suggestions wanted for lighting

skyeyes70skyeyes70 Posts: 66Member
edited February 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Being new to DSLR photography and Lightroom, I'm trying to identify the type of photography I will most likely be doing. As you can take a quick look at some of my photo, you will see that portrait work is where I'm leaning. Right now, I'm planning on getting the SB-700 and I'm trying to figure out what else I need to improve my pictures. If you will note that in the picture of my daughter, the window is on her left and her right eye is too dark. I could have her angle more toward the window but then I end up getting the bedroom door in the shot.

I'm looking for ideas for a simple (and affordable) light set up (or wonder if the speedlight will fix the problem). I'm sure this is a newbie question that I already know the answer to, but...is the stuff the sale on Amazon (Cowboy Studio, etc) pretty much junk? I want to keep my cost low and because I'm in a rental house I don't want to invest in gear for a full home studio. I've got so much to learn as it is so the world of lighting equipment is on my list but what do I even start with?

So...talking lighting with me guys!
Thanks!
learning DSLR with D7100 18-105mm and 35mm F/1.8. I also love my little Nikon Coolpix AW100!
flickr.com/photos/115637741@N02/
imagesbypam.tumblr.com/ and driveby-shooting.tumblr.com/

Comments

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Budget?

    In lighting, the lights are one element, the light modifiers the other….e.g., I have about 7 speedlights, 12 or more stands….lots of cardboard, drapes, backgrounds, and duct tape…..

    However, for the vast majority of portraits can be done with one speed light and reflectors. I might suggest a white umbrella, from a discount store, bounce the speed light into this, and place it about four feet off the nose of the subject, about two feet above … You do have to have the stands to hold all this stuff up, however.

    There are many speedlights and one can spend as much as you want. While I have no experience with this, it is typical of a low cost set up
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/250309-REG/Smith_Victor_401512_FL_110_2_Light_Attache.html

    or
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/429686-REG/Impact_VSD300_3KII_VSD300_Three_Monolight_Portrait.html

    or, for more bucks, I like this one
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906651-REG/elinchrom_el_20852kit_d_lite_rx_4_400w.html

    Give us a budget...
    Msmoto, mod
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,307Member
    edited February 2014
    Here's a page of links to some light reading you may find interesting -
    http://neilvn.com/tangents/index/flash-photography/

    OK. Maybe "some" "light" reading was a little misleading. Think of this as a smorgasbord. Try a few things. If they're easily digestible, enjoy them now. If the flavors are heavier or more complex, they may require more time, or just leave them for later. This may well be an extended learning process. Pick a spot and start somewhere. Oh, and remember that this flash advice is coming from a flash novice too.
    Post edited by dissent on
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    I'd also very much recommend reading David "strobist" Hobby's blog, starting with this Lighting 101 series of articles:

    http://strobist.blogspot.ca/2006/03/lighting-101.html
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited February 2014
    I'm planning on getting the SB-700 Thanks!
    Even with a simple diffuser fitted to the flash head, you will probably find the lighting too harsh

    To soften a light you need to make the light source as large as possible

    A cheap way to do this is, using the built in flash as a Master and the sb 700 as a remote

    Buy a fairly large plain white brolly diffuser and mount it on a stand

    Using a bracket, also mount the SB 700 on the stand and point the flash through to brolly

    Start off with brolly fairly close to the subject, at about 30 to 45 degrees

    From there you can add more flashes, diffusers and reflectors, till the cows come home

    So as your model does not get bored, test the lighting on a "head sized" vase

    or better still a manikins head


    but...is the stuff the sale on Amazon (Cowboy Studio, etc) pretty much junk -


    Apart from the silly little diffuses that attach directly to flash head. No

    The 57 " Soft White Shoot Through Photo Studio Umbrella, WHITE UMB and the

    Premium 12' Heavy Duty Spring Cushioned Video Studio Light Stand Black - 806D . look fine

    They may not stand up to the rough and tumble of commercial use but should be OK for home use

    Have fun




    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,427Moderator
    The easiest and cheapest way to get nice light given that you have a window, is to buy and use a reflector to fill the dark side. Exact positioning will be dependant on the look you want. No problems learning to use CLS, no expense and no problems with mixed colour temperature light on the subject.
    Always learning.
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited February 2014
    Your most inexpensive option is probably adding a reflector or white foam-core board to the other side of your daughter thus reflecting some of that light back toward her. Being creative is a big plus here. By that I mean if you're working alone and without someone to hold the reflector, you could rig up a tall stand of some sort and clamp the reflector/foam-core onto the stand so that it's angled back to her.

