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Recommendations for a lighting noob...
  
 
PeteT
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


So I've been thinking about getting some portrait experience under my belt to better round out my current concert work... I've really never tried to add off camera flash but it seems like a lot of fun.

At the beginner level, and also to stay portable, say speedlights + umbrellas and stands... and of course radio triggers what do you think will offer the most bang for the buck?

I'm a Nikon shooter, lighting wise I have a sb900... Have some fluorescent video lighting, but the control is absolutely worthless - major waste of money!

The Yonguno stuff any good? Anything special about picking umbrellas?

Any good books on the subject?



Oct 09, 2013 at 05:47 PM
cam2v33
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


Same as you I started into portraits and wanted flexibitily and low cost for off camera flash. I purchased the YN560 II all manual flash and the RF603Ns and they are great. I wish I would have bought better light stands, mine are from cowboy studio, they seem to fall over in just a little bit of wind. All together I think a little over $325. 3 YN560II, 2 Sets YN RF603Ns, 3 7ft stands, 2 33 in umbrellas, 2 42 in shoot through umbrellas.

The YN560 II have survived multiple sessions with 2-5 year olds hitting my gear watching it hit the deck. It's really interesting to hear what the parents say when it happens. Lots of offers to buy me new gear and apologies. They all still work.

FYI Yongnuo has come out with YN560 III that have the radio rcvr in the flash unit. Really nice if you are going to buy new. But now I'm looking at Paul C Buff b/c they are just better than off camera flash. More power!

This setup can do a lot for the money for small portrait sessions.



Oct 09, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


PeteT wrote:
Any good books on the subject?


http://strobist.blogspot.co.uk/2006/03/lighting-101.html



Oct 09, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


If I were you, I'd work on perfecting my technique with the one speed light you have. Don't know what your camera is, but I presume you can fire the SB900 with your on-board pop-up flash. You also need to determine if you want to start with a TTL philosophy, or manual. Mark L above recommends Strobist; David Hobby is a manual guy, and you can't go wrong with that, particularly as a foundation for learning. If you go manual, you can't go wrong with Pocket Wizard Plus X triggers, inexpensive and straightforward, but tough as nails, too. As for modifiers, I'd get a couple of umbrellas, including a small, convertible folding umbrella (e.g. Westcott), a larger 60" umbrella for groups, and one soft box to start, maybe a Westcott 28" or 50" Apollo. You might also check out the Lastolite 8-in-1 umbrella kit, too. Get a couple of good stands, including a C stand "complete" (with a Hollywood arm) for the larger umbrella or soft box. Master these, and you're good to go.


Oct 09, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


Worth noting that through strobist is somewhat of an e-bible for learning lighting off camera, lighting 101 is from 2006 and the gear options have moved on.


Oct 09, 2013 at 10:15 PM
PeteT
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


Steve Wylie wrote:
Don't know what your camera is, but I presume you can fire the SB900 with your on-board pop-up flash.


I shoot Nikon d300 & d700 have a decent set of glass as I shoot concerts at the pro level. Glass wise I'm considering an 85/f1.4 for this if I get hooked and if it drums up business.

Either commercial head shots or concert meet & greets. That said whatever I do has to be ultra portable.



Oct 10, 2013 at 12:44 AM
 

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Steve Wylie
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


Okay, you can certainly trigger an SB900 with the popup flash on your camera. And given your expertise, it sounds like this won't be a big stretch for you. However, I might question the need for an 85 f/1.4 for commercial head shots or concert meet and greets. If you're going to invest in that glass, then you're going to want to use it at 1.4 or 2.0, or else why bother, right? And that depth of field is probably too thin for commercial headshots, and certainly for quick meet and greets. I rarely go faster than f/4.0 for headshots because I want to ensure that the entire head is in focus (for a commercial job; for seniors or personal work, maybe not). Just my 2 cents; take it for what it's worth.


Oct 10, 2013 at 04:00 AM
PeteT
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


Steve Wylie wrote:
However, I might question the need for an 85 f/1.4 for commercial head shots or concert meet and greets. If you're going to invest in that glass, then you're going to want to use it at 1.4 or 2.0, or else why bother, right? And that depth of field is probably too thin for commercial headshots, and certainly for quick meet and greets. I rarely go faster than f/4.0 for headshots because I want to ensure that the entire head is in focus (for a commercial job; for seniors or personal work, maybe not). Just my 2 cents; take
...Show more

Good point, sir - sounds like my 24-70/2.8 should be fine for meet & greets... But I have to say, I'd have no issue making investment around those as they actually create a lot of referral & print business. I made close to a grand of unexpected cash on 30 minutes shooting with Rick Springfield and picked up a job with John Oates from Hall & Oates after it.

I'd really rather not trigger flash optically. So many people with point and shoots are going to try to sneak in that the flash would be going like crazy.



Oct 10, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


I'd really rather not trigger flash optically. So many people with point and shoots are going to try to sneak in that the flash would be going like crazy.

Good point, so radios are the way to go. Get yourself some Pocket Wizards and set them both (transmitter and receiver) to a high numbered channel (that won't be likely repeated by someone else's Pocket Wizard) and you're in business.



Oct 10, 2013 at 05:50 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


PeteT wrote:
...I'd really rather not trigger flash optically. So many people with point and shoots are going to try to sneak in that the flash would be going like crazy.


The camera-specific optical triggering is done with a complicated coded signal, and so premature firing from others' flashes isn't really an issue. It's not like the old days with simple "peanut" slaves. The new systems also allow for ETTL/iTTL metering, High Speed Sync/FP Sync, etc.

That said, radio is more reliable in most cases, so you just need to decide if you want to go with simple trigger only radios or the more expensive ETTL/iTTL-capable radios.

Another option, of course, is the use of an off-camera shoe cord. These allow arms-length (or greater) space from the camera to the flash, but in every other way they operate as though the flash were mounted in the camera's hot shoe. This can be an ideal set-up for "on the move" shooting at concerts, events, and the like.



Oct 10, 2013 at 09:08 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


PeteT wrote:
...Any good books on the subject?


The Bible of flash as far as I'm concerned:

http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X

The book is directed at Canon Speedlites rather than Nikon Speedlights, so the technical specifics differ, but the general principles apply to all, and only a little "translation" is needed to convert from one system to the other.



Oct 10, 2013 at 09:13 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Recommendations for a lighting noob...


PeteT wrote:
...Any good books on the subject?


I almost forgot that Neil van Niekerk's books are -- when getting into gear specifics -- Nikon-directed, although equally as good as The Speedliter's Handbook for users of any system:

http://www.amazon.com/On-Camera-Techniques-Digital-Portrait-Photography/dp/1584282584

http://www.amazon.com/Off-Camera-Flash-Techniques-Digital-Photographers/dp/1608952789



Oct 12, 2013 at 06:26 PM





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