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FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 2

Lesson 17 from: Studio Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 2

Lesson 17 from: Studio Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

17. FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 2

This class allows you to shoot multiple set-ups with a single light -- but ideally, how many lights should you have in your light kit? Continue working with purchasing questions on lighting in this lesson, including name brands, DIY alternatives, and the difference between the pricey strobes and the less expensive strobes.


Class Trailer

Day 1


Studio Essentials: Shutter Speed


Studio Essentials: Flash Exposure


Studio Essentials: White Balance


Light Principles: Inverse Square Law


Lighting Patterns


Shoot: Demo Lighting Patterns


Quality of Light and Modifiers


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Diffusion and Grid


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Umbrellas


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Softboxes


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Extra Stuff


10 One Light Set-ups: 1 and 2


10 One Light Set-ups: 3 to 5


10 One Light Set-ups: 6 to 10


One Light Set-ups: Pop Quiz


Day 2


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 1


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 2


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 3


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 1 and 2


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 3 to 6


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 7 to 10


5 Two Light Set-Ups: 1 & 2


5 Two Light Set-Ups: 3 to 5


5 Basic Three Light Set-Ups: 1 & 2


5 Basic Three Light Set-Ups: 3 to 5


5 Intermediate Three Light Set-Ups: 1 to 3


5 Intermediate Three Light Set-Ups: 4 & 5


10 Common Lighting Mistakes


Day 3


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 1


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 2 to 6


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 7


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 8


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 9


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 10 to 12


Portrait Lighting: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Beauty Lighting: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Lighting Groups: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Lighting for Drama: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Your First Studio Lighting


Lesson Info

FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 2

Number three how many lights do I need to buy and this is my foot need because you know, need versus want that whole thing um all right, so I have been shooting for fifteen years and right now in my studio I think I own six lights however three like it really does it all work almost at all, especially if you are just getting into studio lighting, I can do a ton with three lights almost everything that I want the only times I ever use more is if it's like a really complicated set up with like a lot of people or maybe if it's like really fancy hair shot where I've got like a late but here and here but this is not practical honestly, you don't really ever need more than three for most of us are shooting, but if you just want one light, you can do a time you could do more with two to do almost everything with three and four is the backup like that's how I think about it. So to break that down, how I think about is when you have just one light, you've got a great main light just like we did...

