Wedding Lighting Options
I am primarily a wedding photographer that is just beginning some studio work. I utilize two Canon 600ex-rt flash units right now, but would like something with more power, better recycle time, battery power and still maintain the mobility that speed lights offer. I have looked at the following:
Alien Bees, White Lighting, Einsteins
Elinchrom (insanely expensive)
Profoto (also expensive and not as portable)
Impact Litetrek 4.0 DC (looks good for weddings, but maybe poor build quality?)
I would love some options in the $1000 range or less that include two heads, battery power, decent power and recycle times that are lightweight and durable. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
You may get more responses if you post in the Studio and Lighting Technique forum.
I invested in Paul C. Buff Einsteins, and am delighted with them. The control you have over them using PCB's CyberSync system is just amazing:
- Using the CyberCommander at the subject position, you can can independently test-fire, meter, and adjust the output of each light to get the lighting ratios you want.
- You can then bring the entire set of lights up or down together (keeping the established ratios) to get the overall exposure you want.
- All of this is done using real camera f-stops displayed on the CyberCommander ... and all of this is done in a few seconds.
Couple this with PCB's Vagabond Mini Lithium portable power sources, and you have everything you're looking for -- except the total system cost will exceed your $1000 target.
As cyrano said, you would get more responses if this was in the Lighting forum.
Since you are just getting into buying studio equipment I recommend you read my article on studio equipment. I wrote it to help others avoid my mistake after I wasted my money buying cheap low quality equipment.
$1000 is a tight budget for a professional level system. You can do it but if you can spring for a bit more you can get a better quality set.
I would recommend AlienBee B800s as the budget studio strobe for amateurs but Einstein E640s are a better choice for the professional. They are more powerful than the B800s but they have 9 stops of power adjustment vs 6 stops so they can be used with the largest to the smallest modifiers. Einsteins also have greater color stability than AlienBees.
Buy B800s or B400s for hair, accent, and background lights.
Either the B800s or the Einsteins work with the CyberSync system. One feature built-in the CyberCommander is a flash meter yet the CyberCommander costs less than most flash meters, and as far as I'm concerned a flash meter is vital to professional studio work.
PCB modifiers are great as is the Vagabond Mini. I suggest the 30"x60" softbox for portraits. Vertical for standing, horizontal for waist up of one to three subjects. Two will work for main and fill or you can buy a smaller one for fill.
Another great choice is a 86" PLM with a sock. I would go for the soft silver but others prefer the silver or white. This is great for standing portraits or groups. The effects are totally different with or without the sock, giving you some nice flexibility in lighting.
PCB's reputation for quality and customer service are the best in the business.
It is easy to find third party accessories for PCB lights. One example might be a 10"x30" strip softbox with a grid to use as a hair or accent light. Just remember that the cheap Chinese ones won't be up to the quality of what you buy from PCB but they can still give you years of service if you are careful with them.
Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.