Best type of light for portaiture?

Started Apr 18, 2013 | Questions
TristatePhoto
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Re: Best type of light for portaiture?
In reply to Barrie Davis, Apr 21, 2013

Barrie Davis wrote:

TristatePhoto wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

TristatePhoto wrote:

snipped

I just don't agree that for portrait photography speedlites don't have a place as me and plenty of other photographers use them as tools for shooting portraiture.

Here's a photo taken in broad day light where I overpowered the sun with a $70 flash.

Is that your idea of "overpowering the sun?" Are you kidding me?

And do you REALLY think this is the kind of photograph the Original Poster is "aspiring" to?

(I'd like to think the lady is aiming a good deal higher than that.)

I was maxed out on my shutter sync speed and aperture.

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Baz
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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

That is over powering the sun. It was not night time.....it was pure daylight when that photo was taken.

I appreciate that the shot was taken in daylight. That doesn't mean it is a success as a shot.

And do bear in mind that it isn't enough to say "it's what you wanted."

If you want to overpower the daylight even more go find some shade and you can make the ambient purely black.

Also I'm not sure what style of photography the OP is going for.

I was trying something low key and moody/horror like not the typical boring fashion/glamour shot.

I agree with you that it is horrific.

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Baz
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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

Thank you I was going for a horror/dramatic look. You're just a hater admit up to it :).

I can do everything that you can do with $70 flashes where you need to spend $1,000's on studio strobes :D.

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TristatePhoto
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Barrie Davis, Apr 21, 2013

Barrie Davis wrote:

TristatePhoto wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

TristatePhoto wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

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

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.

The main reason why is because of the modelling lights that are available in proper studio flash units.

Modelling lights are absolutely invaluable (indispensable?) during the process of learning how to light subjects. Seeing how the shadows and highlights fall, AS the lights are positioned, is intrinsic to the whole business of lighting, and is NOT a luxury....

... in fact, it may be said that any flashes that do NOT have modelling lights, like the typical camera-top units you are advocating, can only be used to their fullest and most effective degree...

... when the photographer ALREADY HAS previous experience with REAL lights (meaning ones with lights in them!)... and has already learned what (likely) power to use and where is (likely) best to place 'em.

So, while camera top flash has its uses, and multiple units used off-camera can also be pressed into service as substitutes for real studio units, when you know what you're doing...

....  they are the last thing anyone should choose while learning their lighting skills

For learning you need lights, not "darks!"

I still disagree.

Well, that's fine. You are allowed to hold any opinion you like.

It's so easy to learn about lighting and how to light your subject using only flash since you can easily check your cameras LCD

If you think that kind of delayed feedback is enough, then that is also fine. But, having seen a couple of your shots, I can't say it is working too well for you, I'm afraid.

I know that my own use of camera-top flash type only works as well as it does (tolerably well, at a push) because of a life spent working with lights that actually do shine light while I'm setting up.

As stated, this is particularly important while going through the learning process. With all due respect to you, it seems you are still at that stage, yourself, and in no position to tell anyone what equipment to choose, and how to use it.

I am sorry if this seems very harsh... but I am being honest. You deserve full honesty, because your motives in posting are good.

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Baz
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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

It's working just fine for me you're just a hater/jealous that I can get away with using $70 flashes.

I am in a stage to tell what equipment is fine. I get paid to shoot photography and my clients are happy with my photos.

I have yet to see a photo from you but when I do from the way that you talk I'm expecting some boring mediocre hi key shot taken in a studio with 1/2 lights and a basic pose.

Also others should note that you did not comment on any of my work taken after my first photo shoot using off camera speed lites even with your nit picking going on as you won;t find anything wrong with them nor the ones that I've been taken recently.

Heck even the first shots that I took to me are perfectly fine.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Lena Hale, Apr 21, 2013

Lena Hale wrote:

What exactly do you guys mean when you say "overpower the sun"? I'll be shooting indoors and the windows let in just an average amount of light, almost none with the blinds pulled down, so do I really need to worry about 'overpowering the sun'?

