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09-26-2016, 02:42 PM   #1
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Portraiture

Hi everyone,

I am looking to get into portraiture. Initially, I was thinking to use park spaces, but with the season coming to and end, I think it would be a good idea to have a portable studio, for indoor work. So I've been browsing around on ebay.ca, and found some options that seem like good deals. I'm hoping to get some feedback from some who has experience in this area, as to whether one of these would be a good option for starting out?


1. Photo Studio Photography KIT W 3 Light Bulb Lighting Muslin 3 Backdrop Stand SET | eBay

2. Lusana Photography Studio Lighting Photo Light Lamp Muslin Backdrops Stand KIT | eBay

09-26-2016, 03:04 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by lauravp77 Quote
Hi everyone,

I am looking to get into portraiture. Initially, I was thinking to use park spaces, but with the season coming to and end, I think it would be a good idea to have a portable studio, for indoor work. So I've been browsing around on ebay.ca, and found some options that seem like good deals. I'm hoping to get some feedback from some who has experience in this area, as to whether one of these would be a good option for starting out?


1. Photo Studio Photography KIT W 3 Light Bulb Lighting Muslin 3 Backdrop Stand SET | eBay

2. Lusana Photography Studio Lighting Photo Light Lamp Muslin Backdrops Stand KIT | eBay
Those are both great for throwing away money. Far too weak for any serious work, you'll be using long shutter speeds or high ISO. The modifiers are too small for anything more than a headshot (assuming you want soft light sometimes). You will outgrow this very very fast and wish you didn't spend the money on it.

Seriously, spend a little more and get something that will allow you to work instead of limiting and frustrating you.
09-26-2016, 03:34 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Those are both great for throwing away money. Far too weak for any serious work, you'll be using long shutter speeds or high ISO. The modifiers are too small for anything more than a headshot (assuming you want soft light sometimes). You will outgrow this very very fast and wish you didn't spend the money on it.

Seriously, spend a little more and get something that will allow you to work instead of limiting and frustrating you.

Thank you Enoeske! I am very new to this and am not sure what I needed, so I found those on my preliminary search. if you have any suggestions of what I should be looking at, I'd appreciate it. I'll go hunt around some more on there
09-26-2016, 03:44 PM   #4
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Are you new to lighting?
I would really keep it as simple as possible to start out with, like one strobe and one quality shoot thru/reflecting umbrella and one high quality stand and flash bracket. Oh and some sandbags or an assistant.

Or even simpler and some big reflectors.

09-26-2016, 04:07 PM   #5
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I have done almost all my photography outside in natural light. I have a portrait shoot coming up and it'll be indoors.
09-26-2016, 04:11 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by lauravp77 Quote
I have done almost all my photography outside in natural light. I have a portrait shoot coming up and it'll be indoors.
Oh ok...then forget about reflectors then
My advise still stands about the single shoot thru umbrella though. Unless you can put in a lot of time practicing beforehand with multiple lights.
09-26-2016, 04:38 PM   #7
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Check out a yongnuo yn-560ii flash, cactus v5 triggers, a light stand (around 7-8 ft), umbrella swivel and white shoot through umbrella to start. Use this setup on one side of the subject, facing it or turned away. Consider a 5 in 1 reflector on the other side of subject for fill. Or straight on and above them, with the reflector below for beauty (or "butterfly") lighting.

Why? You are going to have tons more light from this. You can shoot wide open or stopped down. You can freeze motion. Even take it on the go and shoot outside or on location; Its battery powered. You can get very soft light by using it up close. Harder light farther away. Or take off the umbrella and shoot bare bulb.
09-26-2016, 04:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Check out a yongnuo yn-560ii flash, cactus v5 triggers, a light stand (around 7-8 ft), umbrella swivel and white shoot through umbrella to start. Use this setup on one side of the subject, facing it or turned away. Consider a 5 in 1 reflector on the other side of subject for fill. Or straight on and above them, with the reflector below for beauty (or "butterfly") lighting.

Why? You are going to have tons more light from this. You can shoot wide open or stopped down. You can freeze motion. Even take it on the go and shoot outside or on location; Its battery powered. You can get very soft light by using it up close. Harder light farther away. Or take off the umbrella and shoot bare bulb.
And this will work for multiple subjects? My first session is a family portrait shoot.

09-26-2016, 05:10 PM   #9
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I have something like this for a backdrop JTL B-1012, 12'3" Wide Background Support System 5024. I use cloth from the fabric dept. at Wal-Mart and secure it to the backdrop stand with hand clamps. I would emphasize a simple setup to start as someone already has. If you have a good flash and possibly one constant light (also called static), that could be a start. If you want to get a strobe light instead of a constant light, use it along with a flash head, and control them with radio transmitters that could be another option. Maybe one more light or a reflector could be added to either of the combinations I mentioned, depending on what you have now or need to lighten your subject(s) size/area. Pentax flash heads do not require radio triggers/transmitters if you are interested in using all/flashes. I have three AF360FGZ flashes I use. They are very effective when using the wireless flash feature of my Pentax cameras. Radio triggers are handy and dependable, but the wireless Pentax feature is a good option. The newer model of the AF360FGZ, the AF360FGZ II, has a swivel head and is water resistant (WR). The stronger Pentax flash heads are the AF540FGZ and the AF540FGZ II.

