« on: Today at 10:43:53 AM »
... I want to get multiple usage for my gear and minimize the amount of gear I have as much as possible.It is hard to minimize the amount of gear, especially if you are still in the learning process.
I have more than 20 light modifiers at home and it seems that I pick almost something else every time I go on shoot. I shoot rarely in studio, I shoot mainly on location; both indoor and outdoor. Home studio is just for practice and learning to be fast with my gear and calculation.
Umbrellas are easy to pack, and spread the light all over the place. It is not the good option for studio, but very effective when shooting group portrait outdoor. The silver is my preference especially shooting at noon outdoor for group shots. I use the translucent when shooting outdoor, single person, when shielding the person against the sun and use it as reflective umbrella at the same time.
They are useless when the wind begin to blow, then I am switching to beauty dish. Light is harsher but does the job on group shots. I just bought an octagon but I haven't used it outdoor yet (still cold in Canada).
Double diffused softbox is my main gear when shooting darker skin. That as well is the right tool when I don't want the light to spread out too much, especially when adding honeycomb. It is perfect when the wall is colored and I don't want the spill (and so is color cast), or under brunches of trees (same reason), or against a wall that I don't want to light, or a very close background. This is the best tool for feathering my light as well.
The bottom line is, until you are sure what do you want to do in your photography, you will have to buy them at least for the sake of your training.
I would follow what Zack Arias said; start with an umbrella and shoot with it for 30 days until you know what are its advantages and disadvantages then move to something else.
In studio, I would buy 1 bigger double diffused softbox for main, 2 smaller with grid for rim and hair, and a beauty dish for head shot.
You will need a reflector, a boom arm, and if you have a space a V-flat.
I would start with one and then add as I go.
As for training, get the DVDs from Zack Arias and Lindsay Adler and then go for practice, and practice and practice.
Back to your original question; in studio go entirely manual on both camera and flash. Learn how to measure your light exposure for each modifier and distance to subject (quantity of light). Learn how lights add to one another depending of their position. And make sure that you can repeat your result over and over again without thinking about it, regardless of your background, or color of your subject's clothing.
I just regret that your light don't have modeling.
Put your background at least 5 feet from your subject (the inverse square law) and if you grid your hair and rim lights they should not affect the background exposure. Then you can add light independently for your background.