Help with lighting equipments purchase

Started Apr 20, 2013 | Questions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 11,913
Re: Help with lighting equipments purchase

The lighting setup shown won't produce a seamless white background image.

Continuous lighting is fine for inanimate subjects but you want to use studio strobes for any animate subject.

I also recommend you read my article of equipment for a small home studio.  I wrote it to help others avoid the mistake I made of buying low quality "budget priced" studio equipment the first time.  Most of it quickly wound up in the trash - a total waste of my money.

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

You should carefully read the Zack Arias tutorial before trying to do pure seamless white.

You do need to be cautious when doing seamless white.  If you overexpose the background too much or have the subject too close to the background then you can have problems.

If you overexpose the background too much it can cause broad light flare with your camera.  This shows up as a loss of contrast in your images.

If you overexpose the background too much for the background to subject distance light from the background will light the edge of your subject and the edges will be overexposed.  The subject's edges can even go pure white and blend into the background.

Keep the subject at least 6' from the background and keep the background to no more than 1 stop of overexposure.  I use +0.7 ± 0.2 stops over my subject exposure.  With a subject to background distance of 12' you can safely use 1.5 stops of overexposure for the background.

If you want to use ISO = 100 to 200 and an aperture of f/8 to f/11 then you want 300Ws to 600Ws studio strobes for the main and fill lights.  300Ws - 400Ws works well with small diffusers, such as a 24"x23" softbox, and medium sized diffusers up to a 3'x5' softbox.  For larger diffusers you need 600Ws.

For hair, accent, and background lights you need anywhere from 100Ws to 300Ws of power from your studio strobes depending on what you are doing.

There are several combinations of lights that can work.

It is safest to buy all your lights the same if they have sufficient power variability - 5 stop is a minimum.  By buying all the lights the same you have an easy backups should any light fail.  Four Paul C. Buff Einsteins would be a good example of what to buy.

A pair of 300Ws lights and a pair of 600Ws lights is a good combination.  If you are willing to occasional work at ISO = 400 then  a pair of 150Ws lights and a pair of 300Ws lights will work.

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