Your recommendations for portable studio lighting

Studio Photography, Flash, Daylight and Studio Lights, Flash equipment and use
  
3 Dec '11 Sat Dec 03, 2011 08:26    
mannesty
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Post Your recommendations for portable studio lighting

I know some of you have portable studio gear, so what do you recommend as a minimum usable set up?

Umbrellas, or soft boxes? Shoot through or reflective umbrellas? White, silver, or gold surfaces? Light modifiers like snoots and honeycombs? Beauty dish? Battery or mains powered flashes? Backgrounds? How many lights? Anything else I haven't thought of?


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3 Dec '11 Sat Dec 03, 2011 13:37    
Anvh
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Post Re: Your recommendations for portable studio lighting

Depends a bit on your budget.

- 2 flashes is a good starting point.
- At least one softbox is handy but they cost quite a bit, westcott make softboxes that fit on umbrella stand so no separate holders to buy.
- umbrella's, don't got those really portable models, they just don't last also get a big one if you can transport it because it gives you more options.
For the type, shoot through is the way to go since it's the most effective and you can make most of those white reflective.
- Other modifiers come at a second place for me but a snoot, grid and bounce card are handy to have, colour gels are fun to but not essential.
- Never worked with a Beauty dish so i don't know what i'm missing.
- batteries are the way to go, if you want to work from the mains then a propper studio flash set is better and cheaper.
- one other thing to really get are triggers and a 5in1 reflector.

so a little list.
- 2 flashguns
- 2 stands
- 2 umbrellas/flash holders
- 2 umbrellas (+ one softbox)
- Triggers
- 5 in 1 reflector

That would be my kit to start with, you can expand that to anything you want.

 
 
 
 
  
3 Dec '11 Sat Dec 03, 2011 17:40    
layingback
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Post Re: Your recommendations for portable studio lighting

Anvh's list is fairly complete, but if skipping on backgrounds - which is a good idea if portable is desirable as they aren't really - then you'll probably soon want a back light. Soon as in as soon as you take a picture of dark hair against a dark background.

But this can be any simple little manual flash as half the power of the main flash would work. But will need a optical trigger or similar as cables stretching around model are never a good idea. And probably a method of attachment. A 3rd stand and possibly a boom would be good, but a spring clamp, bungie loop or gaffer tape could also work initially.


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3 Dec '11 Sat Dec 03, 2011 21:53    
cardiff_gareth
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Post Re: Your recommendations for portable studio lighting

When you say portable are you looking for something to use 'in the field' with no available power source and relient on battery powered flashguns or on location, say at a persons house where power is availabe and using studio heads ?

For me I use my portable studio on location at clients houses so I use studio flash heads, plain white / black or purple backgrounds. Softbox as main light, umberella as fill light, white / silver reflector to fill in shadows. I also have triggers that I use with the Metz flashgun for hairlighting / background lighting, side lighting. I have as well the hotshoe flash head and the DIY beauty dish that works pretty good.

To be honest I much prefer softboxes over umberella's either shoot though or reflective. I bought a 60 x 40 cm softbox and I much prefer the spread from this. I have a smaller 30 x 30 cm softbox that I'm going to modify for flashgun use so allow creative flash lighting on location away from power sources ie woods etc.

I'm also in the process of making a 3 flash head light panel. It'll have a thin MDF frame, silver foil lined interior and white perspex for the shoot through. Its all about getting creative and thinking about what you can make. Do you remember my DIY beauty dish and DIY macro on board flash diffuser threads? I'll post them up here ASAP in case you didn't see them Wink

Hope this helps


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4 Dec '11 Sun Dec 04, 2011 06:27    
mannesty
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Post Re: Your recommendations for portable studio lighting

Thanks for the feedback guys. Pretty much what I had expected really, and I think I have most things covered.

Whilst I'd be happy to do family portraits in their homes, I've been asked by a furniture supplier (not DFS, but similar) to do some product shots for a web catalogue. I also have some ideas for 'in the field' stuff as well, so I'm going the battery powered route.

The gear I already have is:-

2 x 2Mtr light stands
2 x 40" dual purpose umbrellas, can be either shoot through or by attaching a black/silver cover, reflective.
3 x flash/umbrella mounts
3 x Seculine TwinLink radio/IR receivers and 1 x transmitter
2 x AF500FTZ flashes (1 with power pack)
2 x AF540FGZ flashes
1 x 40" 5 in 1 reflector
1 x 20" 5 in 1 reflector
1 x Sekonic flash meter
1 x 18% grey card
Loads'a batteries.

I also have a spare tripod and a gorillapod on which I can mount a third light for background lighting for portraits as LB suggested, though I think I might get a third light stand.

I've used one AF500FTZ for some test shots but got annoyed that the flash went to sleep if not used for 3 minutes. If it were on a camera, a half press of the shutter would wake it up. As it's off camera I needed to turn it off and on, then re-enter all my settings. The AF540FGZ can be set to go to sleep or not. I prefer not, and I discovered that in slave mode on the AF500FTZ, this sleep mode is disabled so I think I'll use the AF540FGZ's on radio triggers with any additional lighting provided by one or two AF500FTZ's in slave mode.

I'll report how it all goes and maybe do some more tests using my own furniture as 'models'.


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6 Dec '11 Tue Dec 06, 2011 23:48    
cardiff_gareth
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Post Re: Your recommendations for portable studio lighting

Sounds like you have all the equipment you'll need, take some black card and Sellotape so that you can make a snood whilst on location for spotlighting Wink


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Gareth

My outfit: K5ii gripped - Pentax DA* 16-50mm - Sigma 105mm - Sigma 170-500mm - Pentax F 50mm f1.7 - Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 - Metz 48 AF1

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My PPG images

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7 Dec '11 Wed Dec 07, 2011 03:37    
mannesty
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Post Re: Your recommendations for portable studio lighting

Good tip Gareth, thanks.


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Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

"Knowledge is knowing that a Tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad."

 
 
 
 
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