Now that the holidays are upon us a bunch of my family and friends have asked if I could take some nice portraits for XMas Cards, Pictures, whatever. I'm not looking to start a business, this is mostly for fun and each have generously offered to chip in $100 towards the equipment, so that gives me a budget of approx. $1K. I currently have a D800 w/SB-910. After some quick research, I started to make a list of what I might need:
Few different rolls of paper, at a minimum white, black, and a neutral grey
2 x Light Stands
2 x Swivel Brackets
2 x Softboxes or Umbrella
So a few questions: First, does this sound like a good start? Is there anything I am overlooking? Anything else you can recommend?
Timeframe: I will probably put the final list of items I will need together over the weekend after I have performed more research on the subject and pull the trigger on the purchase Monday.
#2. "RE: Portable Studio" In response to Reply # 0
Consider two SB600's vs one SB910...they will work within the CLS system where the SB910 will be your master..
Google CLS system NIKON and there is a good bit of information...also, Apple has some good videos...but, Youtube and others have some execllent info.
This combo will give you the 3rd light suggest for the hair light...which will really pick up your photos..
Also, be sure to get a heavyweight stand...you'll need 10' rolls of paper for any group shots..stay away from Cowboy Studio..IMHO cheap stuff....
Check AMAZON for pricing..but, anything free shipping will take at least a week...
WestCott or Interfit are good brand names that will last you on umbrellas and stands...
Just remember, with the CLS system, the sensor needs to be visible...with some softboxes..you can't see the senson when in the box set up...just a FYI..
Also, for a inexpensive but really great eye catch light...that you'll use over and over is the Firefly octabox...check it out..about $200 or so..but, small and portable...you can hook it up with a on camera sensor with wire and hot shoe to the Octabox and it does a great job......
You can literally hold it in your hand, or put on stand and shoot.....
Also, consider some "fun" colors for paper....Blue, Red's purple...are all fun...white, black and grey are classic, but, kind of boring...IMHO.
Remember, with your CLS system, you can do some nice outdoor work as suggested..by controlling the apeture, you can blurr out the backgrounds and use your strobes as fills for some nice photos..
#3. "RE: Portable Studio" In response to Reply # 2 Sat 27-Oct-12 04:12 PM by ctadin
St Louis, US
I would suggest you buy sand bags for each of your light stands, especially if you shoot outside. I buy empty sand bags that I fill with 5lb weights. I also would have someone standing near the light stands to prevent them from crashing to the ground from a gust of wind. I like and use Lastolite EZ-Box Softbox. I have no problem with my Nikon SB-900's sensor being blocked from the Softbox. The Lastolite's come in different sizes. If you go with a backdrop, you can purchase a holiday theme backdrop. If you don't want to use Nikon's CLS, you can purchase Pocket Wizard's or Radio Poppers.
#4. "RE: Portable Studio" In response to Reply # 0
This looks like a good start. I do most of my shooting outdoors so backdrops are not often an issue. I haven't used paper for people since I got of photography school, just not durable enough especially with children(unless you're letting the kids play with paint). When I do use a background it's usually vinyl or muslin. one thing to remember about using a background indoors is having enough room.
First you have at least 10ft wide background which may not be wide enough for a large group of people so possible 12ft. Then if you're lighting the background evenly that's a light stand on either side of the background so another 4-6ft total of width. Then since your subject should be at least 4ft from your background which needs to be at least 9ft high plus space in front of them your background needs to be 15-20ft long with at least 8-11ft of that actually on the ground plus room for your main lights and you and your camera. that's a lot of space in an empty room but in most peoples furnished living room almost impossible.
Consider getting some Christmas type props clearing space and shooting with the wall as your background.
#5. "RE: Portable Studio" In response to Reply # 0
If you want to photograph people and are on a budget I recomend the photek softlighter II (www,photekusa.com/Softlighter.html). You can still trigger via nikon cls and the lighting is wonderfully soft and big. Easy to set up and tear down - just be sure you have a sturdy lightstand. Regarding backgrounds - depends on the look you want, how large the group is, where you want to shoot, etc. With the lenses you have you can limit your dof and throw the background out of focus and crop tightly around your subjects so that the background is less prominent. Focus on the people their expressions and the lighting
#6. "RE: Portable Studio" In response to Reply # 0
I think it is a very good start to get all items listed. If I were you, I would add at reflector (at least 42" in diameter) and some comes with white, gold and silver. You can use one SB 910 as main, reflector as FIll, 2nd SB910 for separation light. Or you can bundle 2x SB910 as strong main lights, Or place one of each SB910 both side for even lights. Or one SB910 on top center and another SB 910 to BK paper from bottom for High key shots. The reflector can act as an additional FIll light sources, from anywhere the below the subject or else...
Also, personally, I would not go for many BK papers but just white and black. If you add some colored gel on SB910 shooting to white BK can tint or color too.