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Archive 2012 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?
  
 
aekn
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p.1 #1 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


Looking for some experienced members' recommendations, please...

I have a Nikon D300 and D2X that I'll be using to shoot some indoor studio work-mostly small product photography, but some people. All with a high-key (white) background.

I'm looking for the most cost-effective way to achieve this that will yield good results. Primary questions I have are:
1. Should I use SB-600/700 flash units with Nikon's CLS (D300 Commander), or go with something like an Alien Bee or other affordable strobe?
2. If I don't go the CLS route or want to use the D2x, are Cactus IV or Radio Poppers the way to go for wireless triggering?
3. How many lights should I plan to use, and what type of umbrella, softbox, etc. should each have? I've struggled with having either gray shadows and/or blown hotspots in the past.

I realize there are books on this topic, but all have somewhat different advice. Looking for some "real world" guidance from someone who's comfortable with this topic.

I'd love to see some examples to go along with any recommendations.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

Kurt



Feb 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM
hatch1921
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p.1 #2 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


aekn wrote:
Looking for some experienced members' recommendations, please...

I have a Nikon D300 and D2X that I'll be using to shoot some indoor studio work-mostly small product photography, but some people. All with a high-key (white) background.

I'm looking for the most cost-effective way to achieve this that will yield good results. Primary questions I have are:
1. Should I use SB-600/700 flash units with Nikon's CLS (D300 Commander), or go with something like an Alien Bee or other affordable strobe?
2. If I don't go the CLS route or want to use the D2x, are Cactus IV or Radio Poppers the way to go
...Show more


HI Kurt,

Here is something I put together about strobes.... might be useful? http://bit.ly/yfZh8F

Frank



Feb 13, 2012 at 01:00 AM
aekn
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p.1 #3 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


Thanks, Frank, I'll check it out!


Feb 13, 2012 at 01:33 AM
renfield33
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p.1 #4 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


To be honest, I've had some pretty good results with just a Nikon SB-26 and a PC-Sync cable for simple stuff. You can get into a whole system including stand and umbrella for about $125.

This is an example of my daughter that I shot with one cheap strobe. Lots of stuff on strobist.com to get you started too.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/spencerkoch/6473956263/in/photostream

Although I think if you're going to try to blow out the background, you're going to need a minimum of 2 lights, and probably 3.



Feb 13, 2012 at 02:34 AM
aekn
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p.1 #5 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


Nice work-beautiful daughter! Thanks for your insight!


Feb 13, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Ravitej
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p.1 #6 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


Used to use two strobes with DEMB flip-its on light stands. Worked extremely well for small and very portable studio like lighting. With the DEMBs basically had 4 lights. Very even predicable lighting. Google DEMB for advice on how to use the products. Joe Demb is a Nikon wedding / portrait shooter and very knowledgable. This set-up would fit into two small bags for easy carry to location. Could use it almost anywhere.

Now use Alien Bee because of the faster cycle times that strobes started to annoy with on long shoots with models moving around. And the AB's cost about the same as the flash, but much stronger and more capable, albeit with cords, stands and more to carry.

I needed a white background that could either be used or eliminated to substitute something else. Sometimes both in the same shoot. So I obtained what is probably considered equipment that is a little cheesy, but for my purposes for fitness models and product simply fantastic.

I have a Lastolite Hilite interior lit background with one AB800 monolight and an acrylic floor. The camera and tripod directly opposite with a ABR800 ring flash with small and large moon units (diffusers). And an AB400 monolight with a shoot-thru umbrella for diffusion to the side. Gives me completely balanced and workable light. Just a little shadow from the AB400. The Hilite counters the surround shadow effect of the ring flash. Both wrap around the subject in a very warm and soft way. The AB400 to the side brings in definition. Everyone looks great in this lighting. Many say how it's the best they have seen themselves. The Hilite folds up and everything goes into the trunk of a car for location. The Hilite allows models to be very close making this an arrangement that fits into small spaces. I can shoot within a 10X15 space when needed. Longer can be better only because of the ability to use a longer lens for better shaping. When space is limited, this works.

I am primarily a designer and art director. This set-up allows me to capture what I need to use in books and collateral material. More data gathering than fine photography. It's rather a single note tune, but can be modified in such creative ways that its been of great value. And that's what counts when cranking out photos for a living or commercial use.



Feb 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM
 



Dooginfif20
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p.1 #7 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


I agree with Alienbees. I have a AB1600, AB800, and another AB1600 on the way. $340 to have a 640ws studio light is awesome. I use mine for a wide variety of stuff. I even bought a vagabond mini lithium battery pack to power the lights outside and do automotive photography. You can choose to use their syncs or you can buy a Pocket Wizard Plus II or TTL. They are awesome lights and you wont regret it. I have a Nikon SB-900 I paid over $500 for and I paid less for 1 AB1600, a Pocket Wizard, stand, and sync cord.


Feb 13, 2012 at 11:49 PM
aekn
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p.1 #8 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


Thanks all for the continued suggestions!


Feb 14, 2012 at 03:51 AM
alaskalive
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p.1 #9 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


You can save tons of money.. on triggers for your external flash units..
Look
YONGNUO



akfamilyphoto.com 2012


I have 4 of these now! OMG, they work GREAT!!




Feb 14, 2012 at 07:13 AM
alaskalive
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p.1 #10 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


Ravitej wrote:
Used to use two strobes with DEMB flip-its on light stands. Worked extremely well for small and very portable studio like lighting. With the DEMBs basically had 4 lights. Very even predicable lighting. Google DEMB for advice on how to use the products. Joe Demb is a Nikon wedding / portrait shooter and very knowledgable. This set-up would fit into two small bags for easy carry to location. Could use it almost anywhere.

Now use Alien Bee because of the faster cycle times that strobes started to annoy with on long shoots with models moving around. And the AB's cost
...Show more

Can you post a few examples of photos you get with your setup?



Feb 14, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Scott T
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p.1 #11 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


Ravitej wrote:
I have a Lastolite Hilite interior lit background with one AB800 monolight and an acrylic floor. The camera and tripod directly opposite with a ABR800 ring flash with small and large moon units (diffusers). And an AB400 monolight with a shoot-thru umbrella for diffusion to the side. Gives me completely balanced and workable light. Just a little shadow from the AB400.


I second the request to see some sample images, and if it all possible, a picture of the setup. I have similar gear, but have had a hard time doing nice portraits in a small space, the bg has been a particular problem.

I had never seen the hilite before - very cool! thanks for sharing.

Scott



Feb 14, 2012 at 09:03 PM
demb
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p.1 #12 · Studio Lighting Recommendations?


If you are going to do products, you need strobes with modelling lights, so you can preview the highlights and shadows. For small products 3 low powered ones should be plenty. One of the best and most cost effective methods is to bounce your strobes off white surfaces. You probably have all the white surfaces already: a white ceiling, and some white mat board. A few light stands and clamps for your cards pretty much complete the list. One of the most challenging issues is casting the card reflections onto black surfaces so they don't die. You need look no further for an example than the illustrations of the black Yonguo receivers in this thread. Beautiful reflections were cast on the various surfaces to create separation, smooth highlights, a pleasing lighting ratio and drama. With the modelling lights, you see it, shoot it, and move on. Without them. you guess, shoot, guess again & shoot again. Not as much fun.


Feb 14, 2012 at 10:07 PM





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