Lighting equipment questions

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MattG, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. MattG macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    I have been tasked with taking a portrait of each of the faculty members at the University where I work. I have a Canon Rebel XT, some good lenses and a Canon 430EX flash. These are going to be really simple portraits, just in front of a white wall or something like that. My concern is lighting...the flash doesn't always cut it. I'm trying to avoid shadows and I just want to get nice, even lighting.

    What should I buy as far as a really basic lighting setup goes? What exactly would I need to order to accomplish this? I've been an amateur photographer for several years now, but really know nothing about professional lighting equipment.
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Cheap? Get a Sto-Fen ($20).

    Got $100? Get a light stand, PC flash mount, umbrella and adapter, 15 ft. PC sync cord and a PC shoe adapter for your XT.
  3. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    You really want to spend some time on if you're going to go with flashes instead of studio strobes. Bounce the light if you can, try to have at least two sources of different power (distance or adjustment) - key at 45 degrees to the subject, up high and diffused some, fill behind the camera just off to one side or up to 45 degrees depending on the look you want bounced. A good subject to background distance will help make the background a non-factor. Experiment from there to see what works for you.

    My preferred strobe setup is a key light with a softbox sized for the portrait length and a circle mask for the times I want round catchlights and a fill and background light bounced into umbrellas. I add a fourth light as a second background light or hair light as necessary. I use seamless paper or muslin backgrounds (based purely on colors I have in the studio) on a background stand.

    Lights or strobes with stands, umbrellas, a softbox or two and a sync cord is a good start.
  4. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Hey I'm curious. I have the light sphere and it hasn't done much by way of replacing a decent lighting setup. Should it? Maybe I'm not using it to its full potential. Do you any advice?
  6. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2005
    The Gary Fong lightsphere crap isnt worth the price by a long shot. I worked with a respected wedding photog here who uses a stofen and bought the Light (specifically the frosted one). We ran through some tests and it doesnt do that much better then a stofen and it sure as heck doesnt give you that whole 3200 w/s light on a 20-30 person group "LOOK" that they show you on his site. He used it on one of his weddings and the thing is top heavy so it fell off the flash a few times and rolled around like a tupperware piece. The only thing Gary Fong is a great marketer..

    Get a Stofen maybe an 81 warming gel to warm up the flash.. cheap way to go or if u got some $ get a starter lighting kit.
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Oh that makes sense! It falls off my flash too. Here I really thought I was using it wrong! I never read the directions or watched the DVD.

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