Beginner studio/lens questions

Started May 18, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Jaysun
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Beginner studio/lens questions
May 18, 2012

This was my first attempt at anything remotely studio. A couple friends of mine just had a baby and only had cell phone shots of their newborn. I couldn't let that slide and had to try to at least do something. To them, they're great... but they're the type of people that use Instagram. I would consider the shots mediocre, if I felt like being very generous to myself.

I'm not interested too much in advice on camera settings. That I can figure out through trial and error, if needed (although, if you do have advice on that, I certainly won't turn it away). What I need is some help with lighting and with choosing an ideal lens. I think I may try to get a little deeper into studio shooting. If for nothing else, to shoot my own kids.

I was shooting with a garbage lens. Nothing I have in my bag is good for this. I have a cheapo 18-270mm zoom (which is what I shot with), a 90mm macro, an ultra wide angle and a fisheye (why the f*ck did I buy a fisheye lens?).

First, what do you recommend for lenses? I really have no idea what to use in this environment. I'll sell the fishye to get it. Nothing very expensive. Maybe $400-$600. Specific lens models would really help.

Secondly, what type of lighting should I invest in? I need ultra cheapo stuff here, folks. I've been on a spending spree lately and the well is running dry. Should I browse Craigslist looking for some cheap studio lights or just stick with the 2 speedlights I have? For the shots below, I just used one speedlight, mounted on cam with a diffuser, turned up at the ceiling and set on medium power. It didn't give me a very good effect. Of course, with the subject being a baby, I didn't want to blind her (too much), so I was playing it as safely as possible. Under different circumstances, maybe speedlights positioned from each side would have provided a better effect. I didn't get an opportunity to try that out.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I understand that a lot of veterans probably see these types of posts as lazy (GOOGLE!!!!), but the information out there can be overwhelming. The community in here has always done a fantastic job of leading me where I need to be. By no means am I a great photographer but with the help of this site, I'm no longer derping around all over the place, camera on auto, snapping photos like a child.

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