Advice on lighting setup

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  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Power, either 200 ws or 400 ws head units should be fine. And, it is about how much one wants to spend. One area I decided to spend some money in was the light stands. While the light kits usually come with stands, I also purchased some, much like these Impact from B & H.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/253065-REG/Impact_LS_13HAB_Air_Cushioned_Heavy_Duty.html

    The advantage of being able to get up 13 feet tall is to add to one;s choices....mmm..maybe this needs to be on the thread about equipment limiting creativity. But, good light stands in the studio setting are essential.

    Another issue related to power... how many head units? IMO if one has four, this is a starting point, if one is doing this for profit. An example, if shooting a wedding, having redundancy is the pros best friend. SO, four light units, six or more is better.
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2015
    I have to agree with Msmoto
    Good stands are an excellent investment
    Two heads are not enough
    As a minimum you need
    A main (or modeling light)
    A fill light
    A back light or (high light) this is often on a boom
    Flash head do fail. If you a professional, at least one spare is essential
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    I am only doing this as a hobby. I plan on using it in my living room or a similar setting. I can get about 4x4 meters of free space to work on.

    I plan on getting a good two light set to start out with - I will have to use a reflector as my third light :-)

    As for power: I need to figure out just how much I need - probably not much. I think once I have a good kit I can add more lights and more power as I go.

    Again thanks for all the input
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2015
    henrik1963 sorry i was look at the Op
    with only 4 x 4 meters 2 x 200 w should be fine
    you may find a reflector could act the fill light, allowing you to creative, with your second light as a back light
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    Totally! Six heads minimum! Plus, just in case, a spare for each head, making it twelve.

    You can't be serious. Two is a good start, in fact, you can already do a lot of stuff with only one head. (Which you might only appreciate if you're using only one light because you want to, and not because you have only one available.)

    BTW: If you have an SB-910, you can use that, too. Just put it in manual mode, put it on the wireless receiver, and it will trigger the other studio flashes (they are synced with photo cells, you always need to trigger only one of the lights). It can be used for the background or even for hard striplight/crosslight.

    You can do TONS of stuff with three lights in portraiture, seriously. Don't worry.
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    Thank you for all your feedback and good advice. I ended up with a Elinchrom RX One twin head set with two soft boxes and one umbrella. The first tests show that even at half power I have plenty of light in my living room. Everything is plug and play - very easy to set up.

    It is very different to work with studio flashes compared to speed lights - much better.

    Now I will put one light to a side and start experimenting with flat light, side light and so on - just to get a feel. When I get an idea of how light works on different people I will add more light.

    If I get bitten by the bug I will add a 200/250 or a 400 light.

    But for now I am up and running with two lights for the price of one SB910.

    All the best
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    @henrik1963: Elinchrom is a really good choice, congratulations and welcome to the "real" lighting world, it's a huge playground with endless possibilities and expressions to discover. It's a little ironic, but from artificial light, you'll learn light in the best way you can. Soon you'll be sitting places and suddenly understand why a photo would look horrible although the situation is beautiful or vice versa. For me, THAT is what photography is about.

    100 Ws is indeed rather on the low level when used with normal softboxes, but absolutely ok for direct light modifiers such as standard reflector and beauty dish, as well as the portalite softboxes, which only have one diffusor, right?

    When you find the time, could you do me a favor? Could you measure the GN value of one of those flashes with a Portalite box mounted? Meaning: Put a flash on a stand, have it face to a wall perpendicularly, make sure the distance between the front diffusor of the softbox and the wall is exactly 100 cm, put it on full power and measure the f-stop value with your light meter in the center of the light spot on the wall. Thanks!
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    One more thing, @henrik1963: You might want to reserve some time every day to watch some of all those tutorial videos online on how to achieve a certain look. Some of them are really good and can really help to "understand" lighting setups faster than if you have to go through it all on your own.

    One thing though, you will have to learn by doing: Which light goes better with which face. If you can "afford" it with your models, do try multiple setups with each model and you'll quickly notice what I mean (one face will look fat in a certain set-up where another won't etc.).
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    edited January 2015
    @FlowtographyBerlin: Did the setup as you wanted - All 4 corners 100cm from wall (Delta X less than 1cm). Set flash meter to ISO 100 and shutter speed to 1/160 and got a F-Value of 12.7. Soft box is a Portalite 66x66cm. Flash head is a RX One. Flash meter is a Sekonic L478D.

    I hope I did it the way you wanted :-)

    BTW: I am on youtube every day trying to get ideas for my own tests. It is nice to read about something but nicer to try it. Now I only need a willing subject to go on with my testing. I have no regrets so far.

    Only downside to watching youtube videos: I have to combat GAS :-) I will try to stay focused on the tests :-)
    Post edited by henrik1963 on
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    @Henrik1963:

    f-Value of 12.7? Are you sure? The numbers before the point should be something out of the f-numbers, such as 8, 11, 16, 22 etc. (The number after the point is tenth f-stops.)

    Maybe someone else can confirm this for you, but I've been there: When you watch all those videos and see people using Briese and Broncolor Focus lightformers, you start thinking that you need something like that, too, and you start looking for subsitutes, see the Tera-D things and think that's gonna make a difference. I've used all of those (rented, of course) and can tell you: The difference is there, of course, but it's something that is more apparent to you (and photographers) than to anyone else. There's really only two light formers that are so good that I've always returned to them when in doubt: An average-sized softbox and the beauty dish.

    It's just like with the camera: The image is 90% know-how (i.e. HOW you light the subject) and only 10% gear.

    Just look at the BTS shot of that couple by @msmoto: She's using your light formers, against the wall. No Broncolor Focus, no 10 x 10 Feet diffusion panel. And the light is simply beautiful.

    If you want to save for just one light former, get the Deep Octa (70 or 100), especially given that you have real Elinchrom lights and can use the deflector because you have the centered umbrella holder. It's super-versatile, you can use it as a soft box, a glamour light or a beauty dish.

    If you want to save on accessories, you might want to save for a nice boom stand, "real" standard reflectors (the included ones are not so cool), grids, barn doors, an extra stand with a reflector holder is handy, too.

    And, in the studio setting) the best value is made up by all those little accessories, such as clamps, brackets etc.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Well done, IMO. I have found Elinchrom works well......as is in evidence.....
    Msmoto, mod
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    @FlowtographyBerlin: I set my meter to one stop steps and reshot: In full stop terms the meter reads: F11 + 3/10.

    On top on my wish list is a reflector stand followed by a 70 deep octa :-) How could you guess? Next up is a Beauty dish and a boom stand. Where is my tin foil hat? I don't want you to read my mind :-)

    But right now I want to focus on tests - not my GAS.
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    @Msmoto: If I was to follow my GAS I would have started out with two Profoto B1 heads on heavy stands with wheels on + a TTL remote for Nikon and a handful of light modifiers - that would have set me back more than $5.000,-. Now I have everything that I need for 1/10. I have the basic infrastructure - and I can add a ton of things one thing at the time - when I need them.

    Best of all I have a very small set that will pack into two small backs that was included in the set.

    As you said and showed: It works well.
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    @henrik1963: Thanks for the measurement. Wow, that's indeed not bad for 100 Ws. Keep us up to date about your progress.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    It is all about having fun..... and sometimes this can be accomplished with minimal equipment....
    Msmoto, mod
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