Best type of light for portaiture?

Started Apr 18, 2013 | Questions thread
TristatePhoto
Forum MemberPosts: 67
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Re: Best type of light for portaiture?
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 20, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

I agree with Barrie, get studio strobes and lights with 300-400Ws of power are excellent choices.

To find out what types of lights and lots more information about what equipment you need to set up a small home studio read my article.  I wrote it to help people like you avoid my costly mistake of buying the wrong equipment.  I did that the first time and the equipment quickly wound up in the trash can, a complete waste of my money.

Sailorblue - Digital Photography Review - Equipment Guide for Setting up a Small Home Portrait/Glamor Studio

If you are budget limited then start out with only one light.  Well know and respected professional photographer Zack Arias did that, and has an excellent DVD tutorial to show how to use only one light for great results.  Thomas Park has a nice tutorial here on dpreview too.

Zack Arias - One Light Workshop • Photography By Zack Arias

Thomas Park - The One-Light Studio: Digital Photography Review

Portraiture is all about light control.  Highlights and shadows on the face is what gives the face a 3D appearance in a flat image.  Controlling highlights and shadows also allows you to sculpt the face to make it look slimmer or broader or to emphasize or deemphasize features.

Umbrellas are a bit like a light grenade - sending light out in all directions and creating a lot of stray light.  Stray light is your enemy in a small room.

In a small room you will find that softboxes give you greater control over where the light goes than an umbrella and are worth the added expense.

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Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

I'm going to be the first to disagree.

Why spend so much money on studio strobes that are heavy and require huge battery's to use on location when you can get a cheap $70 flash that can be used on camera to bounce flash indoors, is highly mobile and easy/fast to set up, and you can get 4 of them for less than the cost of a studio strobe and have a whole studio set up with 4 flashes.

You can even overpower the sun with 1 of these flashes if you know how to use the inverse square law to your advantage.

The truth is that speedlites have gotten to the point where they have the power (especially with battery packs) to be used to shoot anything just as good as studio lights would be yet they're much less expensive and moreĀ versatileĀ in their uses.

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