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Old 02-07-2012   #1
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Default How many studio lights do I need to start out?

If I want to start dabbling in studio photography, how many lights should I get? I see kits with 2 or 3 lights. I see individual lights.

What do you recommend?


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Old 02-07-2012   #2
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

You can do amazing work with one light if you know what you're doing. At this point it should be more important to determine which lighting system you want to invest in. If you buy a cheap kit because you think you need x amount of lights, only to find out that to upgrade your set up later you need to get different lights, different modifiers etc, you're just wasting money. Research the different light systems and determine which system you want to buy into, just like camera systems.
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Old 02-07-2012   #3
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

Get 1 learn how to use that then get the next....rinse and repeat. Don't get a cheap no name kit.
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Old 02-07-2012   #4
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

It all depends on what you want to do.

I started with a 4 light set of Calumet 750s and for what I wanted to do at the time (commercial high key / stock / fashion / glamour it was about the minimum I could effectively get away with.

Today I have 23 strobe heads in the studio though I have never used more then 16 on a single shot.
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Old 02-07-2012   #5
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

Before asking what should I get, ask the question, "What do I want to photograph?"

Do you want to portraits? Do you want to do Macro photography? Do you want to shoot flowers? Do you want to do product photography. Do you want to photograph thing that you collect or make as a hobby?
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Old 02-07-2012   #6
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold Perlo View Post
If I want to start dabbling in studio photography, how many lights should I get? I see kits with 2 or 3 lights. I see individual lights.

What do you recommend?
Like what others have said it depends on what you want to do. I can only speak for portraits because I don't shoot food or anything else in the studio.

Unless if you have experience with studio lighting, I would start out with ONE. I see too many people buying the 2-3 light kit and NOT knowing how to CORRECTLY set them up.

More lights does NOT equal better picture unless if you know how to use them correctly.
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Old 02-07-2012   #7
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

I too am a proponent of 1 light and a reflector to start out. This suggestion is based on the presumption that you haven't used lights before and are just starting out. You need to know what one light can do and how it works before you introduce the complexity of multiple lights.

For some that may mean you are going to buy your second light in a couple of weeks. Others may find they never need another one.

I also recommend getting a light that allows you to adjust power. One of the most frustrating things I did when I got my first lights was to get plenty of power that had little flexibility when it came to adjusting power.
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Old 02-07-2012   #8
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

I'll echo what's been said. Buy one light learn about the properties of light and shadow. Buy one modifier, an umbrella and learn how it changes the projection of the light. Before you add a second light, add a reflector and learn about filling in the shadows. Buy another style modifier, maybe a softbox and incorporate the reflector with that.

When you have a working knowledge of main and fill, shadow and highlight you will have developed an understanding of how to exchange an additional light for the reflector and how to add a light to the scene in addition to the reflector.

By time you have worked with one, then two lights you will know how many lights and modifiers you want to own, and how many you'll want to use at a time.

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Old 02-07-2012   #9
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

I have one Alien bees and my on camera flash and Im happy
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Old 02-07-2012   #10
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Default Re: How many studio lights do I need to start out?

As far as the kit if you are looking for Cheap price but not cheap made I'd recommend picking up a used White Lighting Ultra 600 (300 ws) you can find them for about $150 used and they are built like a tank, compared to the Alien Bee 800 (320 ws) at about $250 used ($280 new)


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