View Full Version : What should I buy???
08-18-2011, 07:53 AM
Hey there everyone,
I am delving into the portrait world as a part time venture and have been getting some work and inquiries. My preffered venue is outdoor shoots, but I have done some indoor work and am considering setting up a studio in my home. I have an album with my portrait work in it so it can be viewed. I need some input on what I should be purchasing. I was on e-bay looking and there is so many different things and I don't know what they are and if the prices are good. It's all a little overwhelming for me. Please help!
08-18-2011, 10:58 PM
Can you list the equipment you already have to include camera gear, lighting gear, software and computer? This would help the group come up with a list of things you should consider adding to your arsenal.
08-19-2011, 09:08 AM
Well, I have the Canon Rebel T2i with the EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS and the EF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM lens, and I did geT Adobe lightroom 3 for editing. I have a pc with windows XP on it (I think). And I have a lot of creativity and interest in photography. That's all I have. I have looked at the "nifty fifty" and am tucking away money for that. I know that I need lighting, but I have no idea what to get.
08-20-2011, 03:14 PM
That's a hard question to answer, for obvious reasons. I can't say what you should do, but I can tell you what I'd do. When I started, I read a ton about the basics of lighting (Strobist.com is a great resource), then I bought some basic gear to teach myself with. I'd recommend doing something similar.
The big things in studio photography are the background and the lighting. Some people like strobe lighting (strobes [plug in] and speedlights/flashes [battery powered]), others like continuous lighting (a.k.a., hot lights). Personally, I prefer strobes, because they are smaller, can be battery powered, and don't generate as much heat as continuous lighting. The down side of strobes is that they must be triggered by the camera when you take the picture. More info on speedlight selection and triggering here (http://paxtonprints.com/forum/entry.php/23-Flash-Lighting-Questions).
If I had to start from scratch again, I'd get two of the cheapest 6 or 8 foot light stands I could find (~$20 each, they hold your lights), a few white and silver umbrellas off ebay (~$7 each, they make the light on the subject more flattering), brackets to attach a flash and umbrella to a stand (~20 each), triggers (set off the strobes), and three used speedlites (~$50 each).
You can go cheap on the light stands and umbrellas, but I would be sure to get a decent quality set of brackets, triggers, and lights. With this setup, you can provide light to both sides of the subject, and light the background by sticking the third flash on the ground or behind the subject.
This would be a bare bones setup, but would let you take good pics inside and outside and figure out what you like so you can later invest in better gear and more expensive modifiers like softboxes and grid spots. I have a pretty complete studio lighting setup, but I still use the first speedlites and lightstands that I bought on a regular basis. I'm sure others will recommend different setups, this is how I would do it if I were just starting. Good luck!
08-21-2011, 09:17 PM
Nifty fifty as a great lens- portraiture is traditionally better with large aperture lenses between 80-120mm. The 50mm on a t2i crop sensor is about 80mm, and f1.8 is nice for portraits. Normally 3 point lighting is best (google it for portraiture) in a studio, and depending on your circumstance or desired "look" you normally want to soften the light a LOT (hence umbrellas and boxes)-
One thing i would say is; if you don't know much of this, then it could be suggested that you haven't spent long enough in photography to warrant spending a lot- not that I'm saying you're bad, I'm merely saying ive seen it time and time again where people have flash ideas about their photography and then lose lots of money because they realize they actually only like landscapes or something. Another example would be the amount of people who buy every lens under the sun. Just saying :)
08-23-2011, 09:16 PM
This is a really hard question to answer. I'm still saving up for this stuff so I guess I can tell you what I'm doing and let you go from there.
I like what has been offered already, but a lot of this depends on you and what you're wanting out of your equipment. Quality light brackets, modifiers (softbox, umbrella and other such items) and lighting is essential. Don't spring for the cheapest out there because later you'll be wondering why you paid $30 for triggers when you could've spent $50 and had something that actually fired everytime you pressed the trigger. I'm not saying there aren't cheaper alternatives that are the way to go, but on a lot of items you might feel that you wasted a little bit of money.
I think that starting with a single flash is a smart choice because you can do a lot with that single flash, a decent softbox and a decent quality trigger and then add a reflector to the mix and you've got some more fill light! Then you start thinking "wow, imagine what I could do with a second flash!" and build from there. I've actually just been using a single flash and it's amazing what you can do when you combine that with some good quality sunlight! After you buy your first off camera lighting rig you'll be asking yourself why you didn't do this earlier.
If you are wanting some cheap brands, checkout cowboy studio for some of their lighting kits online. They've got some nice softboxes and umbrellas with stands and such. For a decent powered speedlight that you can mess with the power quite a bit on, check out the Vivitar 285HV, there's tons of people raving about these. For triggering the flash a lot of people are talking about the new Yongnuo RF-603 being good devices.
Hope that helps, I may have rambled a little from sleep deprivation lol
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