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Author Topic: Studio light for model and products  (Read 4420 times)

Kream

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Studio light for model and products
« on: November 05, 2013, 08:06:06 AM »
Dear photography-enthousiasts,

I have a studio lighting question. Together with two friends I own a small clothing/lifestyle webshop. For our product and modelphotography we’ve been blessed that we can borrow a full studio set from a fellow photographer (of which I don’t the brand atm) .
Now we’ve been growing steadily, we’re looking for the option to buy our own little set. Mainly because it’s just very unpractical to use his set everytime we need to photograph something. His own set is a bit of a overkill imo, cause I usually don’t set the flash to its full potential. Want I wanted to ask here, is with what kind of budget one could arrange the following shots.
So, for the model shots, it was just 1 large (about little smaller than 5ft by 3ft) softbox and a silver reflector on the model right side.



The productshots are bit more complex, a 3 light setup (1 small softbox, a snoot and a background light) on a producttable.



I’m still pretty new to studiophotography and I find it difficult to get a good grasp on the vast array of studiosets that there out there. I think we can achieve the model and productshots with a less expensive set. I always get the feeling that it’s always a bit of an overkill like I said!
So, we need to be able to get a full body shot and perhaps to be cooled with a motor, because we take hundreds of shots with every shoot.
I know it’s a bit too much to ask if anyone could point me towards the right direction, but at what price range should we think when we want to accomplish such shots?
Much obliged!

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Studio light for model and products
« on: November 05, 2013, 08:06:06 AM »

mackguyver

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2013, 10:08:04 AM »
If you're on a budget, Alienbees from Paul C. Buff are great lights for a reasonable price and their light modifiers are very reasonable as well.  I have a pair of the Einsteins and love them, and several pros I know have the original Alienbees and use them day in and day out.
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I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

Kream

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2013, 11:11:42 AM »
Thank you for your reactions!

I've seen Alien Bee come by in other topics, will look into that!

I've considered working with Speedlites but decided they aren't suited for the type of shoots we do. We need to make hundreds of shots in one shoot and the recharge speed isnt fast enough to keep up with the pace we normally work with.

EDIT: about the AB's tho, was wondering how people experience them in such a condition I describe. Will it stand the heat?
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 11:13:26 AM by Kream »

mackguyver

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2013, 11:33:36 AM »
Thank you for your reactions!

I've seen Alien Bee come by in other topics, will look into that!

I've considered working with Speedlites but decided they aren't suited for the type of shoots we do. We need to make hundreds of shots in one shoot and the recharge speed isnt fast enough to keep up with the pace we normally work with.

EDIT: about the AB's tho, was wondering how people experience them in such a condition I describe. Will it stand the heat?
ABs should have no problem with that type of shoot.  I've used and seen ABs used to shoot "red carpet" entries where hundreds or thousands of shots are taken over a 1-2 hour period.  From: http://www.paulcbuff.com/e640.php

"Einstein™ recycles to full power (at 120VAC or at 240VAC, 50Hz) in just 1.7 seconds, with the recycle time proportionally decreasing as the power setting is reduced. When recycle is complete, the READY state can be indicated both audibly and visually, selectable from the rear panel. An advantage of the IGBT flash control is that, at reduced power settings, the flash capacitors are not completely drained when the unit is fired making it possible to perform a rapid sequence of shots as the unit can be fired before the READY state is reached. Depending on the power setting and number of frames per second being shot, this can produce successive reductions of exposure value and color temperature in a rapid series of shots at relatively high power. In typical fast action sports shooting, setting the power to around 1/10 power (64 Ws) will allow frame rates or bursts on the order of five to ten frames per second with excellent frame to frame consistency and extremely sharp action freezing."

"A high velocity fan and improved airflow coupled with multiple internal heat sensors and circuit fault detection assure reliable performance under the most demanding commercial shooting."

The regular ABs recycle to full power in 05 - 2s and, are "Ready for heavy-duty, all-day shooting, the AlienBees™ have built-in cooling fans to keep up with their fast recycle."

If you reduce the power, they recycle almost instantly.
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I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

neuroanatomist

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2013, 12:15:50 PM »
+1 on the AB's or Einstein, and the Buff modifiers are economical, too. 

You might consider a full-length background for your model shots.  I use a Manfrotto 314B kit, there are cheaper options but if you plan to use paper rolls for a seamless background, many of them are 9' wide and fairly heavy, so make sure your stand can accomodete them (the Manfrotto can, many of the less expensive supports are only 8' wide).
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ocabj

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2013, 04:43:59 PM »
If this is purely full body shots to show off the apparel, you can get away with a single light. AB 1600 or Einstein 640 with a huge modifier, like a PLM which is pretty cheap. You won't need to buy a trigger since the AB or Einstein will come with a 12 to 15 foot PC sync cord. Add a light stand and you're done.

If you want to get fancy and do all white backdrops, fully blown out, then you'll want at least two lights (one subject, one background). If you can swing three, then get three (one subject, two background). From there, you can just use LR or PS to 'paint' the exposure of the background to full white in the areas not hit by the background light.

Three light example:


bchernicoff

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2013, 05:22:37 PM »
I have the older version of this kit plus one of their 200 w/s heads and some umbrellas.