    If this particular space will be your "go-to" spot for taking her portraits you might consider building what's called a V-Flat. If you're not familiar you can simply Google the term v-flat and photography and come up with ideas. This can be a DIY project by buying 2 large foam-core like insulation panels from a home supply store and taping them together thus forming a large V. It will stand on its own and when properly positioned will reflect light back toward her.

    Many people who're new to flash photography tend to blast so much light at the subject that it takes all shadows away and that ruins the mood of the image.... and I do like the mood of the image you've posted. If you get the DB-700 I'd suggest going ahead and getting a shoot thru umbrella (at least 43") to soften the light. And those are cheap.

    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • skyeyes70skyeyes70 Posts: 66Member
    edited February 2014
    Budget --- what's that? LOL
    Starter budget = spending enough to not get junk that I will have no use for or will tear up in a year's time.
    Let's see, after getting the speedlight, I'm hoping to get something that will serve it's purpose for less that $200 just to enough to get some improvement with that darker eye.
    Post edited by skyeyes70 on
    learning DSLR with D7100 18-105mm and 35mm F/1.8. I also love my little Nikon Coolpix AW100!
    flickr.com/photos/115637741@N02/
    imagesbypam.tumblr.com/ and driveby-shooting.tumblr.com/
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I bought some smith victor lights with a lightbox many years ago when ritz was still big. I kinda liked the results but make sure you set your white balance for the light. You may want to add that to the budget a 3 set of cards for white balance for under 10 bucks at adorama or bnh.

    for ligh,t what people already suggested a reflector might be the cheapest soulution.
    I bought some white foam board to make a DIY calib tool (well my wife did) a test shot imporoved the light with window light. It was bought at Hobby Lobby.

    check ebay for a sb-800 and add an umbrella as another option.

    the neilvn and strobist blogs are great. read as much as you can.
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    +1 on reading Neil Van Niekirk's Tangents blog. If I didn't already have the Lastolite Ezy-Box Hotshoe Softbox I'd love to try the Westcott Rapid Box - 26" Octa Softbox to get round catch lights in the eyes.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    edited February 2014
    I am looking to buy something portable enough to take outdoors:

    This is the reflector kit on my B&H wishlist:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/501209-REG/Westcott_3030_Illuminator_Reflector_Kit_6_in_1.html

    And these are the stands and umbrellas. I will buy a second SB-910 and pop them into these:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/897249-REG/Westcott_2028_Halo_Apollo_Speedlite.html

    And Pitchblack mentioned the IceLight. He sold me on the idea in an earlier post, so this is on my list too:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/839342-REG/Westcott_5500_LED_Ice_Light.html

    which I can attach to the reflector stand using:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/546375-REG/Manfrotto_026_026_Swivel_Umbrella_Adapter.html

    or to my tripod.

    So all in I am around $1,500, but some of these in isolation may work. The stand and umbrella set is a set of two, so if you just buy one, you should be under budget.

    I will try this setup using the CLS and exploit that system as much as possible. I will then likely end up investing in three:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/605718-REG/PocketWizard_801_153_FlexTT5_Transceiver_Radio_Slave.html

    and one:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/757432-REG/PocketWizard_804_709_AC3_ZoneController_for_Nikon.html

    which will be another $700, but I will exhaust the possibilities of CLS before I do that.
    Post edited by WestEndBoy on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    A $200 budget will not do much. But, again, I would suggest you purchase an inexpensive white umbrella, some inexpensive stand to hold it…fashion a bracket to hold the flash head, shooting into the umbrella, and as suggested if the flash will trigger remotely use the on camera flash to trigger. Make certain to diffuse or bounce the on camera flash. The rest you cain do with white cardboard as light reflectors, modifiers.
    Msmoto, mod
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Lighting and what to spend... I read one photographer who said, "If I was to do it all over again, I would have spent my money on lighting gear first, lenses second, and camera body last." I would agree.

    Grip stuff (umbrella holders, clamps, hot-shoe mounts, Flash mounts, Superclamps, arms) spend the $$ and get Manfrotto, Kupo, or other professional studio/stage lighting companies. They are not cheap but the cheaper stuff, is a waste of money and is pure garbage. These things will last well beyond any of our lives and they are a long term investment. My experience is buy what you want - don't cut yourself short and compromise you will always be sorry later for it. Gaffer's tape - yeah it is a bit expensive, but worth every penny. Stick with the 3/4" or 1" size.

