What Lighting Set up to Buy?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by mksjjs, May 26, 2011.

  1. mksjjs


    Dec 29, 2008
    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!

  2. gekhang


    Sep 6, 2009
    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.
  3. milano


    Dec 23, 2008
    Corona, CA
    What is your budget?
  4. mksjjs


    Dec 29, 2008
    Taos, New Mexico
    From what i've researched, would i be too low at say $500-$700
  5. 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.
  6. steezyt


    Jan 25, 2011
    ^^ I agree with Dom, Ive used alienbees quite a bit, they are BA lights.
  7. 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
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2011
  8. mksjjs


    Dec 29, 2008
    Taos, New Mexico
    Dom, Tyler and Anthony
    Thanks for the input, this is what I was looking for. I'll look into all these options!
  9. 1shotbob


    May 21, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
  10. I recently purchased some Paul Buff Einstein strobes along with some of the Buff accessories (softboxes). I've been very pleased with my purchase so far.

  11. flatech


    Jul 11, 2009
    Agreed, I did something similar.
  12. Manuel, Let's us know what you end up with. Also, here's a review of my setup by Scott Kelby the link
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2011
  13. TetonTom


    Aug 28, 2008
    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...
  14. mksjjs


    Dec 29, 2008
    Taos, New Mexico

    It may be a bit longer than I expected, but I'll let you know! With pics. :wink:
  15. mksjjs


    Dec 29, 2008
    Taos, New Mexico

    Hmmm food for thought here.
  16. 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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