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Help with a studio lighting setup?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey there!

So my cousin has asked me to help set up a studio for her in her home. Long story short, she has two children (one 6 mo, one 2 years) and it's getting incredibly difficult to take them to a professional studio, so she wants to set it up in her home.

She's asked me to come up with a studio setup for her. Unfortunately, I don't have much experience with this so I'm hoping you guys can help me out a bit.

The budget is $1000. She already has a D90 with an SB900, so the $1000 can be spent on everything else. I was thinking two lights, backdrop, and two umbrellas, but beyond that I don't know if the setup is correct or what brands/models to look at.

As for the photography itself, I'll be the one doing it. I'll most likely tether either her D90 or my 50D to my laptop to take pictures (I've a wireless off-shoe setup for my own flash as well). Not sure if this information is relevant.

Any help will be appreciated, thanks!
post #2 of 12
I used to have a Falcon Eyes 300 w/s (watt/second) set and was quite pleased with it. It came with 2 softboxes, pretty good light stands, and some cables.
The D90 doesn't have a flash sync port, so I'd recommend buying a radio trigger (or you can just set the strobes to slave mode, and use the SB-900 IN MANUAL MODE.

If you read up on slave flash mode you will know why the SB-900 in auto is a bad idea to trigger them (tip: preflashes).

Let's say you spend 4-500 on a lighting kit with two strobes. You could spend another 200-300 on a backdrop system with one or two rolls. Maybe toss in a convertible umbrella, and the "piece de resistance"....

Zack Arias' Onelight DVD set.

Seriously. Best DVD set on strobing out there. He explains it all, it's easy to follow, and definitely fun to watch.

to recap:

2 heads with 300-400 w/s from a chinese manufacturer (falcon eyes has a lot of accessories, but some other brands are compatible with Bogen stuff).
2 Softboxes
2 Light stands
1 convertible umbrella (reclective/transparent
1 Backdrop holder w/backdrops
Onelight DVD's
? Radio triggers (not really neccesary)

You can probably get the first 3 items in a kit.
    
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post #3 of 12
when i was lookin into studio lighting equipment a few months, i was suggested the following

2 Alienbee AB800
2 Large softboxes

Both available at http://www.alienbees.com

as for lightstands, google Lumopro 8' Air Cushioned Light Stand as the ones alienbee has was like too tall or something.

last time i looked up the prices, they were about 900 for the above few things

due to the d90 not having a sync plug like the d5k i have, ud need some triggers. not too sure which to get for that .

as for a backdrop, that is needed depending on what theyd like.. considering the age of the children, id probably go for some cute settings like the baby laying in basket or having an all white setting laying in a comforter mountain or something iunoe lmao !
Edited by iandroo888 - 1/24/11 at 2:06pm
 
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post #4 of 12
I dont know much about studio lighting but am trying to learn myself so this is more of a question than a suggestion. If she got a "continuous" softbox lighting kit instead of a "strobe" softbox lighting kit, would'nt that alleviate the need for triggers?
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post #5 of 12
I suggest the same things as androo does. She could use the SB900 on camera bounced on the ceiling (at minimum as to not affect exposure) to trigger the ABs because they have a built in light sensitive trigger. Maybe a beauty dish and softbox though, so you have different light. And don't go any cheaper than Alien Bees. Everything lower is pretty much lowest quality components, sort of like the PSUs in cheap pre-builts. Maybe AB400s are enough since ISO performance up to 400 is pretty good on DSLRs or she can use a larger aperture and blur some stuff out.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help so far! +Rep to everyone who's helped (Looks like you need it, dudemanppl )

Right now I've two AB400s, two large softboxes (32"x40"), two AB 10' light stands, and a 48" silver/white umbrella for $851.20.

I still need to get a backdrop or two + a stand. Does the setup look good so far? Also, what sort of backdrops/stands do you guys recommend? Any recommendations for a trigger/receiver for the SB900 as well?

I'll most likely be shooting with a large aperture. Lord knows why they got an 85mm f/1.4G and are using it on full automatic settings, but I'm going to be putting that sucker to good use
post #7 of 12
My experience with studio lights is that you can shoot at F/8 or F/11 and still be shooting at base ISO, and 1/4th power on the strobes....

That's with 300 w/s of light in a softbox.

Also, don't go continuous....they get very hot, eat electricity, and just annoy you. Aside from that most strobes have "modeling lights" (which are continuous lights to help you shape the light and aid in focusing).
    
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post #8 of 12
Hot lights suck (continuous). I don't use a modelling light, but they come free, so might as well use them. I don't know anything about backdrops but I say just white and if you want something nicer, PS it in.
http://www.zarias.com/white-seamless...-1-gear-space/
And good gear on auto is my second biggest photography pet peeve, right after body caps that aren't on right. Buy an ND filter since the base ISO on Nikons is 200.
Wait for these guys to come out with their 77, they run out a lot. It doesn't vignette at 18mm on full frame. If you need it for more lenses, then you can get step up rings. http://stores.ebay.com/Lightcraftworkshop-USA-Store
To trigger the SB900, use the built in commander and http://www.adorama.com/INKSG31R.html
Why the hell is everything out of stock... This should cover everything.
Edited by dudemanppl - 1/24/11 at 8:37pm
post #9 of 12
I would also recommend the Alienbee's thought the 400's should be more than enough, if the D90 is anything like my 40D's you should be able to shoot up into the 800 iso range without any major problems with the images. As for triggering you can get a hotshoe to 1/4" adapter and use cheap 1/4" cables to trigger the AB's this will be much more reliable than optical triggering. As for backgrounds, I'm now using Green Chroma Paper (9' wide by 36' long roll cost me 50bux) and virtual backgrounds. If you go this route do some research on shooting chroma key as you'll need to setup the lighting correctly and shoot your subject's far enough away from the background to not get bleed from it. once you get Chroma mastered it'll be alot cheaper to shoot with than buying actual muslin. Hope this all helps.
post #10 of 12
Also if you want inexpensive but reliable wireless triggers you can look into the Cactus triggers. Also I would suggest checking out the Strobist (just google strobist) for great help and ideas with lighting.
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