When setting up your lighting, Lena, it is important to turn off all other lighting if you can, so it is only the modelling lights you see.

This is critical to the business of evaluating what you are doing with your lights, (as you do it). You do not want ambient light contaminating the set and misleading you. The idea is to work by the modelling lights alone, which is why you need them strong enough to shine through modifiers, if in use (200-watts). That is the way the pros do it, and there is even MORE reason for you to do it that way, because (sorry to bang on about this) you are learning.

When you have got a "feel" for light positioning which is solid enough to hold up when you have no modelling lights to assist you, then you'll be in a better position to get respectable results outdoors, where modelling lights are insufficiently strong to show up against the daylight. Indeed, unless it is dusk, you might as well turn modelling lights off completely ... I do. it makes the power of the battery pack last much longer.


"Overpowering the sun" is an outdoor technique where the settings are adjusted to make the flash appear stronger than the ambient daylight. There is a big fad for this effect at present, now that sufficiently powerful battery packs are available to fire up studio flashes remote from mains electricity. When the flash lights are used effectively, as if in a studio, very dramatic results can be achieved.

Of course, you still need to learn how to BE effective with lights...

.. and it is my opinion that that skill is best learned in the studio, with modelling lights you can see, and without ambient light interfering with seeing them.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to TristatePhoto, Apr 21, 2013

TristatePhoto wrote:

I still disagree.

Well, that's fine. You are allowed to hold any opinion you like.

It's so easy to learn about lighting and how to light your subject using only flash since you can easily check your cameras LCD

If you think that kind of delayed feedback is enough, then that is also fine. But, having seen a couple of your shots, I can't say it is working too well for you, I'm afraid.

I know that my own use of camera-top flash type only works as well as it does (tolerably well, at a push) because of a life spent working with lights that actually do shine light while I'm setting up.

As stated, this is particularly important while going through the learning process. With all due respect to you, it seems you are still at that stage, yourself, and in no position to tell anyone what equipment to choose, and how to use it.

I am sorry if this seems very harsh... but I am being honest. You deserve full honesty, because your motives in posting are good.

I am not jealous of your 70 dollar flashes. I have got a few myself. I thought I made that clear.

I just don't kid myself they are any substitute for studio electronic flash units.

I am in a stage to tell what equipment is fine. I get paid to shoot photography and my clients are happy with my photos.That's great! Uncritical clients can be very good for the ego when you're starting out!

I have yet to see a photo from you but when I do from the way that you talk I'm expecting some boring mediocre hi key shot taken in a studio with 1/2 lights and a basic pose.

Well, my gallery is available. I am also happy to explain how any of the shots were lit, if asked nicely!

Here are a couple of shots I took for a transport company that specialises in moving atom bombs. They were taken with studio flash, and just seconds apart, so I think it is clear I can handle flash units used in daylight, thank you.

Flash supplementing daylight

Also others should note that you did not comment on any of my work taken after my first photo shoot using off camera speed lites even with your nit picking going on as you won;t find anything wrong with them nor the ones that I've been taken recently.

Heck even the first shots that I took to me are perfectly fine.

I am glad you are happy with your results. However, I have made my opinion clear.

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Baz
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TristatePhoto
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Barrie Davis, Apr 21, 2013

Barrie Davis wrote:

TristatePhoto wrote:

I still disagree.

Well, that's fine. You are allowed to hold any opinion you like.

It's so easy to learn about lighting and how to light your subject using only flash since you can easily check your cameras LCD

If you think that kind of delayed feedback is enough, then that is also fine. But, having seen a couple of your shots, I can't say it is working too well for you, I'm afraid.

I know that my own use of camera-top flash type only works as well as it does (tolerably well, at a push) because of a life spent working with lights that actually do shine light while I'm setting up.

As stated, this is particularly important while going through the learning process. With all due respect to you, it seems you are still at that stage, yourself, and in no position to tell anyone what equipment to choose, and how to use it.

