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12-08-2011, 04:41 AM   #1
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Studio photography on the budget

I'm not a beginner to photography but I want to learn to do studio photography. Since money is an issue for me and I probably would spend like $200. What items I should have for studio lightning? I was thinking of having an umbrella but not sure which is better - shoot through or reflective ones. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.

12-08-2011, 05:03 AM   #2
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Get a shoot through umbrella, a lighting stand, a Yongnuo YN560 flash unit and some cactus triggers, though you might be able to manage just using the optical slave in the YN560 if you're careful. If that all comes to less than $100, get two of each.

I bought a reflective and a shoot through for portraiture and studio work but I find the reflective is a bit overpowering and harsh, plus you have to reverse it, with the shoot through you can get it right up to the subject (as long as it's out of frame) so you don't lose nearly as much light.

I can't recommend the YN560 enough, I used it a lot before I got my AF540FGZ and it taught me a lot about flash lighting, it's completely manual but incredible value considering it's power, recycle times, optical slave, rotating head, built in wide angle adaptor and bounce card and the super easy interface.
12-08-2011, 07:57 AM   #3
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I have good experience using two AF500FTZ units. They are also powerful enough, they come by cheap these days and the optical slave capability is already built in. I agree with the stands and unbrellas.
12-08-2011, 09:58 PM   #4
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If you can afford it, I'd recommend a monolight with a modeling lamp. The modeling lamp allows you to visualize the effect of the flash, and makes things a bit easier. In my experience, since I have lights with low-wattage modeling lamps, I need to keep the studio lighting somewhat dim to really get the effects of the modeling light. Get a good stand - it'll last forever.
You can stretch your budget by buying a used light - and start with one light, an umbrella (I tend to prefer bounce, but I seem to be in the minority here), the stand, and some reflectors - which can double as scrims. Your budget of $200 is a bit tight for a monolight, but I'm using the original White Lightnings and know they can be had for about $100 or less, and are built like tanks. A bit hard to find accessories for, though. I suggest you avoid the inexpensive, imported monolights on ebay.
A lot of people have good results with conventional flash units - as mentioned above - and they ARE less expensive than most monolights. But personally I found it SO much easier to get control with the monolights. Of course, your mileage may vary.

12-11-2011, 02:01 PM   #5
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My suggestion IS to look at ebay and craigs list, but look for brand names you know and are some what local to your area.

Example, Smith Victor Q60 lamp, $20 from ebay.

Example, Smith Victor A80 lamps, total of 2 plus SV Raven stands (one needs a few screws), $20 from craigs list.

Total of 3 hot lights and 2 stands that retail for around $300, bought for $40.

None of the lamps are flashes but for the price, I felt it was worth it to buy. (Now if I can just get some body to pose so I can practice doing portraits )

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