It's been a quality kit and has built in wireless triggering.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906651-REG/elinchrom_el_20852kit_d_lite_rx_4_400w.html
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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2013, 05:22:37 PM »

klickflip

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2013, 06:19:34 PM »
AB's are good tho the modifiers a bit hard to come by and may be more expensive to get fixed but that depends on what your location is. - In USA probably fine, but in UK Europe they might not be the best choice and actually end up not so cheap.
I'd go with Elinchrom BRXI on a budget or RX if you have hundreds to shoot in day, mine do very heavy shoots and all are fine still after 3 years.

Otherwise Bowens Gemini & pro are very good too, a lot heavier and more robust tho and servicing of Elin or Bowens in Uk Europe should be easy.

TBH one light 500ws -750 should do you and a large softbox, bessel do very cheap and good quality light ones, if you want softer add a sheet of diff over it or for the products one light overhead softboxed with diff suspended a couple of feet below will do the trick. Get a BG support kit for white BGs or grey etc plus some polystyrene insulating boards for reflectors and you will have a very simple cheap reliable set up.

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2013, 11:00:25 AM »
I used to use Novatron M500's and they weren't really the greatest strobes around. They color shifted like crazy and limited modifiers but, they were cheap. Here's a test shot I did with my old gear. (not edited and my hair is a bit crazy :P) What is really most important is modifiers for your system, the strobe is important but not as important as getting the mods.

Now I use PCB Einsteins  and they are fantastic for everything. If you've got the budget skip the AB's and buy the einstiens with a few mods.

Kream

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2013, 08:15:08 AM »
Thank you all for your replies. They've been highlt useful.
We still havent made a decision tho. We like the ABs/Einsteins but we've come to the conclusion that's just to much of a hassle to import them to the Netherlands (even from the overpriced UK retailer).

Our eyes are now set on Elinchrom. But we don't know which one. We're thinking about the dr-lite 400w/s, together with a 200 as a fill light, but are wondering if 400 w/s enough is (we dont want to shoot full power all the time for life endurance of the lamps).

Our second problem is that the kits available in the Netherlands don't include with a large rectangular softbox which we need because we shoot everything in portrait. Again, there's so much available in the light modifier market that we don't know where to start. We just need a large rectangular softbox for full body portraits.

JonB8305

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2013, 12:24:11 PM »
Profoto D1 kit w/ or w/o air was what I went with personally.

But The Elinchrom BXRI 500 Kit should do you fine as well.

On a budget you can get a used set of Profoto Compact 600's for under $1k for 2.

Quasimodo

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2013, 06:17:04 PM »
Are Elinchroms expensive in the states?, since no one are even mentioning them?
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RustyTheGeek

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2013, 10:42:21 PM »
I tromp around outside to shoot pictures and get my stuff dirty.  I don't shoot portraits much.  But when I do, I borrow AB800 units from a friend that bought a couple Buff kits with modifiers, stands and everything.  They work great, simple and easy to use and durable too.  If budget allows, get the Einsteins.  If not, the AB800s are great too.  Get some trigger cables and some Yougnuo wireless triggers and start learning how to use it all.  Don't spend too long sweating what to buy, you can't really go wrong with the Buff stuff.  As RLPHoto said, they work well and don't change color or intensity so your post work will be easier.

You won't really know what you want until you dive in and start using it all.  Just get some experience with something and then tweak it as you go.  Don't over think it.  Keep it simple.

Buy a kit, get some reflectors, a background and get to work making some money.  Then see what tweaks you need and keep on going.  Refine your technique.  Hone your craft.  It's your knowledge and talent that is making the pictures, not some fancy lights.

No one will know what kind of lights you have, they'll just see pictures that are well exposed and visually appealing.  Only photographers analyze pictures to determine how the lighting was used.  Most folks just look at the pictures to see what they need to see and move on.  Have fun with it!
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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2013, 10:42:21 PM »

JonB8305

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2013, 11:37:42 PM »
I tromp around outside to shoot pictures and get my stuff dirty.  I don't shoot portraits much.  But when I do, I borrow AB800 units from a friend that bought a couple Buff kits with modifiers, stands and everything.  They work great, simple and easy to use and durable too.  If budget allows, get the Einsteins.  If not, the AB800s are great too.  Get some trigger cables and some Yougnuo wireless triggers and start learning how to use it all.  Don't spend too long sweating what to buy, you can't really go wrong with the Buff stuff.  As RLPHoto said, they work well and don't change color or intensity so your post work will be easier.

You won't really know what you want until you dive in and start using it all.  Just get some experience with something and then tweak it as you go.  Don't over think it.  Keep it simple.

Buy a kit, get some reflectors, a background and get to work making some money.  Then see what tweaks you need and keep on going.  Refine your technique.  Hone your craft.  It's your knowledge and talent that is making the pictures, not some fancy lights.

No one will know what kind of lights you have, they'll just see pictures that are well exposed and visually appealing.  Only photographers analyze pictures to determine how the lighting was used.  Most folks just look at the pictures to see what they need to see and move on.  Have fun with it!

He's in the netherlands where AB stuff is not easy to come by.

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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2013, 11:50:38 PM »
Bowens stuff out of the UK will work great, and their kits aren't too expensive.
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Re: Studio light for model and products
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2013, 11:50:38 PM »