I am sorry if this seems very harsh... but I am being honest. You deserve full honesty, because your motives in posting are good.

I am not jealous of your 70 dollar flashes. I have got a few myself. I thought I made that clear.

I just don't kid myself they are any substitute for studio electronic flash units.

I am in a stage to tell what equipment is fine. I get paid to shoot photography and my clients are happy with my photos.That's great! Uncritical clients can be very good for the ego when you're starting out!

I have yet to see a photo from you but when I do from the way that you talk I'm expecting some boring mediocre hi key shot taken in a studio with 1/2 lights and a basic pose.

Well, my gallery is available. I am also happy to explain how any of the shots were lit, if asked nicely!

Here are a couple of shots I took for a transport company that specialises in moving atom bombs. They were taken with studio flash, and just seconds apart, so I think it is clear I can handle flash units used in daylight, thank you.

Flash supplementing daylight

Also others should note that you did not comment on any of my work taken after my first photo shoot using off camera speed lites even with your nit picking going on as you won;t find anything wrong with them nor the ones that I've been taken recently.

Heck even the first shots that I took to me are perfectly fine.

I am glad you are happy with your results. However, I have made my opinion clear.

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Baz
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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

Okay well my opinion is that your two photos posted appear very bland and boring and have flaws with them lighting wise.

If you want me to nitpick like you did to me I have to say this, it's ashame that theres a shadow casted from the older man onto the right chest of the younger man.

Maybe with modeling lights this issue wouldn't have arisen ;). Also, the bright reflection on the helmet is very eye catching and draws attention away from your subjects.

Maybe if you knew your angles of incidence better the reflection would have never of shown up. Those problems could of been fixed if you moved yourself slightly to the right which would have also hidden the shadow being casted onto the younger man.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to TristatePhoto, Apr 22, 2013

TristatePhoto wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

TristatePhoto wrote:

I still disagree.

Well, that's fine. You are allowed to hold any opinion you like.

It's so easy to learn about lighting and how to light your subject using only flash since you can easily check your cameras LCD

If you think that kind of delayed feedback is enough, then that is also fine. But, having seen a couple of your shots, I can't say it is working too well for you, I'm afraid.

I know that my own use of camera-top flash type only works as well as it does (tolerably well, at a push) because of a life spent working with lights that actually do shine light while I'm setting up.

As stated, this is particularly important while going through the learning process. With all due respect to you, it seems you are still at that stage, yourself, and in no position to tell anyone what equipment to choose, and how to use it.

I am sorry if this seems very harsh... but I am being honest. You deserve full honesty, because your motives in posting are good.

I am not jealous of your 70 dollar flashes. I have got a few myself. I thought I made that clear.

I just don't kid myself they are any substitute for studio electronic flash units.

I am in a stage to tell what equipment is fine. I get paid to shoot photography and my clients are happy with my photos.That's great! Uncritical clients can be very good for the ego when you're starting out!

I have yet to see a photo from you but when I do from the way that you talk I'm expecting some boring mediocre hi key shot taken in a studio with 1/2 lights and a basic pose.

Well, my gallery is available. I am also happy to explain how any of the shots were lit, if asked nicely!

Here are a couple of shots I took for a transport company that specialises in moving atom bombs. They were taken with studio flash, and just seconds apart, so I think it is clear I can handle flash units used in daylight, thank you.

Flash supplementing daylight

Also others should note that you did not comment on any of my work taken after my first photo shoot using off camera speed lites even with your nit picking going on as you won;t find anything wrong with them nor the ones that I've been taken recently.

Heck even the first shots that I took to me are perfectly fine.

I am glad you are happy with your results. However, I have made my opinion clear.

Okay well my opinion is that your two photos posted appear very bland and boring and have flaws with them lighting wise.

Ha ha! Thanks. I shall cherish your generous wisdom forever.

If you want me to nitpick like you did to me I have to say this, it's ashame that theres a shadow casted from the older man onto the right chest of the younger man.

"Casted?" You mean, "having membership of a caste?"

