DIY, beginner lighting kit on a budget.

Started Oct 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Jaysun
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DIY, beginner lighting kit on a budget.
Oct 9, 2012

I'm still pretty new to photography and have never owned a piece of studio lighting.   I have 2 speedlights that I've always used for lighting but, lately, I've run across some circumstances where those flashes aren't ideal for the conditions.   I would really like to have some even, consistent lighting to work with and adjust, so I can see what I'm working with more clearly.
I'm not really looking for someone to hold my hand and talk me through all of my purchases (although I certainly won't turn it away).    What I'm looking for is advice on what gear you would buy and/or make, if you only had a couple hundred dollars (preferably less) to work with and had to build all your lighting from that.

For the sake of simplicity, let's say that you're building a kit to take indoor portraits.    That's probably what I'd use it most for.

I already have a couple of those aluminum cone-shaped light housings that you find at Lowe's or Home Depot.     I've seen photogs use them, so I assume they'll be good enough for now.   What type and wattage of bulbs would you recommend to use, though?      Would you invest in a softbox to diffuse them or a reflective umbrella?    Now that I've already typed all this, I realize that it really boils down to those questions.  
I suppose the questions I need answered then are:
1) What type and wattage of bulbs would you recommend?
2) Would you choose to diffuse or reflect the light from those bulbs?
2) Can you recommend a place to get cheap reflectors and/or diffusers or a way to make your own?
3) I'm sure there's plenty I'm missing or not understanding about studio lighting.  Feel free to school me.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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