cost you under $25 if you already own some white flat sheets.

 

My husband and I were even asked to do our friend's son's senior pictures, and they came out really well; I ended using one of my Subtle Photo styles on one of the photos, and that is the one they selected to mail out with his graduation announcements. We have a great variety of actions and styles in the Boutique which can help compensate for less-than-perfect shots.

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Kerry is absolutely correct if you are building a home studio, there is a ton of DIY tricks you can use. I have used regular house lamps when lighting wasn't what I wanted. For my situation - I go onsite a lot and therefore some of the DIY stuff doesn't work as well. I am also on a very tight budget so I look for stuff that I NEED...not WANT and try to get reasonably priced items.

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