Oh you are so right! That shadow destroys the photograph, UTTERLY. I can't believe I made such a fundamental mistake. Please excuse me while I slit my throat as I am obviously too unworthy to continue living!

Maybe with modeling lights this issue wouldn't have arisen ;). Also, the bright reflection on the helmet is very eye catching and draws attention away from your subjects.

Yeah right!

Maybe if you knew your angles of incidence better the reflection would have never of shown up.

Oh dear! And to think we paid EXTRA for that reflection! I wonder if we can get our money back?

Those problems could of been fixed if you moved yourself slightly to the right which would have also hidden the shadow being casted onto the younger man.

"Casted?".....  (does not appear in my dictionary)

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Baz
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Barrie Davis
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to TristatePhoto, Apr 22, 2013

TristatePhoto wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

TristatePhoto wrote:

Easy. Yungnuo 560 II + 8 pack of Eneloops Rechargeable batteries with battery charger.

Also get yourself a cheap light stand for $30 or less that comes with a bracket holder and since you don't have an assistant I'd go with a 43" umbrella that can be used as shoot through or bounce.

Truthfully there is no such thing as "best type of light" for portraiture.

Some photos look better with bare flash, some soft light, some you can get away with using the mid day sun.

What manners more is that you

A. Know how the inverse square law works and how it can work for you and against you.

That is working by rote.

B. Know your lighting profiles and how to position your light source or yourself to your light source (such as the sun) to get the proper lighting that you want.

That's also working by rote. That's all you can do when you have no modelling lights.

Working by a pre-determined set of rules is fair enough, when it's all you CAN do.

But it is an extremely hard way to LEARN to light, and it is also a lot slower and less involving when you HAVE learned.

Shooting a lot will also teach you how to see the light.

Except that you CAN'T actually see it until you have a test shot, and then you are seeing it only 3" across instead of life size.

Even then, you are giving your attention to the back of a camera, which means you are NOT giving it to the model. Photographers have no idea how annoying this constant chimping is for the model. It is extremely rude. If you MUST do it, you must share the image with the model to involve her fully in the business of being photographed.

I don't know where you're getting your information from but its all incorrect.

First off, learning how to use off camera flash is very easy. I managed to get excellent results my first time using an umbrella with a model and you do have an idea of what the lighting will look like if you start to gain experience using flash.

Unfortunately, I do not consider your results so "excellent" as you do. In fact, I think your results are second rate, at best. That is being as kind about them as I can.

Moreover, even if your results were very good indeed, it certainly would NOT make camera-top battery flash the "best type of light for portraiture"... which is the information the OP was requesting.

Your photography might improve a lot, if you made the change to a professional style of lighting kit.

That would be my advice to you.

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to TristatePhoto, Apr 23, 2013

TristatePhoto, I stopped responding to your posts when I realized that you were locked into a position and were going to defend it regardless of the facts.  Given your personal attacks on Barry perhaps it is time I changed my mind and responded to you again.

Put simply, there are more than one way to do most things.  Your way may be best for you but it is not necessarily the best for everyone.  When you learn this simple lesson you will be a better person, and one that is easier to like and appreciate.

Beginners simply don't have the necessary experience to know what the best type of lighting is, which is why they ask.  It is our responsibility to give them the best possible answer for their circumstances, not to just loudly proclaim that we are doing things the best way and all others are wrong.

Using hot-shoe flash to do portraiture is one way of doing portraiture and I'm happy if it works for you, but it is not necessarily the best all the time.  Sometimes available light, continuous lighting, studio strobes, or Fresnels are better.  It takes a lot of study and experience to learn what is the best type of light to use in any given case.

I have seen many photographers start doing portraiture with hot-shoe flash units and give up because they can't get good results because they can't see and understand the lighting like they would if they had used studio strobes with modeling lights.

Seeing the light on the subject with the modeling lights of studio strobes is why Barry and I both recommend them for beginners.  Being able to see the lighting allows new comers to start taking good portraits much more easily and much more quickly than if they use hot-shoe flash units.