Last edited by C_Jones; 09-26-2016 at 05:37 PM.
09-26-2016, 05:14 PM   #10
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These continuous lights are very, very weak, Laura.

You'll be very high ISO as a result, especially with a family as a subject and you have to be at f8 or whatever.
09-26-2016, 05:27 PM   #11
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I am interesting in learning portraiture as well, so i look for ward to seeing your results, and I appreciate the tips here, as well.

Are you interested in renting gear first in order to see what works best for you? That is usually the approach I take before investing in expensive equipment.

Are you doing portraits for a friend, or are you hiring someone to model?
09-26-2016, 06:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
I have something like this for a backdrop JTL B-1012, 12'3" Wide Background Support System 5024. I use cloth from the fabric dept. at Wal-Mart and secure it to the backdrop stand with hand clamps. I would emphasize a simple setup to start as someone already has. If you have a good flash and possibly one constant light (also called static), that could be a start. If you want to get a strobe light instead of a constant light, use it along with a flash head, and control them with radio transmitters that could be another option. Maybe one more light or a reflector could be added to either of the combinations I mentioned, depending on what you have now or need to lighten your subject(s) size/area. Pentax flash heads do not require radio triggers/transmitters if you are interested in using all/flashes. I have three AF360FGZ flashes I use. They are very effective when using the wireless flash feature of my Pentax cameras. Radio triggers are handy and dependable, but the wireless Pentax feature is a good option. The newer model of the AF360FGZ, the AF360FGZ II, has a swivel head and is water resistant (WR). The stronger Pentax flash heads are the AF540FGZ and the AF540FGZ II.

I have had no experience with auxillary flashes. I have only the one built into my K10D.

---------- Post added 09-26-16 at 06:40 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by robgski Quote
I am interesting in learning portraiture as well, so i look for ward to seeing your results, and I appreciate the tips here, as well.

Are you interested in renting gear first in order to see what works best for you? That is usually the approach I take before investing in expensive equipment.

Are you doing portraits for a friend, or are you hiring someone to model?

I am doing portraits for a friends family. I'm hoping to sort out some equipment to buy, rather than rent. That is why I am looking for recommendations from people. I think it's a better investment in the long run, especially if I could find some gently loved equipment even. I still have to figure out how to price/what to price the session. It's primarily a learning experience for me. But I want to be as professional about it as I can manage. I have asked them if they have any 'must have' shots, and what sizes they are looking for and how many of each. Will go Friday to price some local printers.
09-26-2016, 06:54 PM   #13
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I recommend the LumoPro LP180 flashes.
https://www.amazon.com/LumoPro-LP180-Official-Strobist-Flash/dp/B00E0L75FI
They are far better made than Yongnuo and are very consistent.
09-26-2016, 08:14 PM   #14
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This is something I have been wanting to get into also. I am about as far from an expert on lighting that anyone can get. For the most part though, I have been getting hot lights and stands instead of strobes. I have gotten all of my lights used on ebay, craigslist and local brick and mortar photo shops.


I also do have two Promaster D7500 flashes and an old vivitar flash that I can use as a slave. Along with the lights, I have picked up used umbrellas and universal light and umbrella holders at the camera stores too.


If you would need a portable background stand, as above, see about getting used light stands and then for your cross bar, go to your local home improvement store and get some thin walled electrical conduit. I bought two 5 foot conduit pieces that are 3/4 inch, a slip type coupler to put the conduit pieces together, and two 90 degree slip joints to fit over the top of the stands. I am also working on a spacer to help with the placement of the crossbar onto the stands. If the pocket in your background is big enough, you can slip the crossbar through the pocket. Otherwise, just use some cheap plastic spring clamps from Harbor Freight tools to hang the background with.


If you would want or need reflectors, the cheapest and easiest to get and use are foam core white boards from a local art supply store. Foam core is easy to cut to whatever size you need and you can cut it and then put tape on the back side so it is able to be folded for storage.
09-26-2016, 08:49 PM   #15
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Laura,

Since you have not had experience with camera flashes other than the built in flash, and do not have experience with strobe or off camera flash use, you may want to resort to constant lighting as you originally were going to try. That would be simple and would be a direct approach. If you do use constant lighting, and you are doing family size portraits, you will need light to disperse over the size of your group. If you wanted to try the stand I mentioned in my earlier post, and two 400 watt softbox continuous lights for example, that may work well for you giving you enough light and full control of it by positioning it as needed. Other methods may work, but to be simple and easily understand what you are doing per your experience level, the two 400 watt softbox continuous lights or two 400 watt shoot through umbrella continuous lights may take care of your needs by providing you with enough light. The softboxes will give you more control over the light output (direction/scope) than the shoot through (white) umbrellas but umbrellas will sometimes cover more area (spread it out more). I am not exclusively recommending this product, but to give you an idea of what I am referring to as an item, the following is an example of a set of two 400 watt continuous light softboxes in a kit.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009F37I8K/ref=pd_day0_421_23?ie=UTF8&pd_r...886XJ40JX0B3WH

I have continuous lights and flashes, they can be used in different situations alone or combined, so if you learn more about flashes later, you can utilize them with any continuous lighting you may purchase now. So, as I mentioned, two 400 watt continuous lights (with stands), a backdrop holder like the one I mentioned in my previous post, some cloth from the local Wal-Mart fabric center, and some hand clamps to hold the cloth on the backdrop holder may be a convenient set up for you per your present situation.
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