Starter portrait set up

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by mark, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,270
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    I am curious, what would be the necessary lighting setup for a beginner. The High school I work at wants a lighting set up. Money is an object but they don't want something that is going to be dead in a month.

    I'm the guy they see "hanging out on the side of the road with a really big camera" so i obviously know everything.:rolleyes:

    Since this is something I was recently wondering about myself I said I would ask around.

    Yes I know available light is the cheapest, but they want a flash set up.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One light.
    Reflector.
    Light stand
    Light meter
    Cables.

    Softbox?
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Is this for an educational purpose (teaching photography and lighting) or so they can do simple in-house portraits (or something else)?
     
  4. wfe

    wfe Member

    Messages:
    1,285
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Location:
    Coatesville,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Start with a single light with a soft box and a reflector. You can get double sided reflectors, gold and white would be a good start. Typically schools get a discount as well.

    Cheers,
    Bill
     
  5. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,452
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A cheap light stand with a T-bar across the top and draped with translucent fabric makes an inexpensive, compact, and versatile substitute for a light box. The modeling lights in my White Lightning track the strobe output close enough that I could get by with an incident light meter instead of a flash meter.
     
  6. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,270
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Since they have a graphic arts department they decided those folks should be taking athlete portraits and other not as important portraits in house. Head shots, full body shots. The "Got Milk" ad campaign came up.

    I don't think it will happen, but I said I would find out?

    On the one light set up, how bright?
     
  7. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For a reflector, a bigger and cheaper alternative is a sheet of white foam core -- you should be able to buy one at any framer's shop for $20. Bigger is always better when it comes to bounce reflectors in portraiture.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Probably better to have two lights--one for the main and one for the background--an umbrella (cheaper) or softbox (easier to use) for the main light, a reflector for fill, an optical slave, one tall stand and one short stand for the background light.

    How powerful depends on the format--probably the format we don't talk about APUG I suspect, in which case it can be pretty small, even a couple of Vivitar 283s or smallish monolights with modeling lights to make things easier.
     
  9. DKT

    DKT Member

    Messages:
    504
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    polaroid ID camera. you can get them dirt cheap through federal surplus....
     
  10. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,270
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    I know they have a MF camera, at least I was told they did a couple years ago, and I know they have several 35mm manual cameras there, and yes, they will be shooting with the digital p&s they have. SO lets say MF. I don't know what kind.

    These will be color portraits, if that makes any difference.
     
  11. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

    Messages:
    440
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Location:
    Paris, France
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Mark,

    What's the school's budget?

    What's the teacher's curriculum? (For example, does he want to demonstrate more than "one light/one reflector" basic lighting? Or, does he perhaps want a couple more lights to show the effects of a fill-from-the-front or a background light?)

    Is the school more concerned with buying the best equipment for the money, or demonstrating & teaching basic principles and use? (not a commentary, but a sincere question)

    Will the cameras be digital or film?

    If digital, why the absolute contraint for flash?

    In my opinion, continuous light is better for teaching purposes anyway (whether with digital or film cameras), as well as being cheaper and therefore easier to replace once the inevitable damage occurs under student use (sorry, but I've worked in a school photography department . . . I've got my prejudices!)

    Plus, with non-flash lighting, the teacher has a great opportunity to demonstrate color problems and show how to correct them. Lastly, this type of lighting falls squarely within your parameter of "beginner" !

    Best,

    Christopher
     
  12. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,270
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    I really can't answer your questions. I do know that there is no photography curriculum at all. I know the graphic arts department is in shambles, and I know that there was no thought put into this beyond asking me about it.

    Put rational thought aside, act without thinking and then you will understand where this inquiry comes from.

    I only asked because I was thinking about this same thing not to long ago, so, on a personal level, the two light and reflector idea sounds good. I already have one light.