Seeing the light on the subject is also the reason why I see the very best portrait artists using either continuous lighting or studio strobes, not hot-shoe flash.

In a nut shell, that is why I believe studio strobes with modeling lights are the best choice for a new portrait photographer. I gather that is also Barry's reason for recommending studio strobes with modeling lights.

I'm glad that you are happy with using only hot-shoe flash units but here is a challenge for you.

Buy yourself a set of budget priced studio strobes and use them for a dozen studio portrait shoots.  I suspect that you won't want to go back to using only hot-shoe flash units for studio work, but If I'm wrong sell the studio strobes then come back here and tell us exactly why you got better results with hot-shoe flash units.  I'm sure those of us with decades of experience like Barry and me are still willing to learn.  Are you?

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Sailor Blue, Apr 23, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

I have seen many photographers start doing portraiture with hot-shoe flash units and give up because they can't get good results because they can't see and understand the lighting like they would if they had used studio strobes with modeling lights.

I've seen just as many give up because they are told they need $5000 dollars worth of equipment to "do it right."  The "investment" in speedlights and triggers is low, and isn't wasted if one upgrades to monolights because they are still useful when traveling.  Alternatively, I've seen guys buy entire three light studios and not have a clue what to do, sending light every which way and giving up as well.

I do agree that monolights, with variable power modeling lights that change with the same ratio as the main lights is nice.  It is nice to have 1 second refresh.  It is nice have gobs of light "power" to waste through different modifiers.

Where I disagree is beginners need to start there.

Working with speedlights isn't so tough.  You can find single light and speedlight workshops almost everywhere.  One learns how light works very quickly, in my experience.

I like the concept of starting with one light and adding a reflector...then moving to two.  If one goes slowly one really starts to understand light and modeling lights, while nice, are totally unnecessary.  In fact, a comment about annoying the model with setup time and chimping, made in this thread or possibly another, is also true with modeling lights.  It is much nicer to not have to sit under the constant blaze of modeling lights.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Apr 23, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

I have seen many photographers start doing portraiture with hot-shoe flash units and give up because they can't get good results because they can't see and understand the lighting like they would if they had used studio strobes with modeling lights.

I've seen just as many give up because they are told they need $5000 dollars worth of equipment to "do it right."  The "investment" in speedlights and triggers is low, and isn't wasted if one upgrades to monolights because they are still useful when traveling.  Alternatively, I've seen guys buy entire three light studios and not have a clue what to do, sending light every which way and giving up as well.

I do agree that monolights, with variable power modeling lights that change with the same ratio as the main lights is nice.  It is nice to have 1 second refresh.  It is nice have gobs of light "power" to waste through different modifiers.

Where I disagree is beginners need to start there.

Working with speedlights isn't so tough.

"Isn't so tough" doesn't qualify as being best.

All persons will learn the business of light placement quicker with modelling lamps to assist, than without. To suggest otherwise is to be perverse.

With modelling lights the photographer is able to monitor the effect of the lighting AS the model moves in response to direction.. This part of the art is completely impossible without modelling lights.

As far as I'm concerned that last point overides any other, and by some large degree.

You can find single light and speedlight workshops almost everywhere.  One learns how light works very quickly, in my experience.

I like the concept of starting with one light and adding a reflector...then moving to two.  If one goes slowly one really starts to understand light and modeling lights, while nice, are totally unnecessary.  In fact, a comment about annoying the model with setup time and chimping, made in this thread or possibly another, is also true with modeling lights.  It is much nicer to not have to sit under the constant blaze of modeling lights.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Barrie Davis, Apr 24, 2013

Barrie Davis wrote:

"Isn't so tough" doesn't qualify as being best.

Touche.  At the same time I don't think modeling lights are the be all to end all.  Maybe that is just because I learned from a professional that didn't use them.

All persons will learn the business of light placement quicker with modelling lamps to assist, than without. To suggest otherwise is to be perverse.

"perverse?"