yesterday with the octo box I can do a ton of really nice portrait with one light and a reflector I don't I don't need a lot more than that but when I have the second light, it helps me out because it gives me something to separate the subject from the background more easily because I can't take this second light pointed at the background to give a little little bit of a halo or it could use that second light point at their hair for a little bit of hair light so really the first light becomes your main light in the second one is helping separate the subjects in the background so that would help you out, especially if you're in a small space, you know, maybe you want another kicker light just a puff, a little bit of light on the background. Three I have flexibility, I could like my subject with multiple lights, I could have multiple background life, this is going to be also if you want stylized lighting, you can start to get more creative and how I look at four is I got an extra one in case I need it, and in case I break something and I mean that's, what always happens is, you know, you need a three point light set up and you broke the third one and then you don't have that, especially if you're photographing groups where maybe you're lighting with multiple lights, your lighting, big locations, then maybe you need more lights, but I would tell most people one light is totally fine, especially if you're trying to keep on a budget to gives you more flexibility three that's all you really need so that means don't be stressed out about spending a lot of money we can keep it pretty simple I um I feel that with one light you can definitely shoot head shot indefinitely photograph newborns and they can definitely photograph children if you most times you don't even need an additional like so if you're in that category and you're trying to look for an excuse that why you need more lights you don't really you can get away with it next one down for two lights two lights I'm thinking for most most portrait's because let's say for example, you have a subject with dark hair on a dark background you probably need another light to separate them out so most portrait that would really be helpful to have two lights also for small groups because maybe you want your one light on your group. Secondly, it could be a phil could be on the background it could be hair light or if it's a shooting groups and you need more light from far away, you need to light and then you can do all of the above with two guys it's like phil thing you could go that way and with three lights definitely for again for the big groups but huge groups where maybe you want one light on either side and one light on the background stylized portrait that's what we're talking about like I mentioned my friend joel grimes who shoots three point lighting that's what he's known for three points you need three lights and if you watch his presentations and I'll actually demo what three point lighting is what you need three lights to do it so if there's a particular style or look that you're going for you would need three lights there and then everything else so that would give you more or less an idea of what you need. So let me see if you have questions on that so far I've got some questions for lindsay a lot of folks are asking including linda coke instead of three strobes would it be possible to use a set of two strobes as an one speed light the speed light for example being the cake or the hair light? So do you would you combine speed lights as well a strobes in a scenario it is definitely doable it is something definitely some things that you can set up it just tends to get a little bit more complicated because depending on what modifiers you have on the other light and their distance can you get enough kick from that that speed light? If you're shooting at lower outputs yeah, you probably can use it but then you're purchasing different modifiers order different adapters to be able to use that to mix with their strobes. Like, maybe you want to use a hair light that is, ah, strip like you had to buy something totally different that sits on a speed light compared to a strobe, so it gets more complicated, but if you want to be creative and that's what you have, absolutely you can do it, and then you got to figure out how to get them to talk, which you could just put it on optical, but you might have to buy cem transmitters, which we'll talk about in a little bit further. So the answer is yes, you can do it. You just got to be creative. We have a question in the background. Yeah, what's your thoughts on using ah, the model light of your second light for phil or for her light. Okay, so what ends up being a problem is if you're using the model light of another light for it felt like let's say, I've got this on strobe, and you just have another light that's a model light that you're just trying to feel in the shadows, is that we're going for problem is our modeling lights are tungsten, where, as our strobes, our daylight. So what you'll get is you could get phil by using a slow shutter speed, but it'll be a red or orange pill, so it doesn't usually work out too well, I do know, and I'm not going to recommend this per se, but I mean, you can shoot by modeling lights if you decided you want constant lights and you didn't buy them it's just it's not going to be color accurate, and, you know, you might not have as much variability and all of that. But if for some reason you decided, like I've shot with the model lights of the d ones, when I needed to do a video thing and there was no budget to rent really nice light so it's doable, but gettinto a little bit of complications, I think it's interesting how you just just answered the previous question and that it's kind of like having different brands of cameras and the lenses and all the accessories. Then you have to keep buying these different things to get the same the same functionality and so it's a it's. An interesting way to think about it well and that's. Why for me as a professional? I like doing this for years and not saying for beginners that's one of the reasons I like using the pro photos and then those daylight h demise really expensive ones I rent those but I already own all the modifiers so it's not like I have to go buy or rent separate things that makes it nice and seamless so I try to keep and that I don't have this question in there but I think that's a really good point is if you can keep everything close to the same brand it does help you can absolutely mix and match but all of a sudden you're using different adapters and defer in speed rings and you got to buy new stuff and so it can keep its similar it's better for your question easy on by the way there are certain brands just while we're on this topic all right? So we'll john and I will have a discussion about how you say it because I hear two people argue about this but this company shame era or camera because I think they say sameera sameera because it's shimmery shimmer here is the god that got exactly that's why I think they're way website they explain it this we know it's kind memorable we say sameera okay okay e for this like I know I've heard them say and I'm like I'm pretty sure in mythology and being a nerd but okay say he knows everything uh this particular company what they do is they make modifiers that you can use with a whole bunch of different brands and then you buy speed ring that fits you are like and there are different speed rings for bones for pro photo for braun color for alan carr like there's so many difference you'd have to look that up, but even you don't have to necessarily stick within your brand per se as long as you are aware of this type of stuff and I've also found