What Lighting Set up to Buy?

Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
383
Location
Taos, New Mexico
Ok I've been playing with the idea of doing some portrait stuff. I've done some research on lighting equipment and whew!!
I'm interested in everyone's opinion on the different levels of equipment out there. what is a good starter set up?
I'm looking at 3 strobe/flash lights, softboxes for all three, maybe one being a taller overhead, with of course a backdrop.
Now I'm not wanting cheap, but being a starter set up, if this is something that just isn't my cup o tea, I'd like to know I didn't make a mistake mortgaging a lighting kit that is going to collect dust!

Thanks!
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
253
Location
Mpls, Mn
i have a pair of adorama flashpoint monolights and they work great for what i do. the 150w/s are only $99.99 each and when you buy the softbox kit its only $149.99 that includes a fairly large softbox and light stand. Should you move onto location photography, they also sell portable battery packs for easy onlocation shooting. they have a wide range of power of monolight ranging from 150w/s to 1200w/s.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
4,793
Location
Nutley, New Jersey
Alien bee 1600 and their beauty dish. Add a soft box reflector, cybersyncs and vagabond mini. Use a student discount and should be under your budget or right about at it. Also don't forget a reflector. Add a second alien bee down the line and you will be set. Very solid lights.
 
Joined
May 20, 2005
Messages
9,393
Location
Hazlet Township, NJ USA
I just purchased these I know they are not in your budget range but the Elinchrom BX-Ri 500 kit is a high quality product and built to last. They also have Skyport Radio Slave Transmitter built it, with them you can control the light settings right from the camera, these are like Pocket Wizards. I also have 2 Alien Bee 400 which are nice for the price but no where near the level of the Elinchrom. I paid $1,330 for the kit which is pretty close to what you'll be paying if you consider 2 Alien Bee 400, two light stands, two soft box, three Pocket Wizards, two speed rings and two cases which I did! I wish I knew about the Elinchrom's before spending my money on all that stuff. :(

Also see this You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACJKbhe-NQ8&playnext=1&list=PLC3A55B4275E261A8
 
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Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
383
Location
Taos, New Mexico
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
Dom, Tyler and Anthony
Thanks for the input, this is what I was looking for. I'll look into all these options!
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
605
Location
Atlanta
Alien bee 1600 and their beauty dish. Add a soft box reflector, cybersyncs and vagabond mini. Use a student discount and should be under your budget or right about at it. Also don't forget a reflector. Add a second alien bee down the line and you will be set. Very solid lights.
Agreed, I did something similar.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
682
Location
Colorado, USA
Hi Manuel,
I was in the same position a few years ago, and got a really good deal on a used 3-light Novatron set-up. I only paid $500-ish for it, so I really can't complain. I still have it, but don't use it nearly as much as I thought I would.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I'd have used the same funds for more of a "strobist"-style kit; 2 or 3 speed-lights, cheap-o radio triggers, a couple stands and umbrellas, and put together some DIY reflectors, snoots, etc...
In the studio, there's very few jobs I can't get done with my Strobist gear. Actually, there's some jobs I can ONLY do with speed-lights because I can't crank down the power enough on my Novatron pack.
The real beauty, though, is that I rarely have the urge to shoot all cooped up in a studio anymore. Location, location, location.
So, just to play the Devil's advocate, think about whether a multiple speed-light kit would suit your needs. If they will, you might find studio monolights might actually limit your options...
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
383
Location
Taos, New Mexico
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
Hi Manuel,
I was in the same position a few years ago, and got a really good deal on a used 3-light Novatron set-up. I only paid $500-ish for it, so I really can't complain. I still have it, but don't use it nearly as much as I thought I would.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I'd have used the same funds for more of a "strobist"-style kit; 2 or 3 speed-lights, cheap-o radio triggers, a couple stands and umbrellas, and put together some DIY reflectors, snoots, etc...
In the studio, there's very few jobs I can't get done with my Strobist gear. Actually, there's some jobs I can ONLY do with speed-lights because I can't crank down the power enough on my Novatron pack.
The real beauty, though, is that I rarely have the urge to shoot all cooped up in a studio anymore. Location, location, location.
So, just to play the Devil's advocate, think about whether a multiple speed-light kit would suit your needs. If they will, you might find studio monolights might actually limit your options...

Tom,
Hmmm food for thought here.
Thanks!
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
4,612
Location
Redwood City, CA
Twenty-five years ago I faced the same dilemma. I was also dating a portrait/baby photographer who shot with Dynalites, so I went with a 1000ws Dynalite kit with two heads, bought a third head and six 13 foot Bogens stands (for lights, reflectors and backdrops), reflectors, softboxes and cases for everything. Initially my friend used my kit for field work (so she didn't have to take down her studio) and I used it for my own portrait work and nudes. I never felt there was anything I couldn't tackle, it is versatile, powerful and has lasted without failure for all twenty-five years. Not cheap (I spent around $3K), but it certainly proved a good investment. I believe most studios use this kind of equipment for good reasons.
 

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