Wow, you must be righter than me to speak with such conviction.  

I yield to your more strident vocabulary.

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robertorinehart
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Re: Best type of light for portaiture?
In reply to Lena Hale, Apr 24, 2013

I like the golden hours lighting, but it's impractical and overplayed. But still I like the colors a lot.

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mbloof
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Apr 24, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

I've seen just as many give up because they are told they need $5000 dollars worth of equipment to "do it right."  The "investment" in speedlights and triggers is low, and isn't wasted if one upgrades to monolights because they are still useful when traveling.  Alternatively, I've seen guys buy entire three light studios and not have a clue what to do, sending light every which way and giving up as well.

You forget that this is DPR where:

- Everything that but the current generation Top-Of-The-Line cameras can take only snap shots

- If there is not a 'red stripe' on the lens the glass is junk

- Natural lighted portraits are snap shots

- Only 'pros' can produce portraits, anything else is a snap shot

- If the portrait does not look like it was stolen from a fashion/glamor rag its a snap shot

- Your work is junk unless your netting 6 figures as a full time photographer

- $5000 of lighting gear is required to create anything but a snap shot

If it has not already been mentioned, I'd recommend to the OP to get the book "Light Science & Magic" along with "The Hot Shoe Diaries". Youtube is your friend. There are 100's of short and information packed videos on portrait photography.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to mbloof, Apr 24, 2013

mbloof wrote:

Daniel Lauring wrote:

I've seen just as many give up because they are told they need $5000 dollars worth of equipment to "do it right."  The "investment" in speedlights and triggers is low, and isn't wasted if one upgrades to monolights because they are still useful when traveling.  Alternatively, I've seen guys buy entire three light studios and not have a clue what to do, sending light every which way and giving up as well.

You forget that this is DPR where:

- Everything that but the current generation Top-Of-The-Line cameras can take only snap shots

- If there is not a 'red stripe' on the lens the glass is junk

- Natural lighted portraits are snap shots

- Only 'pros' can produce portraits, anything else is a snap shot

- If the portrait does not look like it was stolen from a fashion/glamor rag its a snap shot

- Your work is junk unless your netting 6 figures as a full time photographer

- $5000 of lighting gear is required to create anything but a snap shot

If it has not already been mentioned, I'd recommend to the OP to get the book "Light Science & Magic" along with "The Hot Shoe Diaries". Youtube is your friend. There are 100's of short and information packed videos on portrait photography.

Stop carping! It isn't justified, as would be evident if you had noticed which actual camera was used to take the truck-loading shots.

As already stated, I use low-cost hot-shoe flashes all the time.

Because of this I know their liimitations. That's why I don't recommend them for anyone who wants to know what is BEST, especially when they are learning.

Clear?

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to mbloof, Apr 24, 2013

mbloof wrote:

You forget that this is DPR where:

- Everything that but the current generation Top-Of-The-Line cameras can take only snap shots

- If there is not a 'red stripe' on the lens the glass is junk

- Natural lighted portraits are snap shots

- Only 'pros' can produce portraits, anything else is a snap shot

- If the portrait does not look like it was stolen from a fashion/glamor rag its a snap shot

- Your work is junk unless your netting 6 figures as a full time photographer

- $5000 of lighting gear is required to create anything but a snap shot

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to mbloof, Apr 24, 2013

mbloof wrote:

You forget that this is DPR where:...

In that case I'd get a set of 5 Profoto D1 500 Monoblocs (don't waste money on lights that change color temperature with power.)  Of course you'll want the Profoto Air Remote to go with it.  Couple those with Manfrotto caster stands with at least 3 booms for flexibility.  Get yourself a variety of Westcott and Profotto softboxes...octaboxes, stripboxes...etc. with matching grids.  A couple California Sunbounce's...you can use them in and out of the studio.  A beauty dish with grid.  An 18" MyRingLight.  Half a dozen sandbags.  Then you'll need a couple stands a a dozen or so backgrounds...some silk...etc.  Put it all in a 20x30 foot studio with a 15 foot ceiling and decent natural light window that you can close off when moving to all flash.