never we did the white balance thing yesterday we talked about that different strobes have different white balances and so I've had a problem in the past where I'm shooting and I really confused why my back highlight look so blue and I was mixing and matching strobes and that stroke just happens to be a cooler stroke it just happens to be more blue and so then if I wanted to match if I really care I've got a jealous so I tried to keep everything the same if I can so just left hassle less confusion awesome. All right, so next one should I buy inexpensive name brand or do it yourself make it myself and this cfda ask yourself some questions so we'll go through the questions you have to consider so here's some of the things that would make a difference in what you purchase do you shoot lots of movement and action? If you shoot a lot of movement in action something that might make a difference to you would be recycled time. There are less expensive strobes that if you have, like maybe a less expensive strobe at it's on the lower wattage in when you have to turn it up to full power, the recycle time is longer and what recycle time is when I take a picture with this with the stroke, for example, how long until it soaks up enough water to throw the bucket out again? How long does it take to that bucket to fill back up when I first saw it and they got rid of this this problem, but my first jobs that I had it would still fire even if the bucket wasn't full and then it would be like half will be half boom out of witness that I needed to the photograph in it it was a hassle most strobes have fixed that now, but what it means is I'll take a picture and if I'm shooting at it turned up at its highest certain strobes it might take two seconds for it to fill back up again, which is not working is not going to work for me if I'm shooting dance in action because I want to shoot a lot, so it depends on officiating that and then another consideration this would not be a one a one thing, but if you're trying to like freeze powder were liquid in the air and you want it perfectly tax sharp that takes you into another entire price bracket like like endlessly because of how important that is to you the next one is do you require excellent color accuracy, some less expensive strobes when you change the power output, the color temperature changes also some of some strobes when you shoot really quickly, the color temperature kind of jumps around so that you would be able to look up easily on forums which brands that this does it that will happen do you work on your own and need a lightweight solution? And then we'll talk about mora's well, do you want late that works in the studio and on location? That would be a consideration for figuring out what brands to choose and then just blatantly what's your budget like, how much do you actually have to spend s o n expensive brands? There are plenty of inexpensive brands that if you do your research you can get great light sometimes light is just light, and so I had wait lightnings, which is made by policy buff it was the third one that I didn't mention because they don't really push that one as much since the count with the einstein's it's just there they have the alien bees the signs in the white lightning's they were there very, very inexpensive, a few hundred dollars apiece, and I shot them for seven or eight years and my photos, you you can't tell the difference you don't you don't know because it's the modifiers you using how you're using light where you're placing the like all of that, but there are some down said so in other words, you do have to do your research. My my recommendations of some things to take a look at would be the policy buff brands and ellen chrome. There are others, but that's a good place to start just because it's more expensive doesn't mean it's better for what you're shooting so inexpensive it's fine, but let me tell you why you would go brand name or why you would go expensive, and for me I'm talking expensive would be we're like the pro photos and the bron colors, for example, going to a higher end name, so everyone reason would be technical stuff. Perhaps they're more reliable. A lot of times the brands will have faster recycle time, and then that whole freezing the powder thing ah, that has to do is flash duration we're not going to talk about that, but that would be a reason to look at a more expensive brand color, accuracy and consistency in the braun color score oh packs, which are like eight to ten thousand piece for the pac that's, not with the light. I can actually change the white balance, the color temperature of my life in that pack, and I can change how fast that light is the actual length of the strobe firing so I can make it really, really fast to freeze action or powder, or I can make it longer for effect. Like all of that you can control digitally. I could make a bistro bescot pick, so if I wanted to fire every tenth of a second for a minute, but I mean, I can set that most of us don't ever need that, and you would probably rent that after you've been shooting many, many years and you have a specific shoot that requires that. But there are technical reasons. One of the reasons I like shooting one of these brand names like pro photo is because I can get the modifiers everywhere, and a lot of people make modifiers that fit. So if I have a job or a a concept that I want to shoot and I don't own a particular modifier, a lot of them you can rent from rental houses first is if you're using a smaller, an expensive brand, if you want it, you've got to buy it. So that helps me out the other thing is, you know, for example sham era here they make modifiers that are less expensive for my head so when you use the more popular names there's a lot of third company parties that actually make modifiers for it so it gives you some more flexibility as well and it's also easier to get parts and repair for more popular name brands although you know I'm not discounting policy bust their company they do a lot of good repair like if you something breaks they send it in repair but for using a name that's not as popular attends the more difficult to get parts to get it fixed and half the time you end up having to buy something new if it breaks so this would be why would go name brand do it yourself like making lot of fires or putting different things together that were intended for that purpose? I'm not crafty like this so I don't do any almost any do it yourself but kevin cambodia for example he has a class that he did for photo weeks it's past photo week on do it yourself lighting yes actually kevin came back and did a whole three day class yeah three d I y lighting so if you want to really get into how to make these things that's a great class in our catalogue perfect so I would say if you're more craft your hands on I want to get involved I my personal experience is by the time I screwed up so much it was cheaper just to buy it in the first place but that's just may perhaps you have the talent to make it work so yeah I think that's a really full class he's I mean I saw the stuff that he brought in it was crazy and a lot of really cool stuff doesn't vote a week and I was just an hour and a half at exactly yeah cool all right so as you're doing your research if you've never taken a look at brands there are a lot more than these for these are the ones I see most often that they seem to have better customer support they are at the trade shows if you want to talk to them it would be boeing's pro photo bron color ellen crumb dynamite hensel alien baby einstein in the indies and einstein they you cannot buy them to see you know from adirama for example they sell and distribute their stuff independently so case