Studio Lighting newbie looking for guidance before purchase

Started May 11, 2014 | Questions thread
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Jason Gerrish New Member • Posts: 9
Studio Lighting newbie looking for guidance before purchase

Hello all.  I'm looking for guidance before I pull the trigger on a purchase of studio lighting.  While I still consider myself an amateur with lots to learn, I do have some nice equipment so far...

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200 2.8L IS II USM, Canon 24-70 2.8L II USM, Canon 16-35 2.8L II USM, Canon 50mm 1.4, Canon 600 EX-RT, Canon 430EX II.

My small amount of work so far is posted on

My daughter dances and I want to take pictures of her and her friends at home (to hopefully get better pics than the quick, low budget pics the studio offers once/year.

I bought some backdrops, stands, and cheap continuous softbox lights in the hopes I could use those with my flash/flashes to get nice pics.  I was unhappy with the results and thought I'd be better investing some nicer high powered strobes with a huge softbox for a key light and another to blow out the background.  I was thinking instead of a 3rd strobe, could use the low-budget continuous softboxes I bought for the frontfill light(s).

I know I'm "buying on a whim" because I told a couple people I would "try" to take their photos for them and I also want to do my daughters studio shots.  I also am willing to pay (buy once - cry once theory).  I do not want to regret paying $500 for a strobe that doesn't do what I want it to when paying $900 would have done the job.  I'm willing to spend up to $2000 for my first 2 lights and softbox(es).  I already regret buying the (3) continuous softbox lights for $200.

My first concern is that I want to shoot action shots...dancers leaping through the air (as well as still poses).  My experience so far is I want at least 1/350 second shutter speed for minimize blur.  Is it true that less expensive strobes will not be able to handle that "sync speed"? Am I referring to that correctly?

I also may occasionally want to take some outdoor pics with the lights so it would be really nice to have a DC option.

I noticed the Cowboy Studio Mettle 600AD strobes on Amazon for ~$350 each and they are AC/DC.  Would anyone recommend those for my situation (I could buy 3 with softboxes/umbrellas).  Would the "sync speed" be an issue?  And how would I best trigger these using my 5D Mark III?

Any guidance from the experts is greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much!


Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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