That should comprise arguably the best and it won't set you back much more than $10,000, plus monthly studio rental.  

P.S.  The OP did say best, so I agree it is fair to say constant color monolights with modeling lights and caster stands are best when compared to speedlights...as are good softboxes with grids to go with them.  Perhaps it would help everyone if the original OP also added a cost target.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Apr 24, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

mbloof wrote:

You forget that this is DPR where:...

In that case I'd get a set of 5 Profoto D1 500 Monoblocs (don't waste money on lights that change color temperature with power.)  Of course you'll want the Profoto Air Remote to go with it.  Couple those with Manfrotto caster stands with at least 3 booms for flexibility.  Get yourself a variety of Westcott and Profotto softboxes...octaboxes, stripboxes...etc. with matching grids.  A couple California Sunbounce's...you can use them in and out of the studio.  A beauty dish with grid.  An 18" MyRingLight.  Half a dozen sandbags.  Then you'll need a couple stands a a dozen or so backgrounds...some silk...etc.  Put it all in a 20x30 foot studio with a 15 foot ceiling and decent natural light window that you can close off when moving to all flash.

That should comprise arguably the best and it won't set you back much more than $10,000, plus monthly studio rental.  

P.S.  The OP did say best, so I agree it is fair to say constant color monolights with modeling lights and caster stands are best when compared to speedlights...as are good softboxes with grids to go with them.  Perhaps it would help everyone if the original OP also added a cost target.

Thank you for your suggestions. We'll bear them in mind, eh?

My suggestion was to aim for three heads of about 300 watt seconds each, equipped with proportional modelling lights of at least 200 watts, so they are not too feeble to use with softboxes and as the sole source of light in a studio situation.

I think mine is a reasonable compromise for a beginner between battery flash with no modelling lights whatsoever, and the rather excessively expensive kit that you propose, and which I don't think even you have yet had experience of.... (eh????)

Thanks again for your opinions, Daniel, even if they do exceed what you have actually used yourself. It's so very good of you to put in all that research  to give the OP an idea where her aspirations might take her!

Good on you!

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Barrie Davis, Apr 24, 2013

Barrie Davis wrote:

I think mine is a reasonable compromise...

"Compromise" doesn't sound like "the best."  

Seriously, though, I agree with your point that studio monolights with modeling lights are better than speedlights without.  We are all giving the OP lots of suggestions to work with.

We really need the OP to come back with a price target.  "Best" at a price point is very different than best without regard to price.

P.S.  I really want a set of those Monoblocs!!!!

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mbloof
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Apr 24, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

I think mine is a reasonable compromise...

"Compromise" doesn't sound like "the best."  

Seriously, though, I agree with your point that studio monolights with modeling lights are better than speedlights without.  We are all giving the OP lots of suggestions to work with.

We really need the OP to come back with a price target.  "Best" at a price point is very different than best without regard to price.

P.S.  I really want a set of those Monoblocs!!!!

So it really boils down to style, planned usage and budget.

While I think everyone could agree that reliable and consistent color temp ought to be the primary consideration everything else is dependent on planned usage, budget, compromise and subject to opinion.

Some might even argue that the 'best light for portraiture' is not man made.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Best type of light for portraiture?
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Apr 24, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

I think mine is a reasonable compromise...

"Compromise" doesn't sound like "the best."  

Seriously, though, I agree with your point that studio monolights with modeling lights are better than speedlights without.  We are all giving the OP lots of suggestions to work with.

We really need the OP to come back with a price target.  "Best" at a price point is very different than best without regard to price.

P.S.  I really want a set of those Monoblocs!!!!

My own set of 4 monolights are 35 years old, and still going strong.

They are Bowens 750 "specials" which model, despite the rather misleading nomanclature, is actually 500 joules (w/s) at full smack. They have 250 watt halogen modelling lights.

Original Brochure .... (what the first monoblocks looked like)

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