you walk into a camera store and ask for it they won't have those and I think that's part of the way that they keep their prices so low is they're not they're not having any increase the price because of the person that selling or distributing it um most popular I would say are the most er many people have these would be the bowens pro photo ellen chrome and then maybe dina late and I know for example that john had some other brands that are on there but they're much older like speed to try and and what else do you have? You know speed atran dina lloyd which is on your list norman's norman okay there's still made like I been like old stuff, but they get I acknowledge writer ninety nine who did ask about speedy johns as well. So there you go, john yeah, well, one of the reasons john was we're talking about this some of these brands I don't see around very, very often anymore islam is still exists, you made a great point that there's a ton of used gear you khun by really, really inexpensively and light is light and they still have all the great modifiers doing ad on norman will both recently sold to photogenic so they're still available parts and a lot of rentals shops still carry a lot of speed itron stuff speedy trial and pro photo probably the biggest things in the rental department so I'm still happy with my speedos e o e this'll just to give you an idea of what to look for and you'll be able to tell very quickly look for something like around four hundred watt seconds for each and you'll be able to see the price range you know, if you're trying to figure out roughly what's in your budget a lot of different things to consider all right? So are there any questions about that? You said someone asked about the speed of trans thank you john for that input really valuable is the questions that you're putting up there to pose to ourselves as tio, what to think about and what to look at when you know what you're trying to achieve or what types of what types of images you're trying to achieve because there's a lot of questions coming in about what about this? What about that? But going back to again like your specific scenario and what you're looking for for example somebody said so for general head shots and portrait's should I go for two or three inexpensive lights like alien bees or one nice light like a pro photo do you want? I mean I think that you get a lot of nice quality light out of an einstein for example so if you want to get yourself to weinstein's to give you more flexibility that's fine I personally there's a bunch of reason I said this bunch reasons I used pro photo I love the modifiers like I love the modifiers that they make in the quality of light that they produce I love how easy it is to get the head on and off I love the ability to rent but it's, none of those things are super important than go with the ninth steiner I mean, you could get really good photographs out of it and so just to attack onto that somebody wants to know if they'll be able to use the same modifiers for the pro photos as einstein's. The answer is no unless you buy an adaptor like for a soft box, you could technically as long as you get the right adapter speed ring. But then sometimes it's hard to figure out what works, but you can do that. We wouldn't be able to say put a beauty dish from the einstein onto a pro photo. One more question because this came in earlier from leann bombs. Mind I know that since a lot of this is still new to me, can you tell us again what is a speed ring? Can I grab what we're going to grab one? What it what it is certain modifiers, particularly soft boxes in order. Thank you, john in order to attach them to the head. This is the speed ring that the soft boxes the actual polls of the soft blocks fit into and then, depending on what you has here, will determine what lights it fits on. So this adapter for a pro photo it'll look totally different for bones like, and it looked totally different for braun color so this part it does very this is where your soft box attach is and then this part of the speed ring is what catches to your strobe and they do have adapters like you can do your research to have adapters that would take you from hensel to a profile like that stuff exist it's just kind of hassle right and we have a studio audience question thank you for that thanks john thank you could you touch a little bit on why you'd spend for five hundred dollars or three hundred dollars whatever on a certain soft box but then there's another brand that has the same size but there's a different look but yeah there's a code so that's a good question sometimes there's no reason and sometimes it's just because you're like yes this is the brand I shoot this is easier sometimes you just know that because it's the same brand I'm going to shoot with it ah couple things that you're looking for or variations is a deeper soft box unsure about this thing sometimes the deeper soft box is what they do is they forced the light out and one direction longer in the lake doesn't spread as much so that gives you a different look also the inside will be different on some of them sometimes it'll have a silver versus a white and so we'll give you a little bit different of a look some of them will have breaking stuff some of you will have a lip on it, which again, makes sure that some of the light can't spill. John doesn't like when there's lips on it because this is what the lip is, what I'm talking about because you can't really feather the lightest much it like, cuts it off the edges so you can kind of, like, have it spill if you want it to spill. Um, what else do you think? Why would you buy it? Spent a lot of money, have metal rods from have fiberglass rollins. Fabulous rods may crack after a while. Um, let's. See, like the schmira super that we have here, you know, is the back of it has a big opening. That means you can put more than one light head in there where you can stick another two heads into that. So this thing opens up. It gives your room to put more lights, and there were other brands may not have that capability. Um, but, yeah, the material that it's made of this's fireproof. Some of them are not fireproof. So these confused with hot light or cold light. So that that's where some of the price differential you should come in, and that reminded me just before I forget if you do have a soft box like this you want to velcro this stuff clothes in the back, especially if you're in a small space because what will happen is some of that light will bounce around, bounce off the wall or ceiling behind you and then you won't be able to get your true blacks so if you do if you're not using multiple heads, you do want to kind of velcro it up so prevent some extra spill of light about what hot light and cold nights are that question that come in as well? No, I wasn't going to touch on it, but hot lights are traditionally from the fact that they would get hot there would be really bright or very strong tungsten light that would get very hot and that's how I accidentally caught a, uh the flat on fire once I had it right up against line in story. Yeah, well, it was bad because of the flat I mean, I caught part about on fire so the whole thing is on fire drama and the client sitting right there going that's got to be claiming no, definitely not supposed to be yeah, especially fact exactly nowadays not many people make actual hot lights because of that reason they actually get hot in a more of a fire hazard so there are cooler versions of them which now it's what people are using a lot more fluorescence or leads how it still exists. You can still make good photos with them. They just get a little bit more of a hassle.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