    Reflectors, Umbrellas, soft boxes and the like go cheap. They will tear, break, get spots on and should be looked at as disposable. First $50 umbrella you watch blow off into a tree or a pond and you will say "I should have listened to that guy." ;)

    Light stands: Have two good ones (Manfrotto, Westcott, etc) that go at least 8 ft and are air cushioned and expand with cheaper one's when you need them. If you go for a boom stand/arm for flashes, suck it up and spend the $$$. Cheap ones suck and don't even hold a single flash well. I have a Impact Multiboom which is cheap and is very bulky but it holds reflectors, light backgrounds, and speedlights well enough. Impact gear is cheap and about the only "middle" grade that is out there. If you are on a budget or buying stuff you won't use often it is good to look at them.

    Backgrounds: Get a cheap White/Black one that is at least 7ft wide and 8ft high and backgrounds are 15ft-20ft long for full length shots.

    Radio transmitters/receivers: Use one's that allow HSS (High speed sync). PocketWizards are great, but to expensive IMHO. I use Phottix Odins and Stratto II units - cheaper and work very well.

    On flash modifiers: A grid (Opteka OSG14 1/4" Universal Honeycomb Speed Grid), Gary Fong collapsible Lightsphere, and a set of color correction gels. That Lightsphere has it's limitations but I have to say it has got me out of many tricky situations for me. It's so small and unbreakable that it is just a no-brainer. If you use on camera flash, I think it is a must have.


    What you want to spend and what on, is really dependent on how far you want to go into lighting and photography. You can do a ton of work with one flash, a stand, umbrella and a 40" reflector, and a set of color balance gels. Add a grid and lightsphere to that, and you just add even more. What skyeyes70 opened with about his daughter and too dark of a side of the face could really be fixed with just a white piece of poster board angled on a chair. $2.00 at walmart and done. I have used an old white undershirt on a piece of cardboard to do the same thing. When I try new things, that is what I do, use t-shirts, note cards, cardboard, tape and if I find something I like, and there is a "finished" product out there I will get it. If you are not making money at it, I would say stick with what you can buy from Walmart. It is amazing what you can find in that store.

    WestEndBoy posted a bunch a nice stuff. I often look at Wescott and Lastolite and then go to find the off brand equivalent. I found the similar enough stuff on ebay and amazon for 1/10th the price and it works just as good. The secret photographers don't want to tell you is that with a stack of penny note cards, some white & black poster board, an old white t-shirt and a bag of rubber bands, you can do amazing things with. All this other stuff you buy that is shiny is for the client to make them believe in you, not the image. ;)

    Lighting rumors, David Hobby's site, and a few others really do have some great tutorials and "how to" get various shots.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    Lighting and what to spend... I read one photographer who said, "If I was to do it all over again, I would have spent my money on lighting gear first, lenses second, and camera body last." I would agree.

    .
    Yes if you setting up professional studio
    Good stands lights and soft boxes will last for years
    But the OP is not a professional, he is just starting
    My philosophy, if you cant afford the best get the cheapest , then when you have the money, bin it and get the best


  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Lighting and what to spend... I read one photographer who said, "If I was to do it all over again, I would have spent my money on lighting gear first, lenses second, and camera body last." I would agree.

    .
    Yes if you setting up professional studio
    Good stands lights and soft boxes will last for years
    But the OP is not a professional, he is just starting
    My philosophy, if you cant afford the best get the cheapest , then when you have the money, bin it and get the best


    There is a lot of wisdom here. Like saying, "Unless it is the best, it is disposable."
  • skyeyes70skyeyes70 Posts: 66Member
    edited February 2014
    Once again guys, you provide me with some great advise and some great ways to spend my money :)
    Post edited by skyeyes70 on
    learning DSLR with D7100 18-105mm and 35mm F/1.8. I also love my little Nikon Coolpix AW100!
    flickr.com/photos/115637741@N02/
    imagesbypam.tumblr.com/ and driveby-shooting.tumblr.com/
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,307Member
    edited February 2014
    Post edited by dissent on
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    what about a diy for a light saber. I'll probably challenge my mcGyver father in law for this build
    http://www.diyphotography.net/bulid-diy-saberstrip/
  • ThomasHortonThomasHorton Posts: 323Member
    "Unless it is the best, it is disposable."
    I mentioned that to my Girl Friend and I ended up sleeping on the couch. :(

    Gear: Camera obscura with an optical device which transmits and refracts light.
  • leopatrickleopatrick Posts: 1Member
    The backdrops, lighting methods and light sources are the key to get amazing image results. I have purchased the backdrops kits, lighting kits, LED lights from backdropsouce.co.uk.
    http://www.backdropsource.co.uk/products.asp?mcid=17&mcdesc=lighting

    Nice seller and high standard products at affordable price.
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