Flash Photography – gear acquisition

ealy_HobsonCalendarShoot__DSC3263Before this project I never really spent much time learning about flash photography techniques. With this project I had envisioned that every image would employ multiple flashguns. At first I wasn’t quite sure what type of lighting setup I would need, or could afford. One of my photographer friends had been using a constant lighting setup made up of rather inexpensive flourescent energy saver coil bulbs, in a dish. After talking with him I was made aware of the rather sever shortcomings of that type of setup. I began digging around on the internet for more information about lighting. I made a post on the dpreview lighting forum asking for advice about how to proceed. And along with the usual chaff and negativity stemming from the internet, I found a couple of jewels.

One person pointed out that I already had the beginnings of a decent lighting setup due to the fact that I own two Nikon CLS flash units (SB800 & SB600).  The other was that someone pointed me to a really cool blog, called Strobist. At the Strobist blog I found a ton of information, tutorials, discussions, advertisements and such. It turns out that for the type of work I was doing, the Nikon CLS system preforms really well when indoors in a room that isn’t too large. So I borrowed two more SB800s from my friends, and bought a pretty cool lighting setup from Midwest Photo Exchange. The kit I bought had two flash light stands, two adjustable heads, two shoot through umbrellas, gaffers tape, ties, and flash filters. Since this project was all in black and white I didn’t need the filters, but they may be useful in the future. I also found a really cheap set of stands and two el-cheapo muslin backdrops on ebay. These were no thicker than a sheet, but are 10×12 feet, and actually can make for interesting backdrops if you make sure they have some illumination. The last piece of gear was a book “Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers” from Amazon.

So all in all I spent about $400 on gear for this project (not including speedlights and cameras).

Next up, experimentation and learning.

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