If you're on the fence about this class I can easily answer your concerns. BUY IT. Lindsay provides top notch professional education while keeping things interesting. Her words are precise and direct. I actually felt GOOD just watching and learning. I mean, like someone surprised me with a cupcake kinda GOOD. After the class I could immediately see improvements in my photography. The best part is that I learned enough to see the wrong in my setups. Knowing what's wrong is just as important as knowing what's right. She is funny, easy going, energetic and filled with knowledge. I would also highly recommend her Posing 101 class as a must have addition to this course. I feel like I have learned more than I could possibly use. I will be going through this course over and over again just to make sure it all sinks in. There's THAT MUCH she offers that you will always learn more with each time you watch. I hope this helps someone make the decision to up their game. That is exactly what it did for me.

Jason Ashley

I loved this course! Lindsay spent so much time with explaining each set-up in-depth that anyone picking up a camera could understand how to accomplish their lighting goals. This course covered so many unique (but, most likely to come across scenarios) and how one would approach the challenge and how to successfully accomplish with incredible results, not average-sub-standard or basic results, but above entry-level standards, high-level, money-generating lighting expertise! ZERO laziness in her explanations to the point where she is constantly refining her course in the middle of the 3 days. Her passion gleams throughout each days lessons with so much energy. You know she really wants her students both in-person and through the screen to be successful in whatever type of lighting they choose to dabble in. I am so happy, I have bookmarked, and i'm so happy and fortunate to have this course to reference for hopefully –everrrr. Thanks!

Beatrice Palma

Hi, I am Beatrice from Italy. I think this class is superb. I finally understood what are the guide lines to follow, I tried for years but never found such a good explanation. Lindsay is a wonderful teacher, she explains in a simple way, she shares a lot of knowledge and she shows in practice what are the results of every single choice. Thank you so much, it was really amazing and super interesting!!!!

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