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I Need Strobe Advice

Tue May 12, 2015, 9:50 PM
I want to get into real strobe work, but it's kind of inscrutable.  Is this one of the things where I'm going to be fine with 250 Watt Neewers or am I going to eventually end up buying 600 Watt Alien Bees eventually anyway so I shouldn't waste money on the cheap stuff initially.

Also, how many do I need,  Main, Fill, and Hair, or do I need a fourth, or a fifth??

My current plan is to get two 300 Watt AC/DC lights for fill and hair and then a 600 Watt AC/DC to use as a main and as a fill light for sunlight.  Am I headed in the wrong direction?

Also, would be thankful for brand or feature recommendations, as well as accessories.  I have beauty dishes  and a couple home-made snoots (cardboard whisky bottle sleeves work great) that I use with speedlights, but am looking at a big softbox with a honeycomb and a couple umbrellas.

If you've read this far you probably know more than I do, any help would be appreciated.

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jblaschke Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
You can do a lot more with a simple two-strobe setup than you'd think, especially if you add reflectors and flags to the mix. I started out using simple optical slaves and worked up from there. The Strobist blog is a fantastic resource for this. Start at the beginning--it's really worth it.

Save the money you'd spend on the Bees until you reach a point where you know you need them and can quantify the strobes' limitations on your photography. Until then, invest where it will do you the most immediate good.
swiftmoonphoto Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Cool.  Thank you for the advice.
robpolder Featured By Owner May 13, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
hi swift, good you're thinking of permanent studio lights :) from my 10 y experience as an amateur: three lights are fine, if you need more fill, use foam boards. the power is a matter of studio size: 300 Ws is fine for say anything up to 6 x 6 m (20 ft). If your studio is really large and/or if your background  and walls are black, you need at least one more stop in power. strobes should be adjustable, at least down to 1/16 of full power, just in case you want low light (more wide open lens) and if you use a smaller space. modelling lights are important, too: at least 150 W, I'd say; and they need to be proportional (go down more or less linearly with less than full flash power). there's cheap low power (200 Ws) flashes, but usually the modelling light is not proportional (only full), which gives wrong a impression to your eye. for modifiers, a large soft box is commendable; beauty dishes is fine. for the rest, umbrellas are cheap and Ok. unless you are going to do "pro" amounts of shoots, Chinese/hong kong stuff is OK (like mine). I don't know about brands (either A level or cheap) in the US. Oh, and if you are going to shoot in IR, usually I have similar exposure/apertures for IR and visible! so that's easy.. hope this helps. looking forward to your results, rob
swiftmoonphoto Featured By Owner May 14, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks.  Good point about proportional model lights I wouldn't have looked for that.
robpolder Featured By Owner May 14, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
welcome! I hope someone else has a point I forgot. take care, rob
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Submitted on
May 12, 2015